IN RE: DARRYL L. ROBERTSON
disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against
respondent, Darryl L. Robertson, an attorney licensed to
practice law in Louisiana.
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 2002. In
2009, we suspended respondent from the practice of law for
one year, fully deferred, subject to one year of probation
with conditions, for neglecting his client's legal
matter, causing the case to be dismissed, failing to
communicate with his client, failing to return the
client's file, failing to respond to opposing
counsel's requests, and failing to comply with federal
court orders. In re: Robertson, 09-1353 (La. 10/16/09), 19
So.3d 1186 ("Robertson I").
this backdrop, we now turn to a consideration of the
misconduct at issue in the present proceeding.
January 2014, Melissa Veal's son, a middle school student
in East Baton Rouge Parish, was physically attacked at the
school system's bus transfer hub. In February 2014, Ms.
Veal retained respondent to handle the matter, but thereafter
she had difficulty contacting respondent by telephone. She
then went to the clerk of court and could find no evidence
that respondent had filed suit on her son's behalf. In
June 2015, Ms. Veal filed a complaint against respondent with
reply to Ms. Veal's complaint, respondent stated that he
had been in contact with Ms. Veal several times, that he had
filed suit under "Number 636, 496, Section 25, "
and that there were "ongoing negotiations with the
school system to reach an amicable settlement." The
response gave no other information and no documentation was
took respondent's sworn statement in January 2016. During
the statement, respondent confirmed that a school student was
responsible for the attack against Ms. Veal's son. A
juvenile proceeding was brought against the attacker. Because
juvenile records are sealed, respondent was unable to
discover the identity of the attacker or the outcome of the
juvenile adjudication. Respondent indicated there was no
police report on the attack.
stated that he filed suit in January 2015 against the East
Baton Rouge Parish School System, the East Baton Rouge
Sheriff's Office, and the parents of the unknown juvenile
attacker. In error, respondent served the school
superintendent instead of the school board. The school system
and the sheriff's office both filed exceptions to the
suit. Respondent did not file responsive pleadings to the
exceptions. The trial court ruled on the exceptions in
September 2015, giving respondent thirty days to amend the
petition to cure the defects. Respondent did not amend the
petition or file any other pleadings in the matter.
his sworn statement, respondent did not appear to understand
the complexities of civil law practice and procedure. When
questioned about same, respondent stated that his primary
area of expertise is criminal law, not civil law. Respondent
realized soon after filing suit that Ms. Veal did not have a
viable legal claim against the school system or the
sheriff's office and would not be able to recover against
either of those defendants.
his lack of experience with Louisiana civil procedure,
respondent was unable to offer competent representation to
Ms. Veal. Respondent admitted that he failed to properly
research the case law for this type of claim and filed suit
against the wrong parties.