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In re Hebert

Supreme Court of Louisiana

March 31, 2017

IN RE: EDWARD HEBERT, II

         ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

          PER CURIAM.

         This disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against respondent, Edward Hebert, II, an attorney licensed to practice law in Louisiana, but currently suspended from practice.

         PRIOR DISCIPLINARY HISTORY

         Before we address the current matter, we find it helpful to review respondent's prior disciplinary history. Respondent was admitted to the practice of law in Louisiana in 1997. He has been ineligible to practice law since 2006, based on his failure to comply with the mandatory continuing legal education requirements. He is also ineligible for failure to pay bar dues and the disciplinary assessment.

         In 2009, we suspended respondent from the practice of law for one year and one day for neglecting a legal matter, failing to communicate with his client, making false statements of material fact to his client and the ODC, and failing to cooperate with the ODC in its investigation. In re: Hebert, 08-2785 (La. 5/29/09), 9 So.3d 846 ("Hebert I"). In 2012, we suspended respondent from the practice of law for eighteen months for, among other misconduct, failing to communicate with clients, failing to return unearned fees, and failing to cooperate with the ODC in its investigation. In re: Hebert, 12-2102 (La. 11/16/12), 125 So.3d 1074 ("Hebert II").

         Respondent has never applied for reinstatement and thus he remains suspended from the practice of law. Against this backdrop, we now turn to a consideration of the misconduct at issue in the present proceeding.

         FORMAL CHARGES

         On May 11, 2015, respondent appeared as counsel for Ivan Prevost in the courtroom of Judge Monique Barial of the Orleans Parish Civil District Court. The court rendered a judgment, which respondent was to prepare. Unable to reach respondent to obtain a copy of the judgment, Mr. Prevost went to the court's chambers to get a copy. The office staff told Mr. Prevost that they had not yet received the circulated judgment. Two days later, Mr. Prevost returned to the court's chambers to get a copy of the judgment. Mr. Prevost told the staff that he still had not heard from respondent, and had in fact learned that respondent had been disbarred.

         Judge Barial then attempted to call the number that was listed on the draft of the judgment that respondent had previously sent to the court, but he did not return her call. Judge Barial also searched the court's case management system to determine whether respondent was eligible to practice law. She found respondent listed under his correct name (Edward W. Hebert) and bar roll number (25086), and this information confirmed that he was ineligible to practice. However, on the judgment that respondent had submitted to the court, respondent had listed his name as "E. Hebert" and his bar roll number as 25412. According to the court's database, that bar roll number belongs to an attorney by the name of Eric T. Hebert. Judge Barial called Eric Hebert, who confirmed that the bar roll number listed on the pleading was his, but that he was not Edward Hebert, and that there was no Edward Hebert at his firm.

         Mr. Prevost indicated that respondent had never advised him that he was suspended from the practice of law. Mr. Prevost also confirmed that he paid respondent $500 in cash to represent him. Respondent has not refunded any of Mr. Prevost's funds.

         In July 2015, Judge Barial filed a complaint against respondent with the ODC. Notice of the complaint was sent to respondent at his primary and secondary bar registration addresses and two other known addresses. Three of the notices were returned as either undeliverable or unclaimed. Respondent personally signed for the fourth notice on November 5, 2015. Out of an abundance of caution, the ODC sent an investigator to attempt to personally serve respondent with a copy of the complaint, without success. To date, respondent has not responded to the complaint.

         DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

         In February 2016, the ODC filed formal charges against respondent, alleging that his conduct as set forth above violated Rules 5.5(a) (engaging in the unauthorized practice of law), 8.1(c) (failure to cooperate with the ODC in its investigation), and 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving ...


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