IN RE: CAROL E. PARKER
ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING
disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against
respondent, Carol E. Parker, an attorney licensed to practice
law in Louisiana.
15, 2010, Cathy Williams retained respondent to complete
litigation pertaining to the partition of community property.
That day, respondent contacted opposing counsel, Roy H.
Maughan, Jr., to request a continuance for a rule to show
cause hearing that was scheduled for July 26th.
Respondent explained to Mr. Maughan that she needed
additional time to review the file history and that her
mother, who was having major surgery on July 19th,
required her assistance. For these reasons, Mr. Maughan
agreed to a continuance. Respondent did not make any formal
arrangements to secure the continuance until Friday, July
23rd at 5:30 p.m., at which time she faxed a
letter to the judge's office.
her representations to Mr. Maughan and her filing of the
untimely after-hours fax, respondent appeared in court on
Monday, July 26th. Mr. Maughan did not appear,
having relied on respondent's representation that she
required the continuance and had taken the proper and
necessary steps to request the continuance from the court. As
a result of his failure to appear, his client's rule was
October 2010, the attorneys appeared before Judge Zorraine
Waguespack for a status conference, at which time the parties
were given a pre-trial conference date of November 22, 2010,
at 2:00 p.m. During the pre-trial conference, Judge
Waguespack set trial for the following day, at 9:00 a.m.
Respondent asked for a continuance, but Judge Waguespack
denied her request.
morning of trial, respondent failed to appear and she
fax-filed a motion to recuse Judge Waguespack. The court
initially found her in contempt; however, prior to the
court's first recess, respondent made an appearance, and
the contempt was set aside. After the recess, respondent went
on the record to inform the court that she would withdraw the
motion to recuse provided she receive her discovery from
opposing counsel or if the court would hear her motion to
compel discovery, which she had prepared to file that day.
Judge Waguespack denied the motion and advised that the
recusal matter would be set for hearing.
recusal motion was allotted to Judge Bruce Bennett and set
for a hearing, for which he had to rearrange his docket and
request a special court reporter. After receiving notice that
the hearing would be held on December 6th,
respondent filed a motion to continue and reset the hearing
to recuse Judge Waguespack. Judge Bennett denied the motion.
Two days later, respondent filed a motion to dismiss the
motion to recuse Judge Waguespack. Judge Bennett denied the
recusal hearing, respondent informed Judge Bennett that,
earlier on that day, she had fax-filed a motion to recuse
him. Judge Bennett then voluntarily recused himself. Also on
that day, respondent filed a notice of intention to apply for
emergency writs of review from the First Circuit Court of
Appeal, with stay order requested, regarding the allotment
procedure for the 21st Judicial District Court.
December 14th, two days before the second
scheduled recusal hearing, respondent filed a motion to
dismiss the motion to recuse Judge Bennett. The property
matter was then placed back on the original docket of Judge
January 2011, Judge Bennett filed a complaint against
respondent with the ODC. In May 2011, Mr. Maughan filed a
complaint against respondent with the ODC. In November 2017,
the ODC filed formal charges against respondent, alleging
that her conduct violated the following provisions of the
Rules of Professional Conduct: Rules 3.1 (meritorious claims
and contentions), 8.4(a) (violation of the Rules of
Professional Conduct), 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving
dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), and 8.4(d)
(engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of
answered the formal charges, denying any misconduct. The
matter then proceeded to a formal hearing on the merits.
considering the testimony and evidence presented at the
hearing, the committee made factual findings that are
generally consistent with the underlying facts set forth
above and made the following additional findings:
testified that she appeared in court that Monday morning as a
precautionary measure because she had faxed the continuance
letter to the judge's office on a Friday evening. Mr.
Maughan, who did not appear, was understandably upset upon
learning that the matter had been dismissed. He also ...