Baton Rouge attorney suspended in split state high court decision over alleged conflict of interest

By Karen Kidd | Dec 6, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Baton Rouge attorney Gregory Cook has been suspended following a split Dec. 5 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding regarding conflict of interest allegations.

In its 11-page attorney disciplinary proceeding, the State Supreme Court handed down a six-month suspension against Cook with all but 30 days deferred and placed him on a year of unsupervised conditional probation. The probationary period will begin from the date Cook and the office of disciplinary counsel execute a formal probation plan. The state high court also ordered Cook to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.

Justice John L. Weimer and Justice Jefferson D. Hughes III both dissented in part with Hughes saying he would have fully deferred the suspension and Weimer writing he "would defer a greater portion" of Cook's suspension.

"I believe this young attorney found himself embroiled in a contest among siblings, and he naively relied on affidavits submitted from only one side of that rivalry," Weimer wrote in his partial dissent. "Therefore, I believe a shorter period of actual suspension would adequately serve the purposes of the disciplinary system."

Cook was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 26, 2012, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. Cook had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the attorney disciplinary proceeding.

Allegations against Cook stem from his representation, beginning in February 2016, of two sisters and a brother to handle the succession of their mother who had died intestate that month, according to the background portion of the attorney disciplinary proceeding. The sisters later told Cook that the brother no longer wished to be a part of the succession, which Cook did not verify with the brother.

In June 2017 a judge split the mother's property equally between the sisters, which prompted the brother to hire his own attorney. That attorney filed a petition to annul the judgment of possession, reopen the succession and for damages, naming the sisters and Cook as defendants. In December 2017 the judge reopened the succession and named the brother as administrator. Soon after Cook withdrew his representation of the sisters.

In June 2018, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommended a mostly deferred suspension for Cook followed by conditional probation.

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Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court

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