NEW ORLEANS – In an 80-page document dated June 23, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) detailed the excessive violations committed by Peggy M. Hairston Robinson, who was a practicing attorney in the Baton Rouge area.
The 14 counts discussed in the LADB report explained that Robinson repeatedly failed to inform clients; failed to return funds for work not completed; created false claims to gain an advantage over another; filed frivolous suits; worked with conflict of interest; knowingly disobeyed instructions of a court; violated rules of professional conduct; failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness; engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; committed a criminal act, especially one that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty; trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer on other respects; and failure to maintain and keep a trust account.
This is not the first time Robinson has had to deal with ODC and the Louisiana Supreme Court.
In an earlier Supreme Court ruling from March 11, 2015, it explained that a Petition for Interim Suspension for Threat of Harm was filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC).
“It is ordered that respondent, Peggy M. Hairston Robinson, be and she hereby is suspended from the practice of law on an interim basis pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 19.2, pending further orders of this court,” the March 11 court order said. “This order is effective immediately. It is further ordered that the Office of Disciplinary Counsel may seek the appointment of a trustee(s) to protect the interests of respondent’s clients pursuant to the provisions of Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 27, if appropriate.”
Based on the 14 cases explained in the June 23 document, Robinson was charged and arrested on three felony theft charges and convicted of one felony theft count. Further, the document said she engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after being suspended, and violated various conflict of interest rules, among other acts of misconduct.
Robinson’s repeated accounts of felony theft were based on payment from several clients to purchase property - and either the sellers never received the money submitted to Robinson from the buyers she represented, or they were directly scammed into paying for properties that could not legally be sold. The offenses were considered egregious by the Committee.
“She and her mortgage company were stripped of their licenses,” the report said. “She was ordered by several tribunals to pay sanctions or some form of refund restitution, none of which she has shown were paid. Complainants testified that they were not refunded any money. Many complainants testify to the harm/damages (Robinson) has caused them.”
Because of the facts presented to them, the Hearing Committee recommended the respondent be permanently disbarred.
“The committee finds the following aggravating factors: no remorse; a pattern of misconduct; and the conviction of a felony involving dishonesty,” the report said. “The accumulation of this conduct and aggravating circumstances warrants a serious sanction.”
The committee members explained that they spent seven days in a hearing, and several days after, reviewing the hearing transcript and the “voluminous” exhibits. The members saw Robinson’s behavior and details of the case as very serious and claimed they were "troubled" by the facts related to some of the charges.