The state Supreme Court has disbarred a Lafayette attorney accused of failing to properly handle a client's case, then lying to investigators about it.
Brad Thomas Andrus, who already was ineligible to practice law, was formally and finally disbarred, a ruling from the court released Wednesday states.
The case against Andrus centered on his handling of a case for a Branch man who made a claim with his insurance company after a broken water pipe damaged his home. The man hired Andrus to handle the matter.
During his handling of the man's claim, the court found that Andrus "engaged in serious attorney misconduct. He neglected his client’s legal matter, charged and collected an unreasonable fee, converted client funds held in his trust account, failed to return his client’s file upon request, and engaged in deceptive and dishonest behavior in the course of this disciplinary proceeding. This misconduct amounts to a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct as found by the disciplinary board."
The court decided that Andrus violated his duty to his client, and caused actual harm to the man. They found that Andrus' conduct was "knowing and intentional" and that the rules say he should be disbarred.
As aggravating factors, the court noted that he once ditched a process server by claiming he was his own twin brother, and asked for a delay in turning in his response to accusations, claiming his response was on a laptop that had been stolen from his vehicle. Church Point Police found "inconsistencies" in his story - including the fact that there was no report of a vehicle burglary on the date he claimed his laptop was stolen.
"While we do not minimize the seriousness of his misconduct as it relates to his client... we suggest that respondent’s numerous instances of deceptive behavior are the most disturbing aspect of this matter. From the incredible tale of a vehicle burglary offered as justification for failing to timely respond to the disciplinary complaint, to his attempt to evade service of a subpoena by claiming to be his identical twin brother, and finally to submitting fabricated receipts and invoices to the ODC, respondent has violated the most fundamental duty of an officer of the court," the ruling states. "The utter absence of candor respondent has demonstrated in these proceedings calls his good moral character into serious question and warrants disbarment."
In addition to his disbarment and the requirement that he pay all costs of the investigation against him, the Court also ordered Andrus to participate in a fee dispute resolution program in order to make his former client whole.
According to their firm's website, Brad Andrus was practicing with his twin brother. Their firm office is located in River Ranch.