Law grad sues Louisiana Supreme Court for denying bar admission

Michelle Keahey Jul. 19, 2011, 7:28am

An applicant for admission to the Louisiana bar has filed a lawsuit claiming his constitutional rights were violated after he was denied admission to the bar because of alcohol-related incidents which included two DWIs.

Chadwick S. Price filed suit against the Supreme Court of Louisiana and Committee on Bar Admissions of The Supreme Court of Louisiana on July 16 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the lawsuit, it is the policy of the Louisiana Supreme Court to deny admission to applicants with alcohol abuse problems. The high court will consider such applicants only if they submit to treatment recommendations enacted by the Louisiana Lawyers' Assistance Program, the suit says.

Price claims he passed the Louisiana bar examination in February 2011 and was later informed by the Committee on Bar Admissions that it was unable to certify him for admission as a result of two DWIs in 2002 and 2003. Price requested a hearing which was denied.

Price claims that the two DWI incidents happened as a young undergraduate student at the age of 19 and 21. He claims that the drunk driving incidents do not demonstrate that he has a current substance abuse problem.

Price is currently employed as a law clerk to Judge Clement Kennington in the Office of Administrative Law Judges, U.S. Department of Labor.

He is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction that denies a "quasi-judicial" hearing to bar applicants who have been diagnosed with "alcohol abuse" and order that he be provided a hearing on his character and fitness for admission to the bar of the State of Louisiana.

Price is also asking for an award of his costs, including attorney's fees.

Price is represented by Metairie attorney Dane S. Ciolino.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-0166

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