Justia Professional Malpractice & Ethics Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Louisiana Supreme Court
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This matter arose from a recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana (Commission) regarding Justice of the Peace David E. Cook's failure to comply with the financial disclosure requirements of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXXIX. The Commission found that Justice of the Peace Cook failed to file his 2009 personal financial disclosure statement timely, thereby subjecting him to a monetary penalty. The Commission determined Justice of the Peace Cook acted willfully and knowingly in failing to comply with the financial disclosure rule and recommended that he be ordered to pay the penalty and reimburse the Commission for costs. Following the Supreme Court's precedent, the Commission filed an amended recommendation, recommending penalties be limited to $200.00, with no request for reimbursement of costs. After review, the Supreme Court found that the record supported the Commission’s finding that Justice of the Peace Cook acted willfully and knowingly in failing to file the financial disclosure statement. Justice of the Peace Cook was thereafter ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $200.00. View "In re: Justice of the Peace David Cook" on Justia Law

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This case involved a legal malpractice claim brought by Plaintiff MB Industries, LLC (MBI) against attorneys Steven Durio and John Weinstein. The attorneys represented MBI in an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit against former MBI employees. Rather than appeal the unfavorable judgment, MBI chose to sue its former attorneys. The issues before the Supreme Court were: (1) whether a party's failure to appeal an underlying judgment waived any right to bring a legal malpractice claim based on that judgment; and (2) whether summary judgment was properly granted in light of MBI's failure to introduce expert testimony to establish the applicable standard of care which would have demonstrated the attorneys' actions fell below that standard. After careful review, the Court found that Louisiana law does not impose a "per se" rule requiring an appeal before a client can sue his former attorney. Furthermore, the Court found that a party alleging legal malpractice must introduce expert testimony to establish a standard of care "except in those rare cases involving malpractice so egregious that a lay jury could infer the defendant's actions fell below any reasonable standard." The Court found that under the particular facts of this case, there were no genuine issues of material fact, and that MBI failed to establish it could satisfy its evidentiary burden of proof at trial. The attorneys were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the Court reversed the appellate court and reinstated the trial court's original judgment in favor of the attorneys. View " MB Industries, LLC v. CNA Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Judiciary Commission of Louisiana (Commission) recommended that Judge Reginald Badeaux, III be publicly censured and ordered to reimburse the Commission for costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution of his case. This matter stems from a 2006 divorce petition. Mary Sinclair sought to divorce her husband Cayman Sinclair. The case was randomly allotted to Judge Badeaux, who was a personal friend of the parties. Nevertheless, Judge Badeaux did not recuse himself from hearing the case. Moreover, during the sixteen months Judge Badeaux presided over the Sinclair case, he continued to socialize with Mr. Sinclair. The Supreme Court adopted the Commission’s findings and ordered that Judge Badeaux be publicly censured for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct. Furthermore, he was ordered to reimburse the Commission for costs. View "In re Judge Reginald Badeaux, III " on Justia Law

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The Judiciary Commission (Commission) found that Justice of the Peace Charles Flaherty failed to file his 2009 financial disclosure statement in a timely manner. The Commission deemed Justice of the Peace Flaherty to have acted willfully and knowingly in failing to comply with the rule. Thus, the Commission recommended that Justice of the Peace Flaherty be ordered to pay a penalty and to reimburse the Commission for costs. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the record evidence supported the Commission's determination that the Justice of the Peace failed to comply with the reporting rule, but not that his failure was willful and knowing. After considering the facts and the applicable law, the Court ordered Justice of the Peace Flaherty to pay a penalty. View "In re Justice of the Peace Charles Flaherty" on Justia Law

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The Judiciary Commission (Commission) found that Justice of the Peace Kevin Hoffman failed to file his 2009 financial disclosure statement in a timely manner. The Commission deemed Justice of the Peace Hoffman to have acted willfully and knowingly in failing to comply with the rule. Thus, the Commission recommended that Justice of the Peace Hoffman be ordered to pay a penalty and to reimburse the Commission for costs. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the record evidence supported the Commission's determination that the Justice of the Peace failed to comply with the reporting rule, but not that his failure was willful and knowing. After considering the facts and the applicable law, the Court ordered Justice of the Peace Hoffman to pay a penalty. View "In re Justice of the Peace Kevin Hoffman " on Justia Law

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The Judiciary Commission (Commission) found that Justice of the Peace Randy Thomas, Jr. failed to file his 2009 financial disclosure statement in a timely manner. The Commission deemed Justice of the Peace Thomas to have acted willfully and knowingly in failing to comply with the rule. Thus, the Commission recommended that Justice of the Peace Thomas be ordered to pay a penalty and to reimburse the Commission for costs. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the record evidence supported the Commission's determination that the Justice of the Peace failed to comply with the reporting rule, but not that his failure was willful and knowing. After considering the facts and the applicable law, the Court ordered Justice of the Peace Thomas to pay a penalty.