METAIRIE -- The Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Council (ODC) recently submitted official recommendations for permanent disbarment against Anthony Hollis, an already disbarred attorney who practiced in Shreveport. The attorney disciplinary board agreed with the ODC and hearing committee’s findings, but decided additional disbarment was unnecessary.
The charges consist of alleged violations of rules of professional conduct, including neglect, failure to cooperate with the ODC's investigation, engaging in dishonest contact, engage in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and violating or attempting to violate professional rules of conduct.
Hollis did not object to the charges, thus the committee says the accusations stand. Furthermore, Hollis has a history of similar professional rules of conduct violations.
“Given the length of (Hollis’s) disciplinary history, it is pertinent to mention here,” the July 18 official disciplinary board document said.
The document explained that Hollis was first sanctioned in 1994 and 1998 for failing to cooperate with the ODC.
“In 1998, the court suspended (Hollis) for one year based upon his failure to provide competent and diligent representation to clients, failure to communicate with clients, failure to account for or refund on our fees, failure to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation and a failure to comply with the subpoena issued by a tribunal,” the document said.
The document continued to explain that in 2001, the court suspended Hollis for one year, fully deferred, for similar violations as to what occurred in 1998. And in 2014, the court disbarred Hollis for more of the same behavior, and then posed additional sanctions on more alleged violations of client neglect, practicing without a license and physically assaulting his girlfriend.
Then in July 2015, the ODC filed more charges on a new case involving alleged neglect in client matters. Jerome Tuiel hired Hollis in 2013 to represent him in a lawsuit for damages caused by a car accident. In October of 2014. Hollis informed Tuiel, after several instances of evasion and lies, that he never filed suit and Tuiel’s case expired.
Based on previous cases similar to Hollis, part of the debate became whether the court would have imposed a harsher sanction in other cases, had it known of the multiple violations in the concurrent case at the time they were considering Hollis’s other charges.
Despite urging by the ODC and a hearing committee, the disciplinary board declined to recommend permanent disbarment for Hollis, and instead suggested the State Supreme Court find him guilty of the violations and consider that guilt if and when Hollis attempts to reinstate his license.
“The ABA standards for imposing lawyer sanctions suggests suspension is the baseline sanction for neglecting multiple client matters,” the committee said, citing from the rules of professional conduct. “Here, Hollis assumed the representation of (the client) the neglect of the matter and misled him regarding its status as neglect and deception created harm. Thus, suspension appears to be the baseline sanction.”
The board adopted the factual findings and conclusions of the committee. However, based on the court's holdings in other cases, the board rejected the committee's recommendation that Hollis be permanently disbarred.
“Rather, the board recommends that Hollis be adjudged guilty of additional misconduct to be considered when and if he applies for readmission,” the board said. “The board also recommends that Hollis be assessed with the costs and expenses in this matter.”