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In re Mechem

Supreme Court of Louisiana

September 6, 2019

IN RE: EVERETT H. MECHEM

         ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

          PER CURIAM.

         Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 21, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") has filed a petition seeking the imposition of reciprocal discipline against respondent, Everett H. Mechem, a disbarred attorney, [1] based upon discipline imposed by the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

         UNDERLYING FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 3, 2019, pursuant to a conditional guilty plea filed by respondent, the Supreme Court of Tennessee disbarred respondent for violating the following provisions of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct: Rules 1.1 (failure to provide competent representation to a client), 1.2(a) (scope of the representation), 1.3(failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client), 1.4(failure to communicate with a client), 1.15 (safekeeping property of clients or third persons), 8.1 (failure to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation), 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).

         After receiving notice of the Tennessee order of discipline, the ODC filed a motion to initiate reciprocal discipline proceedings in Louisiana, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 21. A certified copy of the decision and order of the Supreme Court of Tennessee was attached to the motion. On May 29, 2019, this court rendered an order giving respondent thirty days to demonstrate why the imposition of identical discipline in this state would be unwarranted. Respondent failed to file any response in this court.

         DISCUSSION

         The standard for imposition of discipline on a reciprocal basis is set forth in Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 21(D). That rule provides:

Discipline to be Imposed. Upon the expiration of thirty days from service of the notice pursuant to the provisions of paragraph B, this court shall impose the identical discipline … unless disciplinary counsel or the lawyer demonstrates, or this court finds that it clearly appears upon the face of the record from which the discipline is predicated, that:
(1) The procedure was so lacking in notice or opportunity to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process; or
(2) Based on the record created by the jurisdiction that imposed the discipline, there was such infirmity of proof establishing the misconduct as to give rise to the clear conviction that the court could not, consistent with its duty, accept as final the conclusion on that subject; or
(3) The imposition of the same discipline by the court would result in grave injustice or be offensive to the public policy of the jurisdiction; or
(4) The misconduct established warrants substantially different discipline in this state; …
If this court determines that any of those elements exists, this court shall enter such other order as it deems appropriate. The burden is on the party seeking different discipline in this jurisdiction to demonstrate that the ...

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