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

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CAUTION!
More than 171,500 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

MONDAY U. ABENGOWE [#143986], 41, of West Los Angeles was disbarred Sept. 23, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Conduct.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Abengowe misappropriated more than $3,200 from a client, wrote at least 57 bad checks against his client trust account, wrote another 30 checks on the trust account to pay personal expenses, split fees with non-lawyers, failed to perform legal services competently or communicate with a client, and improperly withdrew from employment. He also did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation of his conduct.

Noting that Abengowe was disciplined last year for misappropriation and mishandling entrusted funds, Judge Madge Watai recommended his disbarment. His “misappropriation of client funds on a second occasion, occurring after he had been charged with the first misappropriation, clearly demonstrates that he is a danger to the public and to the integrity of the legal profession,” Watai wrote.

Abengowe was hired to handle a personal injury and property damage claim. Although Abengowe drew up a fee agreement giving him a one-third contingency fee, the client did not sign it. Abengowe received two settlement checks totaling about $4,900; one was made out to him and the client, the other to the client only. Abengowe deposited both checks in his client trust account.

When the client tried to cash a $1,000 check from Abengowe, it was returned for insufficient funds. At one point, the trust account was overdrawn by $14,804.40. After the check bounced, the client tried repeatedly to get his share of the settlement funds, but Abengowe did not return his phone calls and there is no evidence the client ever got any money.

The court found that he did not notify his client that he’d received settlement funds, did not maintain client funds, misappropriated funds and failed to communicate with a client.

ROBERT JAY BARTH [#75776], 57, of Beverly Hills was disbarred Sept. 23, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Barth did not meet the requirements of a disciplinary order last year that he comply with rule 955 by notifying his clients and all other pertinent parties of his suspension and filing an affidavit to that effect with the Supreme Court.

That was his seventh disciplinary order since 1991; Barth has not been eligible to practice since April 1998.

In 1991, he was given two stayed suspensions for failure to complete legal services competently twice, respond to client inquiries, refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He also improperly withdrew from employment.

He was given an actual 75-day suspension the following year for violating the terms of his probation and for the unauthorized practice of law. His probation was revoked in 1994, and, in 1997, he was disciplined twice for misconduct, including failing to perform legal services competently or respond to client inquiries and for again failing to comply with probation conditions.

In recommending Barth’s disbarment, State Bar Court Judge Carlos Velarde wrote, Barth “has demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with the professional obligations and rules of court imposed on California attorneys as indicated by his seven instances of prior misconduct although he has been given several opportunities to do so.” Velarde also pointed out that Barth did not participate in the final disciplinary proceedings.

DAVID A. DOBBS [#130931], 40, of San Francisco was disbarred Sept. 23, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Dobbs failed to file with the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that he had notified his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension from practice. His failure to do so violated rule 955 and was grounds for disbarment, which was recommended in a default proceeding.

The underlying misconduct, which resulted in a 1998 disciplinary order, involved Dobbs’ failure to perform legal services competently, communicate with a client, return unearned fees or participate in the bar’s investigation. He was required to make restitution as part of the order.

When he violated the probation conditions, he was actually suspended for two years in 1999 and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

LAWRENCE ALLEN GRIGSBY [#106819], 54, of Los Angeles was disbarred Sept. 23, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

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

The 1998 discipline was the result of three consolidated cases in which Grigsby stipulated to failing to perform legal services competently, communicate with clients, refund unearned fees, properly handle entrusted funds or pay out client funds, respond to client inquiries, or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He also improperly withdrew from employment. His acts constituted moral turpitude.

MITCHELL K. JAYSON [#108416], 52, of Palm Desert was disbarred Sept. 23, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Jayson did not meet the requirements of a 1999 discipline order that he comply with rule 955 by notifying his clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension and submit an affidavit to that effect to the Supreme Court. His disbarment was recommended in a default proceeding.

Jayson has three prior disciplines, starting with a private reproval in 1993 after he stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, communicate with a client, promptly refund unearned fees or maintain complete client trust account records, and admitted that he improperly withdrew from representation.

He stipulated to additional misconduct in 1997, including one count each of failure to communicate, comply with a court order, perform legal services competently and cooperate with a bar investigation.

In 1999, he was actually suspended for one year when he did not comply with conditions attached to the 1997 probation.

LINCOLN N. MINTZ [#37610], 58, of Oakland was disbarred Sept. 23, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court recommended that Mintz be disbarred as a result of misconduct committed with four prior findings of wrongdoing.

In 1968, he represented a criminal defendant who says he paid Mintz $10,000. Although Mintz appeared in court once with the client, he did not return phone calls or respond to requests for information. In fact, said the court, he became irate when the client disputed decisions Mintz made without consulting him.

In addition to the criminal charges, the client faced an employment termination proceeding to be held in a closed hearing before an administrative law judge. Mintz was not hired to represent him at that hearing, but did not give the client his file and he could not adequately represent himself.

The bar court found that Mintz failed to return a client’s file or communicate with a client, misconduct which normally would result in a reproval or suspension. However, because of his four previous disciplines, including one only five months earlier, the court recommended disbarment.

In 1995, Mintz was privately reproved. Two years later, he was suspended and placed on two years of probation for mishandling client matters and failing to respond to State Bar investigations.

He was disciplined again in 1999 for similar misconduct, and last April was placed on actual suspension, until the bar court granted a motion for relief, for multiple acts of wrongdoing, including abandoning clients, failure to communicate and return a file and not responding to bar investigations.

ROBERT ALTON HERNDON [#76757], 55, of San Diego was disbarred Sept. 29, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Herndon committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, including misappropriating at least $53,800 in client funds, and significantly harmed two clients.

In one matter, he represented a couple in the sale of their shares of stock for $33,000. Herndon received a check for that amount and told the clients he deposited the funds in a client trust account. He later told them he’d invested their money in a time deposit or certificate of deposit in a Curacao bank. Herndon sent the clients regular statements for six years, indicating at one point that their investment had grown to more than $127,000; the clients were content to have him administer the money.

Herndon also invested $20,800 of another couple’s money he collected for them, but they never gave him the authority to do so and demanded that he return the funds to them. He never did so.

In 1996, Herndon filed for bankruptcy and listed the two couples as creditors but tried to discharge any claim they had against him. They contested his actions.

In the subsequent bankruptcy proceedings, Herndon did not comply with court orders, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest and he fled. The warrant is outstanding.

In a second matter, he accepted a $50,000 loan from a client and signed a promissory note in which he agreed to repay the money, plus 10.25 percent interest, within 18 months. He did not advise the client to seek independent legal advice or obtain his written consent to the terms of the loan.

Herndon never repaid the funds.

In recommending disbarment, Judge Michael D. Marcus wrote that Herndon “frustrated all efforts to recover these funds by refusing to comply with the orders of the bankruptcy court. There is no gray area concerning such misconduct; especially since [Herndon] has fled the jurisdiction.”

RICHARD ARNOLD ROCHA [#49728], 59, of Pomona was disbarred Sept. 29, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Rocha did not comply with a 1999 disciplinary order requiring him to comply with rule 955 by notifying his clients and other parties of his suspension from practice and submitting an affidavit to that effect to the Supreme Court.

The original discipline was the result of mishandling three client matters by failing to pay medical liens, maintain client funds in trust or perform legal services competently.

SUSPENSIONS/PROBATION

BRUCE DONALD SAFRAN [#58206], 55, of Tarzana was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual three-year suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Sept. 14, 2000.

Safran represented a client in a fraud case stemming from an investment venture in which she lost $32,000. He stipulated that he arranged a $10,000 settlement without the client’s knowledge, forged her signature on the settlement agreement and the check, misappropriated the money and dismissed the suit without telling her.

Two years later, Safran created a fictitious judgment which called for a $21,000 settlement and set out a payment schedule. He forged the opposing attorney’s signature. For the next two years, he engaged in an elaborate scheme to deceive his client and conceal his theft, paying her about $21,000 in “settlement payments,” many of them late or drawn against insufficient funds. He used his personal, office and client trust account funds to make the payments.

He stipulated that he failed to keep his client informed about developments in her case, notify her of receipt of settlement funds, or maintain the settlement funds in trust. The forgeries, misappropriation and deceit of his client were acts of moral turpitude.

In another matter, Safran was arrested in 1997 for having sex with a prostitute in his car. He entered a plea of no contest to one count of trespass and the original charge of engaging in lewd conduct in public was dropped.

Safran has a prior record of discipline. In 1976, he was suspended following a conviction of two counts of annoying or molesting children, and in 1998, he was disciplined for his actions in the fraud case.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation. As a result of the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, his home was badly damaged requiring absences from his law practice, and he suffered emotional problems. He also devoted significant time to charitable and community activities.

NORBERT ANTHONY SCHLEI [#28772], 71, of Santa Monica was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a six-month actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. He received credit for 38 months spent on interim suspension and is now an attorney in good standing. The order took effect Sept. 14, 2000.

Once head of the office of legal counsel under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Schlei and his Los Angeles law firm accepted a case in 1985 representing 60 Japanese nationals who were the holders of two kinds of financial instruments in very large denominations — the smallest was the yen equivalent of $100 million.

What began as an extraordinarily complicated case ultimately led to a misdemeanor conviction for Schlei, who never admitted guilt, after six years of criminal prosecution and a half million in legal fees which led to his financial ruin.

The goal of the case was to persuade the Japanese government to acknowledge that disputed certificates of redemption and cashier’s checks were genuine and represented part of a secret slush fund dating back to the occupation of Japan after World War II. Schlei believed the bank notes were valid.

The case was pursued off and on for seven years and was never resolved; Schlei and the firm never received any payment for their services. Over the course of the case, Schlei consistently advised the government and everyone with whom he discussed the matter that the genuineness of the bank notes was disputed.

At one point, one of his clients secretly met with an individual and entrusted some of the disputed bank notes to him. Schlei had advised his clients to avoid the individual and was unaware of the meeting.

U.S. Treasury agents set up a sting operation and arrested the individual, who gave the agents access to his safe deposit box containing the bank notes.

Schlei and his client were indicted on 15 counts which portrayed his legal work as part of a conspiracy, even though he had had no contact with two of his co-defendants and had advised his clients to have no contact with the co-defendant who was arrested in the sting operation.

Schlei was convicted of one felony and one misdemeanor. As a result of the felony conviction, the State Bar Court placed him on interim suspension. Two and a half years later, an appellate court reversed and vacated both convictions and remanded the misdemeanor (conspiracy to possess counterfeit foreign bank notes) to the district court for a hearing on Schlei’s motion for a new trial based on government intimidation of witnesses.

Nine months later, bar prosecutors notified the court and it lifted the interim suspension which by then had lasted more than 38 months.

When Schlei was offered a deal a few months later under which he would drop his claims in exchange for leaving the misdemeanor conviction in effect, he accepted, without admitting guilt and believing the bar would not pursue the matter further.

Instead, the bar, which had earlier said the misdemeanor “may or may not involve moral turpitude” changed its mind, said it did involve moral turpitude and issued a second interim suspension. A month later, it granted Schlei’s motion to vacate in the interests of justice.

“The criminal proceedings, the payment of defense costs and the interim suspension have irreparably damaged [Schlei’s] livelihood, financial resources and reputation,” wrote bar court Judge Madge Watai. She concluded that although the conspiracy conviction is conclusive evidence of Schlei’s guilt, it was not a crime of moral turpitude.

She noted his “distinguished career,” extensive professional affiliations and almost 40 years of charitable and civic activities.

WILLIAM ROBERT SIEFKES [#160381], 37, of Huntington Beach was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 14, 2000.

Siefkes stipulated to two counts of misconduct, stemming from convictions. In one case, he pleaded guilty to driving with a blood alcohol level of .21 percent with a prior.

In the second matter, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery, after he was arrested at his apartment complex swimming pool. He had fallen into the pool three times and then as he stepped into a jacuzzi, he grabbed the hand of another individual, bending it backward.

Police officers who responded said Siefkes had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, a three-day growth of beard, was unsteady and smelled of alcohol.

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

FELIX TORRES JR. [#135480], 50, of Fair Oaks was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual three-year suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE, comply with rule 955 and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 14, 2000.

Torres appealed a State Bar Court hearing judge’s recommendation that he be disbarred, and review Judge Kenneth Norian reduced the recommended discipline.

Norian upheld the hearing depart-ment’s finding that Torres committed acts of moral turpitude by harassing a client and inflicting emotional distress on her.

Torres represented the client in a medical malpractice case against a plastic surgeon. According to Norian’s decision, Torres unintentionally gave her incorrect legal advice and the court awarded the plastic surgeon almost $10,000 in costs.

At about that time, Torres began to receive hang-up phone calls which he believed were being made by his angry client. As a result, he made more than 100 late night phones calls to her, hanging up or leaving an anonymous message.

The client sued Torres for malpractice, harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress and won a $308,000 jury verdict. During the trial, Torres falsely asserted that he and the client had a social relationship. Torres has not paid her anything; he is indigent and lives on public and private disability payments.

Norian reversed the hearing judge’s findings that Torres advanced facts prejudicial to his client and failed to communicate with her.

However, he said Torres’ testimony before the bar court was dishonest and that he harmed his client, displayed indifference and did not appreciate the seriousness of his misconduct.

In mitigation, Torres provided many hours of free legal services to the poor and disadvantaged.

BRADLEY ALAN ARNOLD [#93085], 64, of Woodland Hills was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 23, 2000.

Arnold stipulated that he failed to maintain client funds in a trust account and misappropriated nearly $9,000 in client funds.

Arnold represented a client in a personal injury case on a contingency fee basis. His partner settled the case and the two lawyers received a settlement draft for $15,000 which they deposited into their client trust account. Neither attorney disbursed money to the client or to a lienholder, and they allowed the balance in the trust account to fall below the required amount. At one point, the balance was below $1,000.

About nine months after receiving the settlement funds, Arnold’s partner gave the client $5,282 as his share and said he was keeping about $3,500 to reimburse the insurer for medical payments made. The insurer was never reimbursed.

In mitigation, Arnold displayed candor and cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

He has two previous discipline orders. In 1993, he was suspended and placed on probation for failing to act competently or pay out client funds. In 1996, he was disciplined again for failing to act competently or respond to reasonable client inquiries.

 LARRY JAMES BRYANT [#80908], 54, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, and was actually suspended for two years and until he attends ethics school, makes restitution, proves his rehabilitation and the State Bar Court grants a motion to end the suspension. He also was ordered to comply with any probation conditions imposed as a condition of terminating the suspension, and he must take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Sept. 23, 2000.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Bryant did not comply with the terms of a 1997 probation: he filed no probation reports, did not make restitution or attend ethics school, and he did not keep his address current with the bar.

The underlying misconduct included failing to report a sanction to the bar and failing to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

MARCELLO MARIO DiMAURO [#59302], 55, of Glendale was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation with an actual 30-day suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 23, 2000.

The charges against DiMauro involved overdrafts from his client trust account; the insufficient funds were a result of poor bookkeeping and failing to wait the requisite period of time for deposited checks to clear.

In three separate matters, 27 checks were written against insufficient funds.

DiMauro stipulated that he failed to maintain client funds in a trust account.

In mitigation, no clients were harmed, DiMauro cooperated with the bar’s investigation and he presented evidence of his good character.

He was privately reproved in 1987 for failing to act competently.

JEFFREY STEVEN NELSON [#149494], 44, of Tampa, Fla., was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 20-month suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 23, 2000.

In 1998, Nelson pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of writing a bad check for $850. The check did not involve his client trust account, had nothing to do with the practice of law, and Nelson made restitution. However, the misconduct involved moral turpitude and Nelson has been on interim suspension since July 1998.

At the time, Nelson was a deputy attorney general with the California Attorney General. As a result of the interim suspension, he lost his job. He complied with the conditions of his probation and in January 2000, he withdrew his plea and his conviction was dismissed.

He has no record of discipline.

TONY RODRIGUEZ [#102882], 48, of Cerritos was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 18-month suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Sept. 23, 2000.

Rodriguez stipulated to 19 counts of misconduct, all involving mishandling his client trust account, in four consolidated cases.

He repeatedly wrote checks against insufficient funds, allowed the balance in the trust account to fall below the required amount, misappropriated client funds, failed to maintain client funds in a trust account, commingled personal and client funds, and failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation. Some of the misconduct amounted to moral turpitude.

Rodriguez has been disciplined twice previously. In 1994, he stipulated to issuing nine checks against insufficient funds and failing to maintain client funds in trust, and in 1996, he was disciplined for failing to file two quarterly probation reports.

ALAN RUBINSTEIN [#93371], 49, of Westminster was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 23, 2000.

Rubinstein stipulated to misconduct in seven consolidated matters, each involving improper maintenance of his client trust account, failure to perform legal services competently and committing acts of moral turpitude.

Rubenstein’s problems were the result of lax supervision of an individual he hired to do collection work. He did not carefully oversee either the substance of client files or accounting methods used by his employee, nor did he adequately review his client trust account.

The employee forged Rubenstein’s signature on several checks and impersonated Rubenstein in order to obtain wire transfers from the account. As a result, the balance in the account fell below the required amount repeatedly.

In mitigation, Rubenstein has no record of discipline, demonstrated remorse and showed rehabilitation, presented testimony attesting to his good character and cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

ANDRE KEITH SILVOLA [#109154], 51, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a one-year actual suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 23, 2000.

Silvola was disciplined in 1998 but failed to comply with the terms of his probation. He failed to file seven quarterly reports, or submit a law office management plan or proof of his attendance at six hours of MCLE classes.

The original discipline entailed failure to act competently or respond to client inquiries, accepting compensation from a non-client, failure to properly withdraw from employment and committing acts of moral turpitude. Silvola was disciplined again for not complying with the terms of his probation.

In mitigation, he suffers from major depressive disorder, for which he receives treatment, and he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

ALAN CRAIG BAIL [#88955], 47, of Playa del Rey was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on five years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 29, 2000.

Bail stipulated to misconduct in six consolidated cases, all involving personal injury cases.

In one matter, he deposited in his trust account $145,000, of which $42,000 should have been paid to the U.S. Postal Service, his client’s employer, for reimbursement of workers’ compensation benefits, and another $31,000 to seven medical providers.

Bail paid one doctor nine months after receiving the settlement, paid two other medical liens 20 months later, and did not pay the rest. Several years after the settlement, he still owed the postal service more than $14,000, but his client trust account had a balance of just under $2,000.

Bail failed to file suit in another matter resulting in a significant financial loss for his client. He lost another case and judgment was entered for the opposing clients for their costs, but her never informed his clients. When his health deteriorated, he informed some clients he could no longer handle their matters, but he did not return complete files.

Bail stipulated to one count of failing to perform competently and one count of failing to pay out client funds and to two counts each of failing to respond to client inquiries or keep clients informed of developments in their cases, return client files and hold client funds in a client trust account, and to misappropriating client funds, a violation involving moral turpitude. He also did not keep his address current with the State Bar.

In mitigation, Bail has taken steps to atone for any consequences of his misconduct, including ceasing practice at the end of 1995, remaining inactive from 1996 to the present and seeking psychiatric evaluation. He also suffered extreme emotional difficulties from which he has recovered through medical treatment.

Bail also was disciplined in 1993 for failure to return a file, return unearned fees or account for client funds.

DONALD BARNETT [#33012], 63, of Rolling Hills Estates was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 29, 2000.

Barnett stipulated that in a personal injury case, he failed to properly maintain client funds in a client trust account, commingled client and personal funds and failed to promptly pay out client funds as requested.

He settled the case, which he took on contingency, for $33,000, but allowed the balance in his trust account to fall below the required amount before paying his client’s medical bills. A month after the settlement, Barnett deposited a check for $50,000 — a loan — in the trust account, and several months later another loan for $15,000.

In mitigation, Barnett took steps to demonstrate his remorse, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and presented testimony attesting to his good character.

KENNETH DAVID BUCKWALTER [#50213], 54, of Auburn was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on actual suspension until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, Buckwalter must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 29, 2000.

Buckwalter was suspended in 1997 and ordered to comply with rule 955. At the time, he was attorney of record in a case in El Dorado County.

He failed to provide notice of his suspension to opposing counsel or the court by the deadline; the notice was dated properly but not mailed until three weeks after the deadline. He filed an affidavit with the State Bar Court, stating he had complied with rule 955.

While suspended, Buckwalter made two court appearances in connection with the El Dorado case and entered into an agreement on behalf of his client.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Buckwalter practiced law while suspended and failed to comply with rule 955.

The original discipline was the result of failing to perform legal services competently, entering into a business transaction with a client without obtain the required written consent and knowingly acquiring a pecuniary interest adverse to his client without providing the required written notice or obtaining the required written consent.

The probation of RICHARD M. CANTILLON [#27479], 72, of Riverside was revoked, a previously ordered stay of suspension was lifted and he was actually suspended for three years and until he makes restitution and proves his rehabilitation. He was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. Credit toward the actual suspension will be given for the period of involuntary inactive enrollment which began June 5, 2000. The order took effect Sept. 29, 2000.

Cantillon stipulated to misconduct in 11 consolidated cases and in 1998 was suspended and placed on probation, with requirements that he pay more than $54,000 in restitution to 23 individuals and prove his rehabilitation. In addition, he was ordered to submit quarterly probation reports.

Cantillon did not submit five probation reports.

He has a record of prior discipline, including a 1995 private reproval for failing to supervise his employees or perform legal services competently. He was later suspended for 30 days for not complying with the probation requirements attached t the reproval.

The 1998 discipline involved 28 clients and multiple instances of misconduct, including 21 counts of failing to act competently or refund unearned fees, and multiple counts of failing to respond to client inquiries, promptly pay out client funds, return client files, or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and for charging an unconscionable fee.

ROBERT RAFAEL CATALANO [#37408], 61, of Bakersfield was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a three-year actual suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Sept. 29, 2000.

Catalano sought review of a State Bar Court hearing judge’s discipline recommendation, arguing that it was excessive. The review department upheld the recommendation.

Catalano was convicted in 1994 of wilful disobedience of a court order, a misdemeanor, and four misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns. The hearing judge found that disobeying a court order involved moral turpitude and the other counts involved misconduct warranting discipline.

Over a 10-year period, Catalano suffered severe financial problems as a result of a contentious divorce, the acrimonious break-up of his law partnership and a dispute with his former partner over fees from a case in the state of Washington. He filed for bankruptcy twice and was a defendant in a costly lawsuit stemming from his efforts to buy a house.

He misrepresented to a bank from which he sought a $100,000 line of credit that a certificate of deposit he pledged as security was owned by him and unencumbered by any liens. In fact, the CD was purchased with the attorney’s fees and costs from the Washington case and was subject to claims by his former partner. Catalano eventually was ordered by a court to pay his ex-partner that money, plus interest, amounting to $125,000.

Catalano and his wife did not file tax returns for 1984-87 because, they said, their records were in the possession of either attorneys and accountants for Catalano’s first wife, attorneys and accountants for his creditors, or parties involved in the bankruptcy. He subsequently filed his returns, but has not paid all his back taxes and is trying to work out a five-year payment plan.

The no contest plea to a charge of disobeying a court order resulted from the dispute over the fees in the Washington case.

The review department found that Catalano’s misconduct involved deception or concealment and that his testimony and arguments before the hearing department demonstrated a lack of insight into his misconduct.

TIMOTHY L. DAVIS [#141612], 46, of Columbus, Ohio, was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual two-year suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE. Credit will be given for the period of interim suspension which began June 24, 1999. The order took effect Sept. 29, 2000.

Davis pleaded guilty in 1999 to assault with a deadly weapon and making threats to commit a crime resulting in death or great bodily harm.

In mitigation, he has no record of discipline since his 1989 admission to the bar and he cooperated with its investigation.

GERALDINE D. GREEN [#50282], 67, of Los Angeles was suspended for three months and until she pays sanctions and proves her rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 29, 2000.

In February 1991, Green filed a wrongful death suit against Los Angeles County; it was dismissed in July.

In September, she filed suit in state court and subsequently filed four amended complaints.

In February 1994, the court denied her motion to file a fifth amended complaint and sanctioned her more than $1,000, ruling that she had acted in bad faith and used frivolous tactics. She did not report the sanction to the State Bar for more than two years.

In 1995, Green returned to federal court and filed an action similar to the original federal complaint. The court dismissed the case, said it was frivolous and sanctioned Green $2,312.

Green stipulated that she continued her employment knowing that her objective was to pursue litigation that was not warranted under law.

Green has a record of three disciplines. In 1993, she was privately reproved for failing to properly maintain her client trust account or pay out client funds, and in 1995, she was suspended for failing to act competently, return client papers, comply with probation conditions, respond to client inquiries or cooperate with the bar’s investigation and disobeying a court order.

Last year, she was suspended again for failing to respond to client inquiries or perform competently and for committing acts of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, she suffered from severe financial stress at the time of the misconduct.