Texas attorney loses bid in 14th Court of Appeals to have suspended license restored

By Takesha Thomas | Jan 9, 2019

HOUSTON – A Texas attorney has lost a bid to have his suspended license restored by the Commission for Lawyer Discipline.

The three panel of justices on the 14th Court of Appeals ruled on Dec. 21, 2018, that the 334th District Court of Harris County did not err when it ruled to suspend Robert S. Bennett's attorney's license for two years, six months and three days. 

Bennett had argued that there was "factually insufficient evidence to support the trial court's decision to impose the partially probated suspension" and the trial court had abused its discretion when it imposed the suspension on him, the opinion states. 

Bennett's suspension is regarding allegations that misconduct toward a client delayed the resolution of a fee dispute and increased the costs incurred by the client.

The Appeals Court had previously remanded the matter for the trial court to reconsider the appropriate sanction, leading to Bennett's appeal. 

Justice J. Brett Busby found that the trial court "did not abuse its discretion when it imposed a partially probated suspension on Bennett," and that "Bennett has not demonstrated that the length of the suspension was an abuse of the trial court’s discretion to impose an appropriate suspension for engaging in professional misconduct." 

The opinion states that there was "evidence in the record from which the trial court could have concluded that Bennett did not accept that he had engaged in professional misconduct and might therefore repeat his conduct in the future."

Bennett also argued that the attorney for the Commission for Lawyer Discipline had "engaged in misconduct during the trial." He argued that as a result, no sanction should be imposed on him as a result. However, the panel found that Bennett failed to "point to where in the record the alleged misconduct occurred, he objected to that misconduct, and he obtained a ruling on that objection."

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