Attorney Sues Sister Because She Complained

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NEW ORLEANS—In perhaps the ultimate case of sibling rivalry, the Louisiana Supreme Court reprimanded a Metairie attorney for suing his sister because she repeatedly filed complaints against him—then appealed when the state Office Disciplinary Counsel ruled her complaints baseless.

The court said in a unanimous opinion that several facts make the lightest penalty appropriate for Roy A. Raspanti, who sued his sister, Janine Raspanti.

The disciplinary board recommended suspending him for three months, with an additional nine months’ suspension deferred.

Roy Raspanti was called at his office on Tuesday for a statement, but did not return the call. Janine Raspanti’s telephone number is unlisted.

The justices guarantees that in Louisiana anyone who files a complaint with the office cannot be sued for doing so, even if the attorney involved alleges the complaint ill-natured.

Mr. Raspanti was only representing his sister because of parental involvement and apparently was trying to remove himself from the complaints, which the disciplinary board ruled unfounded. Roy Raspanti testified that Ms. Raspanti filed disciplinary complaints against him whenever she did not want to pay him the fee she owed.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel dismissed her complaints in 1974 and 1997, but Roy Raspanti was never notified of the second complaint.

He testified that, had he been informed of the second complaint, he never would have represented her again in 1999. Ms. Raspanti filed another complain in 2001 which was also dismissed.

Roy Raspanti believes he is able to sue for defamation because of his sister’s repeated allegations when she appealed the dismissals to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

 

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