On Thursday, October 26, 2023, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committee filed a report on the case of Michael S. Brandner, Jr., who was accused of violating the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee found that the charges against Brandner should be dismissed and no sanction should be assessed against him.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Michael S. Brandner, Jr.,” with case no. 23-DB-039.

The case began with formal charges filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) against Brandner on May 25, 2023. The allegations against Brandner stemmed from his representation of Wilbert Johnson and Claire Ford in a personal injury case. Brandner was accused of endorsing settlement checks from GEICO, which were intended for Johnson and Ford, without their knowledge or consent. Brandner claimed that he had a power of attorney to sign the checks, but he later admitted that he had no authority to do so. Brandner also failed to communicate with Johnson and Ford about the disbursement of the funds from the trust account.

The ODC introduced several exhibits into evidence, including a transcript of Brandner’s sworn statement and an email from his counsel confirming the removal of the power of attorney language from his contract. The ODC also called Brandner to testify, and he admitted that he had violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. Brandner testified that he had relied on his office to follow established procedures and that he had not communicated with Johnson and Ford about the disbursement of the funds because they were represented by new counsel.

The ODC recommended that Brandner be sanctioned for his violations. However, the committee found that while Brandner’s conduct may have been a technical violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, his actions were not motivated by evil or dishonesty, did not cause actual harm, and did not rise to the level of sanctionable misconduct. Therefore, the committee recommended the dismissal of the charges.

The recommendation states:

“In sum, the Committee finds the charges against Respondent should be dismissed and no sanction should be assessed against Respondent. The costs and expenses of this proceeding should be borne by the Disciplinary Board. This opinion is unanimous and has been reviewed by each committee member, who fully concurs and who has authorized Charles A. Cerise, Jr., to sign on their behalf.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Brander is a car accident attorney in Metairie, Louisiana. He attended the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 2002.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.