disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against
respondent, Stacy Lynn Morris, an attorney licensed to
practice law in Louisiana, but currently suspended from
we address the current charges, we find it helpful to review
respondent's prior disciplinary history. Respondent was
originally admitted to the practice of law in Louisiana in
2000. In 2014, we suspended respondent from the practice of
law for a period of three years for conduct occurring from
2004 through 2008. Her misconduct included neglect of a legal
matter, failure to communicate with a client, commingling and
conversion of client funds, sharing fees with a nonlawyer,
and failure to cooperate with the ODC in its investigation.
In re: Morris, 14-1067 (La. 10/15/14), 149 So.3d 229
this backdrop, we now turn to a consideration of the
misconduct at issue in the instant proceeding, which occurred
long after the misconduct at issue in Morris
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
2012, James Conant retained respondent to represent him in a
personal injury matter stemming from an automobile accident.
Following the accident, Mr. Conant sought medical treatment
at Hardy Chiropractic Center ("HCC"). Respondent
sent HCC a letter guaranteeing that payment for medical
services would be withheld from any future settlement.
Conant's case settled in November 2013. Respondent
disbursed the settlement funds to her client in December
2013, and although she withheld $2, 161 for medical expenses,
she did not pay this amount to HCC, in effect making Mr.
Conant personally responsible for the charges. In March 2015,
HCC filed a complaint against respondent with the ODC. The
complaint was sent to respondent via certified mail at her
bar registration address and three other addresses; however,
she did not respond.
November 2015, the ODC filed one count of formal charges
against respondent, alleging that her conduct violated Rules
1.15 (safekeeping property of clients or third persons) and
8.1(c) (failure to cooperate with the ODC in its
investigation) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Respondent answered the formal charges and denied any
misconduct. Respondent also indicated that she never received
notice of the original complaint.
matter proceeded to a formal hearing, which was conducted by
the hearing committee in March 2016. During the hearing,
respondent stipulated to the formal charges. She testified that her failure to pay HCC
was an oversight because the client had been paid and it was
office procedure to disburse all funds at the same time.
Respondent also testified that she did not receive any
correspondence from HCC notifying her that funds were owed.
Respondent admitted that she did not reconcile her trust
account and did not know how to reconcile her trust account.
mitigation, respondent introduced medical documents and
testified that she suffered from numerous medical conditions.
Respondent also testified that she had to cope with the