Bad Lawyers

Louisiana Prosecutor Resigns for Misconduct in His Private Practice
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Summary: An Evangeline Parish prosecutor resigned from his position in responsible to complaints about misconduct in his private practice.

A Louisiana prosecutor for Evangeline Parish resigned after allegations of misconduct in his private practice arose. Timmy Fontenot is facing seven formal charges from the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel for his work representing a family in an auto-accident lawsuit.

  
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One of the charges against him includes “committing a criminal act, especially one that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.” The complaint states that Fontenot dismissed the clients’ lawsuit without their knowledge or consent in 2008, forging their signature on settlement documents. Five years later, he distributed some of the settlement funds to the client, leading them to believe that was when their lawsuit settled and for the amount they were given.

The documents also state that Fontenot failed to put his contingency fees in writing and cashed checks from his trust account. The clients and the attorney defending the lawsuit have filed complaints against him.

Fontenot “admits that he acted improperly and explains his behavior by stating at the time of the settlement he was involved in a very bitter, highly contested and protracted divorce with his first wife.” He “concluded that he does not dispute the underlying facts as alleged in the complaint and states that if the matter were tried, he would seek a trial in mitigation.”

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Fontenot has faced discipline for his misconduct. He was given two years of probation in 2011 by the state Supreme Court with a one-year suspension if he violated his probation. Their decision detailed that Fontenot “neglected a legal matter, failed to communicate with a client, charged an excessive fee, and made misrepresentations.”

Do you think Fontenot’s excuse for his misconduct was acceptable? Tell us in the comments below.



To learn more about other lawyers that messed with their clients’ settlements, read these articles:

Photo: wikipedia.org



 

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