On Monday, December 12, 2022, Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board Hearing Committee #23 issued its report in relation to the charges for attorney discipline against New Orleans attorney Gregory Swafford alleging misconduct. 

The case is entitled ‘In the matter of Gregory Swafford’ and was brought by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel. Case #22-DB-006.

The charges cited Rules 8.1(b), 8.1(c), 8.4(a), (c), and (d) of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct, which state:

An applicant for admission to the bar, or a lawyer in connection with a bar admission application or in connection with a disciplinary matter, shall not. . . (b) fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand for information from an admissions or disciplinary authority, except that this rule does not require disclosure of information otherwise protected by Rule 1.6; or (c) Fail to cooperate with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in its investigation of any matter before it except for an openly expressed claim of a constitutional privilege.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to; (a) Violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another; . . . (c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; (d) Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The rules of professional conduct can be found here.

The following are as alleged and summarized from the filing:

On January 13, 2020, Swafford entered into a contract with Ms. Bouligny, wherein the latter will invest $50,000 for Swafford to use to purchase and renovate a property for sale, and upon its sale, Ms. Bouligny will receive a return of the invested funds advanced plus a 50% return on the amount invested. By September 17, 2020, Ms. Bouligny met with Swafford and demanded a return on her investment and told Swafford that she will forgo the profit. Swafford agreed to repay the initial investment, however, despite numerous promises, he failed to return any portion of the $50,000.00. Swafford also failed to pay any of the profit due to Ms. Bouligny under their agreement following the sale of the property in June 2020, which he made no mention to Ms. Bouligny, who on the other hand, did not find out of the sale until she went on the assessor’s website herself in February 2021. Moreover, Swafford failed to cooperate with the ODC by his failure to send a substantive formal response to the initial Letter and Complaint from ODC.

The Report of Hearing Committee states:

‘The hearing committee did not find any evidence of an ongoing pattern of misconduct in Respondent’s dealings with the public, and while Respondent was dishonest with Ms. Bouligny a dishonest or selfish motive is not clear from the evidence.

The Report continues:

‘The Respondent did not comply with some of the rules and orders of the ODC, but did cooperate in the end with the hearing; the committee does not find clear evidence of bad faith. Overall, the committee did not feel that Mr. Swafford’s conduct rose to the level of the cases cited that called for disbarment.’

Accordingly, Hearing Committee #23  unanimously opined and concluded that a sanction of one-year and one-day suspension is appropriate for Swafford’s dishonest dealings with Ms. Bouligny and his lack of remorse and failure to repay her.

The Conclusion reads:

“The committee recommends a sanction of suspension for one year and one day for Respondent. The committee finds there was clear evidence of dishonesty on the part of Respondent in his dealings with Ms. Bouligny, and he admitted that he has never repaid her the $50,000 investment. Thus, additionally the committee recommends an order requiring restitution be paid to Ms. Bouligny, including all costs and fees she has incurred therewith. Finally, the committee recommends that the respondent be assessed with the costs and expenses of the proceeding pursuant to Rule XIX, §10.1”

Mr. Gregory Swafford practices in New Orleans,  Louisiana. He has been licensed in Louisiana.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.