NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans plaintiff's attorney was reprimanded by the state’s high court for filing repetitive lawsuits against a former client and people connected to her claiming she owed him over $33,000.
The Louisiana Supreme Court found that New Orleans-based attorney Madro Bandaries erred in filing the same claim against his client Joanna Cassidy, who retained his services and allegedly took out a series of loans from him, as well as her business agent.
Under the terms of Cassidy’s retainer agreement with Bandaries any action taken between the two in court was to be filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court. However, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) found that Bandaries filed lawsuits in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court, the 10th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Natchitoches and in the Natchitoches City Court all seeking $33,744.14. Bandaries claimed he was owed by Cassidy. In addition, Bandaries filed a lawsuit against Cassidy’s business agent, Bernard Gilhuly, of California, for the the amount of $33,744.14 in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.
As a result of the repressive nature of the lawsuits containing identical or nearly identical filings the ODC found Bandaries was in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
“[H]e engaged in a pattern and practice of filing repetitive, harassing, burdensome, and frivolous lawsuits, appeals, and writs against Ms. Cassidy,” the ODC found.
The ODC found that Bandaries erred by filing a lawsuit against Cassidy in the 10th Judicial District Court when a similar lawsuit was pending in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court where all of matters could have been properly handled. In addition the ODC found that Bandaries' lawsuit against Gilhuly was without merit and only of the purpose of harassment.
Based on the findings provided by the ODC, the Louisiana Supreme Court found that Bandaries had indeed violated the Rules of Professional Conduct.
“Respondent knowingly violated duties owed to the legal system and the profession, causing actual financial harm to Ms. Cassidy. His conduct also burdened various courts with unnecessary litigation,” the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled.
However, rather than suspending Bandaries for a year with all but three months deferred, as proposed by the ODC board, the Supreme Court decided to instead deviate from the baseline sanction of a suspension and only publicly reprimanded him and ordered him to pay all costs and expenses assessed in the matter.