These lawyers were the subject of Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary orders or Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommendations made public during the month of January 2015.
Louisiana Supreme Court
- Paul Eugene Gardner. The court granted the respondent’s request to permanently resign from the practice of law in lieu of discipline. ODC was investigating respondent for conversion of client funds.
- Kevin M. Steel. The court granted a joint petition for consent discipline, and suspended the respondent from the practice of law for three months, all deferred. The respondent neglected a legal matter and failed to communicate with a client.
- Jermaine D. Williams. The court granted the respondent’s request to permanently resign from the practice of law in lieu of discipline. ODC had filed formal charges against the respondent alleging that he committed serious misconduct, including commingling and conversion of client funds. Additionally, ODC was investigating fourteen complaints against respondent for similar conduct.
- Nicholas J. Trenticosta. The court granted a joint petition for consent discipline, and publicly reprimanded the respondent. The respondent acknowledged that he failed to provide competent representation to a client in a succession matter and engaged in conduct that was prejudicial to the administration of justice.
- Vivica D. Smith Pierre. The court granted a joint petition for consent discipline, and suspended the respondent from the practice of law for three years. She commingled and converted client funds, failed to promptly provide an accounting to her client, and made dubious entries on a belated accounting to justify the retention of the client’s funds. Justices Knoll and Crichton dissented and would have disbarred the respondent.
- Samuel O. Henry, IV. The court granted a joint petition for consent discipline, and publicly reprimanded the respondent. He acknowledged that he published advertisements in which he claimed to be a board certified bankruptcy specialist when, in fact, his certification had lapsed and been revoked.
- John D. Conry. The court ordered that the respondent be permanently disbarred. The disciplinary proceeding involved the consolidation of four cases brought against the respondent. The respondent committed numerous offenses, including commingling and conversion of more than $200,000 of third-party and client funds, neglecting client matters, and failing to provide diligent representation.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board made no public recommendations this month.
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committees
- Scott R. Hymel. Hearing Committee No. 15 recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six months. The respondent failed to deliver a client’s file after she terminated his representation, and he failed to cooperate with ODC.
- Thomas Roland Pittenger. Hearing Committee No. 25 recommended that the respondent be readmitted to the practice of law. The respondent, and his partner E. Eric Guirard, had been disbarred in 2009 for engaging in conflicts of interest, failing to supervise nonlawyer staff, impermissibly sharing fees with nonlawyers, and facilitating the unauthorized practice of law.
- William Paul Polk, II. Hearing Committee No.38 recommended that the respondent be suspended for a year, and that he pay restitution to his client. While handling a succession matter for a client, respondent became ineligible to practice law for failing to pay bar dues, failing to meet MCLE requirements, and failing to satisfy trust account registration requirements. He also failed to return an unearned fee to his client.
- Satrica Williams-Bensaadat. Hearing Committee No. 31 recommended that the respondent receive a public reprimand; be suspended from the practice of law for six months, deferred; be placed on probation for a period of one year; and be required to attend the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Ethics School program and an additional hour of continuing legal education devoted to professionalism for two years. The respondent refused to endorse or return a former client’s settlement check, sent a demand letter directly to her former client threatening to sue the former client for fees, denied knowing that the former client was represented by new counsel, sued her former client rather than invoking a concursus proceeding, and demanded more fees than she was contractually entitled to receive.