NEW ORLEANS – A Lake Charles attorney has been suspended by the Louisiana Supreme Court for entering into at least six sexual relationships with clients he was representing in divorce cases.
Randy J. Fuerst was suspended from practicing law by the Louisiana Supreme Court after it was revealed that he entered into sexual relationships with women he was representing in divorce proceedings while those proceedings were ongoing in five cases and following representation in one case. The relationships with the women spanned a 12 year period from 1998 to 2010.
According to the Supreme Court’s findings, Fuerst admitted that at least one of the relationships resulted in a conflict of interest that violated of the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys. The pattern of entering into relationships with clients came to a head for Fuerst when a female client who he was representing in a divorce proceeding was being followed by her husband who took photographs of the two together at Fuerst’s home and later filed a complaint with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) in June 2008. In June 2012 the ODC filed formal charges against Fuerst concerning the allegations.
The court filing stated that Fuerst underwent an evaluation.
“[The] evaluation indicated that respondent is neither a sex addict or a sexual predator but does have professional boundary issues,” the Supreme Court’s opinion reads.
In no cases did the Supreme Court find Fuerst took advantage of his clients, but they did find he violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by engaging in a relationship with one of his clients.
“We find respondent negligently violated duties owed to his clients. While respondent’s misconduct did not cause actual harm, the potential for harm was great,” the Supreme Court’s opinion reads.
The ultimate penalty levied by the Louisiana Supreme Court was a six month suspension from practicing law with three deferred and a year of probation.