LaPlace attorney under investigation

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 24, 2011



LAPLACE – A LaPlace attorney who once served as a legal advisor to the St. John the Baptist Parish Council has been suspended indefinitely from practicing law for allegedly performing improper actions with client funds, according to a release from the state Attorney Disciplinary Board.

The state Supreme Court declared this week that Kerry Brown, a former assistant district attorney in St. John Parish, has displayed a pattern of violations of the court’s Rules of Professional Conduct and has been suspended pending the results of disciplinary proceedings. He may not practice law in the state of Louisiana or in any other jurisdiction until further notice.

Charles Plattsmier, chief disciplinary counsel for the Attorney Disciplinary Board, said his office has received complaints against Brown claiming he performed “improper actions” with money from legal settlements with clients. Plattsmier said one allegation accuses Brown of pocketing money that was supposed to be directed toward medical bills as part of client settlements.

“When you settle a case, the attorney holds out his own fees, pays the client, then pays any third party involved,” Plattsmier said. “Mr. Brown is accused of pocketing the money that was supposed to be directed to a medical bill.”

Brown could not be reached for comment on the allegations as of press time.

Plattsmier explained that when complaints of attorney misconduct are filed to the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel, the board examines the nature of the misconduct and the credibility of the evidence. The board also determines if there is a pattern of misconduct displayed by the attorney accused.

“Mr. Brown’s conduct reflected a pattern of improper actions,” Plattsmier said.

Plattsmier said an interim suspension stops the attorney in question from practicing law while the case is investigated and a disciplinary hearing is conducted. He said the accused has a right to appeal the suspension, but no such action has been taken.

St. John District Attorney Tom Daley said Brown left the District Attorney’s Office on Nov. 3.