The lawyer representing Lake Area Attorney Meagan Howe is responding to the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision, to place an interim suspension on her license.
St. Louis Attorney Michael Downey says they are disappointed that they were not given a chance to answer questions raised by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel in the courtroom, before the decision was reached.
Downey states Howe suffers from a recent diagnosis of ADHD and PTSD, following an attempted burglary at her home.
He also says Howe is denying most of the allegations against her, including the allegation that she suffers from alcohol addiction.
You can read the full letter below:
***Letter from Attorney***
My law firm and I represent Meagan Howe in the current Supreme Court proceeding. Meagan Howe has represented many of your listeners — her neighbors — for many years. Meagan has many current clients and former clients that are very happy with her services.
Prior to when an order for interim suspension was filed on Monday April 26th, Meagan was seeking only a hearing where she could present her evidence and an impartial panel to hear that evidence. We anticipated that, if Meagan could tell her side of the story, she would be able to continue practicing as a lawyer. Unfortunately, with the Court’s order this week, Meagan has not been permitted to present evidence to a body that is able to evaluate Meagan’s evidence countering the allegations.
We ask that you and your readers remember that an order of interim suspension is not a finding of guilt for any allegations of professional misconduct, but rather a finding of probable cause of potential misconduct sufficient for an interim suspension pending further proceedings.
Therefore, the allegations against Ms. Howe are just that, allegations. Meagan strongly disagrees with the vast majority of the accusations, and has submitted documents that disprove many of the claims against her. This includes that the Missouri Lawyers Assistance Program performed an assessment on Meagan and found she had no problems with alcohol use or abuse.
Furthermore, your readers should understand that the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel did not have final answers from Meagan regarding the complaints made within one week of each during August of 2020, before Disciplinary Counsel requested requested an Interim Suspension. Meagan was delayed in filing those responses because she had been the victim of a traumatic home burglary that occurred around the time her responses were due. The burglary led to Meagan to seek help. She was diagnosed with ADHD as well as PTSD, and began taking medication for those conditions. Meagan’s diagnoses were raised in her answer to the court only to explain her delay in responding to the complaints, not for any other reason.
Last year was a very tough year for Meagan. Like many parents, Meagan had to deal with an abrupt closure of her daughter’s childcare due to the COVID pandemic. This disrupted Meagan’s ability to work or her clients, and also to respond to the Disciplinary Counsel’s letters. Meagan does not claim to be perfect. She realizes that she became disorganized and behind in some aspects of her practice, including in responding to the Disciplinary Counsel. However, Meagan and I both believe Meagan has not caused any significant harm to any client, and that the vast majority of her clients have been satisfied with Meagan’s work and the representation they received.
Downey Law Group LLC