Disbarred lawyer’s case moves to chancery court

Published 11:39 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Finding the lawful owners of 20 title insurance premiums on loan closings conducted by former Vicksburg attorney J. Allen Derivaux Jr. and deemed improper by the state’s high court in November will be up to chancery court, an official with the state bar association said Tuesday.

Derivaux, 56, used information on title insurance forms prior to January 2009 to knowingly collect premiums from new policies after his agreement with Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Investors Title Insurance Company to close loans was terminated, a three-person panel of attorneys appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court said last month when it disbarred the longtime local attorney and city judge.

Derivaux had been ordered to turn over $7,884 in premiums collected from the 20 policies, handled after January 2009, plus an additional $1,000 to cover The Mississippi Bar’s costs related to the inquiry. Checks payable to The Mississippi Bar for the $7,884 in premiums and $1,000 in court costs were dated Nov. 23, said Jim Clark, general counsel with the bar association.

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Funds owed in each case could belong to parties in the loans, individual insurance companies or other parties.

The Mississippi Bar will file briefs with the 9th Chancery District for the court to determine who should receive the disbursements, Clark said.

The panel’s decision agreed with the bar association’s conclusion that Derivaux’s actions violated rules on professional conduct and those concerning notifications of clients and third parties of money received where either has an interest. Derivaux is banned from practicing law or making himself available as a lawyer until he is reinstated by the state Supreme Court.

Derivaux was licensed to practice in May 1980 and has served several city administrations as either the chief municipal court judge or judge pro tem.

No decision whether to replace him has been made public by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.