Cobb County Superior Judge C. Latain Kell. (John Disney/Staff)
An indictment returned by a Cobb County grand jury paints a picture of a lawyer’s nightmare: missing a deadline for filing a motion in a lawsuit. Except in this case, the lawyer is alleged to have lied to the judge about having already done the work at issue, then falsifying documents to support his story.
The lawyer named in the July 10 indictment is James Alan Langlais, a former partner in the environmental and land use group at Alston & Bird. A spokesman for Alston & Bird said he left in 2009. At the time of the litigation described in the indictment, he was a partner with the Langlais Law Group, which he started with his wife, .
But he has since left Langlais Law Group, a spokesman for the firm said.
Langlais was indicted on three counts of false statements, two counts of false writings, two counts of forgery and one count of theft by deception. The theft charge claims he took money from clients for legal services he allegedly didn’t perform. All the other counts are based on two appearances before Cobb County Superior Court Judge LaTain Kell in January and February of this year.
The Langlais Law Group referred a call about the indictment to legal malpractice attorney Douglas Chandler of Chandler Law. Chandler said in an email: “I represent Mr. Langlais on the matter with the State Bar. Mr. Langlais is represented by Robert Schnatmeier, Jr., Esq. of Gentry Smith Dettmering Morgan Schnatmierer and Collins, LLP, in Marietta regarding the indictment. Since criminal charges are pending, we do not believe that this is the appropriate time for Mr. Langlais to give a statement.”
Schnatmeier responded similarly: “At this time, it is not appropriate for Jim to comment on any pending legal issues he faces.”
At issue in the indictment is a response from Langlais to a motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit he had filed on behalf of his clients, Greg and Kimberley Euston. The indictment alleges Langlais told the court he had filed a response which was not in the record.
On Jan. 15, the indictment says in its first count, Langlais told the judge he had “previously filed a response to the motion for summary judgment other than his supplemental response.” The indictment alleges he falsely stated, “Back at our office I’ve got a file stamped copy” and “I can provide the court with a copy of that.”
Count two covers the same appearance, but relates to an allegedly false statement: “I have the invoice and the payment for the courier.” The third count alleged he said he had “mailed a copy to counsel.”
Starting with the fourth count, the indictment focuses on Feb. 19, when Langlais allegedly used a false document, saying it was a filed stamped copy of his response to the motion for summary judgment. But the indictment said the clerk’s stamp was forged. Count five says he presented a fraudulent invoice from a courier service for the delivery of the allegedly fake document.
Count six alleges Langlais presented to the court a document called “Plaintiffs’ Response in Opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment” which “purportedly bore a file stamp from the Clerk of Court dated 2013 ICT 11 ON 3:55.” According to the indictment, the file stamp was fake. Count seven is for an allegedly fake invoice from a courier for the document in count six.
Count eight alleges Langlais stole from his clients by taking their money for legal services he falsely claimed to have performed for them in their lawsuit, Euston v. Pierce. The indictment says the amount was “greater than $1,500.”
The defendants in the Euston lawsuit are Lynette and William Pierce. The other attorney listed in the docket is John Nelson. Nelson couldn’t be reached.
The docket shows the lawsuit was dismissed in March. Also in March, Langlais left the Langlais Law Group, according to a spokesman for the firm.
Langlais is listed in the State Bar of Georgia directory as a member in good standing, having been admitted in 2003 with a J.D. from South Texas College of Law.