On December 8, 2023, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended Attorney Janeane Gorcyca Abbott for 30 days following misconduct in a paternity case.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Janeane Gorcyca Abbott” with case number No. 2023-B-0852.

The charges cited Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.7, 3.2, 8.1(a)(b), 8.4(a) and (c) which states:

Failure to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client

Failure to communicate with a client

Conflict of interest: current clients

Failure to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation

In connection with a disciplinary matter, a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of material fact or fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter

Violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct

Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

Abbott’s legal troubles stemmed from her handling of a family law matter while employed at the Joubert Law Firm. The case involved a paternity, child custody, and support issue for which Abbott filed a petition in the 18th Judicial District Court. The disciplinary proceedings focused on Abbott’s failure to act with reasonable diligence, communicate effectively with her client, and inform the client of potential malpractice claims.

The specific incident that led to the disciplinary action occurred when Abbott, in response to a court hearing officer’s recommendation, filed a belated objection on behalf of her client, Brooke King. Abbott, however, was unaware of the local court rules, which required a prompt objection, leading to the objection’s dismissal. Moreover, Abbott failed to communicate this critical information to King and misled her about the case’s status.

The disciplinary committee found Abbott in violation of multiple Rules of Professional Conduct, including those related to diligence, communication, conflict of interest, and engaging in dishonest or deceitful conduct. The committee highlighted Abbott’s lack of experience in the practice of law as a mitigating factor.

In light of the findings, the Louisiana Supreme Court imposed a 30-day suspension on Abbott, to be followed by a one-year period of unsupervised probation. During probation, Abbott is required to attend and complete the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Ethics School. The court also ordered Abbott to cover the costs and expenses of the disciplinary proceedings.

According to Avvo, Ms. Abbott is a family attorney in Prairieville, Louisiana. She graduated from Southern University Law Center in 2014 and obtained her law license in Louisiana the following year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.