IN RE: SABINUS A. MEGWA
ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING
to Supreme Court Rule XIX, § 21, the Office of
Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") has filed a petition
seeking the imposition of reciprocal discipline against
respondent, Sabinus A. Megwa,  an attorney licensed to practice
law in Louisiana and Arizona, based upon discipline imposed
by the Supreme Court of Arizona.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
client hired respondent to represent her in a personal injury
claim following her involvement in an automobile accident on
November 21, 2012. Between August 2013 and November 2014, the
client requested several updates from and appointments with
respondent, to no avail. On November 20, 2014 respondent
filed a lawsuit on the client's behalf but did not inform
her of the filing until February 10, 2015. Respondent also
failed to provide the defendant with a disclosure statement
or responses to discovery requests, which were due on August
the client's lawsuit proceeded to arbitration, but
respondent did not prepare his client for the arbitration
hearing until they were on the way to same. On April 21,
2016, the arbitrator awarded the client $5, 800. Respondent
failed to submit his verified statement of costs, and as a
result, each party was ordered to bear their own costs.
Respondent again neglected the matter by filing an untimely
defendant sent respondent a check for $5, 800.
Respondent's office apparently sent the client a letter
regarding the check. However, when she went to
respondent's office on September 1, 2016, she was not
told of the check or given any information about it. On March
5, 2018, the client went to respondent's office again and
still was not given the check. The client's medical liens
totaled more than $13, 000, and respondent agreed to waive
his fees and costs.
State Bar of Arizona File 12-2516, respondent received an
admonition for unrelated conduct and was put on probation
under the Law Office Management Assistance Program and the
Trust Account Ethics Enhancement Program. This probationary
period coincided with respondent's misconduct as set
October 2014, another client retained respondent regarding
the death of her husband following a confrontation with
Phoenix police. The client did not sign a contingency fee
filed a lawsuit on the client's behalf on October 5, 2015
but failed to timely conduct discovery. On March 23, 2017,
ten days before the discovery deadline, respondent requested
an extension of time to depose the police officers, which was
denied. The defense moved for summary judgment on April 21,
2017. Respondent failed to inform the client of the motion,
and the defense prevailed on most of the issues raised. The
attorney for the defense tried to communicate with
respondent, but he never responded. The court found
respondent "failed to pursue reasonable discovery and
failed to represent Plaintiffs adequately."
2019, respondent and the State Bar of Arizona filed an
agreement for discipline by consent with the Supreme Court of
Arizona. On May 30, 2019, the presiding disciplinary judge of
the Supreme Court of Arizona accepted the parties'
proposed agreement and ordered that respondent be suspended
from the practice of law for six months and one day,
effective thirty days from the date of the order, with the
suspension retroactive to April 9, 2019. The presiding
disciplinary judge further ordered that, upon reinstatement
to the practice of law, respondent shall be placed on
probation for eighteen months.
receiving notice of the Arizona order of discipline, the ODC
filed a petition to initiate reciprocal discipline
proceedings in Louisiana, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX,
§ 21. A copy of the Final Judgment and Order issued by
the Supreme Court of Arizona was attached to the petition. On
August 2, 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.
standard for imposition of discipline on a reciprocal basis
is set forth in Supreme Court Rule XIX, ...