Shreveport attorney Andres Humberto Aguilar, on interim suspension since August, has been suspended again following a Dec. 6 Louisiana Supreme Court order over allegations that included paying for a client referral.
Aguilar's year and a day suspension, all but nine months deferred, was made retroactive to Aug. 2, the date his interim suspension was handed down, according to the high court's 12-page disciplinary proceeding. His suspension is to be followed by two years' unsupervised probation, according to the disciplinary proceeding. Aguilar also was ordered to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.
Aguilar was admitted to the bar Oct. 20, 2011, according to his profiles at the Louisiana State Bar's website.
Aguilar was alleged to have paid for referral of a client who in April 2014 filed a complaint with the state bar over Aguilar's representation of her in a personal injury matter, according to the disciplinary proceeding. The client allegedly was referred to Aguilar by a "runner" employed by a local chiropractic office.
Aguilar, during his testimony before a state bar hearing committee, admitted to paying for the referral but said he hadn't planned it that way, according to the proceeding. There had been no discussion about payment at the time of the referral. However, the runner, about a week later, demanded a $500 payment, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
The demand had been "so unexpected that [Aguilar] 'panicked a little bit and froze up'", said disciplinary proceeding, paraphrasing Aguilar's testimony.
Aquilar testified that he met the runner in the parking lot of a local fast food restaurant and paid the $500, according to the proceeding. "However, it was never part of his business plan as a solo practitioner to pay for referrals," the disciplinary proceeding said.
Aguilar was alleged to have failed to communicate with the client about her case, stopped answering her telephone calls and did not place any calls to the client, the proceeding said.
In addition to the client referral allegation, Aguilar also was alleged to have failed to file pleadings in a Pro Bono Project divorce case and to also have failed to respond to the client in that matter, the disciplinary proceeding said.