State Supreme Court defers suspension for Baton Rouge attorney

By Karen Kidd | Mar 27, 2019

NEW ORLEANS — Baton Rouge attorney Doris McWhite Weston is on probation following a March 26 Louisiana Supreme Court disciplinary proceeding over how she paid a medical debt in her father's personal injury case in 2014.

In its 12-page disciplinary proceeding, the Supreme Court handed down a fully deferred year-and-a-day suspension, placed Weston on two years' conditional probation and ordered her to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.

The state high court said the largely deferred suspension recommended by the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) last year "is unduly harsh" and instead handed down the fully deferred suspension.

"At the time she settled her father's personal injury case, [Weston] was experiencing significant personal and emotional problems attributable to a high-risk pregnancy," the disciplinary proceeding said. "These issues appear to have contributed significantly to her negligence in failing to timely pay the medical provider."

Weston was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 15, 1999, according to her profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.

Weston has since 2010 worked as an attorney for Louisiana's Department of Children and Family Services but maintains "a very limited private practice to handle legal matters for family and friends," the disciplinary proceeding said.

Allegations against her stem from difficulties she encountered paying a $4,901 debt to a Shreveport chiropractic office from settlement funds paid in her father's personal injury case, according to information in the disciplinary proceeding. The case was settled in January 2014 but the debt to the chiropractic office was not paid in full until the following November.

Issues that Weston encountered included paying for part of the bill from her private funds instead of her trust account and using escrowed funds improperly transferred to her operating account to pay personal expenses. In her answer to the formal charges, Weston said she "apologized for any miscommunication."

The chiropractic office filed a disciplinary complaint against Weston in September 2014.

In October 2017, the office of disciplinary counsel filed formal charges against Weston alleging she violated professional conduct rules regarding safekeeping property of clients or third persons.

In November 2018, the Louisiana LADB recommended Weston be suspended for one year and one day, with nine months deferred, and that she be placed on two years' probation.

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Organizations in this Story

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Louisiana State Bar Association Louisiana Supreme Court

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