On Friday, November 17, 2023, the Supreme Court of Louisiana issued a disciplinary opinion suspending David Band, Jr., an attorney licensed to practice law in the state. The court found that Band violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by communicating directly with a represented party in a legal matter without the consent of the party’s counsel.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of David Band, Jr.,” with case no. 2023-B-0284.
The charges cited Lousiana Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2(a) and 8.1(a).
The allegations stemmed from Band Jr’s representation of Mortimer Bishop in a 2019 property dispute against Christine Bowers. While Bowers was represented by attorney F. Evans Schmidt, Band contacted her directly on multiple occasions via email, social media, and phone calls to discuss the ongoing litigation.
In sworn testimony before the disciplinary hearing committee, Bowers stated that Band sent her inappropriate emails in June 2019, including one suggesting she “wear something low cut” to help his client find new housing. Bowers said the comment made her feel “like a piece of trash.” Schmidt also testified that he informed Band he represented Bowers, but did not authorize any direct communications.
Band admitted to the direct contacts at the April 2022 hearing but claimed he was confused and thought Bowers was “in between counsel” at times. However, the evidence presented included a Facebook message where Band acknowledged Bowers had an attorney. The hearing committee and disciplinary board both found clear and convincing evidence that Band violated ethical rules prohibiting contact with represented parties.
In addition, the ODC alleged and proved that Band knowingly made false statements to the disciplinary agency during its investigation of the matter by suggesting he reasonably believed Bowers was unrepresented when he contacted her. Both the committee and board concluded this conduct violated additional disciplinary rules.
While recommending a six-month suspension, the board cited aggravating factors such as Band’s dishonest motive, multiple rule violations, and substantial experience practicing since 1970. It was troubled by Band’s continued insistence the underlying case justified his actions and recommended further evaluation by a mental health professional before reinstatement.
The Supreme Court’s ruling largely agreed with the board’s analysis and imposed the six-month suspension with 30 days deferred, considering Band’s 50-year discipline-free career. However, it adopted the recommendation to require a pre-reinstatement evaluation by a neuropsychologist or other examiner to ensure Band’s competency to practice. The court assessed all costs against Band.
The Disposition states:
“Upon review of the findings and recommendations of the hearing committee and the disciplinary board, and considering the record, briefs, and oral argument, it is ordered that David Band, Jr., Louisiana Bar Roll number 2718, be and he hereby is suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months, will all but thirty days deferred.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Band Jr. is a probate attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana. He attended the Tulane University Law School. He acquired his law license in Louisiana in 1970.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.