Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ramel Cotton disbarred.

The Mississippi Supreme Court disbarred Jackson attorney Ramel Cotton a week ago after a tribunal convened on September 8.   The tribunal disbarred the shyster after it ruled that he stole from clients, approved the forging of signatures, refused to provide his trust account records when ordered to do so, and lied to the tribunal. 

There were several incidents that led to the disbarment.

Townsend Case

Tony Townsend was in a motorcycle accident in 2013 and retained Cotton later that year.  His medical expenses were $46,911.   Several insurance companies made settlement offers to Cotton but the attorney did not relay those offers to his client.  State Farm sent two separate checks for $25,000 each to Cotton.  Progressive sent a check for $50,000 to Cotton.  Southern Farm Bureau sent another $20,000.  The total amount of the settlements was $120,000. The checks were made payable to Townsend and his lawyer.  Cotton endorsed every check and deposited them into his trust account.

Cotton couldn't help himself but wrote a check to himself out of the trust account for $20,000 even though Townsend had received none of the settlement funds.  None of his medical providers were paid.  Townsend learned of the settlements when he called Cotton in the summer of 2015.  However, Cotton told his client that although he had received the funds, he was "negotiating with Townswend's medical providers to reduce their liens."  Unfortunately for Tony Townsend, his medical bills have been placed into collections.

However, Cotton was not through with his lying ways.  The wayward attorney told the Mississippi Supreme Court tribunal that heard the case that he had over $430,000 in his trust account.  Unfortunately for Cotton's law license, it turned out he lied to the court because he admitted in another lawsuit that he had "converted Mr. Townsend's settlement proceeds..".

Cotton has never returned the money to Tony Townsend.

Cotton (second from left) w/Mayor Tewodros Gebiba Geda of Hawassa, Ethiopia. 
Shivers Case

Cotton represented Herman, Naomi, Gary, and Kawani Shivers in a wrongful death action filed in Covington County in 2015 after Elando Shivers died in 2014 after being struck by a vehicle. State Farm (insured the at-fault driver) paid $25,000 to Mr. Cotton for distribution to the plaintiffs and settled the case.. Cotton endorsed the checks and deposited them into his trust account in February 2016.  However, none of the plaintiffs signed the checks nor knew that Cotton had received the settlement proceeds until July 2016.

Hartford Insurance (uninsured motorist carrier) settled the case and a release was signed on March 15, 2016.  However, the Shivers' said that they did not sign the release even though it contained their purported signatures.  None of the plaintiffs were present when the "signed" release was notarized.  Hartford paid $25,000 several days later.  Cotton endorsed the settlement check but did not notify the plaintiffs he had received it.  He deposited the funds into his trust account.  Cotton would not return their phone calls.  They were not allowed to enter his office when they tried to pay him a visit.  The Shivers learned Cotton had received the settlement funds in July 2016 when the funeral home was not paid.    He finally paid the funeral home after its attorney contacted him - and after he paid himself $12,500 out of the settlement funds.

He didn't return the money until a Chancellor ordered him to do so earlier this year.  He deposited $40,270 with the court and later admitted that his trust account balance fell below $50,000.  He should have had at least $170,000 in his trust account based on just the Townswend and Shivers cases.  The order states that "he admitted he converted funds from his trust account to his operating account to pay his personal expenses."

However, Cotton was not done with shiving the Shivers.  The Hartford sent him a $5,000 check in December 2015.  The tribunal ordered him to return the money to the Shivers yet Cotton did not do so.   It also said that Cotton knew the signatures for the Hartford release were forged and "condoned" the fraud.

Lying to the Court and the Bar

The Bar repeatedly asked Cotton to provide his trust account records yet Cotton did not do so.  Cotton did not produce them even after he agreed to an order that resulted from the filing of a motion to compel.  The Bar fined him $500 for not submitting the records.  The tribunal ordered Cotton during the hearing to go to his office and retrieve the trust account records.  Cotton left but came back with no records.  He said he didn't have the trust account records. 

However, Cotton blamed his problems on his wife's treatments for colon cancer and his "excessive drinking."

The Mississippi Supreme Court tribunal spared no words in spelling out the reasons for the disbarment of Ramel Cotton:

Mr. Cotton's case however does contain exactly the type of egregious conduct outlined by the Court as requiring disbarment.  Mr. Cotton misrepresented to Mr. Townsend he was working to reduce his medical liens, when he was not.  Mr. Cotton appears to systematically receive settlement proceeds, negotiated those checks, paying his attorneys fees to himself and then failed to notify his clients or third persons that settlement proceeds have been received.  Mr. Cotton attempted to mislead the tribunal when he maintained initially that the over $430,000 currently in his trust account included Mr. Townsend funds, only to admit later that he had in fact converted Mr. Townsend's funds and used those funds to pay personal expenses.  Mr. Cotton's knowledge regarding the forged signatures on the Hartford Release, the false statements of the notary who purported witnessed the signatures and reading of the Hartford release, and then use of the fraudulent Hartford release can also only be classified as egregious conduct.
It didn't help Cotton's cause that he had been previously disciplined twice by the Bar.  He received a private reprimand and informal admonition in 2015.

Justices Warren Conway, Tim Holleman and David Strong comprised the tribunal.  Justice Strong presided over the hearing. 


Anonymous said...

Most attorneys do the same thing---you know what makes this case different ???----HE GOT CAUGHT !!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

good riddance

Anonymous said...

9:35 - No, dumbass, most attorneys do not do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

the state flag caused this--

Anonymous said...

9:48, show me one attorney that has not lied (make untrue statements) and cheated, just one !!!!

9:52, NOT FUNNY !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

There are a dozen more right behind him....

Anonymous said...

Come on Ramel- you know it's funny.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! "Should'a gone one call. That's All"

"If you can't come to us, We'll come to you!"

Anonymous said...

hmmmm - is that why he didn't show up for court today???

Anonymous said...

About time the bar did something. Bravo !

When he didn't produce his trust account records after the first request, his license should have been immediately suspended and the bar should have obtained the records directly from the bank. But the bar associations drag assing around, gave him plenty of time to keep screwing his clients.

Failure to produce trust account records is confirmation a serious problem is at hand. How long did take to neuter this thief?

Bet he didn't have malpractice insurance. Which, of course is not required in Mississippi.

Buyer (of legal services) beware ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Anonymous said...

When is Carlos the Clown going to be disbarred?

Johnny Weir said...

Since everything has gone to arbitration lawyers are finding it harder to make a living.
But, there's still "Jackpot Justice".
See below.
This year's First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at
70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the
Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control
was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed
their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
For those unfamiliar with the award, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico, where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

Anonymous said...

The Grazinski story is fake. FYI

Anonymous said...

why hasn't he been arrested?

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree that frivolous lawsuits should be thrown out of court. I've never been or represented a plaintiff in any case. With respect, you apparently have some facts wrong.

According to Snopes, the cruise control case is just an urban legend.


The Liebeck case is more complicated. She was a passenger in the car, and it was parked when she spilled the coffee on herself. She was severely burned and had to be hospitalized so she could receive skin grafts. A jury awarded her around $2 million. The judge reduced it to around $600K, and the parties settled for a confidential amount while the case was on appeal. A significant part of the settlement probably went to her lawyers and medical bills.

Anonymous said...

Fake news @ 11:29, but thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

Some commentors would have you believe that all lawyers are crooks and liers. Guess that means that all doctors are quacks, all black men are thugs, all white people are racists, . . . . . .

Sound logic. He must watch CNN too.

Anonymous said...

The good people of Pelahatchie probably need to know that the Mayor they recently elected chose Ramel Cotton as her leading candidate to assume the role of Town Attorney for Pelahatchie. Of course, heronner was summarily shot down by the Board of Aldermen and Ramel was invited to get the hell out. Disaster averted.

Anonymous said...

1:37, I didn't say all lawyers are crooks and liers---I said "MOST" lawyers are liers !!!!!

Anonymous said...

To 1:37 - he probably watches Fox.

Anonymous said...


What is a "lier?" You've used that word at least three times. I am not able to find it in any dictionary I have.

Anonymous said...

TO 1:37 ,,,, wow stud muffin , you talk real tough. i be willing to bet the farm you are some a wannabe SEC southern gentry married with kids and your wife caught you banging a road ho and your wife hired a attorney and put your ass out the door. now your 60,000$ pickup has been repossessed, you don't have the money to hang out at ticos anymore, got kicked out of your hunting club and living in a 1 bedroom apartment. can't even make it up to oxford to hang in the grove a leer at college girls. and its all the fault of a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

5:57 he seems to have a good reason for thinking the lawyer is at fault.
I would blame the lawyer also. Who would you think is to be faulted?

Anonymous said...

correction ,,,5:57's comment is directed at 3 :10pm

Anonymous said...

5:57pm is spot on , dead bang. most all haters of members of the bar followed the script described above.

Anonymous said...

So when will Cotton be prosecuted? Where is the DA and Hood?

Anonymous said...

Never heard of him before.

Anonymous said...

ALL gross generalizations are absurd and unfair to those who do not fall within that generalization. A absolutely tiny fraction of all men and women in this country of any background ever have any encounter with law enforcement other than parking tickets and routine traffic violations, but no one would know that watching the media. Likewise, the vast majority of all members of regulated professions (i.e., doctors, pharmacist, architects, engineers, lawyers, etc.) serve their patients and clients both honestly and competently. If they do not they typically get replaced or fired because no one is required to engage them. For the few who actually commit an ethical violation, anyone can file a complaint with the regulating authority, and the Mississippi Bar does an excellent job.

Anonymous said...

8:51 I wouldn't claim the MS Bar has done an "excellent job" until those lightweights disbar RSS. I will bet the farm there are at least 20 bar complaints filed against that POS.

Anonymous said...

1:37, you are dead wrong---married 45 years, went to Delta State, 52 years in the same business---somewhat successful and find lawyers very close to a used car salesman. Nothing you can say or do to change my mind "STUD MUFFIN".

Buy the way, keep writing those kind of responses---it shows just exactly what kind of person you are !!!!!!!!!!!

Johnny Weir said...

I give my apologies for this misinformation. I will harang my source.

Anonymous said...

mmm, Tico's....great suggestion....You might can beat their prices but you can't beat their meat!

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, hate the lawyers. Until one saves your ass....

Anonymous said...

to 9:50am you are just one more stud muffin who can't handle the truth.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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