NEW ORLEANS — Alexandria attorney Robert Wesley Malone faces possible suspension following a recent recommendation by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee over allegations in three client matters.
In its nine-page recommendation, LADB hearing committee No. 43 recommended Malone be suspended for a year and a day and that he be ordered to pay restitution, unearned attorney fees and all costs in the matter. The committee also recommended Malone return client files.
The committee found Malone violated professional conduct rules, including those regarding diligence and promptness, communication, unearned fees, proper withdrawal from representation and failure to cooperate with the office of disciplinary counsel.
Malone did not file an answer to the office of disciplinary counsel's formal charges, and in August 2018 the factual allegations were deemed admitted, according to the recommendation.
The recommendation was signed Feb. 18 by committee chair Robert L. Beck III and issued two days later. Attorney member Paul J. Tellarico and public member R. Reed Mendelson Jr. concurred in the recommendation.
In his concurrence, Mendelson also said two years' suspension "would not be unreasonable, considering the aggravating factors present in this case." Those aggravating factors included Malone's lack of cooperation during the disciplinary process and that the committee found no mitigating factors.
Malone was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 19, 2002, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed in Malone's profile and a search of the LADB's online database of disciplinary decisions and rulings also turned up no prior record of discipline.
Allegations against Malone stemmed from client matters in a post-conviction relief and two criminal cases, according to the recommendation. In the post-conviction relief matter, Malone filed his clients' application for post-conviction relief past the filing deadline in 2014.
In one of the criminal cases, Malone allegedly met his client only one time, "in order to collect his attorney fee," in September 2014, the recommendation said. His client did not hear from him for 18 months and subsequently had to hire another attorney, according to the recommendation.