GL-og, A Law Blog

Removing the Mystery from the Legal Process

Informal Conference Preceding Institution of Formal Complaint

Adrian LaPeyronnie - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Some time ago, you received your license from the state of Louisiana to practice your profession. You practiced your profession for years, even decades, and the only contact you had with your licensing board was your completion of a license renewal application, mailing that renewal with a fee to the licensing board, and receipt of your renewed license. 

However, this time, you received a letter from your licensing board that does not appear to be like the prior license renewal letters. No. This letter alleges that your actions in the practice of your profession did not conform with the rules of your profession. In short, you are the subject of a professional complaint, which if proved may lead to revocation, suspension, annulment, or withdrawal of your license.

As your licensing board is a governmental entity, you are entitled to the due process of law as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of American and the Constitution of the state of Louisiana. Part and parcel of this due process, is your right to participate in an informal conference with your licensing board officials concerning the complaint. This conference provides for a two-way flow of information. One flow of communication is from the licensing board officials to you further explaining the particular facts from which this complaint arose. (Sometimes, the notice does not state the facts with a great degree of particularity, and this is a way to find out these specific facts.) One flow of communication is from you to the licensing board officials whereby you will provide additional facts to show that you acted in compliance with the laws, rules and regulations of your licensing board, and as such, a formal complaint is not warranted.     

Your due process right in this regard is set forth in Louisiana Revised Statutes, Chapter 49, Section 961(C), i.e., La. R.S. 49:961(C). This statute provides:    

C. No revocation, suspension, annulment, or withdrawal of any license is lawful unless, prior to the institution of agency proceedings, the agency gives notice by mail to the licensee of facts or conduct which warrant the intended action, and the licensee is given an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of the license. If the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare imperatively requires emergency action, and incorporates a finding to that effect in its order, summary suspension of a license may be ordered pending proceedings for revocation or other action. These proceedings shall be promptly instituted and determined. (Emphasis added.)    

While the licensing board must offer you the right to this informal conference, you are not required to participate. However, it may be in your best interest to attend this conference to discover more about the facts that are in possession of your licensing board. Once you have discovered this information, you are under no obligation to explain your actions or participate any further in the conference.

 

Greenberg & LaPeyronnie is not your lawyer, and therefore the information contained in this blog post is simply informational, not legal advice. However, if you have any questions or are seeking legal advice, please call us at 504-366-8118 to set up a consultation today. 

Settlement of Your Personal Injury Case

David Greenberg - Tuesday, May 20, 2014
When an individual is injured and needs to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the damages sustained, it is normal for them to ask their attorney “When is my case going to settle?”. Although normal for a client to ask their attorney this question, the answer is not easy and is somewhat involved.

It is important to note that a plaintiff can never force a defendant to settle a case. Settlement is voluntary and is usually accomplished when it becomes clear to the defendant that the plaintiff has a legitimate case and that the defendant is at risk of being found liable to the plaintiff for damages at a trial.

In all types of litigation including personal injury litigation, defendants do not like being sued and the thought of having to pay the plaintiff. It is very important for the attorney for the injured party, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, to put pressure on defendants to encourage them to evaluate the case and attempt to settle the case with the plaintiff. The plaintiff does this by moving the case forward in a number of ways including providing proof of the defendant’s fault to the defendant’s attorney, compiling the plaintiffs medical records and providing them to the defendant’s attorney, obtaining records from the defendant’s attorney, taking depositions if necessary, and attempting to enter into negotiations with the defendant’s attorney. If the defendant is not interested in settlement at this point in time, the plaintiff’s attorney can request a trial date from the court. The prospect of a date when the case will be tried before a judge or jury many times will lead to the parties to the lawsuit considering ways to settle it to avoid a this as a trial is very stressful to all involved.

Lawsuits can settle at any time in the process including right before trial, the day of trial, during trial or even after a judgment has been rendered. It is the hard work of the plaintiff and his or her attorney that generally makes the prospect of settlement look good to the defendants to the litigation.

 

Greenberg & LaPeyronnie is not your lawyer, and therefore the information contained in this blog post is simply informational, not legal advice. However, if you have any questions or are seeking legal advice, please call us at 504-366-8118 to set up a consultation today. 

The Importance of Being Honest

Ann Thompson - Tuesday, April 29, 2014
The best piece of advice I can give to potential clients is “tell your lawyer everything.*” Everything. Even if you think there's no way the other side can find out about some issue - tell her anyway. I guarantee that the other side will find it out, regardless.

The whole concept of a civil case is that each side knows everything about each side’s facts and argument before trial. (This is why most civil cases settle: there is little guesswork involved.) If both lawyers have done their jobs well, there will be little to no surprises at trail. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the other side. However, your lawyer will rarely feel the need to investigate all aspects of your life: she will ask you about what she views to be the relevant issues, and will rely on you to fill in the gaps she couldn’t have guessed about. Opposing counsel, however, will not trust you to provide this information. You should assume your credit card records, Facebook profile, your friends’ Facebook profiles, your emails, your public records, and your tax returns will all be carefully pored over by opposing counsel - don’t give them the advantage by lying or omitting information from your own attorney. Give your attorney as much information as possible.

Even if you have a doubt as to whether you should mention something to your attorney, always err on the side of telling her. It is much better for her to learn the facts, good or bad, well before a deposition or trial. If the information is bad, your lawyer can spend time figuring out how to block the information from being introduced at trial. If the information can't be blocked, your lawyer can figure out a way to spin it. And if there's nothing to be done with the bad information, and it's truly hurtful to your case? Well, your lawyer can save you a lot of time, effort, and money by telling you up front that you need to settle your case ASAP.

It’s human nature to spin facts to one’s advantage, especially when telling a “white lie” or covering up something small that’s just plain embarrassing. What if you don't tell your lawyer about something inconsequential, and then you lie about it in, say, a deposition? That lie will come back to haunt you. The other side will find it out, and opposing counsel will make you out to look like the biggest liar this side of the Mississippi. Nothing you say, even if the rest is totally accurate, will look true. Don’t exaggerate or cover up the facts, even if it the fact at issue doesn’t seem like a big deal.

*I don’t practice criminal law, but it is my understanding that if you’ve committed murder, confessing the details to your attorney is not always the best strategy. This article assumes you are a party to a civil case, not a criminal case.

 


Greenberg & LaPeyronnie is not your lawyer, and therefore the information contained in this blog post is simply informational, not legal advice. However, if you have any questions or are seeking legal advice, please call us at 504-366-8118 to set up a consultation today.