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Caution! More than 200,000 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

JULIE LYNN WOLFF [#142531], 53, of Sacramento was disbarred Aug. 14, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Wolff did not comply with an earlier order rule 9.20 requirement: she did not submit to the court an affidavit attesting that she notified her clients, opposing counsel and other pertinent parties of her suspension from practice. Failure to comply with rule 9.20 is grounds for disbarment.

Wolff was suspended in June 2007 for abandoning more than 300 indigent dependency clients and failing to appear in 39 matters as a result of her belief that she did not have to follow the orders and rules of the Sacramento Superior Court.

She subsequently was suspended later the same year for failing to promptly return her client’s file and failing to respond to her client’s reasonable status inquiries.

In recommending Wolff’s disbarment, Judge Lucy Armendariz wrote, she “has demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with the professional obligations and rules of court imposed on California attorneys although she has been given opportunities to do so.”


THOMAS LEIGH UPHOLT [#67868], 65, of Sacramento was disbarred Aug. 14, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Upholt violated rule 9.20 by failing to submit an affidavit stating that he had notified his clients, opposing counsel and pertinent courts and parties of his suspension.

Failure to comply with rule 9.20 is grounds for disbarment.

Originally suspended and placed on probation in 2006, Upholt’s probation was revoked in 2007 when he failed to meet its conditions and he was ordered then to comply with 9.20.

The original discipline was imposed for his failure to perform services competently or update his membership record, improperly withdrawing from employment and the unauthorized practice of law.

Judge Lucy Armendariz recommended Upholt be disbarred to “protect the public, the courts and the legal community, to maintain high professional standards and to preserve public confidence in the legal profession.”


JOHN M. GILROY [#64126], 60, of Omaha, Neb. was disbarred Aug. 14, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

Gilroy was disbarred in Nebraska and the State Bar Court found that his misconduct there was grounds for disbarment in California. Because Gilroy did not participate in the California proceedings, the Nebraska record is considered proof of misconduct and the bar court focused only on the degree of discipline.

It found that he committed 11 acts of misconduct in two client matters.

In the first matter, Gilroy helped a friend whom he had represented for many years obtain a $99,000 construction loan. He also acted as general contractor for the construction of the man’s home. When he received installments of the loan proceeds, he used the funds for personal purposes although he always repaid the money. The friend acknowledged that he expected Gilroy to use the funds for personal expenses from time to time.

All the funds eventually were paid either to the client or his creditors.

The bar court found that Gilroy failed to maintain client funds in a client trust account, did not account for client funds and committed an act of moral turpitude by misappropriating client funds.

In the second matter, Gilroy represented an elderly woman, primarily with estate planning, who was referred to him by her insurance agent. The agent had a professional relationship with Gilroy, who was representing the agent on a personal matter at the time. When the elderly client moved into an assisted living facility, Gilroy began to pay her bills.

The woman’s daughter became concerned that the insurance agent had sold her mother unnecessary policies and annuities and asked Gilroy to look into it. She believed the agent may have been cashing in at a loss recently purchased policies in order to generate thousands of dollars in commissions.

Gilroy told his client and her daughter that he had a business relationship with the insurance agent and was currently representing him but that he would look into the matter. He also said if legal action against the agent became necessary, they would need a different lawyer.

The women fired Gilroy when they learned he had not taken immediate action against the agent.

In addition, the daughter had incurred $763 in expenses on her mother’s behalf and asked Gilroy to reimburse her, with her mother’s consent. He wrote a check against insufficient funds and never paid her.

The California court found that Gilroy failed to perform legal services competently, had a conflict of interest in representing both the elderly client and the insurance agent, did not withdraw despite the conflict and failed to maintain client funds in trust or pay out client funds. He also did not participate in the bar’s investigation and he committed an act of moral turpitude by not paying the daughter the money she was owed.

In recommending that Gilroy be disbarred in California, Bar Court Judge Richard A. Platel cited the misappropriation of client funds and noted that a lesser discipline was not warranted because there was no evidence the misappropriation was an isolated event.


PERRY SETH REICH [#96618], 59, of Queens Village, N.Y. was disbarred Aug. 22, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

Reich was convicted in 2005 of forging a judge’s signature and obstructing justice and has been on interim suspension since that time. The State Bar Court review department granted bar prosecutors’ request that Reich be summarily disbarred, finding that the convictions were felonies involving moral turpitude.

Reich argued that he was entitled to a hearing to determine whether the convictions involved moral turpitude.

He had filed his resignation with charges pending in 2007, but the Supreme Court declined to accept it.


GREGORY DEAN ESAU [#111487], 52, of Seattle was disbarred Aug. 30, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

The disbarment is the final act in a relatively minor disciplinary history that began in 1996 when Esau failed to return a $1,700 advance fee to a client who fired him. The client sued and obtained a judgment for $1,751 that Esau paid. However, the matter went to the Washington bar’s disciplinary board, which ordered that Esau be publicly reprimanded.

As a result, the California bar filed charges against Esau that resulted in a private reproval and probation.

Esau violated his probation conditions, beginning an escalation of the discipline imposed on him. The reproval period was extended by one year, Esau received a six-month stayed suspension and two years’ probation, his probation was revoked and he received a six-month actual suspension. The State Bar ultimately sought disbarment as a result of Esau’s history of probation violations.

“This matter illustrates the serious consequences of an attorney’s extended inattention to State Bar disciplinary proceedings and his repeated disregard of Supreme Court orders,” wrote review Judge Judith Epstein for a three-judge panel.

The panel rejected a hearing judge’s finding that Esau’s alcoholism played a part in his misconduct and it did not give great weight to the three character witnesses who testified on his behalf.

Although Epstein acknowledged that the initial misconduct did not result in serious discipline, nor were any clients harmed, she wrote, “We could find no case imposing a sanction less than disbarment for an attorney who repeatedly has been called to account in disciplinary proceedings for violating conditions of probation, while at the same time violating court orders requiring compliance with rule 9.20.”


ROBERT M. RADESKI [#174280], 50, of Rancho Cucamonga was disbarred Aug. 30, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Radeski failed to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court, since renumbered as rule 9.20, as required by a 2006 disciplinary order. He did not submit to the court an affidavit attesting that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other pertinent parties of his suspension. Failure to comply with rule 955 is grounds for disbarment.

The underlying discipline was imposed when Radeski failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a 2003 public reproval for advising a client to violate a court ruling.


GORDON RANDOLPH WRIGHT [#78644], 64, of El Cajon was disbarred Aug. 30, 2008, and ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Wright violated rule 955 of the California Rules of Court, since renumbered as rule 9.20, by not submitting an affidavit stating that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other pertinent parties of his suspension. Failure to comply with rule 955 is grounds for disbarment.

The underlying discipline was a 2006 probation revocation, imposed when Wright did not comply with multiple probationary requirements attached to a 2005 disciplinary order. He had failed to perform legal services with competence, respond to his client’s reasonable status inquiries, take reasonable steps upon termination of employment to avoid prejudice to his client, promptly return his client’s papers, or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In recommending Wright’s disbarment, Judge Richard A. Honn wrote that Wright “has demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with the professional obligations and rules of court imposed on California attorneys although he has been given opportunities to do so.”


SUSPENSION/PROBATION

WILLIAM MICHAEL McCANN [#66753], 59, of San Jose was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 19, 2008.

The State Bar appealed a hearing judge’s recommended discipline, which did not include an actual suspension, and asked for a three-month actual suspension. The review department took into consideration McCann’s 30 years of discipline-free practice and settled on a 60-day actual suspension.

The hearing judge found that he committed forgery, failed to keep clients reasonably informed of significant developments and made misrepresentations to a State Bar investigator.

In a personal injury case, he represented a minor whose medical expenses were paid by Blue Cross of California through an ERISA-qualified plan. Blue Cross hired The Rawlings Co. to obtain reimbursement for those benefits.

McCann did not respond to Rawlings’ notice of a lien and he believed that Blue Cross did not have a valid lien against any recovery. The lien amounted to $831.85.

When the case settled for $4,500, McCann endorsed the settlement check on behalf of Rawlings Co. for Blue Cross, knowing his clients were anxious to receive their money. He later received another lien notice but did not respond. When a Rawlings representative called McCann about the settlement check, he responded that he had “implied authority” to sign it. Although he attempted to pay part of the amount owed and then the full amount, his checks were returned.

He told a State Bar investigator that he had verbal authorization to endorse the check and said he thought the matter was resolved when he offered to fully reimburse Rawlings.

The review panel agreed with a hearing judge’s findings that McCann committed forgery, failed to keep his clients reasonably informed and made misrepresentations to a bar investigator, committing an act of moral turpitude. However, it disagreed with the judge’s belief that McCann acted in good faith because he believed the lien was invalid. That belief, the panel said, did not justify forgery.

“McCann consciously took the risk and forged Rawlings’ name in order to get the money to his impoverished clients quickly,” wrote Judge Madge Watai. His “good intentions,” she added, did not trump his dishonesty.

McCann has no prior record of discipline in 30 years of practice.


EDWARD W. HAASE [#189819], 38, of San Diego was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 19, 2008.

Haase stipulated to six counts of misconduct in two client matters.

He was censured by an immigration judge for failing to appear three times for hearings, conduct that also involved violations of the Business & Professions Code: failure to maintain respect due the courts and disobeying a court order.

In 2003, he represented a client who was denied asylum and ordered removed from the country. Although he filed a notice of intent to appeal, he never appealed and the client hired another lawyer who argued ineffective assistance by counsel. Haase did not respond to two notices by the court, who referred his matter to the immigration court’s general counsel for possible discipline. Although the court found that Haase had acted properly, he failed to appear for three televised hearings. He also was admonished for similar behavior in an earlier case.

In the second matter, Haase was hired to represent a client, who paid a $5,000 fee, before the Board of Immigration Appeals. However, he did not file an appeal brief, the case was dismissed and the client was ordered deported. He hired a new attorney, for another $5,000, to pursue his case.

Haase stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, take steps to avoid prejudice to his client, promptly refund unearned fees or account for client funds.

In mitigation, he has no prior discipline record, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and was under severe financial stress, ultimately closing his law office to work from home in the wake of a difficult divorce. Haase also had transitioned into the Army and was on active duty at the time of the first hearing before the immigration court and unable to participate. He acknowledged that he should have informed the court and asked for a continuance.


MICHAEL L. CHALLGREN [#137072], 49, of Hermosa Beach was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect July 26, 2008.

Challgren stipulated to two counts of misconduct: he issued four checks against insufficient funds in his client trust account and he did not cooperate with the State Bar’s investigation of his actions.

He has been disciplined twice. In 2006 he was put on probation for three years for failing to perform legal services competently, keep clients informed about developments in their case or respond to clients’ reasonable status inquiries. He also was privately reproved in 2001.

In mitigation, Challgren was under severe financial stress after losing three trials in 2004 for which he had fronted all expenses and ultimately had to close his practice, and he had serious family problems, including his father’s cancer.


CARL K. OSBORNE [#42340], 68, of El Segundo 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 July 26, 2008.

Osborne was convicted in 2007 of one count of giving false information to a police officer, a misdemeanor. He was a passenger in a car driven by his son that displayed a disabled placard. When a police officer checked its validity, Osborne said the placard was his although it was issued to his father-in-law. He was not carrying any identification, but gave the name of his father-in-law and his own birth date, and when shown a photo of the father-in-law, insisted the placard was his. He signed his father-in-law’s name to a citation issued by the officer for misuse of a handicapped placard.

Osborne stipulated that he committed acts of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, he practiced for 40 years without any discipline, cooperated with the bar’s investigation, showed remorse and presented an “extraordinary demonstration” of good character.


PAUL W. TAMMEN [#153309], 52, of San Diego was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect July 26, 2008.

Tammen stipulated to four counts of misconduct in three personal injury cases.

In the first, he did not accurately document and account for settlement funds that had not been disbursed. The case settled for $30,000 but the document authorizing disbursement, which was meant to be preliminary only, contained several errors. The amount of Tammen’s legal fee was actually estimated to be less than what he was entitled to, and he expected the estimated medical liens to be reduced. It also did not include an MRI bill that Tammen was not aware of. Nonetheless, the client signed the document.

Most of the settlement was distributed, but Tammen stipulated that he failed to account for all client funds.

In the second matter, he represented a child who was injured in an automobile accident over the course of three years. When he moved his office, however, the file was lost. The child’s mother later terminated Tammen and demanded the file, but he didn’t receive the letter. When a State Bar investigator inquired about the client’s allegations, Tammen did not respond to one letter, asked for more time in response to a second letter, but ultimately did not respond to the investigator.

He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In another case resulting from an auto accident, Tammen filed suit although his client’s mother instructed him not to serve the summons because she did not want to sue the parents of the other driver. Tammen abandoned the lawsuit and it was dismissed for lack of prosecution. The client’s insurance claim also was closed.

Tammen stipulated that he failed to keep a client informed of significant developments by not advising the client that the suit could be dismissed for lack of prosecution.

In mitigation, he has no prior discipline record and had severe family problems that resulted from caring for his elderly and seriously ill parents.


DOUGLAS M. BORTHWICK [#176372], 43, of Santa Ana was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Aug. 1, 2008.

Borthwick stipulated that he presented an outdated resume to a prospective employer, committing an act of moral turpitude.

He left the law firm where he worked when it downsized and hired a resume writing service. However, his new resume was not ready when he heard about a job opening, so he submitted an old version, without revising the dates of his previous employment. The resume gave the impression that he was still employed.

Borthwick later faxed a new resume to the prospective employer but it did not clarify his dates of employment.

In mitigation, Borthwick has no discipline record, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation and he presented letters attesting to his honesty.


KURT A. KISSINGER [#144984], 54, of Newport Beach was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual one-year suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect Aug. 1, 2008.

After stipulating in 2004 to misconduct in five cases, Kissinger was accepted in the State Bar alternative discipline program; he established a connection between his mental health issues and his misconduct. He also began to participate in the Lawyers Assistance Program.

In 2006, he withdrew from the LAP because he disagreed with its recommendations. He later tried to be reinstated but he ultimately was terminated from the program.

In the underlying discipline, Kissinger stipulated to 16 counts of misconduct in six cases.

In a divorce case, he did not return his client’s numerous phone calls or keep him apprised of developments in the case, including a request by opposing counsel for additional information to complete the dissolution. He also moved his office and changed his phone number without telling the client.

In a second divorce matter, Kissinger filed a petition for dissolution while he was suspended from practice. When the client, who had paid an advance fee of $2,500, asked him to take the case off calendar and send a bill, he did not respond.

In a personal injury case, he wrote a check on a closed account to pay the filing fee and took no steps to remedy the matter. The client ultimately paid the fee and told the court she was unable to locate Kissinger.

He abandoned an automobile accident case after sending letters of representation to the other driver and the insurance carrier. He officially withdrew a month before the statute of limitations was to expire. A new lawyer recovered on the clients’ property damage claim and filed a malpractice suit against Kissinger, winning a default judgment of $23,285. Kissinger did not report the judgment to the State Bar, as required.

He settled another personal injury case but issued a check against insufficient funds in his general account rather than the trust account. He ultimately covered the balance. However, he did not pay his client’s medical bills.

Kissinger stipulated that he failed to communicate with clients, perform legal services competently, account for client funds, release client files or notify the State Bar of a malpractice judgment against him. He also improperly withdrew from representation and committed acts of moral turpitude.

He failed to comply with probation conditions by not making restitution and by committing further misconduct.

Kissinger also was disciplined in 2002 after stipulating to 15 counts of misconduct in 10 consolidated cases, including trust account problems and failing to properly prosecute a case.


ALAN K. ACHEN [#85832], 55, of North Hollywood 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 9.20. Credit will be given for a period of interim suspension that began Dec. 30, 2007. The order took effect Aug. 7, 2008.

Achen was convicted in 2005 of public intoxication and driving under the influence with a prior and in 2006 for making criminal threats and injuring his spouse after he wielded a knife and refused to come out of his home when ordered to do so by police. The latter violations involved alcohol as well.

In mitigation, he has no discipline record in 29 years of practice.


RICHARD M. SEFF [#150440], 56, of Westlake Village was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 7, 2008.

Seff successfully completed the State Bar’s alternative discipline program; he participated due to a mental health issue that was responsible for his misconduct. As part of the program, he stipulated to five counts of misconduct in a personal injury case which settled for a present cash value of $150,000. The client’s medical bills totaled $44,942. Seff took a fee of $56,500 and was to use $46,500 to purchase an annuity for the client that would pay her $319 per month. He should have kept enough in the client trust account to pay the client’s medical bill.

The client signed two statements, six months apart, prepared by Seff that contained misrepresentations. The first said Seff had documented the settlement proceeds, that she was satisfied with the settlement and the disbursement of the proceeds and had received her full share through cash disbursements and a structured annuity. The second statement outlined the settlement and included a declaration that no effort had been made to collect her medical bills, which was not true. She also said Seff had agreed to give her four payments and that she would have no further claims against Seff for the portion of the proceeds that were set aside for medical bills.

At one point, the balance in Seff’s trust account fell to $38; the medical bill still was not paid.

Seff stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently by allowing the balance in his client trust account to fall below the required amount, signing medical liens on his client’s behalf without her approval, failing to pay her outstanding medical liens, and writing checks from his general account to his trust account to reimburse misappropriated funds.

He also failed to properly maintain client funds, pay out client funds promptly and he acquired an interest adverse to his client. Some of his actions involved moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Seff has no prior discipline record and he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


FRANK DENNIS SCHWERTFEGER [#128041], 47, of Playa del Rey was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for 90 days and until he makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 14, 2008.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Schwertfeger committed two acts of misconduct in a mergers and acquisitions transaction and failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

His client paid Schwertfeger an advance $10,000 without a retainer agreement but a short time later fired him and asked for a refund. He subsequently asked for a refund three more times without a response.

The court found that Schwertfeger failed to refund an advance fee, account for client funds or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In mitigation, he practiced for 17 years without any discipline.


HUME JOSEPH JUNG [#184215], 39, of Oakland was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Aug. 14, 2008.

Jung stipulated to three counts of misconduct stemming from his partnership with a non-lawyer. He practiced personal injury law in Oakland for several years before employing a non-lawyer to act as his office manager for a satellite office in Santa Clara. Jung agreed to pay the office manager 60 percent of the net profits generated by the Santa Clara office, gave the man authority to sign checks and permitted him to conduct client intake interviews and process and settle cases, generally without Jung’s supervision. If an insurance company offered an insufficient settlement, Jung took over.

The office was searched by law enforcement after about 18 months, and both Jung and the office manager were charged criminally but denied committing fraud. Both were acquitted. At the time, the office had 56 open cases.

Jung stipulated that he formed a partnership with a non-lawyer, aided the man in the unauthorized practice of law and shared legal fees with him.

In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record and he cooperated with law enforcement and bar investigators.


DAVID M. CORDREY [#136671], 44, of Beverly Hills was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual nine-month suspension and was ordered to make restitution, take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 30, 2008.

Cordrey was accepted into the State Bar’s alternative discipline program and the Lawyer Assistance Program in 2005, and stipulated to seven counts of misconduct in six client matters as well as a misdemeanor conviction of driving under the influence with a prior. He demonstrated a connection between the misconduct and his substance abuse and mental health issues. In 2007, he was terminated from both programs.

In one matter, although Cordrey was hired to file a lawsuit for breach of contract and fraud, he never filed the complaint. He did not return his client’s file or refund a $3,000 advance fee.

Another client hired Cordrey to file three lawsuits on his behalf in separate matters. Two of the cases were dismissed by the court and Cordrey never filed the third complaint. The client was unable to reach Cordrey for several months.

Another matter was erroneously dismissed due to the court’s clerical order, but Cordrey did not take any corrective action to set aside the dismissal. The client sued him for malpractice and Cordrey settled with her.

Although he filed a personal injury claim for a mother and daughter who were injured in an automobile accident, he did not serve the defendants, appear at a status conference or file any documents with the court asking for additional time or opposing dismissal. The case was dismissed.

The mother and two other relatives hired Cordrey to file two more suits as a result of two more accidents, but he did not do so. In both matters, the clients lost their rights to pursue their action.

The four clients sued Cordrey and won a judgment totaling more than $70,000. He has not satisfied the judgment.

In the final matter, he represented a client while suspended for failure to meet MCLE requirements. When that client fired him, he did not provide his files to the new lawyer.

Cordrey stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees, communicate with clients or promptly release client files and he practiced law when he was not entitled to do so.

In mitigation, Cordrey has no prior discipline record, he demonstrated remorse and he had severe family problems at the time of the misconduct.


JAY ALEXANDER GHOREICHI [#177274], 42, of Los Angeles was suspended for 18 months, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Aug. 30, 2008.

Ghoreichi stipulated to three counts of misconduct in three matters.

He settled a personal injury matter for $100,000 and put the settlement draft into an electronic program that he used as a client ledger. He did not deposit the check in his client trust account because he was still negotiating one medical bill. Because of accounting errors, Ghoreichi believed he had a balance of $100,000 in the client trust account when in fact there was nothing on deposit for that client. Two checks were written against insufficient funds before Ghoreichi discovered the settlement check was not deposited in the trust account. He stipulated that he failed to properly maintain client funds.

In another personal injury case, a doctor who treated Ghoreichi’s client complained to the State Bar when his bill was not paid. Ghoreichi said the delay occurred because the doctor had sent conflicting bills and he was trying to determine the correct amount owed. After the complaint was filed, Ghoreichi and the doctor agreed to settle the outstanding balance, and at Ghoreichi’s insistence, the doctor signed a final release of all claims that included his agreement to withdraw his complaint to the bar. Ghoreichi stipulated that it is improper to seek an agreement that a bar complaint be withdrawn.

In a third personal injury matter, Ghoreichi did not tell the client that her claim was rejected and that she had six months to file a lawsuit. Although he said he sent three letters to the client advising her that he would not continue to represent her, the client said she received only one letter two weeks before the statute of limitations was to expire.

Ghoreichi stipulated that he failed to keep a client informed of developments in her case.

In mitigation, Ghoreichi has no prior discipline record, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and changed his office procedures to avoid future misconduct.


JAMES K. HEDGES [#122394], 49, of Arcadia was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for 60 days and until he makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 30, 2008.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Hedges committed three acts of misconduct while providing legal services for patent and trademark matters and he did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Over a 17-month period, Hedges’ client paid about $57,000 as attorney’s fees. During that time, he was instructed to apply for and obtain additional patents and a trademark renewal and was paid at least $4,760 to do so. Although Hedges met with client representatives once, he did not respond to numerous e-mails about the status of the applications.

The client fired Hedges and hired a new attorney, who repeatedly called Hedges seeking information and reminding him about the deadline for filing patent applications. After three months, Hedges led the new lawyer to believe he had filed all or some of the applications and said he would provide the files. He never did so. In fact, Hedges did not file any applications within the statutory time period.

The bar court found that he failed to perform legal services competently or communicate with his clients and by misrepresenting the status of the matters to the new lawyer, he committed an act of moral turpitude.

Hedges also did not respond to a bar investigator’s questions about the misconduct.

In mitigation, he practiced for 20 years without any discipline.


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