Extortion and Professional Irresponsibility

by Ryan Richardson April 1 2014, 21:17
Most people often have the misconception that being a member of the legal profession automatically affords one a “get-out-of-jail-free” card. Needless to say, such a privilege has not and will not, ever be available to any member of society, including those who make, shape and enforce the law. A lesson which two Tennessee lawyers chose to learn the hard way, instead of in a Professional Responsibility course. “Two Tennessee lawyers have been indicted by a grand jury [on March 12, 2014] in an extortion case . . . They are accused of pressuring a client [Michelle Langolis] several years ago to pay $50,000 in probate case legal fees she had not agreed to pay by threatening her with arrest.” Additionally, attorneys Carrie Gasaway, and Fletcher Long, who once worked together as law partners, did go on to have Langolis arrested on a theft-of-services charge, alleging that she had issued them a bad $50,000 check, eventually these charges were dropped. However, after being arrested Langolis retained the services of another attorney who had her bond reduced to a reasonable amount, and on February 28, 2012 “at the request of District Attorney General John Carney, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) began looking into the allegation. In October 2010, Langlois sought the legal services the accused, in the reading of her father’s will. “An initial fee for the services was agreed upon by both parties….after the will reading, Gasaway asked Langlois to sign a contract for an additional $50,000…when Langlois refused, Gasaway and Long made continued demands for the additional payment and then obtained an arrest warrant for the victim with a $75,000 bond.” [More]

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