Mississippi Bar accuses Hattiesburg attorney Brooks of 12 counts of misconduct
Brandon Brooks, the Hattiesburg attorney who was recently found guilty of impersonating someone else online and of telephone harassment, has now been charged by the Mississippi Bar Association with 12 counts of misconduct ranging from failure to provide paid services ranging to neglect and lack of communication, among other allegations.
The bar’s complaint, filed Dec. 15 with the clerk of the Supreme Court’s Appeals Office, says Brook was a member of the Bar at the time of all the complaints — and was subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Mississippi Supreme Court filed against him. The counts are as follows:
- Count I: This complaint, filed by client Ashlee Smith, alleges lack of communication and neglect. The complaint states that Smith hired Brooks to represent her in a divorce case and paid him $850 to do so. Brooks then allegedly informed Smith that the matter was closed, but after Smith requested this documentation from Brooks, he did not provide it. Brooks then repaid Smith only $478.
- Count II: Client Robert Hawkins allegedly paid Brooks $1,250 to represent Hawkins in a divorce case. Brooks then failed to submit the required documents and was fired by Hawkins, after which Hawkins accused Brooks of embezzling funds.
- Count III: Customer Anthony Caronia filed this complaint against Brooks alleging lack of communication and neglect. According to the complaint, Brooks failed to comply with court orders in a probate matter and failed to answer the complaint or comply with the legal requirements of the attorney general’s office.
- Count IV: Customer Dawn Crabtree filed a complaint against Brooks in October 2021, alleging lack of communication and neglect. Crabtree said she retained Brooks to represent her in a divorce matter but failed to file documents on Crabtree’s behalf on the matter.
- Count V: Client Terry Lott claimed Brooks was uninformed and neglected. Allegedly, after Lott hired Brooks to represent him in a divorce matter, Brooks did not file any documents in the case and claimed to have difficulty in serving the proceedings on Lott’s wife.
- Count VI: Customer Mitchell Magee filed this complaint against Brooks, alleging lack of communication and negligence. Magee reportedly paid Brooks $800 in October 2021 to amend an ownership agreement for an uncontested divorce. At the time of the complaint, Brooks had not completed work for Magee.
- Count VII: Client Eva Sullivan filed a complaint against Brooks for lack of communication and neglect. According to the complaint, in October 2020, Sullivan paid Brooks $3,500 to represent her in a child custody matter. During an initial hearing in March 2021, Sullivan was granted rights to her son, but Brooks did not submit the proper documents until a second hearing was held in August 2021. Brooks then did not respond to any of Sullivan’s requests.
- Count VIII: Client Annie Moore filed a complaint against Brooks alleging lack of communication and neglect. According to the complaint, Moore withheld Brooks for $3,000 to represent Moore’s daughter in a custody matter. After Brooks contracted COVID-19 and was forced to miss a scheduled hearing, authorities arrived at Moore’s daughter’s home and took custody of the child. Moore requested a refund from Brooks, which he failed to provide.
- Count IX: Client Karen Green filed a complaint against Brooks alleging lack of communication, dishonesty and neglect. According to the complaint, Green hired Brooks to represent her in a grandparents’ visitation matter, but Brooks failed to represent her effectively and was dishonest in scheduling hearing dates in Green’s case. Green showed up for the courthouse hearings, but Brooks did not.
- Count X: Customer Ashley Odom filed a complaint against Brooks for lack of communication, dishonesty and negligence. Odom reportedly paid Brooks $3,000 to represent her in a divorce case, along with a $200 filing fee, but Brooks did not file a necessary petition. Brooks then allegedly falsely told Odom that documents had been filed and hearings called.
- Count XI: Adam Kilgore filed a complaint against Brooks based on information and belief alleging fraud, dishonesty and prejudicial misconduct. The complaint states that Brooks posted a false negative review of Schmidt Law Firm, PLLC, under a fake account created under the name “Chris P. Lott.” Another false negative review was posted on the company’s Facebook page and also on Google.
- Count XII: Kilgore filed another complaint against Brooks alleging neglect and lack of communication. The complaint alleges client Titania Page hired Brooks to represent her in a divorce matter, but he missed a hearing, which was then postponed. Brooks allegedly failed to properly notify Page of the matter and she has sought a refund from Brooks.
Brooks – who practices law out of his West Pine Street office – was recently convicted on the charges of identity theft and harassment after allegedly creating paid people to write false reviews and fake email and Facebook accounts created accounts. According to Lamar County Judicial Court documents, he was ordered to pay $3,500 in compensation to Lott, whose name Brooks allegedly used to create the fake account.
These convictions come after Harley Dakota Norris, who worked as Brooks’ paralegal, filed an affidavit against Brooks, stating that Brooks had paid other people to write about his law firm. Norris also claims to have personal knowledge that Brooks created numerous fake email accounts and Facebook pages, with one of the Facebook pages being created under Lott’s name.
“Chris P. Lott’s Facebook account was used to write a false negative review of Schmidt Law Firm (on that firm’s Facebook page),” Norris explained in the affidavit filed April 5, 2022 . “Brandon L. Brooks asked me to back up his phones and computers so he can get rid of the data on all the computers he has in the office and at home.”
Norris stated that she was made aware of the fake Facebook account dated February 25, 2022, which Brooks allegedly used to identify Norris’ previous place of work, where she went to high school, and the city where she lived. According to Norris, Brooks used this information to damage Norris’ character, causing emotional distress, anxiety and depression.
“(It) put me in a position to defend myself against what other people thought of me in the church,” the affidavit reads. “Brandon also used this fake profile to ‘friend’ underage children, attack other lawyers’ business pages (George Schmidt) and post obnoxious comments regarding homosexuality and invite people of the same lifestyle by making comments like ‘sounds gay ‘I’ posted. Minimum.'”
Court documents also state that Brooks impersonated another actual person by opening a profile on a social networking site in order to hurt, intimidate, threaten or defraud another person. Additionally, on January 24, 2022, Brooks allegedly left seven harassing voicemails.