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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

SUSPENSION/PROBATION

DISBARMENTS

RICHARD W. ENGQUIST [#65718], 55, of San Diego was disbarred Feb. 12, 2005, and ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

Engquist was ordered to comply with rule 955 as part of a discipline imposed in 2004 for which he received a two-year stayed suspension, and a one-year actual suspension. He was disciplined for a misdemeanor conviction of driving while under the influence of alcohol and without a valid driver’s license.

He did not file with the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that he notified his clients and all pertinent parties of his suspension.

Failure to comply with rule 955 is grounds for disbarment.

Engquist also was disciplined in 1992 following a DUI conviction and in 1994 for failing to comply with rule 955.


GREGORY BAUTISTA BAMBO III [#169703], 43, of Richmond was disbarred Feb. 19, 2005, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Bambo misappropriated at least $23,000 in client funds, failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees, cooperate with the bar’s investigation, pay client funds, communicate with clients or release client files, and he commingled funds and committed acts of moral turpitude.

Bambo was charged with misconduct in four matters.

The first was a real estate case, for which the client paid fees totaling almost $80,000. Two defendants settled for $60,000; Bambo deposited the check in his client trust account, withdrew the money and purchased a cashier’s check for $60,000 payable to himself. The client never received any money, his wages were attached and liens were filed against his bank and brokerage accounts. He ultimately was forced to file for personal bankruptcy.

Bambo’s misconduct resulted in the imposition of $35,000 in sanctions that he never paid, according to court papers.

In the second matter, he represented a woman who sought legal advice because she was getting a divorce and wished to sell her house. Bambo did no work on her case.

Another client hired Bambo to represent her in an action against her landlord and a realtor regarding property she leased. Although Bambo never filed or served a complaint, scheduled a mediation or settled the matter, he told the client he had performed all those services. He did not return her file or refund her $2,500 advance fee.

According to the client’s declaration, she lost her right to sue because Bambo allowed the statute of limitations to expire.

Bambo also mishandled his client trust account by using it to make payments to a non-client and he made 27 electronic debits against insufficient funds.


LESTER WHALLEY [#54794], 71, of Yorba Linda was summarily disbarred Feb. 19, 2005, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Whalley was convicted in 2001 of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud. Because both offenses were felonies and an element of wire fraud is the specific intent to defraud, they meet the criteria for summary disbarment. 


MARK R. POVRAZNIK [#153629], 44, of Los Angeles was summarily disbarred Feb. 25, 2005, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Povraznik was convicted of grand theft and petty theft with a prior in 2000. Both convictions meet the criteria for summary disbarment — both were felonies and both involved moral turpitude.

Both crimes, the State Bar Court’s review department found, are separately eligible for summary disbarment.


ALLEN CHRISTOPHER JORGENSEN [#97647], 52, of Banning was disbarred March 2, 2005, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Jorgensen did not comply with rule 955, as ordered in a 2003 discripline. He did not submit to the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension.

Jorgensen had stipulated to 23 counts of misconduct in nine client matters in the underlying discipline, including failure to perform legal services competently, return client phone calls, return client files or refund unearned fees.

He also was publicly reproved in 2001 for similar misconduct.

He did not participate in the final disciplinary proceedings and his default was entered.


SUSPENSION/PROBATION

CRAIG THOMAS FORMICA [#187574], 44, of City of Industry was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 12, 2005.

Formica stipulated to misconduct in five cases.

It was not until the State Bar contacted Formica that he became aware that an employee was hiding or stealing his mail, taking his phone calls, taking some files and forging his signature. Once he learned of the problem, he undertook an investigation of more than 2,000 files in his office and determined that about 75 cases were dismissed due to his failure to appear or comply with court orders. He successfully reinstated 50 cases and paid more than $235,000 to clients in cases that could not be reinstated.

In a personal injury case, he filed a complaint but failed to appear for the jury trial and the case was dismissed without prejudice. Although he tried to have the dismissal vacated and offered a declaration from his secretary, who admitted she failed to calendar jury trial dates, the court denied the motion to reinstate the case. Formica stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently.

In another personal injury case, Formica never received a settlement offer from the insurance company and the statute of limitations ran on the claims. Formica discovered the failure to protect the statute when he audited his files, notified the client about what happened and settled the client’s legal malpractice claims against him.

Formica was sanctioned twice in two separate matters for failing to appear at hearings or participate in discovery, and both cases were dismissed. He learned about the dismissals while auditing his cases and filed successful motions to vacate the dismissals.

Another personal injury case was dismissed as a result of Formica’s failure to appear at hearings or comply with court orders. His motion to reinstate the case was denied and he settled the client’s malpractice claim against him.

In a product liability case based on the alleged failure of a child’s car seat, the client entrusted the car seat to Formica and his investigator took videotape and photographs of the child’s injuries. During the course of his problems with the State Bar, Formica urged the client to find a new attorney. The videotape and photos were missing from the files he provided, and Formica’s efforts to find them were unsuccessful.

Formica stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, comply with court orders or return client files. He was also privately reproved in 2003 for failing to perform legal services with competence.

In a statement with the stipulation, Formica said his failure to adequately supervise his employees led to his problems, and that he undertook a “program of damage control,” contacted the majority of affected clients, reinstated many cases and paid large amounts of money to settle his clients’ grievances. He has downsized his practice.


OTTO IVAN PENA [#182379], 38, of Fullerton was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 12, 2005.

Pena stipulated to misconduct in two cases. He settled a personal injury contingency fee case for $30,000, deposited a check for that amount in his client trust account and gave the client just over $10,000 as her share of the settlement. Pena also settled the client’s medical bill, but did not inform her.

In another personal injury case, he provided his client his share of the settlement proceeds, but did not respond to the client’s doctor’s numerous phone calls about his bill. He did not tell his client about the doctor’s calls or inform him when he paid the bill.

Pena stipulated that in both matters, he failed to keep clients informed of developments in their cases.

Pena was publicly reproved in 2000 for failing to perform legal services competently or communicate with a client. In 2002, he was suspended for not complying with the conditions of his probation.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation and took steps to demonstrate his remorse.


MICHAEL EDWARD CONSIGLIO [#55550], 64, of Moorpark was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 12, 2005.

Consiglio did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 2003 public reproval. He did not file two quarterly probation reports or prove that he passed the MPRE.

The 2003 discipline was imposed because Consiglio did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 2001 private reproval.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


LESLIE LAYTON HARTWELL [#66139], 56, of Hollywood was suspended for three years, stayed, actually suspended for one year and until he makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 12, 2005.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Hartwell did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 2002 disciplinary order. He did not file the final quarterly report, proof that he made restitution or proof that he passed the MPRE.

The underlying discipline resulted from Hartwell’s conviction for felony vandalism. He caused about $16,000 in damage to a neighbor’s apartment after he broke a window and entered their apartment because he believed he heard voices asking for help.


GEORGE HERNANDEZ [#134148], 47, of Beverly Hills was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 12, 2005.

Hernandez stipulated to six counts of misconduct in two cases.

He misused his client trust account by not removing his fees promptly, paying his personal expenses against the account and writing checks against insufficient funds. He did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In the second matter, he did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 1998 disciplinary order. He did not submit nine quarterly probation reports or complete six hours of MCLE courses, and he made restitution payments to two individuals late.

That misconduct involved failure to maintain respect due to the courts, competently provide legal services, maintain the proper balance in his client trust account or promptly respond to a case status inquiry, and he commingled trust monies.

In mitigation, Hernandez provided information indicating his misconduct was caused by a mental health problem that was erroneously diagnosed and then improperly treated. He currently is being treated for a condition that causes mood swings.


ROBERT KINGSLEY SCOTT [#113605], 57, of Santa Ana was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and was ordered to make restitution and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Feb. 19, 2005.

Scott stipulated to misconduct in five cases.

A bankruptcy petition he filed for a client was dismissed with prejudice, the court noting that the client’s commercial property had been the subject of serial bankruptcy filings by Scott. The court also noted that the prior bankruptcies were dismissed with a bar against refiling and that the latest petition was filed in bad faith. The court imposed sanctions of $21,350 to be paid in person to a Long Beach deputy city attorney within 14 days. The sanctions were not paid.

Scott stipulated that he filed a bankruptcy action in bad faith, failed to comply with a court order and did not notify the State Bar about the sanctions, as required.

He did not file proper papers in two additional bankruptcies, respond to his clients’ inquiries or refund their unearned fees. In one of the cases, a debtor obtained a $13,000 judgment against one of Scott’s clients.

In a civil suit in which his client was a defendant, Scott did not respond to discovery requests and the court entered judgment against his client in the amount of $10,200. Scott told the client he would appeal the ruling and take care of the judgment, and he offered to pay the opposing party $500 a month until the judgment was paid. When the judgment was not paid, Scott’s client’s wages were attached.

Scott stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees of $5,000 or respond to his client’s inquiries, and he committed an act of moral turpitude.

He represented the plaintiff in another matter, filing an appeal. He prepared a grant deed on behalf of his client transferring property from the client’s company. The client was told by Scott’s office that the grant deed was filed.

Meanwhile, the defendant in the case filed a lien against the client’s real property; the client learned of the lien when he tried to refinance his property and at the same time learned the grant deed was never filed. He eventually filed the deed himself.

He was unable to reach Scott, either by phone or letter, discharged him and sought the return of his file. Scott never responded. He stipulated that he failed to respond to his client’s reasonable inquiries, keep the client apprised of developments in his case or return his file.

In mitigation, Scott has no record of discipline, and he made restitution to one client and changed his office management procedures.


JOHN M. HEURLIN [#119899], 47, of Tustin was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a two-year actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 19, 2005.

Heurlin stipulated to three acts of misconduct stemming from a lengthy fee dispute with a former counsel and his successor counsel. He admitted that he withheld money from settlement proceeds as “collection costs,” an act that amounted to charging an unconscionable fee, and failed to maintain client funds in trust, an act involving moral turpitude. He also filed and pursued an unjust appeal for motives that included trying to delay the effects of an adverse judgment, cover up his mishandling of funds he was supposed to hold in trust and dishonesty before a trial court.

Originally hired to represent a client in a dental malpractice case, Heurlin said he would not endorse any settlement draft until his claim for fees and costs totaling $12,590 was resolved. He also offered to disburse any funds not in dispute and keep the rest in his trust account.

Heurlin received the $75,000 settlement, disbursed part and withheld $16,063, representing fees and costs as well as $3,473 in “collection costs.” Demands that he return the collection costs were not met and extensive litigation, lasting more than two years, ensued. The court of appeal eventually imposed sanctions of $6,000 against Huerlin for prosecuting a frivolous appeal, finding that he “followed a path of artifice and deceit with respect to his handling of the disputed funds” and other litigation, according to the stipulation.

Huerlin has been disciplined twice previously. He was privately reproved in 1998 and 2001 for similar misconduct.

In mitigation, Huerlin admitted he became emotionally involved in the dispute and lost sight of his professional obligations. He also admitted he did not maintain his client account records diligently. He made restitution and paid the sanctions.


STEPHEN L. BURNS [#113371], 54, of Los Angeles was suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on 18 months of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and make restitution. The order took effect Feb. 19, 2005.

Burns stipulated to misconduct in five personal injury cases, most involving misusing his client trust account and/or failing to perform legal services competently.

He settled one case without his client’s consent, the settlement check was cashed by his employee at a check cashing company and no proceeds were deposited in his trust account.

He negotiated another settlement without client consent but did not inform the client about his receipt of her funds, did not cash the check for eight months and did not give her the funds for almost two years. He did not pay a medical lien for 20 months, and in the cases of two other clients, did not deposit their settlement checks in his trust account or pay them the amount to which they were entitled.

In mitigation, Burns has no record of discipline, he cooperated with the bar and presented evidence of his good character and he paid three clients the funds they were owed.


DEBORAH ANN DUGGAN [#113112], 59, of Oakland was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 13-month actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE, comply with rule 955, prove her rehabilitation and make restitution. The order took effect Feb. 19, 2005.

Duggan stipulated to misconduct in 20 cases; nine involved mishandling her client trust account and most of the others stemmed from either failing to perform legal services competently or outright abandonment of clients.

With regard to the client trust account, Duggan stipulated that she commingled funds, wrote checks against insufficient funds, failed to properly maintain the account and committed acts of moral turpitude.

In an employment matter, the lawsuit Duggan filed was rejected because the check she wrote for the filing fee was not honored by the bank. The court ordered the case set aside and she did not refile or notify her client of the situation.

Duggan did not file a complaint in a personal injury case or an employment matter. One client hired her to handle a job discrimination claim and to file suit on her daughter’s behalf as the result of a physical assault by a teacher. Duggan did not pursue either case.

She dismissed a wrongful death case brought by five siblings, although one wished to continue to pursue the matter. Duggan continued to represent that sibling when the interests of the other clients conflicted.

Another client retained Duggan to represent her in a breach of contract action. She filed suit but did not serve the complaint or appear at a case management conference. The client eventually served the complaint herself after receiving continuances from the court, and the defendant filed a demurrer to which Duggan did not respond.

The client eventually took over the case herself.

In total, Duggan stipulated to 36 counts of misconduct: failing to perform legal services competently (nine counts); refund fees (three counts); return files (three); keep clients informed of developments in their cases (10); or account for client funds (one count). She also stipulated to seven counts of mishandling her client trust account, one count of improperly withdrawing from a case, one count of representing clients with adverse interests and one count of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Duggan suffered a serious head injury in 1996 and hired her brother to help manage her office, using her trust account to pay business and personal bills. She suffered emotional shock when her brother, with whom she lived, died unexpectedly. She later was forced to move her office numerous times. Duggan had no prior record of discipline and she cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


BRET JAY DAVIS [#159076], 50, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual one-year suspension and was ordered to make restitution, prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 19, 2005.

Davis stipulated to 62 counts of misconduct in 17 cases. Most of the cases were bankruptcy matters that he abandoned or did not complete.

In several matters, for example, he filed a bankruptcy petition but then did no further work. Several petitions were deficient because they did not list all creditors.

One client paid him $17,000. Davis first filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition that was dismissed by the court because it was filed under an improper chapter. He refiled the petition under Chapter 7, then converted it back to Chapter 13 and then again back to Chapter 7.

Several petitions entailed dismissing his clients’ student loan obligations, but he never provided documentation to prove they posed an undue hardship to the clients. A client who lived in Hawaii paid Davis’ airfare so he could represent her there, but he never went to Hawaii.

Most of the clients sent Davis numerous letters or attempted to call him many times without receiving a response.

Davis also practiced law while his license was suspended in 2004.

His misconduct included failure to perform legal services competently, communicate with clients, refund unearned fees, return client files, account for client funds or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He withdrew from cases without taking steps to protect his clients’ interests. Davis also stipulated that his “habitual disregard for his clients’ interests” constituted moral turpitude.

He was ordered to enroll in the State Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program to deal with substance abuse or mental health issues.


MANTON LAWRENCE SELBY II [#44350], 60, of Mill Valley was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Feb. 19, 2005.

Selby stipulated to four counts of misconduct in two cases.

In a personal injury matter, he failed to provide competent legal services or pay out client funds promptly because he did not pay his client’s doctors. The case settled for approximately $5,000 and Selby was to pay four doctors. During a settlement conference, Selby negotiated a 50 percent reduction in the medical bills, conditioned upon acceptance by all the doctors. However, one doctor declined to reduce his bill.

As a result, two bills were not paid and were turned over to collection agencies. The client won a small claims judgment against Selby.

In the second matter, a client hired Selby to help resolve a child custody issue and paid him $2,500 in advance fees. Although he contends he sent the client copies of three motions, she says she never received them. The motions were not filed with the court.

He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently and improperly withdrew from employment.

Selby has been disciplined three times previously — he was privately reproved in 1989, received a two-year stayed suspension and four years of probation in 1992 for misconduct in 17 cases, and in 1998, he received a one-year stayed suspension and two years of probation for failing to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees or communicate with clients.


REGINA DELYNN STEELE [#141596], 49, of San Diego was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for 30 days and until she makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. If the actual suspension exceeds 90 days, she must comply with rule 955; if it exceeds two years, she must prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 19, 2005.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Steele committed six acts of misconduct.

She was hired to file an application for naturalization for a client who paid her $1,250 in advance. She did not file the application or do any other work on the case, nor did she return at least 20 phone calls from the client. When the client fired Steele, she did not refund his fee, nor did she account for the money. She also did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In mitigation, Steele has no prior discipline record.


DAVID E. FETTERMAN [#189990], 37, of Lafayette was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect March 2, 2005.

Fetterman stipulated that he did not comply with rule 955 by failing to file an affidavit with the Supreme Court stating that he notified all his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension.

In 2003, he admitted to misconduct in three cases, including failing to refund unearned fees, provide an accounting of fees, respond to a client’s status inquiries, perform legal services competently or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and he improperly withdrew from employment. He also was found guilty in 2002 of one count of misdemeanor possession of child pornography.

In the new case, the bar acknowledged significant mitigation in view of Fetterman’s diagnosis of Hodgkin’s disease, for which he underwent chemo and radiation therapy.


ROBIN REBECCA JACOBS [#167089], 40, of Sherman Oaks was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a six month actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year, comply with rule 955 and prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect March 2, 2005.

Jacobs stipulated to misconduct in nine cases.

In four matters, a tow truck operator appeared at the scenes of auto accidents and suggested to people involved that an attorney from Jacobs’ office could be at the scene within 30 minutes or he actually took the potential clients to her office. In one case, Jacobs’ personal assistant went to the scene and conducted an “expedited field intake,” and signed up a client. Jacobs filed a complaint and had the client sign four forms under penalty of perjury.

In another case, Jacobs accepted a settlement offer and paid medical expenses without conferring with the clients; in another, Jacobs’ assistant had a client execute six documents, including a power of attorney and authorizations for Jacobs to deal with the insurance carrier and have access to the client’s medical records.

In all four matters, Jacobs stipulated that, in accepting a referral from a tow truck operator, she allowed an offer of employment to be made on her behalf to a potential client, with “a significant motive of pecuniary gain.”

In another personal injury matter, Jacobs allowed a non-attorney employee to appear in court on behalf of a client. The employee specifically told several people he was a lawyer.

Jacobs also stipulated that she failed to perform legal services competently in a workers’ compensation case by not pursuing her client’s claim while assuring him she was working on it.

In mitigation, she cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


CINDY LYNN CASSELMAN [#95732], 48, of La Jolla was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect March 2, 2005.

Casselman stipulated to one count of moral turpitude.

As a contract administrator for McDonald’s Corp., Casselman was absent from work without permission and told her employer she had been in court due to her divorce. The employer asked for proof, so she provided a false document that purportedly set a hearing date and appeared to be file-stamped by the court with a judge’s name. No such document was ever filed in connection with Casselman’s divorce.

In mitigation, she has no prior record of discipline.


KEVIN MATTES CLARKE [#140150], 46, of Los Angeles was suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect March 2, 2005.

Clarke stipulated that he commingled personal and non-client funds in his client trust account.

He deposited rent owed to him in the trust account and used the money to pay personal expenses; deposited a retainer from a client company that was owned by his wife and used the money to pay personal expenses; and paid a client a filing fee and part of a settlement using his own funds.

In mitigation, Clarke has no prior record of discipline and no clients were harmed by his misconduct.


ERIN MORRISSEY [#158015], 42, of Los Gatos was suspended for three years, stayed, actually suspended for two years and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE, comply with rule 955 and prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect March 2, 2005.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Morrissey committed multiple acts of misconduct while representing a client in a variety of family law matters, including an out-of-state adoption and a California marital dissolution.

After she filed a dissolution petition, her client sold her house, which she contended was separate property, and gave the $98,000 proceeds to Morrissey to deposit in her client trust account. Morrissey billed the client $72,000 for her work and paid herself $60,000 from the trust account.

A fee dispute ensued, and as partial resolution, Morrissey sent the client a check for more than $38,000, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the house. The client told Morrissey not to release any funds she was holding in escrow; she then hired a new attorney to review the file and determine if the fees were appropriate. The court ordered Morrissey to place the house sale proceeds into a blocked account that could not be invaded without a court order,

Morrissey opened an account and deposited $60,000, but did not ask the bank to block it. She told the court, in a declaration signed under penalty of perjury, that the bank did not know how to open such an account. Nonetheless, the court ordered that the account not be invaded except under court order or written agreement. Morrissey told the court she was unaware of any fee dispute.

Meanwhile, Morrissey filed for divorce and declared the $60,000 as a community asset. At the same time, the client whose money Morrissey was holding substituted her husband in as her lawyer. Morrissey and the husband agreed between themselves to split the $60,000, with $54,000 going to Morrissey and the remainder going to the husband.

The client who sold her house has received nothing. The proceeds represented her life savings, and she has suffered “extreme financial harm,” according to the bar court.

The court found that Morrissey committed five acts of misconduct: she violated a court order, misled a judge, withdrew disputed funds, and “employed means inconsistent with the truth” (two counts).


TERRELL D. POWELL [#67188], 61, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on one year of probation with an actual 45-day suspension. The order took effect March 6, 2005.

Powell stipulated that he failed to comply with rule 955, as ordered in a previous discipline, by not submitting to the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that he notified his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension from practice.

In mitigation, Powell admitted that he forgot to file the affidavit and made an effort to do so once he realized his mistake. The underlying misconduct occurred more than 20 years ago. A public servant for more than 20 years, Powell also provided three character references.


FREDERICK DOYLE ROGERS [#134459], 50, of Ventura was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and until he makes restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect March 6, 2005.

Rogers stipulated to misconduct in three cases.

He filed a personal injury lawsuit and agreed to pay his client’s medical expenses from the proceeds of any recovery. Rogers received a $1,500 settlement check and, after deducting his $500 fee, he was required to keep at least $1,000 in his client trust account. The account eventually was closed out with a zero balance.

He never gave his client his share of the settlement or paid his medical bills, nor did he respond to the client’s numerous phone calls.

Rogers stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, respond to reasonable client inquiries, pay out client funds or maintain client funds in a trust account and he committed acts of moral turpitude by misappropriating client funds.

In the second matter, he wrote checks against insufficient funds in the trust account.

Rogers entered into an agreement in lieu of discipline with the State Bar in 2001, but failed to perform competently in a medical malpractice case he was handling. As a result, he violated the terms of the ALD by not complying with the Rules of Professional Conduct and the State Bar Act.


DONALD CHARLES COOK [#70485], 61, of Long Beach was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a two-year actual suspension and was ordered to make restitution, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect March 6, 2005.

Cook stipulated to 36 counts of misconduct in six personal injury matters. For the most part, he settled the cases but did not pay his clients’ medical bills or respond to their inquiries, and he allowed the balance in his client trust account to fall below the required amount. He twice falsely told State Bar investigators that he knew nothing about outstanding bills.

In one matter alone, Cook stipulated to 11 counts of misconduct. He did not pay the doctor bills, resulting in the assignment of the debt to a collection agency, misappropriated his clients’ funds, did not respond to their inquiries, did not pay the clients their portion of the settlement for 15 months, failed to maintain client funds in trust and misappropriated client money.

The collection agency sued Cook and his clients, and the clients in turn sued Cook, alleging malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and conversion. The collection agency was awarded a judgment of almost $7,000. The clients were awarded $12,429 that Cook did not pay.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline.


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