NEW ORLEANS – Gretna attorney Kevin Michael Steel faces possible suspension following a recommendation issued May 10 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee over allegations arising from a single client matter to which he failed to respond.
LADB Hearing Committee No. 9 recommended Steel be suspended for a year and a day, that he be ordered to make full restitution to his client "of all unearned funds that he took, yet failed to refund" and that he be ordered to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.
Steel is alleged by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to have failed to communicate with a client, diligently represent her and return funds he owed to her, according to the hearing committee's 10-page recommendation. Steel also allegedly "provided untrue information to the office of disciplinary counsel, wrongfully claiming that he actually returned unearned funds advanced by [his client]." the recommendation said.
Allegations against Steel stemmed from a complaint filed against him in January 2016 by a former client, the complainant, he represented "in an action against her automobile insurance company who had denied coverage for a motor vehicle accident in which her son was involved," the recommendation said.
Steel failed to file an answer to the charges and, as a result, an order was issued in August in which the formal charges were deemed admitted. The office filed a submission of evidence and written argument in March, to which Steel also did not respond.
The recommendation was signed May 9 by Committee Chairman Donald C. Massey.
Steel was admitted to the Louisiana Bar on April 23, 1999, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
In a previous discipline, in January 2015 the Louisiana Supreme Court granted a joint petition for consent discipline reached between Steel and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel and handed down a fully deferred suspension of three months against Steel. The high court's discipline followed allegations that Steel neglected a legal matter and failed to communicate with a client.