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

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - August 2001
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News / News Briefs
MCLE deadline for Group 3 (last names N-Z) is Feb. 1
Judicial Council launches online self-help center
California lawyers honored for work for homeless, minorities and children
Coy about her future, Reno focuses on women's issues
No bias found against solos
Governor signs two-year fee bill
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Ethics update...
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Trials Digest
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Opinion
From the President - Bar targets unauthorized practice
Microsoft ruling: Foundation to settle
MJP is more than alphabet soup
Letters to the Editor
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Legal Tech - A look back at six years of technology news
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You Need to Know
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MCLE Self-Study
A word from our sponsors
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learnin' how
Recovering alcoholic may get to recover his license
Attorney Discipline
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Public Comment
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DISCIPLINE

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CAUTION!
More than 176,000 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

BARBARA SHARPE [#177488], 42, of San Jose was disbarred April 26, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found Sharpe failed to comply with rule 955 by the date ordered when she received a one-year suspension in May 2000 for practicing law without a license. Sharpe failed to notify clients of her suspension, return clients' property and unearned fees or submit notice to the courts.

Sharpe was suspended from practice in August 1996. Four days later, she filed a civil action on behalf of a client and corresponded with two agencies, stating that she was the client's attorney. She never notified the client of her suspension as she pursued his case. When she failed to respond adequately to his inquiries, however, the client became suspicious and learned of her suspension, hired a new lawyer and sought the return of his file. She did not return the file.

The court found Sharpe practiced law while suspended, violated a court order, failed to keep her client advised of a development in his case or respond to his status inquiries, failed to return his file and committed acts of moral turpitude. The court dismissed charges that Sharpe did not cooperate with the bar's investigation since she did not keep her address current and all bar letters to her were returned.

In the current case, the court cited as aggravating factors Sharpe's prior discipline and her failure to participate in the disciplinary proceeding.

ELSIE JOAN WHITE [#110163], 56, of Coronado was disbarred April 26, 2001.

A hearing on the matter was waived after White did not fully participate in disciplinary proceedings. She was not ordered to comply with rule 955 as the Supreme Court issued that order in September 2000.

White was disbarred for practicing without a license. After the bar court sent her a notice of a one-year suspension in December 1999, she filed a declaration in San Diego County Superior Court and to opposing counsel on behalf of a petitioner, representing herself as his attorney. In January 2000, she filed proof of service in the client matter.

She had been suspended for writing three checks from 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 also was disciplined in 1996 with a private reproval. She had failed to comply with conditions of an agreement, made in lieu of discipline, for failure to maintain client funds or property or to cooperate with the bar's investigation.

In the current case, the court cited as aggravating factors White's prior record of discipline, failure to fully participate in disciplinary matters and multiple acts of misconduct.     

ROBERT ALAN FIDDES, [#129261], 56, of Palos Verdes Estates was disbarred May 6, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, Fiddes was disbarred for two 1997 federal convictions of making false statements to the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Fiddes was owner and president of American Pharmaceutical Research Inc., formerly known as Southern California Research (SCRI). He served as principal investigator of drug research for the company, which contracted with drug manufacturers to conduct clinical studies of new pharmaceutical products for the FDA drug approval process. In that capacity, Fiddes conspired to provide drug companies with fraudulent testing information to prepare pre-marketing evaluations which were submitted to the FDA. The FDA unwittingly used the false information in determining the drugs' safety and efficacy.

Fiddes participated in, encouraged and directed the falsification, which included creating documentation indicating patients were enrolled in certain studies when they were not, and enrolling unqualified patients by altering their information. There were at least 12 instances of falsified data through 1996.

Fiddes made a plea bargain with federal prosecutors in September 1997 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years' supervised release and restitution to eight drug companies totaling $872,766. He acknowledged he knowingly made false statements to the FDA that were material to their decisions.

Prior to disbarment, Fiddes was placed on interim suspension in August 1999 as a result of the felony convictions.

The bar court found that "five years of blemish-free practice" on Fiddes' part was not a mitigating factor. Aggravating factors included overreaching, harming the public and displaying a pattern of falsification.

SUSPENSION/PROBATION

GREGORY J. ANTONE, [#60451] 51, of Half Moon Bay was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on probation for five years with an actual one-year suspension, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

Antone stipulated to 21 counts of misconduct stemming from four client matters filed in San Mateo County. The violations included four counts each of failing to perform competent legal services, disobeying a court order and effectively withdrawing representation without court permission.

The State Bar dismissed another 11 violations.

In 1996, a San Mateo County Superior Court judge complained to the State Bar about Antone's representation of several clients.

In a medical malpractice matter, Antone failed to appear at six case management conferences. He did note that in many instances he contacted the courtroom clerk prior to the hearings to say he would not be appearing. He also failed to pay $500 in sanctions or dismiss the action, and was an hour late to a February 1996 show-cause hearing. The case was dismissed for lack of prosecution, and Antone made no effort to have the dismissal set aside.

The other cases Antone took on suffered many of the same problems - he missed six case management conferences in one and seven in another, failed to pay sanctions, answer discovery requests and file motions.

He also stipulated to failing to take steps to avoid prejudice to a client and failing to communicate significant developments to his clients. He did not respond to the bar's allegations of misconduct or cooperate in its investigation.

Antone also failed to comply with conditions of a March 1999 public reproval by failing to attend ethics school and client trust accounting school. He was disciplined three other times between 1992 and 1995, receiving probation, a public reproval and a suspension.

In mitigation, Antone had a series of illnesses beginning in 1994, including a heart attack and a diagnosis of diabetes. He had two deaths in the family, including his father, and other family members suffered health problems. As a result, he experienced emotional difficulties and depression which plagued him during the time of his misconduct.     

Antone failed to pay court sanctions due to financial difficulties. He later discharged the debts by filing for bankruptcy.

The probation of STEPHEN R. FLUHARTY, [#89360], 47, of Glendale was revoked, he was suspended for 90 days and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect April 20, 2001.

Fluharty's probation was revoked after he failed to submit two quarterly reports and two mental health reports as required by a September 1996 disciplinary action.

Fluharty was the subject of a variety of complaints in three client matters. In one, Fluharty was employed by a woman to substitute as her attorney in a medical malpractice action. He failed to pay the required court fees in an appeal and did not ask the client for the funds, which resulted in a dismissal of the appeal.

Fluharty said he had advanced costs throughout the duration of the case, but did not have the funds to pay the appeal fee. He believed his client did not have the funds to pay the fee and did not ask her for them.

MARCUS GOMEZ [#89698], 48, of Norwalk was suspended for six months, stayed, and placed on probation for one year with a 30-day actual suspension. The order took effect April 20, 2001.

Gomez stipulated to misappropriating $3,600 in client funds and failing to maintain client funds in a trust account. In May 1997, he won a $5,700 medical malpractice settlement. In November of that year, after regular requests for the settlement by the client, Gomez admitted the money had been misappropriated. Also, Gomez failed to disburse funds to a medical lienholder, part of the agreement made with the client.

Between May 1997 and March 1998, the balance in Gomez' client trust account repeatedly fell below the $4,300 he was required to maintain after subtracting $1,500 in attorney's fees.

Gomez said he was experiencing economic troubles during the time of misconduct and that he later paid restitution in this matter. He has a prior record of discipline, receiving a private reproval in 1992.

STEVE HOWARD HERTZ [#153971], 45, of Costa Mesa was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation, and was ordered to make restitution, attend the bar's trust accounting school within one year and take the MPRE. The order took effect April 20, 2001.

Hertz stipulated to misconduct in two cases.

In a probate case, Hertz failed over a two-year period to complete legal matters regarding his client's deceased father's estate. The client had paid Hertz $11,961 to pay for funeral costs, debt and other expenses of the estate. At the end of two years, the client asked Hertz to return the case file and provide an accounting of the funds. Hertz turned over the file, but did not provide an accounting.

In a conservatorship case, Hertz was paid a $2,000 advance fee to represent a client in filing for a conservatorship of her mother. Hertz moved without telling his client, left no forwarding address or phone number and did no work on the case.

He also mishandled his client trust account. He deposited $1,900 in earned fees into the account, which he later withdrew, and continued to write checks from the account against insufficient funds. When he deposited a $5,490 check into the account, the check bounced, leaving a $1,297.60 negative balance. By misappropriating the funds, Hertz committed an act of moral turpitude.

He was ordered to pay a total of $5,997 to former clients and to Wells Fargo Bank, which had covered the insufficient funds.

In mitigation, Hertz cooperated with the bar's investigation. He also suffered emotional or physical difficulties and family problems during the time of the stipulated acts.

GUY MANNING [#139071], 40, of Palm Springs was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a one-year actual suspension and was ordered to make restitution, take the MPRE within one year and submit quarterly reports. Credit toward the actual suspension was given for a period of interim suspension that began June 11, 1999. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

Manning stipulated to misconduct in four cases, starting with a felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor driving under the influence of a drug. He also failed to register in a first time offender DUI program as ordered by the court.

The other three cases involved clients.

In a felony drug matter, Manning failed to appear with his client at a trial readiness conference. He also did not promptly refund a portion of a $10,000 advance fee for unearned work.

He failed to appear at his client's arraignment in a misdemeanor criminal matter, and a $10,000 bench warrant was issued against the client. A public defender was later assigned to the client for the rest of the trial. Manning had been undergoing drug rehabilitation at the Betty Ford Clinic at the time and mistakenly believed his former partner would handle the case. He also failed to return $750 in advance fees to the client, who died after demanding a refund.

Another client hired and paid Manning $1,500 to represent him in a motion to reduce or expunge a felony conviction. After more than a year, Manning had still not filed a motion and the client fired him. He sent the client an apology letter, saying that he would refund the fee with interest after he sold his home. He did not refund the money.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline over 12 years of practice and cooperated with the State Bar investigation. He also suffered from difficulties in his personal life.

JAMES K. O'BRIEN [#168485], 41, of Beverly Hills was suspended for one year, stayed, with an actual 90-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that O'Brien failed to comply with the conditions of a 1998 discipline order - he did not take the MPRE, attend ethics school or trust accounting class within one year. The 1998 order was the result of misconduct from 1995 to 1997 that included client trust account violations, failure to promptly pay a client the entire amount of a property damage settlement and practicing law while suspended for failing to pay bar dues.

MICHAEL JEFFERY OLIVER [#42102], 62, of Pleasant Hill was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on probation for three years with an actual 90-day suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE, at least six hours of MCLE classes in office management and comply with rule 955. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

Oliver stipulated to five counts of misconduct while representing two clients in separate criminal cases - one client in state court in 1997 and 1998, and the other in state and federal courts through 1997 and 1998.

At the latter two trials, Oliver did not competently represent his client several times. After entering a no contest plea at the state trial, he failed to appear for the client's sentencing three times. He failed to communicate with this client for four months.

In the federal matter, Oliver was asked to submit joint jury instructions. He never did, despite numerous letters of request from the U.S. attorney. He also did not respond to repeated requests from a probation officer who wanted to interview the client for a probation report to the federal court.

Oliver failed to respond to a certified letter from the assistant federal public defender who asked if he wished to withdraw from the trial and offered to represent the client. He also did not appear before the federal court despite an order to show cause.

Oliver's lawyer eventually responded to the federal order to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed for contempt of court. He submitted Oliver's resignation from the federal bar. A physician filed a declaration, stating that Oliver's failure to represent his client was because of his battle with serious depression, including two suicide attempts and continued need for anti- depressant medication. The federal court judge removed Oliver from the federal bar and ordered him to reimburse the federal public defender's office for the time spent on his client's case. Oliver, however, did not resign from the State Bar.

In the other unrelated criminal matter, Oliver failed repeatedly to return client phone calls or keep the client informed about developments in the case. The client had been sentenced to either serve a jail term or apply for home detention. He tried for seven months to reach Oliver, phoning three or four times a week, regarding applying to the home detention program. Oliver never responded. The client also unsuccessfully attempted to reach Oliver at two addresses. When they finally met, Oliver told the client he was busy working on other cases but would put the client's case on the court calendar.

 Upon arriving at court, the client discovered that his case was not on the calendar and a probation officer at the court knew nothing about it. The client was later arrested for failure to surrender to authorities by the deadline date.

Oliver represented the man in his probation revocation; the client was sentenced to four years in state prison.

In mitigation, Oliver attributes his misconduct to his severe depression, for which he is receiving treatment.

MICHAEL PHILIP RICHTER [#54408], 58, of San Diego was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on probation for one year and was ordered to attend at least six hours of MCLE classes in law office management within one year. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

Richter stipulated to three counts of misconduct in two matters.

In a 1998 personal injury matter, Richter failed to get an endorsement of a $3,000 settlement check, payable to his client and Kaiser Permanente. He  kept the check in the client's file until April 2000, when the file was returned to the client. The check had expired and the client could not cash it. Richter failed to authorize the insurance company to issue a new check for three more months.

During the time the check was in the file, Richter told his client he would negotiate with the medical providers to try to reduce the lien amounts. However, he never contacted any of them.

Richter failed to perform legal services competently by not negotiating a new settlement check, obtaining the endorsement of Kaiser on the settlement check or negotiating with the medical providers as agreed. He also did not respond to the client's repeated phone calls and certified letters over seven months.

Richter also failed to respond to the bar's investigation.

Richter also received a private reproval last year for failing to perform legal services competently or return client phone calls and for improper withdrawal from representation.

LAURIE A. STOFFEL [#130897], 40, of Sacramento was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on probation for four years with an actual one-year suspension and was ordered to make restitution, attend ethics school, take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

In nine matters, Stoffel stipulated to misconduct including improper withdrawal from client  representation and failure to perform legal services competently, return client files or refund unearned client fees.

Three matters involved Stoffel's husband, who worked as a paralegal in her law firm. Former clients mistook him for an attorney and said he misled them about performing legal services on their behalf. Although Stoffel said she knew little or nothing of her husband's activities, the State Bar Court concluded that by failing to adequately supervise her husband in his communication with clients, Stoffel failed to perform legal services competently.

In one of the matters, tenants of a shopping mall say Stoffel's husband approached them and obtained their permission to renegotiate their leases. Some signed retainer agreements with Stoffel's law firm. The tenants say the husband unsuccessfully tried to renegotiate their leases and eventually another lawyer in the firm was assigned to handle an action on their behalf to resolve the matter.

Although the attorney filed a lawsuit, she quit before the case was concluded. Stoffel's husband fielded their calls and assured them the case was moving along and they could expect a monetary award.

In fact, nothing was being done, written communications went unanswered and no documentation of the lawsuit was ever provided. The tenants eventually settled the matter on their own after being unable to obtain their files.

In four matters, Stoffel did not refund the balance of unearned fees, twice failed to perform competently and once improperly withdrew from representation. One client won a small claims judgment against her.

She filed a divorce action in the wrong county and agreed to an erroneous court order that the client's child could not be removed from a county in which she did not reside.

In a child custody matter, Stoffel submitted a transcript of a taped telephone conversation between her client and his former wife as an attachment to a motion. The former wife was unaware the conversation was taped and did not give her permission to disclose the conversation.

In mitigation, Stoffel has suffered emotional difficulties, including hospitalizations for psychiatric reasons, and receives ongoing care from mental health professionals. She fired her husband from the law firm and is seeking a divorce. In addition, her 7-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with spinal cancer, is paralyzed and is undergoing chemotherapy. Stoffel has no prior record of discipline and cooperated with the bar's investigation

GLENN ALAN THOMPSON [#84311], 54, of Marysville was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

While suspended for non-payment of bar dues, Thompson practiced law by accepting two family law cases. In one matter, he made several court appearances and filed a variety of motions and declarations. In the other, he provided legal advice and representation regarding a pending child custody and visitation issues.

He was suspended from Aug. 12, 1996, to Nov. 3, 1997.

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

GUSTAVO ZARATE [#199478], 32, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 15-month suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. Credit toward the actual suspension was  given for the period of interim suspension which began Oct. 11, 1999, so Zarate returned to active status in January. The order took effect April 26, 2001.

Zarate was convicted in 1999 of obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense, a federal offense.

He worked as the office manager of a cosmetic surgery center during law school, before his admission to the bar. He was convicted of destroying surgery checklists to obstruct the criminal investigation of a cosmetic surgery insurance fraud ring.

Placed on interim suspension in 1999, Zarate was ordered to comply with rule 955, but filed the required affidavit six months late.

In mitigation, the plastic surgeon was a father figure to Zarate, whose own father died when he was young. The surgeon and his lawyer instructed Zarate to destroy office records, which Zarate says he did out of loyalty to his mentor.

He has led a life largely devoted to his church and community service.

LUCIEN RICHARD MUSSO [#73726], 52, of Turlock was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for two years and until he makes restitution, the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate his suspension and he proves his rehabilitation. He also was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect April 27, 2001.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found Musso committed misconduct in three separate matters, including entering into three improper business transactions with clients and failing to avoid interests adverse to those clients, and committing other acts of dishonesty.

Musso was retained by a couple to help them handle the estate of their son. They received $100,000 from an insurance company in settlement of their son's claim.

Musso asked them to loan him $10,000 to advertise his invention of valve covers. He said he would repay the loan in six months at 20 percent interest and executed an unsecured promissory note in the amount of $11,000. He did not tell the clients to seek independent counsel, put the terms of the loan in writing or inform them about his financial condition. Nonetheless, they loaned him $10,000.

After six months, Musso paid $1,000 in interest and asked for a six-month extension. He executed another promissory note for $11,000, again without advising the clients to seek independent counsel. A month later, the couple faced unexpected medical bills and asked Musso to pay them $5,000. Despite repeated promises, he only gave them $1,100 over the next seven months.

At one point, he brought the clients to his office and showed them a check for $37,000 and said they would receive half once the check was negotiated, a process he said would take several weeks.

Eventually the clients were forced to hire another attorney and had to borrow money from a friend to sue Musso for repayment of the loan. He still owes them $9,900.

In the second matter, Musso induced another client, who hired him to prepare a will and an amendment to her trust, to lend him $40,000. He promised to repay the loan at 12 percent interest in one year, assuring her he was selling his interest in real property and would repay her from the proceeds of the sale. He did not advise the client to seek independent counsel or put the terms of the loan in writing. Nor did he repay her.

That client also ultimately hired another attorney and sued Musso, who did not pay any of the loan.

In a third matter, Musso did no work for, or communicate with, a client who advanced him a $2,500 fee to handle a civil case. When the matter was settled without his help, the client demanded a refund. The Stanislaus County Bar Association determined in a fee arbitration hearing that the client was entitled to a refund, but Musso never repaid her.

Musso did not respond to a State Bar investigator looking into all three matters.

STEPHEN LEE ANDERSON [#150860], 35, of Irvine was suspended for three months, stayed, placed on 18 months of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect April 29, 2001.

Anderson was convicted of making a false statement to a police officer, a misdemeanor, after falsely identifying himself as a deputy district attorney during a traffic stop. He had been stopped for making a right turn from a left-turn lane and produced an identification card and a badge identifying him as a Los Angeles County deputy DA. In fact, he had left that position six years earlier.

Although he tried to clarify his status three times during the conversation, the officer would not let him. Before charges were filed, Anderson told the police he was no longer a DA.

His actions amounted to an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Anderson has no record of discipline, no one was harmed by his action, he demonstrated remorse and he cooperated with the bar's investigation.

DANIEL MARK CHESTNUT [#152136], 48, of Norwalk was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a six-month actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect April 29, 2001.

The State Bar Court's review department upheld a hearing judge's finding that Chestnut misled judges in both California and Texas in his client's divorce proceedings.

Chestnut, who represented the wife in the dissolution, said he went to a rental property owned by the couple and served divorce papers on the husband. An individual living at the property said he did not hear or see anyone at the property that day.

When Chestnut saw the husband at a hearing in Texas, he told his client her husband "looked different."

The bar court had found Chestnut's testimony not credible and found that he made false statements and committed acts of moral turpitude. It recommended he be suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on three years of probation with a nine-month actual suspension.

Chestnut argued that there is no evidence he made false statements and that even if he did, the alleged misrepresentations were not relevant to the family law proceedings. The review department rejected his arguments and found that he made untrue statements, but reduced the recommended discipline to a six-month actual suspension.

Chestnut also was disciplined in 1995 for engaging in misleading acts - he filed a personal injury lawsuit on his own behalf and did not disclose in response to an interrogatory that he had received prior medical treatment for chronic knee pain. He also failed to pay $3,320 in court-ordered discovery sanctions.

In mitigation, Chestnut participated in extracurricular school activities and the Army Reserve, and his character witnesses presented an extraordinary demonstration of his good character.

THOMAS M. COX [#122667], 50, of Yucaipa was placed on two years of probation and suspended for 30 days. The order took effect April 29, 2001.

Cox stipulated to two counts of misconduct in an unlawful detainer matter. He misplaced the notice of trial, failed to appear and judgment was entered against his client. He didn't tell the client.

Cox disputed his client's request for a refund of unearned fees, so the client sued him and won a small claims judgment. Cox did not pay the judgment for more than a year, after the client complained to the State Bar.

Cox was disciplined in 1995 for failing to perform legal services competently, communicate with a client, return client files, refund unearned fees, promptly pay out client funds, pay sanctions or cooperate with a bar investigation.

GENE JEFFREY GOLDSMAN [#76554], 49, of Santa Ana was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for two years with a 30-day actual suspension. He was ordered to pay restitution, take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect April 29, 2001.

Goldsman stipulated to failing to reasonably supervise a paralegal assisting in a 1996 personal injury claim following a vehicle accident in which four clients were passengers in the same car. He also stipulated to failing to get written consent from the clients regarding potential conflicts of interest.

Goldsman learned the defendant's insurance policy limit was $30,000, which would be shared among the four if the case was settled. He directed the paralegal to explain this to the clients and see if they would each agree to receive a proportionate share. 

The paralegal later told Goldsman the clients had agreed. Goldsman settled the case but did not obtain written consent to the aggregate settlement. He also learned the paralegal had misinformed him about the client who was to receive the lowest share - she had not given consent to the settlement. Goldsman was ordered to pay $2,625 in restitution to the client.

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

In a prior disciplinary action, Goldsman was suspended in 1996 for misconduct in seven consolidated cases, most involving problems with paying medical liens. He also failed to perform legal services competently, return client files, respond promptly to inquiries, disburse settlement funds promptly and comply with court orders, and he improperly withdrew from employment.

DANA HUGH ANDERSON [#59081], 56, of Fresno was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on probation for four years with a one-year actual suspension and credit for an interim suspension which began May 13, 2000. He also was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect May 5, 2001, but Anderson returned to active status May 15.

Anderson was convicted of driving under the influence in April 1999 and had a prior conviction for the same offense.

Anderson stipulated to multiple acts of misconduct related to the DUI. He struck a raised concrete curb while turning into an apartment complex, backed up, then drove over the curb into a flower bed. Anderson continued to try to enter the driveway even after a police officer stopped behind him in a marked car. He then tried to walk away and was arrested. He refused to submit to tests to determine his alcohol level. He was sentenced to five years of probation for the misdemeanor conviction.

In December 1999, he was convicted on three counts of driving with a suspended license due to driving under the influence and two counts of falsifying a handicapped placard.

In the earlier DUI incident, Anderson rear-ended a Mercedes Benz, causing it to lurch forward and hit the motorcycle in front of it. He refused testing and was uncooperative. He also was driving with a suspended license.

Anderson was placed on suspension in 1993 for commingling his attorney-client trust account in one matter and for failing to communicate and properly withdraw from employment in another.

In mitigation, Anderson cooperated with the bar, agreeing to discipline without requiring a hearing. More than 55 people submitted letters attesting to his good character. Also, his convictions were related to alcohol problems, and Anderson said he quit drinking from December 1998 to March 2000, but slipped after a guilty verdict in a felony case he handled. The next day, he enrolled himself in a recovery center, completing a 90-day program.

He has performed more than 200 hours of community service and is active in The Other Bar, a State Bar-related alcoholism program. He is being subjected to random drug and alcohol tests and has not tested positive for use.

DAVID GREGORY ROTH [#123893], 45, of Portola Valley was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on probation for three years with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 5, 2001.

Roth failed to comply with the terms of his probation, imposed in February 2000 after he stipulated to misconduct in handling two criminal matters. He has failed to submit two quarterly reports and provide proof he was attending meetings to address his substance abuse problems.

In the first criminal matter, he twice failed to appear in court with his client and he did not meet with the client or keep him informed about the status of his case. Roth was removed as attorney of record at his client's request.

In the second case, he nodded off three times during a criminal jury trial. A mistrial was declared upon a motion by his client's co-defendants. Roth underwent a drug test, and although it was negative, a bailiff noticed several needle marks on his arm.

DEBBIE RUTH DETRIXHE [#102659], 56, of Hermosa Beach was suspended for four years, stayed, given an actual two-year suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year, comply with conditions of probation if any is imposed at the end of her suspension and comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 6, 2001.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found Detrixhe failed to comply with any of the terms of her probation, including filing quarterly reports and attending required classes. She had been disciplined in January 1998 for commingling her personal funds with those in client trust accounts.

CONNIE SUE KRAMER [#100973], 54, of El Monte was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on probation for two years with an actual 90-day suspension, and was also ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 6, 2001.

After Kramer was disciplined in March 2000, she failed to file proof of compliance with rule 955 by the court-ordered April deadline. She forwarded a declaration of compliance that October, after being contacted by the State Bar's enforcement unit.

Kramer was placed on probation with a six-month actual suspension after she stipulated to several acts of misconduct. She failed to perform competent legal services by allowing a paralegal to work unsupervised in 12 client matters and by  failing to finalize a divorce, confirm a settlement and appear at trial. She also did not appear at a hearing when no settlement had been reached and did not file a cross-complaint as promised.

The paralegal was paying Kramer's business bills, making deposits for her and maintaining her client files. Kramer, who had closed her law office but maintained a post office box and handled some work out of the paralegal's office, was neither regularly checking on the status of her cases nor picking up her mail.

In the 12 client matters in which she was charged, the paralegal variously entered into settlement negotiations, signed Kramer's name on legal documents without her knowledge, did not tell Kramer she had been hired by clients, failed to return advance fees, made misrepresentations to clients and opposing lawyers and deposited client funds into his personal account. Several clients were harmed: A judgment was ordered against a couple, a mother's visitation rights were negatively affected and a writ of attachment was issued against another client.

Kramer was disciplined with a public reproval in 1996, but she did not comply with probation conditions - she did not attend ethics school or take the MPRE.

RICHARD FRANK PINTAL [#152727], 41, of Los Angeles was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on probation for two years and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect May 6, 2001.

Pintal stipulated he improperly withdrew from employment and failed to avoid prejudicing a client. Between July 1997 and March 1998, he represented a defendant in a Los Angeles felony case. During that time, he secured seven continuances of court hearings. Two different attorneys appeared on Pintal's behalf at two subsequent hearings.

At one, the attorney was unable to explain why Pintal could not appear, why he had not filed any motions or announced he was ready for trial. At the other, the court continued the hearing again and set an order to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed.

No attorneys appeared on behalf of the defendant at the next hearing. The court imposed $500 in sanctions and ordered Pintal or an office representative to appear at another date, but again, no one showed up. Pintal was then relieved as counsel for the defendant and a public defender was appointed. In Decem-ber 1999, Pintal paid the sanctions.

In mitigation, Pintal cooperated with the bar's investigation, showed remorse and presented good character references. He was ordered to attend two meetings per week to address substance abuse problems.

Pintal has a prior record of discipline for similar misconduct. In 1996, he failed to appear at a pretrial/trial setting conference or at a later hearing to show cause why he should not be discharged as a result of contempt. The court found Pintal abandoned his client, discharged Pintal as attorney for the client and imposed sanctions totaling $3,000.

JOSE LUIS RAMOS [#91501], 50, of Los Angeles was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on probation for five years with a 42-month actual suspension, and was ordered to pay $29,000 in restitution, take the MPRE during the actual suspension and comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 6, 2001.

Ramos stipulated to misappropriating funds, issuing a check from a closed bank account, and two counts of failing to deposit funds in a client trust account. In a separate case, he stipulated to failing to comply with terms of a 1993 probation.

In March 1995, Ramos settled a personal injury claim for $65,000 without the knowledge, authorization or consent of his client. He placed the first of two $32,000 settlement checks in his office's general account rather than in a client trust account. He cashed the second check, using a portion of it to pay for an overdraft in the general account.

Ramos informed the client of the settlement five months later, but said he had not yet received the funds. He offered to invest them for the client, who said he wanted time to consider that offer.

In October, the client instructed Ramos to pay $25,000 to his sister. Ramos paid the client's sister $5,000,  promising to pay the rest within a week. The client acknowledged receiving a total of $10,000 from Ramos. Another $5,000 check bounced, and the sister found that Ramos' account had been closed. After that, the client and his sister found Ramos' telephone was disconnected and they were unable to contact him.

After completing a 1993 suspension, Ramos violated probation by failing to submit timely quarterly reports and declarations of non-receipt of client funds, attend ethics school or submit a law office management plan and proof of completing MCLE hours.

In mitigation, Ramos said the client failed to keep a record of Ramos' payments and did not maintain contact, which contributed to the misconduct. The client has since been deported, which kept Ramos from resolving the matter. He provided evidence of performing pro bono work. Also, he established that he was suffering from ill health at the time.

RESIGNATION/CHARGES PENDING

BENJAMIN N. WYATT JR. [#33214], 63, of Los Angeles (April 15, 2001)

ARDEN SILVERMAN [#106311], 44, of Los Angeles (April 20, 2001)

GEORGE MAC VOGELEI [#78451], 55, of Novato (April 20, 2001)

RICHARD JOHN MATHIAS [#137485], 37, of North Hollywood (April 22, 2001)

PHILIP SAMUEL KAUFMAN [#61684], 52, of West Covina (April 29, 2001)

DAVID LEON CUNNINGHAM [#34583], 65, of Sausalito (May 5, 2001)

NICOLA SUZANNE BLAIR [#165232], 40, of San Diego (May 6, 2001)

JAMES EDWARD HENNESSEY [#46341], 60, of San Diego (May 6, 2001)

THEODORE LEWIS SLINKARD [#31453], 73, of Monterey (May 6, 2001)

INTERIM SUSPENSION
H. DAVID SCHMERIN [#31847], 56, of Pico Rivera was placed on interim suspension May 3, 2001, following a conviction of receiving stolen property. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
(Schmerin should not be confused with HENRY DAVID SCHMERIN, 36, a non-attorney who owns Wrightwood Laboratories in Las Vegas.)
SUSPENSION/FAILURE TO PASS PRE
DAVID LANSING CHAPMAN [#60783], 62, of San Marino (May 22, 2001)
PUBLIC REPROVAL

CAROL E. HERON [#1 35478], 51, of Granada Hills (Nov. 30, 2000)

PETER ASHA CHANG JR. [#32443], 64, of Santa Cruz (Dec. 3, 2000)

F. RICHARD LOSEY [#49078], 56, of San Francisco (Dec. 7, 2000)

ROY RAY KING [#61726] 61, of Victorville (Dec. 14, 2000)

WILLIAM JOHN STATILE [#72795], 52, of Escondido (Sept.13, 2000)

JOHN A. HURLEY [#145907], 46, of Santa Ana (Oct. 21, 2000)