NEW ORLEANS — Professional conduct rule violation charges against Lafayette attorney David Patrick Keating should be dismissed, according to a recommendation issued July 10 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee.
The office of disciplinary counsel "did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that [Keating]'s actions constituted dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation," according to the eight-page recommendation issued by LADB Hearing Committee No. 31. Formal charges against Keating stemmed from complaints filed against him in November 2010 on behalf of the law firm Galloway Jefcoat, supplemented by additional allegations of misconduct he allegedly committed in January 2011, according to the recommendation.
"The allegations addressed [Keating's] employment with the firm beginning on Oct. 1, 2007, particularly with respect to the terms and conditions of an employment agreement between the complainant and [Keating]," the recommendation said. "The specific allegation by complainant against [Keating] was that [Keating] converted attorney fees from the firm on a habitual basis by keeping fees for himself from bankruptcy files that belong to the firm."
The recommendation was signed July 6 by committee Chair V. Ed McGruire III. Attorney committee member Alan K. Breaud and public member Andrew W Vanchiere concurred in the recommendation.
Keating was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 5, 1984, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. Keating had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the hearing committee's report.
A district court awarded Galloway Jefcoat fees that the court said had been improperly retained by Keating but dismissed the firm's claim for damages. The trial court's ruling was affirmed on appeal but amended to reflect Keating's entitlement to a percentage of the fees from one client mandated by his employment agreement with the firm.
"The office of disciplinary counsel argued that the committee should provide great weight to the findings of the district court, albeit the differences in the burden of proof between how the district judge weighed the evidence versus the burden of proof controlling how the committee would view the evidence," the recommendation said. The committee had been advised that the Lafayette Parish District Attorney had declined charges in the matter, "which burden of proof for conviction would be beyond a reasonable doubt," the recommendation said.