The Complainant, Ms. M, hired the Respondent to represent her in a divorce proceeding and to file a reconventional demand for spousal support, child custody and child support, in September of 2016. Ms. M paid the Respondent a $3000.00 retainer. A court date concerning the incidental matters was set for October 12, 2016, falling on Yom Kippur, a Jewish Holiday.
A Louisiana Hearing Committee Recommends Disbarment of Attorney Sally Harrison Longmire Hingel on These Defaulted Charges
A Louisiana Hearing Committee recommends disbarment of an attorney on these defaulted charges
The Complainant, Ms. M, hired the Respondent to represent her in a divorce proceeding and to file a reconventional demand for spousal support, child custody and child support, in September of 2016. Ms. M paid the Respondent a $3000.00 retainer. A court date concerning the incidental matters was set for October 12, 2016, falling on Yom Kippur, a Jewish Holiday. Ms. M is Jewish, and she requested that the Respondent file a Motion for a continuance. Respondent represented to Ms. M that her court date was continued to November 18, 2016.
On November 18, 2016, Ms. M, along with her mother, who flew in from Philadelphia, PA for the hearing, and the Respondent, appeared at the courthouse, only to find that their matter was not on the docket and the opposing party and his attorney were not present. Respondent explained to Ms. M that she believed that the opposing party was going to file the continuance. Ms. M could not reconcile the Respondent’s explanation considering the fact that she was the one requesting the continuance for religious reasons. Respondent then told Ms. M that she was “going straight upstairs” to file the necessary pleadings to have the matter reset. When Respondent returned, she represented to Complainant that the new court date was January 18, 2017. Complainant later discovered that the Respondent failed to file the pleadings necessary to have the matter reset for January 18, 2017. Ms. M also discovered that Respondent failed to file anything. As a result, Ms. M was divorced by default, without her issues of child custody, child support, or spousal support being addressed by the Court.
Respondent requested prescription drug medication from Ms. M on at least two separate occasions. First Respondent telephoned Ms. M and requested to purchase Xanax from Ms. M. A couple hours later, Ms. M appears at her home with an inform pauperis affidavit and purchased the Xanax. Respondent requested that Ms. M sign the informa pauperis application and affidavit, notwithstanding the fact that Complainant had previously paid a $3000.00 retainer. Respondent never filed the completed informa pauperis application and affidavit with the court.
In December of 2016, Complainant contacted the Respondent regarding a fight with her ex-spouse and requested an appointment to discuss the matter and what she believed to be an upcoming hearing in January. Respondent replied by stating that “she hurt her toe” and asked if the Complainant had any Codeine, Vicodin, or Percocets, that she could either purchase or exchange for a “discount” on legal services. Ms. M advised the Respondent that she did not have any of the requested drugs. The Complainant provided ODC with text messages wherein Ms. Hingel asked Complainant for prescription drugs.
Complainant finally terminated the Respondent after Respondent agreed to meet with her on December 16, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. Respondent cancelled the meeting at 10:05 a.m. and asked if the meeting could be conducted over the telephone instead. In response, Complainant terminated the Respondent and requested a refund of unearned fees and her client file. Respondent failed to provide Complainant with an accounting and failed to return the client file. Respondent did return $2,500.00 of the $3,000.00.
Here, the conduct of Respondent and her representation of Complainant, consisting of both soliciting and purchasing prescription medication from Complainant, criminal conduct, also includes the failure of Respondent to perform legal services on behalf of Complainant. Despite telling Complainant that she had obtained a court hearing date in Complainant’s divorce suit, in fact she had not filed any pleadings and not performed any legal services for her client. Added to these findings is the fact that Respondent, currently ineligible to practice law for non-compliance of Bar requirements, failed to cooperate with the ODC in the disciplinary charges that had been made against her.