METAIRIE – The official Office of Disciplinary Council (ODC) recommendation
of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) document to suspend attorney
Mark Anthony Johnson for one year and one day was filed on July 6.
The report explained that Johnson was admitted to the
practice of law in the state of Louisiana on Dec. 22, 1994. It was further
reported that he is currently in eligible to practice law and has been since
May 31, 2014, for failure to maintain his mandatory continuing legal education
“Additionally, he was declared ineligible by order of the Louisiana
Supreme Court effective Sept. 9, 2014, for failure to file his annual
registration, pay his bar dues, pay the disciplinary assessment, and file his
trust account disclosure statement,” the report said. “Most recently, he was
further rendered ineligible effective Sept. 9, 2015 for failure to file his
trust account disclosure form.”
The ODC also forwarded notice of the complaint to Johnson at his mailing
address, which was signed as received. He still failed to respond, which lead
to the issuance of a subpoena. After the subpoena, Johnson responded.
“During the course of his sworn statement, taken on Dec. 9, 2015,
he was given certain instructions to address his ineligibility with the various
entities, including the MCLE (Mandatory Continuing Legal Education) committee, the LSBA (Louisiana State Bar) and the LADB,” the report
Johnson still failed to offer the requested information and, because of this,
he was accused of violating or attempting to violate the rules of professional
conduct. The formal charges included three accounts: practicing law while ineligible; conviction of driving while intoxicated; and failure to cooperate
with the ODC.
The report explained that the investigation commenced following a complaint
from Brandon Brown, general counsel for the Louisiana Department of Transportation
and Development (LDTD). Brown alleged that Johnson had been employed by them as
a staff attorney since July 11, 2013.
“As a member of the real estate unit, Johnson's primary responsibility
was to provide advice and representation on expropriation matters,” the report
said. “On June 12, 2015, Mr. Brown learned that Johnson was not eligible to
practice law, having been declared in eligible by order of the Louisiana
According to Johnson’s registration records, he was declared ineligible
to practice law as early as May 31, 2014, but he continued to practice law
during this period of ineligibility, which is in violation of law and the Rules
of Professional Conduct.
The report further explained that another investigative subpoena was issued on
Oct. 28, 2015, and on Dec. 9, Johnson did appear to give sworn testimony
to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel.
“During the course of the statement, Johnson was specifically
instructed to take appropriate steps to remedy has an eligibility,” they report
Despite this, he did not follow any of their instructions.
Count one of the formal charges alleged that Johnson engaged in the practice of
law during a period of ineligibility. In count two, Johnson acknowledged his
arrest for driving while intoxicated. In count three, it was stated that Johnson
repeatedly failed to cooperate with the investigation or to take appropriate
steps to address his ineligibility.
“He caused needless delay and expenditure of resources,” the ODC said.
The ODC argued that, collectively, the multiple violations of the rules of
professional conduct require a minimum one year and one day suspension from the
practice of law.
“In mitigation the organization acknowledges that Johnson has no prior
disciplinary record other than the prior determinations of his ineligibility,”
the ODC said.
In aggravation, the ODC pointed to the following factors: a pattern of misconduct,
multiple offenses, and substantial experience in the practice of law. The hearings
recommendation requested Johnson’s suspension and to cover all costs of the