Louisiana Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Deferred suspension recommended for Chauvin attorney who allegedly mishandled friends' divorce

Discipline

By Karen Kidd | Oct 21, 2019

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NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Chauvin attorney Paul A. Lapeyrouse faces possible deferred suspension following a recommendation issued Oct. 15 by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee over his alleged mishandling of a divorce between two of his longtime friends.

"His violation of the rules was not realized or addressed in a timely matter," LADB hearing committee No. 25 said in its recommendation to the Supreme Court. "He allowed his emotions to guide him rather than his legal judgment."

In its 15-page recommendation, the hearing committee found Lapeyrouse negligently violated professional conduct rules regarding confidentiality and conflict of interest in the divorce. The committee found Lapeyrouse represented the husband "without obtaining a proper waiver" and gave legal advice and divulged confidential information to the wife, the recommendation said.

"The committee finds that there is not clear and convincing evidence that [Lapeyrouse] intentionally violated any rule of professional conduct," the recommendation said.

The committee recommended Lapeyrouse receive a fully deferred one-year suspension, subject to two years' probation.

Lapeyrouse was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 18, 1997, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s website. Lapeyrouse had no prior history of discipline, according to the recommendation.

Allegations against Lapeyrouse stem from the marriage dissolution case for which he was hired by the husband in March 2017, according to office of disciplinary counsel's formal charges, included in the recommendation.

Lapeyrouse told the hearing committee he had known the couple for 20 years, that he agreed to do the work with the understanding that he would not take sides and that he would talk to the husband and wife throughout, according to the recommendation. Lapeyrouse said the couple agreed.

Lapeyrouse subsequently discussed with the wife an affair the husband had been having and revealed other confidential and attorney-client privileged information with her, according to the formal charges. Lapeyrouse also provided her with legal advice, according to the charges.

The husband, who denied having an affair and said "there was no doubt in his mind that he had engaged" Lapeyrouse, terminated his representation in May 2018, according to the recommendation.

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Louisiana State Bar AssociationLouisiana Attorney Disciplinary BoardLouisiana Supreme Court

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