On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, the Supreme Court of Louisiana suspended attorney Kenneth M. Plaisance from practicing law due to misconduct related to a conflict of interest he had while representing two clients.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Kenneth M. Plaisance,” with case no. 2023-B-01460.

The case stemmed from a 2017 car accident in New Orleans where Larry Taylor was driving and rear-ended an 18-wheeler that was making an illegal U-turn. Taylor’s minor passenger, Lawan Roussel, was injured in the crash. Both Taylor and Roussel hired Plaisance to represent them on a contingency fee basis. However, Plaisance failed to disclose the conflict of interest of representing both clients when Taylor could potentially have been partially at fault for the accident.

Plaisance obtained the $15,000 insurance policy limit for Taylor from Progressive Insurance, which insured both vehicles. He then filed a lawsuit on behalf of both Taylor and Roussel against Progressive. The lawsuit did not include any claims that Roussel was alleging Taylor was also negligent.

Two law firms, Leger & Shaw and Derryberry, Zipps, and Wade, declined to serve as co-counsel with Plaisance due to concerns about the conflict of interest in his dual representation. Derryberry took on representing just Roussel after meeting with Roussel’s mother and informing her of Plaisance’s conflict. She then terminated Plaisance’s representation of Roussel.

The case was eventually settled in 2019 after being consolidated in federal court. However, Plaisance attempted to intervene in the litigation to claim attorney’s fees from representing Roussel, despite his conflict of interest. A federal judge ruled Plaisance was ineligible to receive fees from Roussel’s portion of the settlement since he had received payment from Taylor’s portion due to the conflict.

The Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel subsequently brought formal charges against Plaisance for misconduct relating to violations of rules regarding conflicts of interest, communication with clients, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

In the order, the Louisiana high court suspended Plaisance for two years and one day, with one year deferred, finding he violated professional conduct rules and knowingly caused harm.

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 Kenneth M. Plaisance, Louisiana Bar Roll number 19738, be and he hereby is suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years and one day, with one year deferred. All costs and expenses in the matter are assessed against respondent in accordance with Supreme Court Rule XIX, 10.1, with legal interest to commence thirty days from the date of finality of this court’s judgment until paid.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Plaisance is a personal injury attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended the Southern University Law Center. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 1989.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.