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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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