Articles Posted in Louisiana Supreme Court

by
This matter arose from a recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana regarding the failure of Justice of the Peace Luann Landry (St. Bernard Parish, Ward E) to comply with the financial reporting requirements of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXXIX for calendar year 2010. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the record establishes by clear and convincing evidence that Justice of the Peace Landry failed to comply with the financial disclosure requirement thereby subjecting her to a civil monetary penalty. Justice of the Peace Landry was ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $500.00, plus costs of $554.00. View "In re Justice of the Peace Luann Landry" on Justia Law

by
This matter arose from a recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana regarding the failure of Justice of the Peace Stacie P. Myers (Point Coupee Parish, District 4) to comply with the financial reporting requirements of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXXIX for calendar year 2010.Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the record establishes by clear and convincing evidence that Justice of the Peace Myers failed to comply with the financial disclosure requirement thereby subjecting her to a civil monetary penalty. Justice of the Peace Myers was ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $1,500.00. View "In re Justice of the Peace Stacie Myers" on Justia Law

by
This matter arose from a recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana regarding the failure of Justice of the Peace Thomas Threet (Calcasieu Parish, Ward 6) to comply with the financial reporting requirements of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXXIX for calendar year 2010. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the record established by clear and convincing evidence that Justice of the Peace Threet failed to comply with the financial disclosure requirement thereby subjecting him to a civil monetary penalty. Justice of the Peace Threet was ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $2,500.00, plus costs of $253.20. In addition, Justice of the Peace Threet was ordered to file his financial disclosure statement for 2010. View "In Re: Justice of the Peace Thomas Threet" on Justia Law

by
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case centered on a binding arbitration clause in an attorney-client retainer agreement and whether that clause was enforceable where the client filed suit for legal malpractice. This case presented two important countervailing public policies: Louisiana and federal law explicitly favor the enforcement of arbitration clauses in written contracts; by the same token, Louisiana law also imposes a fiduciary duty "of the highest order" requiring attorneys to act with "the utmost fidelity and forthrightness" in their dealings with clients, and any contractual clause which may limit the client's rights against the attorney is subject to close scrutiny. After its careful study, the Supreme Court held there is no per se rule against arbitration clauses in attorney-client retainer agreements, provided the clause is fair and reasonable to the client. However, the attorneys' fiduciary obligation to the client encompasses ethical duties of loyalty and candor, which in turn require attorneys to fully disclose the scope and the terms of the arbitration clause. An attorney must clearly explain the precise types of disputes the arbitration clause is meant to cover and must set forth, in plain language, those legal rights the parties will give up by agreeing to arbitration. In this case, the Defendants did not make the necessary disclosures, thus, the arbitration clause was unenforceable. Accordingly, the judgment of the lower courts was affirmed. View "Hodges v. Reasonover" on Justia Law

by
This case came before the Supreme Court on recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana, which recommended Justice of the Peace Herbert Williams (Parish of Plaquemines) be publicly censured and ordered to reimburse costs incurred in the Commission's investigation and prosecution of this case for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. In his capacity as an ex officio notary public, JP Williams notarized a document "purporting to transfer" ownership of a parcel of land to his son and daughter-in-law. The donation was not recorded right away. Upon discovering the "purported donation" in 2009, the purported Donor filed a complaint in Louisiana federal district court to clear title to the property at issue. In light of an article that appeared in the local newspaper concerning the complaint, the Commission opened an investigation, and alleged JP Williams engaged in judicial misconduct by notarizing the donation of land to his relatives, which was beyond his limited ex officio notarial powers, and without witnessing the Donor's signature. After a thorough review of the facts and law in this matter, the Supreme Court agreed with the Commission's disciplinary recommendation. View "In re JP Williams, Jr." on Justia Law

by
This case came before the Supreme Court on recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana, which recommended District Judge Robert Burgess (of the 42nd Judicial District, Parish of DeSoto) be publicly censured for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. The disciplinary proceedings arose from a divorce proceeding between Tad Russell VanZile and Judge Burgess' niece, Jenifer Colvin VanZile. The Judge intervened in his niece's divorce and restraining order proceedings by phoning other judges as to the status and disposition of his niece's case. The Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission and publicly censured Judge Burgess, and ordered him to pay costs. View "In re Burgess" on Justia Law

by
This matter arose from a recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana (Commission) regarding Justice of the Peace Tina Revette LaGrange's failure to comply with the financial disclosure requirements of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXXIX. The Commission found that Justice of the Peace LaGrange failed to file her 2009 personal financial disclosure statement timely, thereby subjecting her to a monetary penalty. The Commission determined Justice of the Peace LaGrange acted willfully and knowingly in failing to comply with the financial disclosure rule and recommended that she be ordered to pay a 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 LaGrange acted willfully and knowingly in failing to file the financial disclosure statement. Justice of the Peace LaGrange was thereafter ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $500.00. View "In re: Justice of the Peace Tina LaGrange" on Justia Law

by
This matter arose from a recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana (Commission) regarding Justice of the Peace Thomas Threet’s failure to comply with the financial disclosure requirements of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXXIX. The Commission found that Justice of the Peace Threet failed to file his 2009 personal financial disclosure statement timely, thereby subjecting him to a monetary penalty. The Commission determined Justice of the Peace Threet acted willfully and knowingly in failing to comply with the financial disclosure rule and recommended that he be ordered to pay a penalty and to 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 Threet acted willfully and knowingly in failing to file the financial disclosure statement. Justice of the Peace Threet was thereafter ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $300.00.

by
This matter arose from a recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana (Commission) regarding Justice of the Peace Stacie P. Myers’ failure to comply with the financial disclosure requirements of Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XXXIX. The Commission found that Justice of the Peace Myers failed to file her 2009 personal financial disclosure statement timely, thereby subjecting her to a monetary penalty. The Commission determined Justice of the Peace Myers acted willfully and knowingly in failing to comply with the financial disclosure rule and recommended that she 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 Myers acted willfully and knowingly in failing to file the financial disclosure statement. Justice of the Peace Myers was thereafter ordered to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $500.00.

by
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.