California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - APRIL 2001
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - April 2001
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News / News Briefs
Bar foundation gives $50,000 grant to fund Conference of Delegates
Bar hit with $2.35 million fee demand in lawyer dues case
Bush administration ends ABA review of judicial candidates
Special publication in May Bar Journal
Davis appoints two public members to board of governors
George lauds five years of reform
2001 Annual Meeting will be held in Anaheim
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Trials Digest
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Legal Tech - FindLaw: Lawyers' home on the web
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Opinion
From the President - Butter a slice, not a full loaf
Is it wrong to copy a song?
Letters to the Editor
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Update on ethics
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MCLE Self-Study
Kids and the Law
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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You Need to Know
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Public Comment
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - 2 new rulings send litigators back to basics
Forgery, grand theft, fraud convictions lead to resignation
Attorney Discipline

DISCIPLINE

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CAUTION!

More than 175,000 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.

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DISBARMENTS

JAMES CHRISTOPHER WOODWARD [#73225], 49, of Newport Beach was disbarred Nov. 15, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

As part of a 1999 discipline order, Woodward was ordered to comply with rule 955 by notifying all clients and pertinent parties that he was suspended from practice and to submit an affidavit to that effect to the Supreme Court. He failed to file the affidavit.

Failure to comply with rule 955 is grounds for disbarment.

In the underlying matter, Woodward failed to advise a client that he had received $70,000 in settlement funds, he misappropriated those funds, failed to respond to the client's phone calls and falsely told the client he would pay a lien. He also misappropriated more than $30,000 from a second client and made misleading statements.

In a third matter, he indemnified his husband and wife clients as to all costs should they lose their case, but did not advise them to seek independent counsel. After a defense verdict, he failed to challenge defense costs or appeal the matter, and he did not respond to his clients' letters.

Woodward was publicly reproved in 1995, but violated his probation by failing to file three quarterly probation reports, attend ethics school or the client trust accounting class, or pass the professional responsibility exam.

The 1995 reproval was issued because Woodward failed to comply with a 1994 private reproval. He did not file two probation reports or provide a certificate from a public accountant attesting to the condition of his client trust account.

The 1994 discipline was the result of failing to pay an attorney who had a lien on funds Woodward received and, at the same time, allowing the balance in his trust account to fall below the required amount.

BARBARA A. COOPER [#70489], 60, of Hesperia was disbarred Nov. 17, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Cooper violated an earlier rule 955 requirement by failing to submit to the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that she had notified her clients and other pertinent parties that she was suspended from practice.

That order was part of a 1999 probation revocation. Cooper was first disciplined in 1997 in four consolidated cases. She stipulated to failing to perform legal services competently, return client files, communicate with a client, or cooperate with the bar's investigation, and to withdrawing from employment without protecting her client's interests.

IRENEO MELICOR GALICIA [#143394], 48, of Industry was disbarred Nov. 17, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Galicia did not meet the requirements of a 1998 disciplinary order, including compliance with rule 955.

The underlying misconduct entailed failure to promptly notify a client of receipt of funds, properly maintain client funds, return client files or cooperate with the bar's investigation, and Galicia committed acts of moral turpitude.

JOHN W. COHN [#135699], 46, of Los Angeles was disbarred Nov. 17, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Cohn misappropriated client funds, lied to two clients and abandoned five others.

Cohn's client was awarded a judgment of $32,500, from which Cohn was due a $4,000 fee. He received the judgment in five installments and deposited the checks in his personal account rather than his client trust account. He wrote one check for $5,000 against insufficient funds and did not inform his client that he had received four additional checks.

The client fired Cohn and a new lawyer asked for his files and a replacement check for $5,000. Cohn refused the demand until the dishonored check was returned.

He never paid any portion of the $28,500 owed the client or provided an accounting for the full amount, despite repeated requests by the new lawyer. The bar court found sufficient circumstantial evidence to establish that Cohn misappropriated $28,500.

In another matter he handled for the same client, he missed the deadline for responding to a complaint and a default was entered against his client. He never advised the client about the default.

Cohn was hired to present creditor claims on behalf of a trust in a bankruptcy proceeding, agreeing to take immediate action to protect the trust's claims. He also promised to provide a copy of the bankruptcy petition to the trustee who had hired him.

Despite repeated requests by the trustee, Cohn took almost two months to provide a copy of the petition.

He then did not respond to his client's numerous requests for information and failed to attend a hearing or file a motion regarding the sale of property. He told his client he had attended the hearing. He did not tell her the bankruptcy was dismissed. When she fired him, he did not return her file.

In a personal injury case, Cohn missed hearings, failed to respond to messages from his client and eventually was removed as attorney of record and sanctioned $1,500. He did not pay the sanction or report it to the bar.

In another personal injury matter, he did not respond to discovery, appear at a hearing, comply with court orders, or respond to or oppose various motions, and the case was dismissed. He did not keep his clients informed or respond to their numerous messages, except to falsely tell them a settlement offer had been made.

In recommending Cohn's disbarment, Judge Michael D. Marcus called him "a danger to his clients, the courts and the legal profession. The only way to protect everyone from any more violations is to disbar him."

MARVIN EMERY PARKER [#109164], 48, of Inglewood was disbarred Nov. 17, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Parker had been ordered to comply with rule 955 as part of a 1999 disciplinary order, but failed to do so. That order was imposed as a result of a probation violation - Parker failed to file four quarterly reports, complete ethics school, pass the professional responsibility exam or submit proof that he took certain MCLE courses.

He originally was given a public reproval in 1997 for allowing the statute of limitations to run on a personal injury case.

MICHAEL STEPHEN JOHNSON [#110782], 50, of Carlsbad was disbarred Nov. 25, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Johnson represented a client in divorce proceedings and accepted fees while he was suspended from practice for non-compliance with MCLE requirements. In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that he held himself out as an attorney entitled to practice and that by misrepresenting his status, he committed an act of moral turpitude.

He also failed to keep his address current with the bar.

Johnson was disciplined in 1997 for failing to comply with conditions attached to an agreement in lieu of discipline.

ROBERT WILLIAM LADE [#52547], 58, of Mendocino was disbarred Nov. 25, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Lade failed to comply with a 1998 rule 955 order. He did not submit to the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that he had notified his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension.

He was suspended and placed on probation at that time for failing to appear for a misdemeanor criminal matter in which he was charged with driving under the influence and possession of marijuana while driving. He also did not notify the bar of a change of address.

ROBERT N. MARCUS [#158299], 37, of Los Angeles was disbarred Nov. 29, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Marcus committed an act of moral turpitude by depositing into his business account a forged check for $151,916.13, written on the account of a corporation with which he had no relationship. He or someone on his behalf then withdrew the entire amount.

Marcus also wrote six checks against insufficient funds in his client trust account, acts of moral turpitude, and after depositing numerous settlement checks for clients in the account, wrote more than 35 checks to pay personal and business expenses. The court found that he used his client trust account improperly.

He also did not cooperate with the bar's investigation.

Marcus was disciplined last year for failing to deposit disputed settlement funds in a client trust account, for charging or collecting an unconscionable fee and for committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In recommending Marcus' disbarment, Judge Carlos E. Velarde said his conduct with respect to the forged check was "particularly reprehensible." His failure to answer the charges, Velarde wrote, "suggests to this court that respondent has no concern for his professional obligations and duties and a lack of respect for the disciplinary system."

ROBERT OTHNIEL WALSH [#60153], 62, of Porterville was disbarred Nov. 29, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Walsh was ordered in 1999 to comply with rule 955 as part of a probation revocation. He failed to submit to the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that he notified his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension.

Walsh originally was disciplined in 1997 for failing to comply with conditions attached to an agreement in lieu of discipline, resulting from a failure to perform legal services competently or communicate with a client.

The 1997 order included requirements that he attend ethics school, file quarterly probation reports and complete six hours of continuing education courses. His failure to do so led to the probation revocation.

In recommending Walsh's disbarment, Judge Nancy Roberts Lonsdale said she had "grave concern" that he had no regard for his professional obligations.

DONETIA R. MESHACK [#118044], 43, of Los Angeles was disbarred Nov. 29, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Meshack did not meet the requirements of a 1999 order that she comply with rule 955; she did not file an affidavit with the Supreme Court stating that she notified her clients and other pertinent parties of her suspension from practice.

She has four prior disciplines, beginning in 1995, as well as a suspension for failure to pay bar dues and inactive enrollment for not completing the MCLE requirement.

She first stipulated to a private reproval for failing to perform legal services competently, promptly return client files, refund unearned fees, or communicate with clients, and for improperly withdrawing from employment without protecting her client's interests. When she did not comply with the conditions attached to the reproval, she was publicly reproved. In that case, Meshack also did not return unearned fees, cooperate with the bar's investigation or keep her address current.

She was publicly reproved again in 1998 for failure to comply with conditions of the second reproval, and when she again did not meet disciplinary requirements, she was suspended in 1999.

RONALD SHERIDAN PANCOAST [#122405], 56, of San Diego was disbarred Nov. 29, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found Pancoast committed multiple acts of misconduct in four consolidated cases, including failure to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees, or respond to client inquiries, and committing acts of moral turpitude.

In a criminal matter for which he was paid $1,500 to prepare an alternative sentencing plan, Pancoast repeatedly requested continuances and failed to prepare the plan.

He did not appear at another client's sentencing hearing, but then told the client he would contact his attorney of record to obtain the file. He told his client he had attempted unsuccessfully to contact the other attorney, which was untrue.

Pancoast did not respond to his

client's request for a refund of unearned fees or to two arbitration requests. A fee arbitrator ordered a refund of the fees, but Pancoast did not return any money to the client.

He performed no work on family law matters for two other clients, did not refund their advance fees and failed to respond to numerous phone calls and pages from the clients.

Pancoast has a record of three prior disciplines, beginning in 1997 with two years of probation for nine counts of misconduct, including failure to perform legal services competently, return client files, refund unearned fees, maintain complete records of client funds or cooperate with the bar's investigations, and engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

The following year, he was placed on 30 days of actual suspension for failing to return client phone calls and withdrawing from employment without protecting his client's interests.

Last year, he was placed on two years of actual suspension and ordered to make restitution for failure to comply with the conditions of his prior probations.

JANE ELIZABETH KRYGIER [#152611], 39, of Yorba Linda was disbarred Dec. 16, 2000, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

She did not comply with an earlier rule 955 order - she did not submit the required affidavit to the Supreme Court stating she had notified her clients and other pertinent parties of her suspension.

In 1998, Krygier was disciplined for failure to perform legal services competently, communicate with clients, refund unearned fees or cooperate with a bar investigation.

FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ GUTIERREZ [#95251], 47, of Los Angeles was disbarred Jan. 7, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Gutierrez did not respond to allegations in a notice of disciplinary charges, his default was entered and the State Bar Court recommended that he be disbarred for misconduct in two client matters.

While representing a client in an insurance claim for damages arising from an automobile accident, Gutierrez received notices of six medical liens totaling $3,183. He received an insurance draft for $614 for medical expenses and later settled his client's claim for $7,748.

The insurance company sought reimbursement of the $614.

The client was notified by a collection agency that two of the six medical bills had not been paid, but when Gutierrez did not return his phone calls, the client paid $1,000 toward the liens.

Gutierrez then negotiated a reduced fee with a hospital and paid four liens, but he never paid two medical providers, reimbursed the insurance company or paid any money to his client.

The bar court found that he misappropriated client funds, allowed the balance in his client trust account to fall below the required amount, and failed to perform legal services competently, respond to his client's inquiries or cooperate with a bar investigation.

In a second matter, Gutierrez received a $180,000 check as settlement of an insurance claim by a minor. The child's mother asked him to pay the settlement proceeds directly to her or to place the money in a separate trust account, but he did neither.

Instead, Gutierrez gave the mother partial payments, which after three years totaled $119,000, telling his client the distribution was done under court orders and he was not allowed to give her the entire amount.

He eventually told the client he used her daughter's money to pay business expenses, said the funds had been misappropriated from his trust account and admitted that the court had not ordered a piecemeal distribution. He also said she owed him one-third of the proceeds - $60,000 - as his fee, although the client had never agreed to a contingency or percentage fee arrangement.

The client never received any more money.

The court found that Gutierrez failed to maintain client funds in trust, promptly pay out client funds, or advise a client of developments in her case, and he committed acts of moral turpitude.

In recommending disbarment, Judge Eugene E. Brott wrote, "No explanation has been offered that might render disbarment inappropriate . . . . The court has no reason to believe that [Gutierrez] could or would conform his behavior to the ethical rules."

NONA JERRINE MacPHERSON, aka NONA J. BARNETT [#116508], 46, of Los Angeles was disbarred Jan. 7, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

MacPherson has been continually suspended since 1993 for non-payment of bar dues, but between 1995 and 1997 she held herself out to the public as "Nona J. Barnett" without notifying the State Bar of a change of name or address.

In 1995, she accepted employment as an attorney representing a client who contested the probate of his father's estate in Los Angeles Superior Court. She substituted in and worked with another attorney in preparing for trial, signed stipulations, sent a letter on law firm letterhead, signed and filed numerous pleadings with the court, made court appearances and represented her client at trial on eight different dates.

She also filed two declarations under penalty of perjury in which she stated that she was licensed to practice.

MacPherson's "misconduct was intentional, spanned a period of some two years, and involved not just implicit but explicit misrepresentation of her status, and deceit in the use of a different name than that under which she had been licensed," said Judge Nancy Roberts Lonsdale, who recommended MacPherson's disbarment. "It amounted to a fraud on the Superior Court."

MacPherson did not participate in the disbarment proceedings, and her default was entered.

GARY KENNETH GREEN [#50644], 56, of San Diego was disbarred Jan. 7, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Green commingled personal funds in his client trust account and used the account for personal purposes, practiced law while suspended, committed acts of moral turpitude by submitting false documents to a lender on behalf of a client, and violated the terms of a disciplinary probation.

Green has a record of discipline stretching back to 1992.

While suspended between 1995 and 1998, Green represented a client and a Panamanian corporation in negotiations to secure a loan. He made misrepresentations in documents he submitted to a financial services company during the negotiations.

Green also did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 1997 discipline order; he filed five probation reports late and did not file seven probation reports.

MARY LINDA RASMUSSEN [#133445], 52, of Los Angeles was disbarred Jan 19, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In 1990, Rasmussen notified the State Bar of a change of address and stated that she wished to transfer to inactive status. The following year, she was suspended for failing to pay bar dues and has remained suspended since then.

In 1994, she accepted employment as an associate at a law firm where she practiced for about a year. She then became corporate counsel for a medical group. While serving in that position, she represented a client regarding an employment contract he had with the medical group, but did not advise him about any potential conflicts.

She later sued the client, who had given her confidential information, on behalf of the medical group, alleging that he had breached his employment contract.

At all times, Rasmussen was suspended from practice.

The State Bar Court found that she committed multiple acts of moral turpitude, represented more than one client in a case in which they had potentially conflicting interests, did not get her client's informed written consent when she accepted employment adverse to him, and did not keep her address current with the bar.

R. SCOTT FERRIS [#101672], 45, of Hemet was disbarred Jan. 26, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Ferris misappropriated client funds totaling $4,900, failed to promptly pay medical providers and failed to properly maintain client funds in his trust account.

The misconduct stemmed from a personal injury case in which Ferris' client agreed to a $15,000 settlement, paying $5,000 in attorney's fees and authorizing Ferris to pay $4,900 to his medical care providers. The client was to keep the $5,100 balance as his share of the settlement.

Ferris deposited the settlement check in his trust account and paid the client his share, but he allowed the balance in the account to fall below the required amount (in fact, the account had a negative balance) and did not pay the client's doctors, who began to bill him.

The client was forced to hire a new attorney, but Ferris did not respond to his demands, nor did he respond to a bar investigator.

Ferris also was disciplined in 1998 for failing to perform legal services competently, communicate with a client, pay a medical lien or keep his address current with the bar, and for misappropriating client funds.

In recommending Ferris' disbarment, Judge Carlos Velarde noted that "misappropriation is one of the most serious breaches of professional trust, that is, it is theft, and in all but the most exceptional cases, it results in disbarment."

SUSPENSION/PROBATION

GARY J. GOLDSTEIN [#129977], 43, of West Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation, and was ordered to make restitution and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 20, 2000.

Goldstein stipulated to misconduct in four matters. The misconduct was the result of drug addiction brought on by depression and stress. In October 1995, when he recognized his inability to practice, Goldstein's associate took over his practice, pending his return. Goldstein did return to work for one month in 1996, but then was arrested on drug-related charges and closed his law firm.

In three matters, Goldstein stipulated that he failed to properly withdraw from employment when he stopped practicing. The clients were unable to obtain files or fee refunds, or records were not properly maintained.

In addition, Goldstein was convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia, domestic violence and dissuading a victim from making a report, all misdemeanors.

In mitigation, he tried to wind down his practice when he felt he was emotionally unable to work and he has been drug-free since July 1997. He no longer practices law and makes his living by operating a guest ranch with his wife in southern California.

LAIZER DAVID GOULD [#93883], 48, of Burbank was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 20, 2000.

Gould stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently in a personal injury claim against Los Angeles County. He failed to file the claim on time, make court appearances or submit court-required documents, and, as a result, the case was dismissed.

He did not tell his client that the required claim was denied, that court hearings were scheduled or that the case had been dismissed and he had relocated his offices. He stipulated that he failed to keep a client reasonably informed about developments in her case.

Gould was privately reproved in 1998 after stipulating that he failed to perform legal services competently or communicate with a client.

In mitigation, he did not have a secretary for two years, resulting in office management problems and has taken steps to address the problems. He also cooperated with the bar's investigation.

JAMES M. KEARNEY III [#151880], 35, of Pomona was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 45-day suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 20, 2000.

Kearney stipulated to misconduct in three matters.

He was suspended from practice in 1996 and submitted three quarterly probation reports which falsely stated that he had not engaged in the practice of law.

In fact, he represented a client in an appeal of a criminal conviction, collecting a $1,500 retainer without disclosing his suspension. He did no work on the case and returned the retainer.

In 1992, Kearney filed a medical malpractice action on behalf of a client's baby. As the case progressed, it became clear the child's injuries had healed and the case had become worthless. Instead of withdrawing, Kearney abandoned the matter by failing to respond to discovery requests, file motions or attend a hearing. He did not inform his client that the case was dismissed.

Nine months later, his client gave permission to settle the case for $15,000, most of it to be paid over six months. Kearney did not tell her he personally would pay the settlement. He subsequently made nine payments, totaling $5,400, each accompanied by a letter in which Kearney said the payments were from the defendants in the dismissed lawsuit.

His client eventually learned the truth when she sued Kearney for malpractice and misappropriation of settlement funds. Several attorneys familiar with similar cases reviewed the matter and evaluated it as worth less than the $5,400 the client received.

Kearney stipulated to practicing law while suspended, failure to perform legal services competently or to keep his client informed about developments in her case, and committing acts of moral turpitude.

The underlying suspension was for inattention to duties and for one count of unauthorized practice by volunteering as a pro tem judge for three days in 1994 while suspended for failing to comply with MCLE requirements.

In mitigation, Kearney had serious family problems which led to depression and financial problems.

RICHARD MICHAEL LADEN [#82188], 55, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on four years of probation and was ordered to make restitution and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Oct. 20, 2000.

Laden was suspended in 1998 but failed to comply with the terms of his probation: he did not make restitution to a client and attended ethics school after the required deadline. The underlying discipline was the result of failing to comply with earlier probation conditions or to pay court-ordered sanctions.

Laden also was disciplined in 1994 for failing to perform legal services competently or promptly pay client funds, and for committing an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, he had severe financial problems and cooperated with the bar's investigation.

JAMES C. LOPEZ [#153229], 43, of Campbell was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a three-month actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Oct. 20, 2000.

Lopez was disciplined in 1998 but failed to comply with the conditions attached to his probation: he did not submit quarterly probation reports by the required deadlines, and although he completed 12 required continuing education hours, he did not submit proof of completion by the compliance date.

Lopez stipulated that he also failed to perform legal services competently in handling a deportation case. He was retained to apply for relief from a deportation order, but only if the work could be completed by Sept. 11, 1998. Lopez and his client missed two appointments and the day the motion was due, the two met at 4 p.m. Lopez said he would do the motion immediately, and the client demanded that he file it personally with the INS office in San Jose. Lopez knew the motion had to be filed in San Fran-cisco. He mailed the motion, but it was rejected as untimely.

Thinking he did not have his client's address, Lopez did not tell him the motion had been rejected. The client finally learned the motion was rejected when he hired a new lawyer.

The 1998 discipline was the result of misleading a judge and failing to communicate with a client. Lopez also was publicly reproved in 1995 for failing to perform legal services competently, communicate with clients or return unearned fees.

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

ELSIE JOAN WHITE [#110163], 56, of Coronado was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on actual suspension for six months and until she attends ethics school and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the actual suspension. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, she must prove her rehabilitation. She also was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Oct. 20, 2000.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that White wrote three checks on her client trust account against insufficient funds. She did not respond to six letters and a phone call from the State Bar requesting an explanation. The court found that White committed acts of moral turpitude and failed to cooperate with the bar's investigation.

White was disciplined in 1996 with a private reproval after she failed to comply with conditions attached to an agreement in lieu of discipline based on her failure to maintain client funds or property and failing to cooperate with the bar's investigation.

ALBERT KOJO AMANQUAH, [#153339], 45, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, was placed on actual suspension for 18 months and until he attends ethics school and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the actual suspension, 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 Oct. 22, 2000.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Amanquah failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a 1997 discipline: he failed to file four probation reports, submit an office organization plan or four statements of compliance with the plan, and he failed to attend ethics school or complete three hours of MCLE courses by the required deadline.

The underlying discipline was the result of Amanquah negotiating a settlement of a personal injury claim without the client's knowledge or consent. He also failed to supervise his employees, who simulated a signature on a release form, notarized the signature, sent it to an insurance carrier and negotiated a settlement without the client's consent.

KAREN A. CORBIN [#89174], 51, of Carpinteria was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to make restitution, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, she must prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect Oct. 22, 2000.

Corbin stipulated to two instances of misappropriating client funds and failure to maintain her client trust account.

She represented a client in a personal injury matter which settled for $3,000. Corbin took 40 percent ($1,200) for attorney's fees plus $400 for photocopying, leaving her client $1,200. Medicare asserted a claim for $1,800, the difference between the settlement amount and Corbin's fee.

Corbin paid no funds to the client or Medicare, misappropriating the entire settlement.

Another client paid $1,000 to have Corbin handle a legal matter. She cashed the check immediately. Within two days, the client called Corbin twice and when the calls were not returned, she fired Corbin and asked for a refund of the $1,000.

Corbin told the client she no longer had the funds.

When the client pursued fee arbitration, she was awarded $1,120 by the arbitrator, but Corbin did not pay the award.

In mitigation, Corbin was placed on disability in 1998 due to severe health problems, and she suffers from depression. Because of these physical and emotional problems, she had serious financial difficulties. She has no record of discipline since her 1979 admission to the bar, and she cooperated with the bar's investigation.

TIMOTHY L. McCANDLESS [#147715], 43, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. If it exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955. The order took effect Oct. 22, 2000.

McCandless stipulated to five counts of misconduct.

In a civil case, he was ordered by the court to pay $939 in attorney's fees and a $1,000 sanction within 45 days, but he failed to do so.

He collected an illegal fee in a bankruptcy case when the bankruptcy trustee overpaid his legal fees. When his clients requested but did not receive a refund, the court found McCandless received fees in excess of what it had authorized and that he failed to disclose the excess payment as required by law. He was ordered to refund excess fees.

In two other matters, he stipulated that he failed to adequately supervise non-lawyer staff members. One led a caller to believe he was an attorney and another improperly took money from a client for legal services he was not authorized to perform.

McCandless also did not comply with a requirement that he complete ethics school as part of a 1998 discipline imposed because of his misconduct in a bankruptcy matter.

He also was disciplined in 1995 for misconduct in three client matters, including failure to maintain client funds in a trust account, promptly pay a medical lien or report $2,000 in sanctions resulting from a bankruptcy case.

SUZANNE NEGAHBANI [#163594], 41, of Redondo Beach was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on probation for one year and was ordered to make restitution. The order took effect Oct. 22, 2000.

Negahbani stipulated that she failed to maintain client funds in a trust account by allowing the balance to fall below the required amount and by unilaterally determining her fee and withdrawing trust funds to satisfy the fee.

She had received a settlement of $3,670 from an insurance company for reimbursement of two medical bills for that amount and deposited the check in her trust account. Without making any disbursements, Nagahbani let the balance in the account fall to just over $1,100. When her client complained to the State Bar, Nagahbani said she was owed fees and costs of $3,670, leaving a balance of $341 to her client.

In mitigation, Nagahbani's client was not significantly harmed because the insurer ultimately did not seek reimbursement. Nagahbani believed she had a legitimate claim to the money. In addition, she delegated supervision of the trust account to employees whom she did not carefully supervise.

She was previously disciplined for writing a check against insufficient funds to a personal creditor and failing to pay a small claims judgment in the same matter. The new misconduct occurred at about the same time.

DAVID MATTHEW PHILIPS [#45761], 56, of Riverside 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 and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Oct. 22, 2000.

Philips was convicted in 1998 of a misdemeanor violation of the California Insurance Code by offering rebates as an inducement to a client referral. The conviction did not involve moral turpitude, but did involve misconduct warranting discipline.

He had taken over the practice of an attorney who died and was caught in a sting operation that focused on payments to non-lawyers for referrals of personal injury cases and the splitting of legal fees with non-lawyers. After agreeing to a proposal offered by an undercover investigator, Philips instructed his office manager not to accept any cases from the man.

The office manager nonetheless accepted a case involving a fictitious accident, but Philips was not aware of it. At one point, he signed three checks made out to a fake client, a fake doctor and the investigator. He learned the case had been referred by the investigator after the case settled but before he signed the checks. He did not know the accident was fictitious until he was arrested.

Philips was privately reproved in 1977 for failing to communicate with a client.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the district attorney's investigation and with the bar and presented numerous character reference letters.

In a mitigation statement, Philips said it was apparent he was being asked to do something illegal when he met with the undercover investigator. He allowed the conversation to proceed because he did not want to tarnish the image of the deceased lawyer, who was held in high esteem by the office manager.

Unbeknownst to Philips, the office manager consulted his own accountant about any problems that might arise from paying referral fees. When the accountant advised there would be no problems, the office manager accepted the case.

Although acknowledging he committed a crime, Philips said there was no intent to do something illegal, he had no motive for personal gain, and he was caught in a situation he should have dealt with by ending the arrangement.

The probation of ROGER A. McKEE [#46944], 57, of Phoenix was revoked, the previously ordered stay of suspension was lifted, and he was suspended for three years, with credit for an 18-month suspension previously served and for a period of involuntary inactive enrollment which began July 16, 2000. He was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 12, 2000. McKee resigned Jan. 10, 2001.

McKee failed to file quarterly probation reports and psychiatric reports, as required by a 1998 disciplinary order.

At that time, he stipulated to committing misconduct in two different cases in Arizona which would have led to discipline in California had it been committed here.

He was suspended for nine months in 1996 for misconduct in four client matters, including failing to perform legal services, communicate with a client or give a client money to which he is entitled, and for conduct involving dishonesty or misrepresentations.

In 1997, McKee was disciplined again for misconduct in five client matters, including failing to perform competently, communicate with clients, cooperate with the bar's investigation and for withdrawing from representation without protecting his client's rights.

ROBERT KARL ANDRES [#104018], 46, of Burlington, Vt., was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to pass the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 12, 2000.

Andres received a public reprimand in Vermont for two counts of neglecting a legal matter entrusted to an attorney and for engaging in conduct adversely reflecting on an attorney's fitness to practice.

Because those acts are the equivalent of failure to act competently or communicate with clients and would warrant discipline had they been committed in California, Andres is subject to discipline in this state.

In a 1994 DUI case, Andres neglected the matter by failing to file a docketing statement or order a transcript. He demanded and received more money from his client's wife to order a transcript, but the order did not include the proper date of the hearing or the fee. The order was not filed on time and his client's appeal was dismissed. He did not inform his client, who later won a small claims judgment of $788 against Andres.

In a child support matter, he did not tell his client about four hearings. His client appeared at a hearing where Andres did not appear, Andres was fired and the client settled the matter on his own.

In another matter, Andres got into a fistfight with a former client who owed him money, was charged with simple assault and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

In mitigation, he has no record of discipline and cooperated with the bar's investigation.

ANTHONY PHILLIP BROOKLIER [#50198], 54, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with a six-month actual suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 17, 2000.

Brooklier was convicted in 1999 of two misdemeanor counts of failing to file income tax returns in 1993 and 1994. He stipulated that he engaged in misconduct warranting discipline.

Brooklier did not file tax returns for 1985 through 1990, and when contacted by the IRS, filed returns for four years, but never paid the taxes. He subsequently did not file returns for 1989- 1996.

In 1994, he was notified he was the target of a criminal grand jury probe, and in 1998, he filed returns for the years 1989 through 1996.

During the years in question, Brooklier's income from the practice of law ranged from a low of $67,059 to $230,416, and his tax liability ranged from $593 to $56,961.

In his plea agreement, he stipulated that he owed taxes of $401,661.02.

Brooklier also did not file or pay state income taxes totaling more than $100,000 between 1985 and 1996, a period during which he periodically used cocaine. He was arrested in 1990 on suspicion of drunk driving and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving.

In mitigation, he has not used drugs or alcohol since 1997, when he was treated at an in-patient substance abuse treatment facility, and he regularly attends 12-step meetings. He has no record of discipline since his 1972 admission to the bar, he cooperated with the bar's investigation and he has accepted responsibility for his actions.

The probation of KENNETH DALE FAIR [#87535], 54, of Anaheim was revoked, the previously ordered stay of suspension was lifted and he was actually suspended for two years, with credit for a six-month actual suspension already served and credit for a period of inactive enrollment which began last May. He was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 17, 2000.

Fair stipulated to 15 counts of misconduct in 10 consolidated cases in 1998, and although he complied with rule 955 and filed three probation reports late, he did not file one probation report at all or file proof of restitution, attendance at ethics school, or completion of six hours of continuing education courses.

The misconduct entailed the unauthorized practice of law, failure to perform legal services competently, communicate with clients, refund fees, return client files, comply with the probation requirements of an earlier discipline or cooperate with the bar's investigation, and improperly withdrawing from representation.

Fair also was disciplined in 1995 for misconduct in five client matters, including failing to perform legal services competently, pay out client funds, communicate with clients, or cooperate with bar investigations and for improperly withdrawing from employment.

SHERMAN THOMAS FAIRBAIRN [#81847], 49, of Santa Ana was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual six-month suspension, and was ordered to make restitution, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 17, 2000.

In 1994, Fairbairn was hired to represent the executor of an estate. The client needed a loan to pay the mortgage on the home which was the estate's principal asset, so Fairbairn arranged an emergency $5,000 loan from his brother, who ran a profit sharing plan. Fairbairn received $1,300 of the loan as fees.

Eventually, Fairbairn arranged a $38,000 loan from another individual and received some proceeds to make mortgage and other payments. He failed to make the mortgage payments promptly and incurred three late charges. He did obtain a probate order but did not complete the probate action.

In 1996, he was suspended for nonpayment of bar dues, but continued handling the probate matter and communicating with the mortgage holder. His client eventually replaced him with another attorney. Fairbairn received fees totaling $8,450 from the estate, although he never obtained the required court approval. He repaid the fees under a court order.

He accepted a Medi-Cal benefits case, and fees, while suspended, and although he submitted an application for benefits for his client, he did not tell her she had to participate in an eligibility hearing. As a result, her benefits were denied.

Fairbairn gave the case to another attorney without informing the client, who had to pay additional legal fees. When the client sought a refund of fees and costs, Fairbairn did not respond.

In a real property matter, Fairbairn did not file a proof of service with the court, did not appear at a hearing to show cause, and did not receive notice of a new hearing because he had moved without providing his new address.

The case was dismissed, a development the client learned about when he hired a new lawyer. The client won a small claims judgment against Fairbairn.

Fairbairn stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, communicate with a client, or refund unearned fees, practiced law while suspended, collected illegal fees and committed acts of moral turpitude.

Fairbairn was privately reproved in 1996 for failing to promptly pay out client funds.

In mitigation, he suffered from depression arising in part from marital difficulties, and he cooperated with the bar's investigation.

DION LEE HARKNESS [#95031], 42, of Riverside was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 17, 2000.

In 1998, Harkness pleaded no contest to misdemeanor spousal battery with injury in Fresno County. The following year, he was charged again with spousal battery in Riverside County. Before the case was decided, he agreed to enter a no contest plea before the State Bar Court only, without any admission of guilt, in order to settle a disciplinary case before the bar.

In mitigation, Harkness has no record of discipline since his 1980 admission to the bar and cooperated with the bar's investigation.

TED LAND [#45480], 57, of Santa Rosa was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on actual suspension for 90 days and until he makes restitution, proves his attendance at ethics school and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate his suspension, 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 Nov. 17, 2000.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Land committed five acts of misconduct in handling a dispute regarding his client's purchase of a mobile home. Despite accepting a $500 fee, he did no work and did not return his client's phone calls, return her file or unearned fees. The client was unable to reach him because his phone was disconnected and a letter was returned because his address was not current.

Land also was disciplined in 1991 due to unauthorized practice of law while suspended for non-payment of bar dues from 1984 to 1987.

The probation of MELANIE LUCILLE MORGAN [#131116], 48, of Sacramento was revoked, the previously ordered stay of suspension was lifted, and she was actually suspended for three years, with credit for a one-year suspension previously served and for the period of involuntary inactive enrollment which began Aug. 12, 2000. She was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 22, 2000.

Morgan was disciplined in 1997, but did not meet the conditions of her probation: she did not file quarterly probation reports, submit certified public accountant certificates and reports regarding her client trust account, resolve a fee dispute with a client, or attend ethics school or trust accounting school.

She stipulated to failing to communicate with clients, misappropriating client funds and not properly maintaining her trust account in the earlier discipline. The wrongdoing was attributed to her serious illness and the crippling of her high school age son, who was shot during an armed robbery attempt against him. Morgan closed her law practice in 1995, but did not inform her clients.

INTERIM SUSPENSION

ARNALDO CAPOTE JR. [#68308], 52, of Panama City, Fla., was placed on interim suspension Oct. 27, 2000, following a federal mail fraud conviction. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

JON E. GELB [#168848], 33, of Los Angeles was placed on interim suspension Nov. 3, 2000, after he was convicted of one count of possession of a controlled substance. Following a conviction for attempted possession of a controlled substance, Gelb received a second order of interim suspension Dec. 19, 2000. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

SUSAN E. MELTON [#134654], 42, of Covina was placed on interim suspension Nov. 3, 2000, following convictions of two counts of second degree burglary, three counts of forgery of a prescription, and three counts of forging and issuing a prescription. She was ordered to comply with rule 955. Melton resigned from the bar Jan. 14, 2001.

RESIGNATION/CHARGES PENDING

RONALD ELLIS HARRIS [#71122], 56, of Arroyo Grande (Oct. 20, 2000)

TIMOTHY J. MacKENZIE [#115909], 44, of Los Angeles (Oct. 20, 2000)

K. LYNDEN SMITHSON [#80685], 59, of Tacoma, Wash. (Oct. 20, 2000)

L. BAIRD ALBERTSEN [#88958], 53, of Fountain Valley (Oct. 21, 2000)

LAURENCE FORSYTH ANDREWS [#143360], 41, of Bozeman, Mont. (Oct. 21, 2000)

JOSEPH WRIGHT DiLEONARDO [#49381], 57, of Santa Rosa (Oct. 21, 2000)

DANIEL N. HOFFMAN [#31949], 74, of San Jose (Oct. 28, 2000)

KENT KLOKOW [#71519], 51, of Santa Cruz (Oct. 28, 2000)

HASKELL JEROME SHAPIRO [#24904], 85, of Las Vegas (Oct. 28, 2000)

MARK EDWARD BOWERS [#79805], 52, of Los Angeles (Nov. 1, 2000)

DELORIS A. BROWN [#107776], 58, of Los Angeles (Nov. 2, 2000)

KEITH G. LIGGINS [#124055], 44, of Los Angeles (Nov. 2, 2000)

GERALD FRANCIS McGHEE [#68363], 72, of El Cajon (Nov. 2, 2000)

WILLIAM M. STERNFELD [#26645], 73, of Los Angeles (Nov. 2, 2000)

SUSPENSION/FAILURE TO PASS PRE

DAVID R. DeQUIT [#178841], 37, of Olongapo City, Philippines (Oct. 25, 2000)

DAVID AGNEW [#49991], 55, of Westlake Village (Nov. 6, 2000)

PUBLIC REPROVAL
ERNEST R. MARTINEZ [#109356], 42, of Redding (March 12, 2000)