January 2017 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 January 2017.

Louisiana Supreme Court              

  1. Susan L. Bowers. The court granted a Joint Petition for Transfer to Disability Inactive Status.
  2. David Segal. The court imposed reciprocal discipline in the form of a one-year suspension from the practice of law.  The respondent was suspended in New York for one year for neglecting four client matters, failing to attend two case conferences, failing to follow court orders, and failing to answer disciplinary complaints.
  3. Richard C. Teissier. The court granted a Joint Petition for Transfer to Disability Inactive Status pending a hearing to determine the validity of his claim of inability to assist in defense due to mental or physical incapacity.
  4. James D. Mecca. The court suspended the respondent for a period of one year for accepting marijuana as payment for legal services.  He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of marijuana. For more on this case, see this extended discussion.
  5. Francis C. Broussard. The court disbarred the respondent for making false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims to the Internal Revenue Service in 2005-2008.  The respondent pleaded guilty to these federal felony charges and was sentenced to 28-months imprisonment. In addition, the court noted the respondent’s previous suspensions in 2002 and 2010 as aggravating factors justifying disbarment.
  6. In re Appeal of Decision of the Disciplinary Board. The Court found that the disciplinary board was arbitrary and capricious in dismissing a complaint and noted that “an attorney’s failure to pay litigation-related expenses” can possibly constitute “conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.” For more on this case, see this extended discussion.

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board

  1. Charles L. Dirks, III. The Board recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of 60 days.  The respondent failed to draft any opposition to a summary judgment motion filed against his client; the case was later dismissed. The respondent thereafter failed to inform the client that the case was dismissed, despite questioning by the client for over a year.
  2. Heather M. Murphy. The Board recommended that the respondent be permanently disbarred from the practice of law and ordered to pay restitution. The ODC was unable to to complete its investigation because the respondent failed to attend a scheduled deposition. The respondent was charged with eight counts and multiple rule violations including: failure to act with diligence, failure to withdraw properly from representation, failure to communicate with clients, failure to return client files, failure to return unearned fees, conversion of client funds, and repeatedly practicing law while ineligible.

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committees

  1. Sharon Yvette Florence. Hearing Committee #42 recommended that the respondent be privately admonished because her conduct created no actual harm.  The respondent was an assistant district attorney and represented a friend in a criminal proceeding in violation of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure.
  2. Christine Yvonne Voelkel. Hearing Committee #15 recommended that the respondent be suspended for one year, all deferred, and that she be placed on probation for two years.  The respondent incurred an overdraft on her IOLTA account and failed to reply to the ODC for an explanation of the overdraft.
  3. Joseph George Pastorek II. Hearing Committee #15 recommended that the respondent be permanently disbarred from the practice of law.  The respondent was a licensed physician. In November of 2011, he was found guilty of dispensing Schedule II and III controlled substances, a federal felony.
  4. Wayne E. Garrett. Hearing Committee #24 recommended that the respondent be suspended for six months, all deferred, and serve one year on probation. The respondent misused, converted, and commingled funds in his client trust account, and committed procedural and accounting errors in multiple client matters.
  5. Craig J. Robichaux. Hearing Committee #42 recommended that all formal charges against the respondent be dismissed. The committee found that the ODC failed to prove the existence of a former-client conflict of interest under Rule 1.9(a). Rather, the evidence proved that matter handled by the respondent adverse to his former client (a homeowners’ association) was not the “same or substantially related” to the prior matters that he previously handed for that client.

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