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In re Favorite

Supreme Court of Louisiana

November 5, 2018

IN RE: TRACEY MICHEL FAVORITE

         ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

          PER CURIAM

         This disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against respondent, Tracey Michel Favorite, an attorney licensed to practice law in Louisiana.

         UNDERLYING FACTS

         Count I

         In November 2014, respondent submitted a rental application for a townhouse owned by Brett Morris. Respondent requested immediate occupancy and completed the lease agreement on November 22, 2014. The terms of the lease required an initial payment, including a deposit, a pro-rated sum for November, and rent for December. Respondent provided Mr. Morris with temporary check drawn on a North Carolina bank in the amount of $3, 575. Mr. Morris attempted to deposit the check, but it was returned for insufficient funds.

         After Mr. Morris notified respondent of the issue, she offered him an explanation for the NSF check and then advised that she would give him a second check. Mr. Morris, who normally requires a cashier's check after a tenant presents an NSF check, accepted a second temporary check from respondent because she said she had recently relocated and that she was a lawyer employed with a law firm. The second check also was returned for insufficient funds.

         Despite her assurances that money was forthcoming, respondent did not pay Mr. Morris for her use of the townhouse. Mr. Morris advised respondent that he would start the eviction process and contact the Jefferson Parish District Attorney's Office. He then posted an eviction notice on the townhouse door and called the district attorney's office. Respondent vacated the premises in late December.

         Criminal charges arising from the issuance of the worthless checks are pending against respondent. In November 2014, she was charged with issuing worthless checks, a felony, in violation of La. R.S. 14:71. The docket summary reflects that respondent failed to appear on several occasions. Attachments were issued in March 2015, May 2015, and July 2015.

         Respondent received notice of the disciplinary complaint on June 2, 2016. Three months later, she provided the ODC with a brief initial response and indicated therein that she would be supplementing her response. She did not. During her sworn statement, respondent provided explanations for the attachments and offered that she would "take care of all that as soon as possible." According to the online database for Jefferson Parish, a third attachment remains outstanding.

         The ODC alleged that respondent's conduct violated the following provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct: Rules 8.4(a) (violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct), 8.4(b) (commission of a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer), 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), and 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).

         Count II

         In December 2015, respondent hired attorney Jasmine White as an associate. On February 12, 2016, respondent issued a $2, 110.96 check to Ms. White and a $1, 500 check to Devon Coleman, a third-party vendor. Both checks were written on respondent's Chase Bank account. After Mr. Coleman deposited his check, he was advised that the check had been issued on a closed account. Upon learning of this, Ms. White did not deposit her check. Respondent instructed Ms. White to destroy the check, but she did not.

         On February 25, 2016, respondent issued a $4, 542.67 check to Ms. White. The check, which was written on respondent's Bank of America account, was returned for insufficient funds. Ms. White notified respondent of the returned check. The next day, respondent terminated Ms. White. Respondent maintains that she did not issue Ms. White a worthless check.

         The ODC alleged that respondent's conduct violated the following provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct: Rules 8.4(a) and 8.4(c).

         Count III

         In December 2015, respondent hired Alicia Wiley as her office manager. On February 12, 2016, respondent issued payroll checks from her personal checking account to Ms. Wiley and to other employees. Respondent then advised Ms. Wiley that she would be notified after arrangements were made with her bank so employees could cash their checks. Later that same day, respondent advised employees not to cash the checks because it was "bad practice" to issue payroll checks from a personal account. The employees were then asked to destroy the checks. Ms. Wiley subsequently learned from Mr. Coleman (Count II) that her check, drawn on Chase Bank, was issued on a closed account. On February 25, 2016, respondent issued a $2, 985.12 check to Ms. Wiley from her Bank of America account. The check was returned for insufficient funds.

         During her sworn statement, respondent advised the ODC that the Chase Bank account was closed in the spring of 2016, but she then expressed uncertainty as to when the account was closed. Respondent agreed to provide the ODC with that information, but failed to do as promised. Respondent stated that if she did in fact write checks on a closed account, it would have been "by mistake."

         The ODC alleged that respondent's conduct violated the following provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct: Rules 8.4(a) and 8.4(c).

         Coun ...


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