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Caution! Almost 180,000 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Read the Discipline Key for an explanation of the different levels of disciplinary action. Use Attorney Search to check an attorney's official bar membership record.

DISBARMENTS

RAYMOND ANDREW MILLS [#146416], 54, of Antelope was disbarred June 8, 2003, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Mills committed multiple acts of misconduct in 11 consolidated cases. Although he had no record of discipline in his eight years of practice, the court found that he "repeatedly demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with the professional obligations imposed on California attorneys. . . . He has offered no explanation for his behavior."

He repeatedly failed to follow through on his clients' cases and lost their causes of action, resulting in significant harm, the court said. The misconduct included failure to perform legal services with competence, communicate with clients, promptly refund unearned fees, account for client funds, maintain client funds in trust, maintain client confidences, return client files or cooperate with the bar's investigation, and he committed acts of moral turpitude and improperly withdrew from employment.

Mills worked for an attorney who lost his license; he assumed representation of some of the attorney's clients, in some instances under the same fee agreement.

In one case, for example, he took over the discrimination case of a plaintiff who had paid the law firm $4,500. The client and Mills agreed that he would not need to pay any additional retainer fees and Mills filed the suit.

However, he did not serve the complaint on the defendants. In addition, it was filed in the wrong county and contained several factual errors. The client asked Mills to correct the errors, but he refused unless the client paid the filing fees for an amended complaint.

The client demanded a return of his retainer. Within a week, Mills advised the client he would not file the amended complaint or conduct discovery unless the client paid the $150 filing fee and $1,000 toward discovery. Mills eventually filed an amended complaint, but the signature page was dated six months earlier.

He never served the defendants.

The client sued Mills and the law firm in small claims court, winning a judgment of $4,532. Mills acknowledged the judgment in a letter to the client, saying he handled the case "as a courtesy" because the original attorney was suspended from practice. He told the client if he wanted Mills to continue to represent him, he had to provide a $5,000 retainer with a $1,000 additional payment as an advancement of costs and a $125 "maintenance fee" per month. In the alternative, he could sign an acknowledgment of satisfaction of the small claims judgment, or he could sign a substitution of attorney form.

Mills never refunded the original retainer or paid the small claims judgment.

In an employment case, the client paid Mills $4,500 in advanced fees and agreed to pay advanced costs and a $125 monthly file maintenance fee. The client kept Mills abreast of incidents at his workplace, but when he asked if he was responding appropriately, Mills did not respond. As a result, the monthly "maintenance" payments were sporadic.

When the client informed Mills of what he believed to be further discriminatory action, he enclosed a check with his letter. Two months later, he received a letter from Mills telling him his account was $750 in arrears and his office would do no further work on the case. The client responded by expressing dissatisfaction with Mill's work but gave him another check.

A short time latter, Mills' paralegal (the suspended attorney) told the client the deadline for filing his complaint was imminent but he couldn't find the file. By the time the complaint was filed, the client had paid Mills $6,275. Mills did not respond to his request for an accounting. The client fired Mills and asked for a refund. He never responded and did not refund the money.



JOSEPH THOMAS LANGLOIS [#151390], 47, of Agoura was disbarred June 8, 2003, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court concluded that Langlois committed acts of moral turpitude by lying on an application for a real estate license and making misrepresentations at a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Applicants for a real estate license are asked whether they ever had a business or professional license suspended or revoked. Langlois responded "no," although he was suspended from the bar in 1994 for one year.

When his application was denied because of the misrepresentation, Langlois sought a hearing, where he made further misrepresentations, telling a hearing officer he had never practiced law prior to his suspension and that no one had ever accused him of doing anything improper as a lawyer. Both statements were untrue.

His application for a real estate license was denied because of his misrepresentations.

The 1994 discipline was imposed for lying under oath at three depositions at which Langlois falsely stated he had a law license in California and for holding himself out to be a lawyer before he was licensed.

In recommending his disbarment, bar court Judge Paul Bacigalupo wrote, Langlois "has repeatedly demonstrated his utter disregard for veracity, a cornerstone of the legal profession. . . . The Court does not view [Langlois] as fit to be entrusted with the responsibility and privilege of practicing law."



JEFFREY BRENT LUGASH [#41458], 63, of Van Nuys was disbarred June 22, 2003, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Lugash violated the terms of a 2001 disciplinary order requiring him to comply with rule 955. He did not file an affidavit with the Supreme Court attesting that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension from the bar.

Lugash was disciplined three times previously. He was publicly reproved in 1998 for failing to comply with the terms of a 1994 agreement in lieu of discipline, he was given a stayed suspension in 2000 for not complying with the terms of the public reproval, and in 2001, his probation was revoked, again for failing to comply with probation requirements.



SUSPENSION/PROBATION

VIKEN K. PAKRADOUNI [#141573], 40, of Whittier was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE. The order took effect May 24, 2003.

Pakradouni stipulated that he failed to respond to his client's phone calls and letters asking for an update on her case and he failed to keep a client informed about developments in her case.

Pakradouni had been hired to file suit against several defendants in an action relating to the client's purchase of a franchise, but he concluded there were insufficient grounds for a suit. He never discussed that conclusion with the client.

In mitigation, he had no record of discipline.



ALLAN JOEL SARKIN [#102331], 55, of Encino was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 30-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect May 28, 2003.

Sarkin stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently in a real estate matter. His client paid $300 to attempt to settle the case and another $1,200 to handle the case through arbitration.

Sarkin was unable to settle the case, but did not respond to an inquiry from his client six months later. The client threatened to report him to the State Bar and demanded a settlement within three months.

Sarkin never initiated arbitration or provided any further legal services.

He was disciplined in 1992 for failing to perform legal services competently or cooperate with a bar investigation and in 1993 for failing to comply with probation conditions.

In mitigation, he paid the client more than $2,000 and advised him that because the statute of limitations had not run, he could still pursue the case. Prior to being retained by the client, Sarkin's longtime secretary left his employ and he was without clerical assistance, resulting in inadequate follow-up. He also suffered from professional burn-out and was not as diligent as he should have been.



ERIC MONROE ST. JOHN [#69432], 53, of Huntington Beach was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 120-day actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 28, 2003.

St. John stipulated to misconduct in six consolidated cases, most involving his failure to perform legal services competently, communicate with his clients or refund unearned fees in family law matters. In addition, he stipulated that he withdrew from employment without protecting his clients' interests, violated a court order and failed to promptly return a client's file and cooperate with the bar's investigation.

In one matter for instance, St. John represented a client who advanced a $3,000 fee for a dissolution action. He stipulated to four items that were ordered by the court, including preparation of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) for the client's wife's pension. The QDRO was to be signed within two weeks of its presentation to the court.

St. John did not meet the terms of the court's order.

Sixteen months later, the client gave St. John another $750 to file a petition seeking to enforce the court orders. The client told St. John that if he was not going to proceed with the petition, he should return the money.

Although St. John did no more work on the case, he deposited the money in his bank account, claiming that the client owed him money for other services. He did not return the client's many phone calls or answer six certified letters inquiring about the case. He never advised the client he was no longer representing him and remained his attorney of record.

In a malpractice action and a collections matter for which St. John was paid $5,000, he did not return the client's 26 phone calls seeking information. He also did not respond to four letters from the client firing him and seeking a refund of his money and a return of his documents. When the client went to St. John's office, she discovered the lawyer had moved three days earlier. She finally was able to meet with him, and St. John admitted he never filed her malpractice suit and never contacted the collection agency on her behalf.

St. John did not answer two more letters but eventually returned his client's file.

She sued him in small claims court and won a default judgment of $5,020. He filed a motion to vacate the judgment but about the time of the hearing, he refunded $5,000 in unearned fees.

In mitigation, St. John has performed pro bono work for many years. In 1999, his daughter was severely injured and disabled in a car accident, and St. John became severely depressed as a result of her medical condition. His wife, who was his office manager, had to leave her job to care for their daughter. The daughter's medical expenses exceeded St. John's insurance and as a result he declared bankruptcy and his house went into foreclosure. He has no prior record of discipline.



WILLIAM LEO REISER [#67258], 54, of Walnut Creek was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and until he makes restitution and was ordered to take the MPRE. If the actual suspension exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955; if it exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 7, 2003.

Reiser stipulated to misconduct in two cases.

Reiser was retained to dissolve a medical corporation for a physician who paid $1,175 in legal fees. He was to prepare and file about a half-dozen documents with the secretary of state and the appropriate governmental authorities. He never did so.

About 18 months later, the secretary of state suspended the corporation and six months after that, the Franchise Tax Board notified the doctor it had not received income tax returns for the previous year.

Reiser did not return the client's many phone calls, but the staff assured him the matter would be resolved. The doctor's accountant also got nowhere in his attempts to contact Reiser. On two occasions, the doctor was able to speak to Reiser, who assured him he would submit the necessary documentation.

He never did so, and the secretary of state suspended the corporate powers of the practice and the tax board sent the doctor of notice of suspension for failing to file tax returns.

Reiser stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently. He also never refunded unearned fees, did not return the doctor's file and did not cooperate with the bar's investigation.

In a second case, he wrote 164 checks against his client trust account to pay personal expenses over a nine-month period.

In mitigation, Reiser has no record of discipline in 27 years of practice.



TIMOTHY V. MILNER [#109648], 46, of Beverly Hills was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a four-month actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 7, 2003.

Milner stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently or comply with a court order in a bankruptcy case.

He was hired to represent a client in two proceedings in bankruptcy court to recover a debt. The client had been awarded a $190,000 judgment in a civil action against two parties, but both declared bankruptcy after the judgment was entered.

Although he filed a complaint and notified his client about a status conference in one matter, he didn't appear. The case eventually was dismissed when Milner did not appear at an order to show cause hearing or file a response to the order.

Milner has been disciplined twice previously. In 1996, he was suspended for failing to perform legal services competently or keep a client informed about developments in his case, and for committing an act of moral turpitude by misrepresenting the status of a case to a client. In 1998, he was suspended for failing to perform legal services competently, return a client file, keep a client informed or cooperate with the bar's investigation.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar's investigation and implemented new office procedures In addition, the underlying action in the case was filed to preserve the statute of limitations and it had questionable merit.



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