New Orleans attorney Wayne E. Garrett, active more than 40 years, faces a year of probation following a Nov. 17 Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding over alleged mishandling of his trust account in multiple client matters.
Garrett received a fully deferred suspension of six months and a year of probation, according to the high court's seven-page disciplinary proceeding. The probationary period will begin on the date that Garrett and the Louisiana State Bar's office of disciplinary counsel agree to a formal probation plan, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
Garrett was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 30, 1974, according to his profile at the state bar's website. Garrett had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
Allegations against Garrett began with a personal injury claim following a 2006 accident for which his client was treated for her injuries at a Natchez area rehabilitation and sports injury clinic, according to the disciplinary proceeding. The case settled in early 2010 but Garrett allegedly did not notify the clinic of the settlement and he did not withhold funds from the settlement to pay the clinic's bill, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
After Garrett did not respond to his client or the clinic when they sought to advise him of the situation, the clinic filed a complaint with the office of disciplinary counsel, according to the disciplinary proceeding. Garrett then sent part of the amount due to the clinic in October 2012, promising the rest in 30 days but the remaining balance was not paid until December 2014, the disciplinary proceeding said.
In November 2014, the office of disciplinary counsel says it received an overdraft notice concerning Garrett's client trust account and soon began an audit.
In January 2017, a state bar hearing committee recommended Garrett receive a deferred six months suspension and be placed on probation for one year regarding allegations he misused, converted and commingled client trust account funds. The hearing committee also found procedural and accounting errors in his client trust account in multiple client matters.
In August the attorney disciplinary board also recommended Garrett receive a deferred suspension over the alleged misconduct, including failure to withhold funds from a settlement, which turned up during the board's audit.