RULES OF SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA

PART B. ADMINISTRATIVE RULES

APPENDIX A. PROCEDURAL RULES FOR DISCIPLINARY BOARD

Rule 1. Assignment of Disciplinary Board Panel and Briefing Schedules

Upon the filing of the hearing committee report with the disciplinary board, the administrator shall schedule the matter for hearing before a board panel on the schedule set by the board, and shall notify all parties of such setting. Any request for a continuance of the hearing date based upon reasons other than those of an emergency nature must be presented to the panel before whom the hearing is scheduled within ten (10) days of service of the notice of hearing.


Rule 2. Briefing Deadlines

Any party having an objection to any aspect of the hearing committee report in a particular matter shall file with the administrator a brief setting forth such objections and the grounds thereof, not less than thirty (30) days before the date on which oral argument is first assigned to a board panel. The opposing party may file an answering brief within fifteen (15) days following the filing of the brief which first sets forth the objections.


Rule 3. Advance Deposit Requirement for Readmission Petitions

The conditions set forth in Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 24(B) require that all petitions for reinstatement or readmission must be accompanied by an Advance Cost of Hearing Deposit to cover the anticipated costs of the proceedings unless abated under Section 25. The amount of Five-hundred dollars ($500.00) shall be deposited by petitioner with the board administrator at the time of filing the petition for reinstatement and service of a copy upon disciplinary counsel. The amount includes a Fifty-dollar ($50.00) nonrefundable docket fee. The balance of the fee shall be applied to the hearing costs, if any. The petitioner shall be responsible for any costs in excess of the initial deposit. Any monies in excess of the deposited amounts shall be refunded to the petitioner after all expenditures are tabulated.
[amended effective June 15, 2005]


Rule 4. Excuse From Payment of Periodic Assessment

A. A lawyer requesting to be excused from payment of the periodic fee assessed by Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 8, on grounds of financial hardship shall file such request with the board by June 1 of the year preceding the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) for which the fee is assessed. The request shall be signed by the lawyer seeking to be excused and shall set forth in detail the reasons for the request. Each request shall include a statement of the lawyer’s assets at the time submitted and his or her gross and net income from all sources for the year during which the request is made and the calendar year preceding the year during which the request is made. [amended effective June 15, 2005]

B. A board panel shall promptly approve or deny the request and shall provide written reasons if the request is denied. The board administrator shall notify the requesting lawyer in writing of the action of the panel.

C. A decision of a panel to deny a request may be appealed by filing such appeal with the board within 15 days of service of the notice of the panel action. Any such appeal shall be reviewed by a second panel, whose decision shall be final.

D. Neither a request for excuse from payment of the assessment nor an appeal from a panel denial shall suspend the obligation to pay the assessment in accordance with Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 8(A). A lawyer may submit a copy of a notice of panel approval of a requested excuse in lieu of the assessment with the registration statement required by Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 8(C). No action by any lawyer or board panel pursuant to this Disciplinary Board rule shall in any way modify the obligation of the lawyer to file the registration statement required by Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 8(C). [amended effective June 15, 2005]

E. An excuse granted pursuant to this rule shall be effective only for the fee assessed for the year following the filing of the request.

F. A request for excuse, written arguments in support of that request, and documents submitted with the request shall be confidential.


Rule 5. Signing Orders, Reports, and Communications

Any member of a board panel may sign any order, recommendation, report, or communication on behalf of that panel. Any member of the board may sign any order, report, or communication on behalf of the board. The individual signing on behalf of a panel or the board must ensure that all members of the respective entity authorize his or her signing on behalf of the entity.


Rule 6. Repealed effective December 17, 1998


Rule 7. Recovery of Costs

In order to implement Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 10.1, the administrator and disciplinary counsel shall identify and record for each matter filed on the board docket all costs incurred during the investigation of and proceedings in the matter. Recoverable costs shall include the following:


a) Investigative costs including costs incurred in serving investigatory subpoenas, direct charges for copies, photocopies and certification of documents and records, direct costs of travel for investigation (at board standard rates), and fees for transcripts of statements;


b) A fee of $10 for each service of notice issued for the imposition of probation pursuant to Section 11(C), the imposition of an admonition pursuant to Section 11(D) (including any notice to the complainant or other interested party), and the issuance of formal charges pursuant to Section 11(E) plus the direct costs incurred if served by the sheriff or other process server;


c) Deposition costs;


d) Witness fees, travel, and lodging necessary for the witnesses’ appearance at the hearing;


e) Fees for the hearing transcript;


f) Fees for expert witnesses, if determined by the hearing committee chair to be appropriate and necessary for the matter after affording the respondent an opportunity to be heard.


g) Fees assessed by the Clerk of the Supreme Court;


h) Direct costs incurred (at board standard rates) in transmitting and publishing notices pursuant to Section 17;


i) Computerized legal research costs associated with legal research performed by the administrator’s and disciplinary counsel’s staff.


Within ten (10) days of the submission of the report of the hearing committee, and if the committee has found that the respondent has violated any Rule of Professional Conduct as charged, the board administrator shall file in the board record and shall serve on the respondent a first itemized statement of all costs then incurred in the matter. Respondent shall have fifteen (15) days following service of the cost statement to file in the record and to serve on disciplinary counsel any objection to the cost statement. If any objection is filed, the administrator shall refer the cost statement and the objection to the chair of the committee which conducted the hearing, for a ruling on the objection.


In its deliberations the board shall consider the cost statement and the objections of the respondent and the ruling of the committee chair, if any. If the board determines to impose discipline, it shall include in its order the declaration of the costs taxed against the respondent. If the board determines to report the matter to the Court with a recommendation for discipline, it shall include a recommendation of an amount to be taxed by the Court in any decision or order by the Court which imposes discipline on the respondent.


In any matter concluded by a final order of the board or by any decision or order of the Court which imposes discipline on the respondent, the board administrator shall file in the board record and shall serve on the respondent a supplemental itemized statement of costs incurred in the matter subsequent to the filing and serving of the first itemized statement and any prior supplemental itemized statements. Respondent shall have fifteen (15) days following service of the supplemental cost statement to file in the record and to serve on disciplinary counsel any objection to that cost statement. If any objection is filed, the administrator shall refer the cost statement and the objection to the board for a ruling on the objection. The board may authorize and direct disciplinary counsel to apply to the Court for a judgment against the respondent for costs imposed. [amended effective June 15, 2005]


Rule 8. Complainants' Appeals

Upon receipt of an appeal from a complainant pursuant to Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 30(A), the administrator shall open a record on the board’s confidential docket and shall serve a copy of the appeal on disciplinary counsel. Within seven days following service of the appeal by the administrator, disciplinary counsel shall file in the record the following materials from the investigative file:


a) Notices issued in accordance with Section 4(B)(6);


b) All written requests for review of a dismissal pursuant to Section 11(B)(3);


c) All documents submitting any such appeal to a hearing committee;


d) All documents constituting a response or a ruling by the hearing committee on the appeal; and


e) All notices to the complainant of the disposition by the hearing committee.

Upon receipt of the materials filed by disciplinary counsel, the administrator shall refer the appeal to the board panel then acting. The panel may require the parties to submit additional information necessary to consider the appeal. The panel may approve, modify or disapprove the disposition, or direct that the matter be investigated further. The standard of review for complainant appeals of dismissal is whether disciplinary counsel abused his/her discretion in dismissing a complaint.

The determination of the board is subject to the provisions of Supreme Court Rule XIX, Section 30(C), regarding the right to petition for leave to appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. [amended effective June 15, 2005]

Rule 9. Filing Pleadings and Other Matters with the Board

a) All pleadings, motions, briefs, and memoranda filed with the board shall be submitted in an original with three (3) additional copies.


b) All exhibits submitted at hearings before the hearing committees must consist of an original and one copy. The original shall be submitted to the court reporter with a copy of the exhibit submitted to the hearing committee chair.


c) The administrator will accept pleadings delivered to the board office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on regular working days. The filing of such papers shall be deemed timely when the papers are mailed on or before the due date. If the papers are received by mail on the first legal day following the expiration of the delay, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that they were timely filed. In all cases where the presumption does not apply, the timeliness of the mailing shall be shown by an official United States postmark or by official receipt or certificate from the United States Postal Service. Pleadings and papers forwarded by private delivery or courier service shall be deemed timely filed only if received by the board on or before the last day of the delay for filing. Matters submitted by other means shall be filed effective as of the date received in the administrator’s office.


d) Matters may be submitted by facsimile transmission and will be filed effective as of the date received; provided (1) the board will not accept responsibility for equipment malfunction or illegible transmissions, and (2) the filing party shall submit an original and copies as required by paragraph (a) above, promptly following the facsimile transmission.


e) All motions filed with the hearing committees and the board shall be accompanied by certificate of counsel for the moving party stating: (1) that counsel conferred in person or by telephone with the opposing party regarding the motion and (2) that opposing counsel either has no objection to said motion or does object to the motion. If the opposing party objects to the motion, a telephone conference will be arranged between the chair of the hearing committee or adjudicative board panel assigned to the case to hear both parties’ arguments relative to the motion.


f) All pleadings, motions, briefs, and memoranda filed with the hearing committees and the board shall contain a certificate of service by the filing party stating that he or she has served the opposing party with the document and by what means the opposing party was served.  [amended effective June 15, 2005]

Rule 10. Completing deliberations
If for any reason a board panel member is unable to complete deliberations in a matter assigned to his/her panel after the oral arguments have taken place due to death, disability or suspension from the practice of law, the remaining members shall continue its deliberations in order to bring the matter to a conclusion. [added effective June 15, 2005]