On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, the Supreme Court of Louisiana suspended attorney Gregory Swafford from practicing law for one year and one day.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Gregory Swafford,” with case no. 2023-B-1497.

The suspension stems from Swafford’s conduct with an investor client named Suzanne Bouligny in 2020. According to the court ruling, Swafford and Bouligny had entered into an agreement where Bouligny invested $50,000 with Swafford for a residential renovation project. However, Swafford failed to inform Bouligny that he had sold the property in question and did not return her investment or pay the agreed-upon profits.

When Bouligny filed a complaint, Swafford did not fully cooperate with the disciplinary investigation. He failed to meet deadlines to respond to the allegations and also invoked his Fifth Amendment right during a deposition. This led the disciplinary authorities to issue a subpoena for him to provide records.

A formal hearing was eventually held in October 2022, where Bouligny testified about the failed investment deal. Swafford cross-examined her but did not present any witnesses of his own or testify. Based on the evidence and testimony, a hearing committee found Swafford in violation of professional conduct rules regarding honesty, cooperation with disciplinary investigations, and other misconduct.

The committee and later the disciplinary board both recommended a suspension of one year and one day. In its decision, the Supreme Court agreed with this sanction, noting Swafford’s prior disciplinary issues and aggravating factors in the case like lack of remorse. The court also ordered Swafford to pay $50,000 in restitution to his former client.

With the suspension, Swafford will have to formally apply to be reinstated to practice law again. That will require showing the court that he has fully repaid the client as ordered. The ruling serves as another example of how lawyers can face significant penalties for mishandling client funds or failing to cooperate with regulatory investigations of misconduct complaints.

The Disposition states:

“Upon review of the findings and recommendation of the hearing committee and the disciplinary board, and considering the record, it is ordered that Gregory Swafford, Louisiana Bar Roll number 22165, be and he hereby is suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day. It is further ordered that respondent shall make restitution in the amount of $50,000, with legal interest, to Suzanne Bouligny.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Swafford is an attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 1993. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.