New Orleans attorney Roger Wayne Kitchens has been suspended for three years following a Dec. 15 Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding over alleged violations of professional misconduct rules and a 2011 DUI arrest.
Kitchens' suspension was made retroactive to Oct. 19, 2016, the date the state high court handed down an interim suspension against the attorney, according to the single page disciplinary proceeding. Other allegations against Kitchens included neglecting his clients’ legal matters, failure to communicate with his clients, failure to refund unearned fees, failure to return client files and practicing law while ineligible, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
Kitchens also allegedly failed to cooperate with the office of disciplinary counsel's investigation but agreed to a joint petition for consent discipline with the ODC after the ODC filed formal charges, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
The high court also ordered Kitchens to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.
Kitchens was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 10, 1997, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar's website. Kitchens had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to hearing committee reports.
During its investigation, the office of disciplinary counsel became aware Kitchens had been arrested Nov. 1, 2011, for driving under the influence. The following February he was charged with first offense driving while intoxicated and failing to obey a traffic sign, according to an Oct. 4, 2016, hearing committee report.
In October 2016, the Louisiana Supreme Court granted a joint petition for interim suspension for threat of harm, pending further court order, following allegations that included unauthorized practice of law, failing to timely comply with continuing legal education and failure to cooperate with the office of disciplinary counsel investigation.
Earlier that month, two Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board hearing committees, No. 9 and No. 10, both recommended Kitchens be disbarred.
The previous April another hearing committee, No. 33, concluded Kitchens violated rules of diligence, communication and safekeeping property, in addition to failing to cooperate with an office of disciplinary counsel investigation. That committee recommended Kitchens be suspended for a year and a day, with six months deferred.