NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) – Baton Rouge attorney Richard C. "Ric" Oustalet Jr., a former judge, faces possible suspension following a recommendation issued Oct. 30 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee over allegations of violating professional conduct rules.
In its 36-page recommendation, LADB Hearing Committee No. 15 recommended Oustalet be suspended for at least a year and a day and that he pay $7,500 in restitution plus interest to one client. The committee also recommended Oustalet attend basic law office practice classes.
The committee handed down the recommendation after finding Oustalet knowingly and intentionally violated professional conduct rules, including those regarding competence, scope of representation, diligence, communication, return of unearned fees and improper termination of representation.
"The discipline suggested by the applicable jurisprudence may not be sufficient because the committee believes (Oustalet) should be suspended for more than a year and a day," the recommendation said. "However, the committee is bound by precedent."
The recommendation was signed Oct. 30 by Committee Chair John H. Smith and was issued the same day. Attorney member James A. Taylor and Public Vallan B. Corbett concurred in the recommendation.
Oustalet was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 5, 2001, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website.
Allegations against Oustalet stemmed from two separate complaints filed by clients with the office of disciplinary counsel. One client had hired Oustalet to file a lawsuit in 2015 and the other client hired Oustalet in 2015 for representation during review of sentence the client received following a guilty plea entered in Jefferson Davis Parish District Court the previous year.
The office of disciplinary counsel filed formal charges against Oustalet in September 2017. Oustalet filed a stipulation only to charges regarding diligence, communication, terminating representation and expediting litigation. The committee found he violated all the charges.
Oustalet became an administrative law judge for the state's division of administrative law in December 2015 following 17 years as a trial lawyer and more than three years as a Calcasieu Parish prosecutor, according to the recommendation and information on his LinkedIn page. Oustalet now works as a paralegal within the division, according to the recommendation.