On Tuesday, September 19, 2023, the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana ruled on the suspension of Attorney Craig J. Fontenot for dishonesty, criminal acts and conduct essentially casting doubt on his integrity and trustworthiness as a lawyer.
The case is titled ‘In the Matter of Craig J. Fontenot’ with case no. 2023-B-00789.
Attorney Fontenot was found to have violated Rules 8.4(b) and 8.4(c) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. These violations include committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer, and engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
The Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct can be viewed here.
This disciplinary matter arose from a vehicular incident on November 22, 2017, which involved Attorney Fontenot. Attorney Fontenot figured in a hit-and-run vehicle crash on LA Highway 73. He initially lied to the investigating officer about the accident and his alcohol consumption. His blood alcohol concentration was later found to be .238%. Attorney Fontenot was arrested for first offense DWI, hit and run, and failure to maintain control.
On April 6, 2021, the charge of hit-and-run was dismissed; however, for the DWI charge, Attorney Fontenot changed his not-guilty plea and entered a plea of nolo contendre.
The Office ofDisciplinary Counsel (ODC) filed formal charges against Fontenot in October 2022. Attorney Fontenot failed to answer the charges, resulting in the factual allegations being deemed admitted and proven by clear and convincing evidence.
Hearing Committee Report: The hearing committee found Fontenot in violation of the charges and determined that he knowingly and intentionally violated duties owed to the public and the legal profession. The committee recommended a one-year and one-day suspension from the practice of law, considering aggravating factors such as dishonesty, obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding, and illegal conduct.
The Supreme Court of Louisiana adopted the committee’s recommendation and imposed a one-year and one-day suspension on Fontenot.
The disposition reads:
“Upon review of the findings and recommendation of the hearing committee, and considering the record, it is ordered that Craig J. Fontenot, Louisiana Bar Rollnumber24415, be and he hereby is suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year and one day. 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.”
Attorney Craig J. Fontenot is a Juris Doctor graduate of the Louisiana State University, earning his degree in 1996. He is an insurance attorney practicing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. More of Attorney Fontenot’s bio can be found on avvo.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.