Baton Rouge attorney suspended for not telling client of case dismissal

By Karen Kidd | Jul 7, 2017

Baton Rouge attorney Charles Leopold Dirks III was suspended for 60 days following a June 29 Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding over allegations he failed to communicate with a client whose case he thought was weak.

Dirks, who was retained by the client in 2009 to represent her in wrongful termination claim, didn't inform the client her case had been dismissed, according to the state high court's eight-page disciplinary proceeding. Dirks "stated that he was upset with his client because she misled him about the true facts of the case, and he just 'didn’t want to deal with it'," the disciplinary proceeding said.

Dirks also was ordered to pay all costs and expenses, according to the disciplinary proceeding.

Dirks was admitted to the Louisiana bar on Oct. 9, 1998, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website.  Dirks had no previous discipline before the state bar and felt remorse, according to the disciplinary proceeding.

Dirks filed a complaint on the client's behalf with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and obtained a right to sue letter from the EEOC, according to the disciplinary proceeding. During discovery, Dirks learned his client had not provided him with all the facts surrounding the case and he advised her the case would likely be dismissed, which it was in August 2013, according to the disciplinary proceeding.

The client found out on her own about a year later and filed a complaint in October 2014, according to the disciplinary proceeding.

The office of disciplinary counsel filed formal charges against Dirks in October 2015, alleging Dirks violated professional conduct rules in failing to communicate with his client and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Dirks was the only witness to testify at the April 2016 hearing, according to the disciplinary proceeding.

The hearing committee found that Dirks intentionally failed to inform his client of the dismissal of her case in a timely manner, which prevented her from seeking appellate review, according to the disciplinary proceeding.

The disciplinary board recommended the 60-day suspension, to which Kirks objected but the high court concurred with the recommendation. "Under the circumstances, we agree that an actual period of suspension is warranted," the disciplinary proceeding said.

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Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court

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