September 2014 Discipline

Louisiana State SealThese Louisiana lawyers were the subject of Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary orders or Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommendations made public during the month of September 2014.

Louisiana Supreme Court

  1. James Hamilton Dowling Jr. The court suspended the respondent from the practice of law for a year and a day, and ordered him to refund $2,000 to his former client. While the respondent was ineligible to practice law in Louisiana, he agreed to represent a client, and received $2,000 in advanced attorney fees. After receiving the fees, the respondent did not follow through on the representation, failed to communicate with the client, and failed to account for or refund the unearned fee.
  2. Daniel James Stanford. The court suspended the respondent from the practice of law on an interim basis, pending further orders of the court. He was convicted in Lafayette federal court for committing various crimes in connection with his representation of a client who distributed synthetic drugs.
  3. Appeal of the Decision of the Disciplinary Board No. 13-PDB-136. The court remanded the matter to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for further investigation.
  4. Kearney Soniat Du Fossat Loughlin. The court ordered that the formal charges against the respondent be dismissed. The respondent had claimed on his website that he specialized in maritime personal injury and death cases. For an extended discussion of this decision and its implications, see here: In re Laughlin—Louisiana Legal Ethics.
  5. Elizabeth A. Spurgeon. The court ordered that the respondent be transferred to disability inactive status.

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board

  1. Deidre Katrina Peterson. The board dismissed the formal charges filed against the respondent. These charges resulted from the respondent’s handling of an application for post-conviction relief for a client serving a life sentence in Angola. He contended that the respondent took a $2,800 fee and did little work. However, the Committee, and later the Board, found that the fee charged by the respondent was not unreasonable given that she spent at least 30 hours working on the respondent’s case.
  2. Kathleen Morrissey Delaney. The board dismissed the formal charges filed against the respondent. It found that the respondent did not knowingly make a false statement regarding her possession of a ring owned by her employer’s former client.

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committees

  1. Mitchel M. Evans II. Hearing Committee No. 31 recommended that the respondent receive both a public reprimand and a suspension from the practice of law for six months, all deferred. The Hearing Committee also recommended that the respondent be required to refund payments made by two of his clients. The respondent failed to keep his clients informed while he handled their adoption matter, and he failed to refund the unearned portion of his fee from that matter. The respondent also failed to act with reasonable diligence, to provide competent representation, and to keep the client informed while handling another client’s divorce and action to recover Worker’s Compensation benefits.
  2. Timothy Baucum Burnham. Hearing Committee No. 60 found that the petitioner failed to meet the burden of proof required to be readmitted to the bar. The committee found that the federal crime for which the petitioner was convicted was a “serious crime,” and it also found that the petitioner had failed to pay restitution to his victims. In 2003, the respondent pled guilty to one count of a superseding indictment including conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and the sale of unregistered securities. He was sentenced to thirty-seven months in federal prison, and ordered to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $3,920,224.00.
  3. Keri Glenn Armstrong. Hearing Committee No. 17 recommended that the respondent be permanently disbarred. The respondent failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness, failed to keep her clients reasonably informed about the status of their matters, and converted client funds to her own personal use while handling several bankruptcy proceedings.
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