Opelousas attorney Robert B. Purser has been permanently disbarred following an Oct. 9 Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding over alleged misconduct in 10 legal matters, including conversion of more than $297,000 from multiple clients.
Purser's alleged misconduct "caused serious actual harm and significant potential for harm," said the high court's 18-page disciplinary proceeding.
Purser was ordered to make full restitution to his former clients, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
Purser denied the misconduct, did not appear at a September 2016 hearing or at oral argument this past May and was not represented by counsel, according to disciplinary proceeding.
Purser was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 27, 1990, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website.
One of the client matters involved a December 2012 disciplinary complaint filed against Purser by an insurance company he represented. The complaint alleged he settled three separate claims on the company's behalf and then failed to remit the funds to the company, according to the disciplinary proceeding. The insurance company claimed Purser owed it $100,000 from three cases and when the company repeatedly demanded the funds, Purser said he was holding the money in his client trust account, according to the disciplinary proceeding. The company later sued Purser and won a default judgment of approximate $120,000, including subrogation recovery amounts and attorney fees but the company "has not yet been able to collect any of the funds due under the judgment," the disciplinary proceeding said.
Purser was suspended in April 2013, according to information on his state bar profile.
In November 2015, the office of the disciplinary counsel filed formal charges against Purser, which were amended in June 2016, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
Last December, a state bar hearing committee recommended Purser be permanently disbarred after the office of disciplinary counsel brought 10 charges against him. Purser was alleged to have harmed his clients by withholding and converting client funds in multiple client matters, failing to communicate with them, failing to inform them of an adverse judgment, not keeping sufficient funds in client trust accounts, according to the recommendation. Purser also allegedly failed to inform clients of his interim suspension, according to the recommendation.
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