JEFFERSON CITY (St. Louis Record) — St. Louis attorney Brandon LaMonte Williams has received a stayed indefinite suspension following a May 22 Missouri Supreme Court order after his paralegal failed to disburse settlement funds to clients.
The Missouri Supreme Court placed Williams on a year of probation. "Should probation be revoked and the suspension take effect, no petition for reinstatement shall be entertained for a period of one year from the date the suspension becomes effective," the state high court's order said.
Williams was admitted to the bar in Missouri on Sept. 17, 2003, according to his profile at The Missouri Bar's website.
Part of the allegations against Williams stem from a complaint by a former client who hired Williams to represent her following her involvement in an automobile accident, according to Williams' brief and that of the chief disciplinary counsel filed with the court. After the matter was settled with the insurer, Williams' paralegal - with authorization from Williams or the client - executed a release agreement and endorsed the settlement check before depositing settlement funds into Williams' operating account, rather than paying them to Williams' client.
Williams reportedly was unaware his client was not paid the settlement proceeds "until he was contacted by her new counsel," the chief disciplinary counsel's brief said. The client did not receive the settlement proceeds until 18 months after they had been deposited into the operating account.
In another client matter, Williams' paralegal also endorsed a settlement check and deposited the funds into the operating account, rather than paying the amount to the client. In that case the client did not receive the funds until 22 months after Williams' office received them.
Following a hearing in August 2017, a disciplinary hearing panel recommended Williams receive a stayed suspension and he be placed on a year of probation. Williams and the office of chief disciplinary counsel agreed to the discipline.