Covington attorney disbarred for using trust account as slush fund

By Karen Kidd | May 20, 2018

A Covington attorney who practiced law for nearly half a century leaves the profession in disgrace following his disbarment.

NEW ORLEANS – A Covington attorney who practiced law for nearly half a century leaves the profession in disgrace following his disbarment.

John Morris Dunn III, practicing in Louisiana for more than 46 years, lost his law license following a May 11 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding over allegations he paid for his personal medical and other expenses with settlement proceeds.

"Here, [Dunn]'s conduct falls within the scope of disbarment," the state Supreme Court said in its 13-page attorney disciplinary proceeding, "Both the magnitude and the duration of the deprivation is extensive."

The high court's attorney disciplinary hearng followed a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) recommendation in February that Dunn, also known as "J. Morris Dunn," be disbarred. In its 14-page recommendation to the Supreme Court, the LADB alleged that Dunn converted up to $75,000 in settlement proceeds to pay his personal medical bills.

Dunn is making restitution via monthly payments, but "he only entered into the compromise agreement after the extended pressure of disciplinary and legal proceedings," according to documents.

"Under these circumstances, we will adopt the disciplinary board's recommendation and impose disbarment."

Dunn was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Sept. 9, 1971, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.

In addition to his medical expenses, an office of disciplinary counsel forensic auditor found Dunn's misuse of his client trust account included cash withdrawals, failures to endorse deposited checks and the payment of personal expenses," the high court's order said. "Payments to Best Buy, Walgreens, and Wetlands Aquarium appeared to be for personal expenses, and [Dunn] was unable to counter this assumption."

The forensic auditor's findings went "well beyond sloppy recordkeeping and innocent mistakes" and that it appeared Dunn "used his trust account as a personal slush fund," the order said.  

In a previous discipline, Dunn was admonished in 2001"for failing to protect funds owed to a third party medical provider," the attorney disciplinary proceeding said.

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Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court

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