New Orleans lawyer disbarred for spending couple's BP oil spill money
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans lawyer who spent a portion of her clients’ BP oil spill settlement money was permanently disbarred from practicing law in Louisiana.
Akello Patrice Dangerfield represented a couple who received $506,000 after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, The Advocate reported.
When the money came in from the settlement in March 2017, Dangerfield did not tell the clients, the Louisiana Supreme Court said. The couple arranged a meeting the following month to inquire about the money and Dangerfield told them she had spent a significant amount and only had $303,000 left to give them.
Dangerfield had a 15% contingency fee which would have given her about $76,000 of the settlement. She tried to renegotiate her share of the money but the couple declined. She said she would pay back the balance of $127,000 within 90 days. When she did not, the couple hired a lawyer to get their money.
The couple also filed a complaint with a state disciplinary board. Dangerfield told the board she was taking care of her mother, who died in August 2017, at the time of the misconduct.
The state Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Dangerfield and ordered her to pay restitution. Attempts by The Advocate to reach her were unsuccessful Monday.