IN RE: JOSE W. VEGA
disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against
respondent, Jose W. Vega, a disbarred attorney.
we address the current charges, we find it helpful to review
respondent's prior disciplinary history. Respondent was
admitted to the practice of law in Louisiana in 1993. He was
subsequently admitted to the Texas Bar in 2002, and to the
New York Bar in 2004.
2001, respondent consented to be publicly reprimanded by the
Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board. The misconduct at
issue involved respondent's violations of Rules 1.3
(failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in
representing a client) and 1.16 (failure to properly
terminate the representation of a client) of the Louisiana
Rules of Professional Conduct in connection with his
representation of clients in two immigration proceedings in
Louisiana between 1995 and 1997.
2013, we publicly reprimanded respondent as reciprocal
discipline based on public reprimands he received in two
separate proceedings in Texas for conduct that occurred
between 2007 and 2009. In re: Vega, 13-1456 (La.
9/20/13), 124 So.3d 456. The basis for the disciplinary
charges in Texas involved respondent's failure to
communicate with clients, failure to properly terminate the
representation of clients, and failure to respond to a
client's request for a refund of fees.
2016, we disbarred respondent as reciprocal discipline after
he resigned from the practice of law in Texas in lieu of
discipline. In re: Vega, 16-0816 (La.
9/6/16), 198 So.3d 1176 ("Vega III").
Respondent was charged in Texas with multiple rule violations
stemming from numerous immigration matters, including
violations of rules governing the refund of unearned fees,
client communications, cooperation with disciplinary
investigations, supervision of non-attorney assistants, and
neglect of client matters. The misconduct at issue in
Vega III began as early as 2007 in some matters and
continued through February 16, 2016, when the Supreme Court
of Texas accepted respondent's resignation.
this backdrop, we now turn to a consideration of the
misconduct at issue in the instant proceeding.
September 2012, Terisita De Jesus Montejano, a Texas
resident, hired respondent to represent her in an immigration
matter. She paid respondent $3, 000 for the representation.
In August 2014, respondent appeared with Ms. Montejano in a
Texas immigration court, at which time he instructed her to
file a motion for change of venue in proper person. Ms.
Montejano filed the motion as directed, but it was denied as
untimely. The immigration judge set a removal hearing for
November 2014. At the hearing, respondent was unprepared and
Ms. Montejano was ordered deported. Respondent appealed the
ruling, but he did not prevail. Ms. Montejano then hired a
new attorney to assist her with her immigration status.
April 2016, Ms. Montejano filed a disciplinary complaint
against respondent with the ODC. A copy of the complaint was
sent to respondent via certified mail to his office address
and secondary registration address, both in Houston. The
complaints were returned to the ODC with the notations
"Return to Sender" and "Unable to
contacted respondent via telephone. At that time, respondent
provided the ODC with a new address in Houston and indicated
he would be updating his contact information with the
Louisiana State Bar Association. In May 2016, a copy of the
complaint was sent to the new registered primary address. The
complaint was returned to the ODC with the notations
"Return to Sender" and "Unclaimed."
eventually reached respondent via cell phone. At that time,
respondent indicated he would be in Louisiana and would
personally pick up the copy of the complaint on June 28,
2016. When he failed to do as promised, the ODC contacted
respondent again. At that time, respondent indicated that he