NEW ORLEANS -- The Louisiana Disciplinary Board's Office of Disciplinary Council (ODC) has recommended that Metairie attorney Thomas E. Campbell be suspended for allegedly violating certain Rules of Professional Conduct.
The attorney disciplinary matter stemmed from a complaint filed by William Hicks III, followed by the ODC filing formal charges against Campbell for allegedly failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client and failing to keep the client responsibly informed about the case’s status.
Despite the suggestion of suspension by the ODC, the committee chairman and lawyer member did not agree with the ODC’s findings.
“The evidence and the testimony presented do not rise to the level of proof by clear and convincing evidence that Campbell was in violation of the formal charges by ODC, and accordingly they recommend dismissal of the charges that he was in violation of the rules of professional conduct,” the official document said.
The document offered background information explaining how formal charges were filed Feb. 5, by the ODC. Campbell filed an answer to the charges March 28 through his counsel Damon S. Manning.
"The hearing of this matter was held on June 1, 2016. The committee was provided pre-hearing and post-hearing briefings by ODC and (Campbell) and corresponding exhibit books,” the document said.
Further, the document explained how the ODC received a complaint from the Louisiana Attorney General's Office filed by Hicks against Campbell. It was explained that Hicks and Campbell formally engaged in a contingency contract of representation as related to an incident that Hicks was involved in at the Family Dollar store in 2005.
Apparently, Campbell did not file a lawsuit on the half of Hicks prior to the prescription date. Hicks contacted Campbell approximately eight years later seeking a status of the case. Campbell and Hicks exchanged a series of telephone calls and letters and then Campbell send a check to Hicks for $2,000, which Hicks cashed. Based on the information provided, ODC alleges that Campbell was in violation of certain Rules of Professional Conduct.
The document explained the committee chairman and lawyer member found the evidence and testimony presented by the ODC did not offer enough convincing evidence to prove intentional professional misconduct.
“The committee chairman and lawyer member urge [Campbell] to attend for additional hours of continuing legal education, which will consist of two hours of ethics and two hours of professionalism in addition to the 12 1/2 hours required by the Louisiana Supreme Court and pay all costs for the CLE,” the document said. “The four additional hours need to specifically address the subject of office management, handling of lawsuits, client communications and client relationships. The four additional continuing legal education should be completed Dec. 31, 2016.”
Outside of continuing education to avoid future issues similar to this, the committee did not see harsher sanctions necessary since there was lack of contact between both partied for more than eight years, and when Hicks contacted Campbell, Campbell always responded. Also, Campbell has no prior disciplinary record during the 33 years he has been in practice, the document said.