February 2018 Discipline

These lawyers were the subject of Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary orders or Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommendations that were made public during the month of February 2018.

Louisiana Supreme Court

  1. Ivory Batiste. The court revoked the respondent’s conditional admission and prohibited him from reapplying for admission until he can demonstrate one year of sobriety and compliance with a JLAP recovery agreement.
  2. Richmond C. Odom. The court reinstated the petitioner to active status.
  3. Louella P. Givens-Harding. The court suspended the petitioner on an interim basis.
  4. Kevin Douglas McCleary. The court disbarred the respondent for converting client and third-party funds.  The disbarment is retroactive to May 28, 2015, the date of his interim suspension.
  5. Chester Quinton Bell. The court suspended the respondent for eighteen-months, retroactive to June 15, 2016, the date of his interim suspension. The respondent had multiple arrests and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
  6. Kenneth James Culotta. The court transferred the respondent to disability inactive status.
  7. Lewis Burdette Blanche. The court reinstated the petitioner subject to a two-year period of supervised probation. The petitioner previously had three felony drug offenses, a DWI, neglected a legal matter, and failed to communicate with a client.
  8. Erich Webb Bailey. The court transferred the respondent to disability inactive status reciprocal to discipline imposed by the Supreme Court of Tennessee. The respondent filed medical records with the Supreme Court of Tennessee to establish his inability to practice law.
  9. Elaine Appleberry. The court suspended the respondent for six months, deferred entirely subject to supervised probation of one year.  The respondent mismanaged her client trust account and negligently commingled and converted funds.
  10. Harold D. Register, Jr. The court disbarred the respondent retroactive to April 27, 2017, the date of his interim suspension.  The respondent failed to competently represent his client, neglected a legal matter, and converted client and third-party funds.  The court ordered the respondent to make restitution to his clients and various third persons.
  11. Juan C. Labadie. The court remanded this matter to the disciplinary board for consolidation with other proceedings (17-DB-025) so that the board can issue a single recommendation of discipline.
  12. George Martin Gates, IV. The court remanded this matter to the disciplinary board for consolidation with other proceedings (17-DB-088) so that the board can issue a single recommendation of discipline.

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board

  1. Jose W. Vega. The board recommended that the respondent be permanently disbarred. He failed to communicate with his client and failed to diligently represent her.  The board found aggravating factors, including prior disciplinary offenses, a pattern of misconduct, multiple offenses, bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding, vulnerability of the victim, and substantial experience in the practice of law. The respondent was ineligible to practice law state after being disbarred in 2016.

LADB Hearing Committees

  1. Gregory Cook. Hearing Committee #30 recommended that the respondent be suspended for six months. He represented clients adverse to each other and negligently represented a group of clients in the same matter against another client.
  2. Dante Jerome Butler. Hearing Committee #12 recommended that the respondent be suspended for three years. The respondent improperly shared legal fees with nonlawyers and facilitated their unauthorized practice of law by proofreading legal documents.
  3. Mitchel M. Evans, II. Hearing Committee #31 recommended that an additional condition be added to the respondent’s current supervised probation, namely, that he return an unearned fee to a client. The respondent incompetently represented his client by neglecting specific instructions, acted on behalf of his clients without authority to do so, failed to keep his clients reasonably informed of the status of the matter, and failed to return fees after acting without the client’s consent.
  4. Alicia Johnson Butler.  Hearing Committee #20 recommended that the respondent be suspended for one year. The respondent failed to safeguard property of her client and third persons, failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in paying her client and third parties, and failed to properly communicate with her client.

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