IN RE: JAMES E. MOORMAN, III
APPLICATION FOR REINSTATEMENT
proceeding arises out of an application for reinstatement to
the practice of law filed by petitioner, James E. Moorman,
III, a suspended attorney.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
three-month period of time in 2013, while petitioner was
experiencing severe depression, he engaged in misconduct
involving neglect of his clients' legal matters, failure
to refund unearned fees, and failure to properly supervise
his non-lawyer staff. Specifically, petitioner collected
approximately $16, 500 in fees from clients and then failed
to provide the services for which he was paid.
August 2013, members of the judiciary and friends in the
legal community conducted an intervention. Thereafter,
petitioner was admitted to the Ridgeview Institute
("Ridgeview") for inpatient treatment. During his
treatment, petitioner contacted the Judges and Lawyers
Assistance Program ("JLAP") and voluntarily
surrendered his law license by joining the Office of
Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") in filing a joint
petition for his interim suspension. After considering the
joint petition, we suspended petitioner from the practice of
law on an interim basis. In re: Moorman, 13-2430
(La. 10/21/13), 128 So.3d 268.
his initial treatment for depression, petitioner was
transferred to the inpatient addiction program at Ridgeview,
where he remained until he was discharged in December 2013.
He discontinued his contract with JLAP in November 2013.
December 2015, the ODC filed formal charges against
petitioner. Petitioner stipulated that he engaged in the
alleged misconduct and had made restitution of approximately
half of the $16, 500 in unearned fees he collected from his
clients. For this misconduct, we suspended petitioner from
the practice of law for three years, retroactive to the date
of his interim suspension, and ordered him to make
restitution to his clients or the Louisiana State Bar
Association's Client Assistance Fund ("CAF"),
as appropriate. In re: Moorman, 17-0431 (La.
4/24/17), 217 So.3d 316 ("Moorman I").
2017, more than three years after the effective date of
petitioner's suspension, petitioner filed an application
for reinstatement with the disciplinary board, alleging he
has complied with the reinstatement criteria set forth in
Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 24(E). The ODC took no
position regarding the application for reinstatement.
Accordingly, the matter was referred for a formal hearing
before a hearing committee.
the hearing, testimony and evidence was presented indicating
that petitioner has seen a therapist to deal with his
depression since January 2014 and is no longer depressed.
Further evidence presented at the hearing indicated that
petitioner made restitution to six of the ten clients who
were the subject of Moorman I. The remaining four
clients were reimbursed through the CAF, which provided a
certificate showing payments totaling $10, 235.61 were made
to these four clients. Petitioner provided the hearing
committee with a copy of a promissory note he signed on May
2, 2017, in which he promised to pay the CAF $10, 235.61 by
making monthly payments of $100 beginning June 1, 2017.
Finally, petitioner provided evidence of his monthly payments
to the CAF.
the hearing, the hearing committee recommended that
petitioner be reinstated to the practice of law on a
conditional basis for one year, with the following
1. Petitioner must enter into a one-year contract with JLAP;
2. Petitioner must continue mental health counseling with a
therapist for one year;
3. A practice monitor shall be appointed through the
disciplinary board for the purpose of monitoring
petitioner's law practice and shall include monitoring
for compliance with trust account rules, accounting
procedures, law office management procedures, adequate
communications with clients, diligence in the representation