Attorney George Martin Gates IV of Greenbelt, Maryland, could face reprimand or probation following a recent Louisiana Supreme Court order to consolidate allegations against him involving two matters.
The high court remanded all allegations against Gates to the Office of Disciplinary Oversight for consolidation with an eye toward issuing a single disciplinary recommendation that would encompass all of the allegations, according to the order issued Feb. 23.
Gates was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 15, 1999, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
In April, a state bar hearing committee recommended Gates be publicly reprimanded and be required to attend additional continuing legal education courses. The hearing committee handed down its recommendation over two matters against Gates, one for failing to timely and properly release his client's file upon request and the other over a text message he sent to client alerting her that that her case had been dismissed. In that second matter, Gates also was alleged to have failed to communicate with the client and to respond to the opposing party's motion for summary judgment, according to the hearing committee's recommendation.
Last month, the Louisiana attorney disciplinary board recommended Gates receive a fully deferred six-month suspension and probation, during which he be required to attend the state bar's ethics school. The disciplinary board handed down that recommendation after Gates was alleged to have failed to diligently represent a client, charged improper fees, failed to cooperate with the office of disciplinary counsel and committed actions "prejudicial to the administration of justice," according to the disciplinary board's recommendation. The disciplinary board also recommended Gates pay full restitution to his client for a fee paid and that he pay all costs and expenses.
In his brief filed with the state bar, Gates said his conduct had been negligent and that he had allowed his relationship with the family of his client "to influence his client contact and his decision to return the modest fee charged, which he maintained was earned," the disciplinary board's recommendation said.
Gates also reported he no longer practices in Louisiana, that he has relocated to Maryland, and that he is seeking admission to the bar in that state, according to the board's recommendation.
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