On Friday, February 10, 2023, Louisiana Hearing Committee #46 filed with the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board its report concerning the charges for attorney discipline against New Orleans attorney Meredith Wiggins Benoit alleging misconduct. 

The case is entitled ‘In the matter of Meredith Wiggins Benoit’ and was brought by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel (ODC). Case #22-DB-043.

The charges cited rules of professional conduct 8.4(a), (b), and (c), which state:

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; (b) commit a criminal act, especially one that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; (c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

The Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

The disciplinary matter is in relation to the July 28, 2021 arrest of Benoit for misdemeanor theft and felony theft which was committed by Benoit on July 18, 2021, and July 28, 2021, respectively. On February 10, 2022, Benoit self-reported that she was arrested at the Target Store in Metairie, Louisiana. Additionally, during ODC’s investigation of the matter, it was also discovered that Benoit had been arrested, charged, and later convicted of speeding and driving with a suspended driver’s license on June 7, 2014, to which she was ordered to pay a fine of $185, however, she failed to pay the fine. Moreover, Benoit was again arrested on October 11, 2017, for speeding, expired insurance, and driving while under suspension.

The Report of Hearing Committee states:

‘The formal charges were filed on September 9, 2022. By letter dated September 14, 2022, the formal charges were mailed via certified mail to Respondent’s primary registration address. The mailing was received on September 21, 2022.’

Benoit failed to file an answer to the charges, which resulted in the matter becoming deemed admitted by an order signed on November 1, 2022.

Accordingly, Hearing Committee #46 upon consideration of the mitigating and aggravating circumstances, as well as the prior decisions and analysis of this case, unanimously opined that Benoit’s reprehensible conduct deserves an imposition of a three-year suspension.

Costs and expenses of the proceedings were also recommended to be assessed against Benoit.

According to Martindale.com, Ms. Meredith Wiggins Benoit earned her Juris Doctor degree from Louisiana State University, graduating in 2000. She practices in New Orleans. She has been admitted to practice in Louisiana in 2000, license no. 26798.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.