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

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - November 2001
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News / News Briefs
Two new judges named to bar court; Stovitz to preside
New protections for consumers
Court approves disclosure of some private disciplines
Board member Erica Yew named to Santa Clara bench
40 receive Foundation scholarships
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Trials Digest
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Opinion
From the President - Intentional UPL should be a felony
International law in a post-Sept. 11 world
Lawyers' response: First, do no harm
Delicate balance between liberty and security
Con artists single out immigrants
Letters to the Editor
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MCLE Self-Study
Restructuring a bankrupt global company
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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You Need to Know
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Public Comment
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - New decision may subject lawyers to suits
Trust fund scam leads to summary disbarment
Attorney Discipline

DISCIPLINE

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CAUTION!

More than 174,300 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

MARTIN S. ROSMAN [#140374], 40, of San Francisco was summarily disbarred Aug. 9, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

The disbarment followed a 1999 federal conviction in which Rosman pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering/ aiding and abetting. He had been on interim suspension since November 1999.

The U.S. District Court sentenced Rosman to 12 months' imprisonment to be served in a halfway house and a $100 fine.

An attorney may be summarily disbarred if convicted of a felony that involves the intent to deceive or moral turpitude. The State Bar Court determined that Rosman's conviction met the statutory criteria.

He had no prior record of discipline.

ARNALDO CAPOTE JR. [#68308], 52, of Panama City, Fla., was summarily disbarred Aug. 17, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In April 2000, Capote was convicted of one count of mail fraud, a federal offense. From June 1993 to September 1997, he defrauded insurance companies by receiving kickbacks from health care providers after referring personal injury clients to them. In March and June 1996, he used the U.S. Postal Service to carry out the scheme.

In addition to committing a felony with the intent to deceive, Capote's misconduct occurred in the course of the practice of law, another criterion for summary disbarment.

Capote had been on interim suspension since October 2000. He had no prior record of discipline.

JAMES ROY WESTBROOK [#137596], 53, of Sacramento was disbarred Aug. 17, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Westbrook did not participate in disciplinary proceedings. He was charged with 11 counts of misconduct, including misappropriating client funds, submitting false documents and statements to his clients and the secretary of state, entering into improper business transactions with clients, failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to render appropriate accountings to clients and failing to keep his address current with the State Bar.

In 1993, Westbrook and two business partners formed a company called Utility Factoring Inc. A year later, one partner was bought out, and six months after that, the second partner relinquished complete control of the company to Westbrook. He served as president and director of UFI and had unilateral control of its corporate affairs and management of invested funds.

Beginning in 1992, Westbrook represented the executrix of a will and her husband, earning $40,000. Without telling the couple he was an officer and shareholder in UFI, Westbrook solicited them to invest $279,000 in the company.

But the State Bar Court found he violated all three prerequisites for entering into a business transaction with a client: He did not disclose his connection to the company or fully disclose the terms of the investment; he failed to notify the clients in writing of their right to seek advice on their investment from an independent attorney; and he did not obtain their written consent to the terms of the transaction.

Until January 1997, the couple received accurate accountings of their investment, including several reductions in the principal, leaving an aggregate principal of $164,000 invested in UFI. When they gave Westbrook an additional $25,000 in May 1997, they believed the money would be invested in the company. Instead, Westbrook deposited it into a UFI checking account and then spent it for personal purposes.

In 1998, Westbrook filed a document with the secretary of state representing that one of his original partners was president of UFI when, in fact, the partner gave up his role in the company four years earlier. The ex-partner's signature was forged on the document.

Westbrook also created other documents, including three quarterly reports, intended to create the false impression that the couple's investment was secure and being properly managed by the former partner and his wife.

Westbrook told the couple in 1998 he was closing his office but did not indicate where he could be reached. They have been unable to locate him and their investment principal of $164,000 remains unaccounted for.

In another matter, Westbrook represented a man in executing an estate, depositing a check for more than $219,000 in a client trust account in June 1996. About two months later, without notice to or authority of the client, he withdrew the proceeds by issuing a check payable to himself. He then spent the money for personal purposes.

When the client inquired about the money, Westbrook said it was invested in UFI for the client's benefit.

When Westbrook closed his Sacramento law office in 1998, he prepared a false quarterly report showing the money had been invested in UFI and that with interest, it totaled $228,820.89.

None of the money was repaid at the time of the disbarment proceedings.

Aggravating factors included multiple acts of misconduct, causing significant harm to clients, showing indifference toward rectifying the misconduct, bad faith, dishonesty, concealment and overreaching.

There was no mitigation and the court found the misappropriation "fully warrants [Westbrook's] disbarment."

RICHARD JAMES COOPER [#88156], 49, of San Jose was disbarred Aug. 19, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Cooper's disbarment came following a default proceeding in which the bar court found he failed to comply with rule 955, as ordered in an earlier disciplinary matter.

The underlying discipline was the result of a failure to perform legal services competently, return unearned fees or maintain a current address with the bar. Cooper also practiced law while suspended and committed acts of moral turpitude.

Cooper was hired in 1997 to handle a name change for a client's adult stepson and a minor for whom the client was the legal guardian. Although he prepared the papers and had the client sign them, he did not file the petition or obtain the consent of the natural parents of the minor about the name change.

Cooper subsequently was suspended from practice for not paying his bar dues.

He told the client a hearing on the name change was scheduled and said he would arrange for the minor child's mother to agree to the name change. In fact, no hearing was scheduled. Cooper then told the client that the child's parents' consent was not necessary.

When the client learned the petition had not been filed and a hearing was never scheduled, he fired Cooper and asked for a refund of the $1,750 fee he had paid. When no refund was forthcoming, the client was awarded a judgment against Cooper for $1,750. It was not paid.

In mitigation, Cooper has no record of discipline in 17 years of practice.

RICHARD ALLEN MARTIN [#55884], 62, of Sacramento was disbarred Aug. 19, 2001, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

Martin did not participate in the disciplinary proceedings, which stemmed from a trust account violation. In May 1996, he failed to return $10,000 owed to a couple who had been his clients for 18 years. The couple had leased property and given an option to buy within six months; the renter paid $10,000 to Martin's trust account as consideration for the option.

The renter was unable to obtain credit, and under the terms of the option, the $10,000 belonged to the couple. But when they requested the money in December, Martin told the couple he couldn't find his checkbook. He also failed to return the funds or documents the clients requested by letter in January.

Martin closed his trust account, then said he would make payments to refund the $10,000. As of Nov. 6, 2000, he had not returned any funds or documents to the couple.

By failing to maintain funds in a trust account, deliver those funds to the clients or to return documents on request, Martin committed multiple acts of misconduct. The misappropriation was an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Martin practiced more than 23 years with an unblemished record and was candid with the State Bar, admitting his misconduct.

SUSPENSIONS/PROBATION

DAVID MORTON SHELL [#85818], 55, of Elk Grove was suspended for six months, stayed, actually suspended for 30 days and until the court grants a motion to terminate the suspension. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation; if it exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955. He also was ordered to take the MPRE. The order took effect July 13, 2001.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Shell failed to comply with terms of a 1998 private reproval imposed for failure to pay a court sanction. He was ordered to pay the sanction within 30 days and attend ethics school.

He did not attend ethics school by the deadline, but has since done so.

Shell was ordered in 1993 to pay a $2,000 sanction for frivolous or bad-faith actions or tactics. Shell neither paid the sanction nor informed the State Bar of it.

JOHN ROGER ETIENNE [#61067], 60, of Suva, Fiji, was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for one year and until the 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, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect July 21, 2001.

Etienne failed to comply with conditions attached to a 1996 probation - he did not file quarterly reports, a CPA certificate or proof of attending client trust accounting school or ethics school.

Etienne was hired to represent a woman and her minor daughter in a personal injury matter in 1990. He deposited four medical payment drafts and a $50,000 settlement check for his clients into his general account rather than his client trust account. He also neglected to promptly pay out funds in his possession which his client was entitled to receive.

The client wrote to Etienne requesting that all outstanding medical bills be paid, but she was unaware he was out of the country on an extended trip. He did not receive her letter and he did not return any of her telephone calls.

Etienne did not participate in the latest proceedings.

JOHN M. GOODMAN [#147569], 38, of San Diego was suspended for three years, stayed,  placed on probation for five years with a six-month actual suspension and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect July 21, 2001.

Goodman stipulated to two counts of misconduct. In four consolidated cases, he issued eight checks to his wife and another attorney against insufficient funds from his client trust account. He used the account for his own purposes and commingled funds.

In another case, Goodman began representing a woman in August 1997, filing a slip-and-fall lawsuit on her behalf. He then failed to return her calls for more than five months.

In December 1998, the case was dismissed after Goodman failed to appear at a case management conference. In November 1999, Goodman went to the client's home and told her he would waive his fees if he could not settle the case by Christmas. He did not tell her the case had been dismissed nearly a year before. He then abandoned the client completely.

The court found Goodman's actions caused significant harm to clients.

In mitigation, he showed remorse for the misconduct. Goodman was suffering from marital and financial problems at the time and was an alcoholic. He was overwhelmed and unable to handle a solo practice. He closed his trust account and has stopped practicing law.

Goodman has a prior record of discipline. In October 2000, he received a 90-day actual suspension for practicing law while suspended for nonpayment of bar dues, using his client trust account for personal purposes and writing checks against insufficient funds. He failed to maintain settlement funds in a trust account and misappropriated client funds for his own use, an act of moral turpitude.

ARTHUR MARTINEZ JR. [#153299], 50, of Santa Ana was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on three years of probation with a two-year actual suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation. He was ordered to comply with rule 955 and to take the MPRE. The order took effect July 22, 2001.

Martinez stipulated to moral turpitude, performing incompetently, failing to promptly pay client funds, deposit funds in a client trust account or cooperate with the bar's investigation, charges which stemmed from five cases. All but one case involved misappropriating funds from client trust accounts.

In that matter, Martinez began representing  a woman in 1999 in a legal malpractice action against her former attorney and attempted to recover funds due her from a personal injury settlement. The client had complained to the State Bar about the former attorney; Martinez required her to withdraw the complaint as part of a settlement agreement. Entering into such an agreement with a client is a violation of the State Bar Act.

In mitigation, Martinez was experiencing family problems at the time of the misconduct.

GENE AUSTIN CAIN [#119139], 68, of Walnut Creek was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on probation for two years and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 27, 2001.

Cain stipulated to aiding the unauthorized practice of law. He permitted John R. Lothrop, a suspended attorney and his son-in law (see next item), to represent him in an October 1999 deposition and said nothing when Lothrop told opposing counsel his disciplinary costs had been paid and his membership was again in good standing, but had not been updated in the bar's records.

Cain knew Lothrop was still suspended when he took the deposition.

In mitigation, Cain had no prior record of discipline.

JOHN ROBERT LOTHROP [#158111], 44, of San Leandro was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on probation for two years with a six-month actual suspension and until he pays restitution, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect July 27, 2001.

Lothrop stipulated that while suspended, he appeared as an attorney for his father-in-law, Gene A. Cain (see previous item). Had he paid disciplinary costs ordered in an earlier case, he would have been on active status. Lothrop maintains that Cain said he had paid the disciplinary costs, but in fact he had not. He also failed to respond to the allegations until after the investigation was completed.

In another matter, Lothrop failed to comply with the terms of a 1998 suspension by failing to make restitution on time, submit one quarterly report on time or provide proof of attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous or The Other Bar. He also did not pay the required 10 percent interest on the restitution.

That discipline was the result of failing to perform competently, promptly refund unearned fees, preserve client funds in a trust account or maintain proper State Bar membership records.

JAMES BRADLEY RUDOLPH [#133250], 42, of San Diego was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on probation for one year and was ordered to take the MPRE. The order took effect July 27, 2001.

Rudolph stipulated to an act of moral turpitude and failure to report a conviction. He was admitted to the bar in 1988, but did not practice until 1993.

From 1987 to 1990, he worked in a family-owned business, and when it failed, he suffered serious financial problems. He then managed a convenience store, maintaining a money-order machine for which his mother had posted a $25,000 certificate of deposit.

In 1992, Rudolph withdrew $6,000 in money orders for himself without placing funds in the postal account. He used the money for personal bills, intending to replace the money later. He admitted his actions when questioned by a postal inspector. The U.S. Postal Service recovered the funds from money posted by Rudolph's mother; he later repaid his mother.

Rudolph received a federal misdemeanor conviction for embezzling postal funds and was sentenced to two years of probation.

Because he had not practiced law, Rudolph was unaware that he was required to report his conviction to the State Bar. The bar learned of the crime from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control -- Rudolph had volunteered the information while applying for a liquor license.

In mitigation, Rudolph has no record of discipline, cooperated with the investigation, and was under severe financial stress at the time. He provided references who testified to his good character.

DOUGLAS DELANGE GRAHAM, [#46759], 60, of Glendora was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on probation for two years and was ordered to take the MPRE. The order took effect Aug. 1, 2001.

Graham stipulated to misconduct in three cases. In the first, he collected an illegal fee from a trust he administered. He collected both trustee and attorney fees, but was required by law to first notify the beneficiaries and to obtain court approval. From 1984 to 1996, he did not obtain any court orders regarding use of the trust funds, including the funds he paid to himself. He also did not give notice before collecting fees.

Over the years, he paid himself more than $61,000. In 1996, he filed a final trust accounting, asking the court to award him $61,000 for work he did on the trust. Instead, the court found he was not entitled to all the fees he had already collected and ordered him to refund $50,000 to the beneficiaries.

The other cases involved commingling funds: He used money drawn from his client trust account to cover personal expenses. Instead of withdrawing attorney's fees from the trust account, he left the fees there to pay his personal expenses, writing at least 27 checks for that purpose.

In aggravation, Graham's actions showed a pattern of multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, he had no prior record of discipline, he cooperated with the bar's investigation and acted in good faith.

KOOROS JAMES KHAVARIAN [#171550], 35, of Valley Village was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on probation for two years with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE. The order took effect Aug. 1, 2001.

Khavarian stipulated that he performed incompetently, failed to inform a client of significant developments, improperly withdrew from employment and misrepresented facts, an act of moral turpitude.

In 1995, a year after he was admitted to the bar, Khavarian represented a woman who wanted to pursue a personal injury claim after unsuccessfully filing one on her own. Khavarian refiled the claim but it was again rejected. By the time he filed the case in superior court, the six-month statute of limitations had run. He did not tell the client.

Although the client responded to interrogatories, Khavarian never served the responses. When the defense filed a motion to compel and a motion for summary judgment, Khavarian agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice. He did this without the client's knowledge, authorization or consent.

After filing the dismissal, Khavarian intended to withdraw from representing the woman, but he did not inform the client of this. She tried to reach him by telephone from August 1996 to January 1998.

Most attempts were not successful. When she did reach him, he would assure her the case was still pending. In early 1998, he stopped returning her calls altogether. The client went to his office and learned he had moved without informing her of his new address. She then learned from the opposing party that the case had been dismissed in 1996.

In mitigation, Khavarian has no prior record of discipline, but it was noted that the misconduct happened early in his legal career.

GARY A. SMITH  [#103246], 49, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on probation for two years with an actual 45-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE. The order took effect Aug. 1, 2001.

Smith stipulated he failed to communicate with a client, maintain funds in a client trust account and wrote a client a check knowing that funds in the account were insufficient, an act of moral turpitude.

After winning a $10,500 arbitration award in a dog bite case, Smith took a $4,200 contingency fee from the client trust account, then issued a $5,000 check to himself. (He had agreed to reduce his fee to 25 percent of the award.)

The client tried for two months to reach Smith to locate her funds and to request documents. He did not promptly answer her inquiries.

When Smith wrote a check to the client for $6,492, the bank showed funds were insufficient. The client confronted Smith and he deposited enough money the next day to cover the check.

Smith has a prior record of discipline -- a 1994 reproval for failing to promptly pay client funds.

In mitigation, Smith was suffering from depressive symptoms, including apathy, low energy, poor concentration and poor attention, at the time of the most recent misconduct. He sought assistance for these problems and has continued therapy since. His therapist reports Smith's problems accounted for the misconduct, causing him to miscalculate dates and amounts, and that he has been active in working through his problems.

Smith took immediate action to rectify the wrongdoing, cooperated fully with the bar's investigation and showed remorse.

IRIS Z. SPECTOR [#107506], 43, of Corona Del Mar was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for nine months and 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, she must prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 1, 2001.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found Spector failed to comply with terms of a 1997 probation imposed for practicing law while she was suspended for nonpayment of dues. Spector stipulated to the charges and received a stayed one-year suspension, one year of probation and a 30-day actual suspension. But she did not file any quarterly reports and also failed to attend ethics school.

LAURIE ANN STOFFEL [#130897], 40, of Sacramento was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on probation for four years and was ordered to make restitution. The order took effect Aug. 8, 2001.

Stoffel stipulated that she failed to refund unearned fees. In June 2000, she represented a woman in a divorce and was paid $2,000 in advance fees. She performed some legal services, leaving a credit balance of $1,775 owed the client. Stoffel did not perform any further legal services or refund the unearned fees.

As a condition of her probation, Stoffel was ordered to pay restitution to the client plus10 percent interest.

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

PHILLIP MATHEW CONNOR [#69702], 53, of San Diego was suspended for two years, stayed, and actually suspended for six months and until he completes ethics school and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. He was also ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Aug. 9, 2001.

The bar court's review department upheld a finding by the hearing judge that Connor failed to comply with 1997 probation conditions -- he did not submit quarterly reports or attend ethics school. The review department also found that Connor did not pass the MPRE, a finding not made by the hearing judge.

The underlying discipline was the result of improperly withdrawing from employment, failing to respond to a

client's status inquiries and failing to cooperate with the bar's investigation.

WILLIAM S. DE MARINI [#149459], 49, of Sacramento was suspended for two years, stayed, and actually suspended for two years and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate and he proves his rehabilitation. He also was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Aug. 17, 2001.

In a default proceeding involving four consolidated cases, the bar court found De Marini failed to perform legal services competently, committed acts of dishonesty, commingled funds and failed to communicate, return client files or maintain current address records with the bar.

In a 1999 paternity, custody and child-support matter, a client paid De Marini $1,500 in advance fees. He then failed to respond to opposing counsel, and despite 45 voice messages left by the client and several visits to his office over a four-month period, he did not communicate with her. He did not respond to a request to return her file and performed no more work.

Clients De Marini represented in October 1997 and April 1998 marital dissolution matters experienced similar problems. In one case, he signed the client's name to a document filed in the court.

In the final case, De Marini commingled more than $35,000 in his client trust account, making deposits and issuing checks for personal and business expenses.

Aggravating factors included multiple acts of wrongdoing, dishonesty, overreaching, causing harm to clients, indifference and failure to participate in the disciplinary matter.

In mitigation, De Marini practiced for nine years without discipline.

JOHN HENRY EDWARDS III [#52343], 57, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on probation for three years with a one-year actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Aug. 17, 2001.

Edwards stipulated he failed to preserve client funds in a trust account or promptly pay out client funds and wilfully disregarded federal bankruptcy law.

In 1999, he removed as fees $5,000 of a woman's personal injury judgment instead of surrendering the funds to a bankruptcy trustee as required. He had been notified and reminded four times that any money received as a result of the personal injury case was the property of the bankruptcy estate.

Edwards maintained the remaining portion of the judgment - $2,154 - in his trust account, but failed to respond to a default judgment ordering him to turn over the funds. After a hearing five months later, Edwards issued a certified check for the entire judgment - $7,154 - to the bankruptcy trustee.

Edwards has a prior record of discipline involving client trust. In 1991, he was suspended for moral turpitude, failing to preserve funds in a client trust account, communicate with clients, cooperate with the bar's investigation and committing an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Edwards represented his client for many years on a contingency fee basis, expending considerable time on her matter. He took his fee from the personal injury judgment, believing that the work he did on the case could be exempted from the bankruptcy estate. Although forced by the courts, he did ultimately turn the judgment over to the court. At the time the bar court ruled on Edwards' discipline, the exemption issue had not been decided.

Edwards lives with his 83-year-old mother and as of June 2000, became temporarily responsible for his daughter's two youngest children. He also is pastor of the Church of Greater Works of Los Angeles, which ministers to the homeless and for which he receives no income.

MARK ROBERT MOORE [#74804], 50, of Solana Beach was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on probation for 18 months with a 30-day actual suspension, and was ordered to pay restitution and take the MPRE. The order took effect Aug. 19, 2001.

Moore stipulated to performing incompetently when he failed to represent a client before the IRS and the Hawaii Department of Taxation. He took on the case, in which the IRS believed a client's family trust was a sham, and took $5,000 in advance fees. But he failed to provide any representation or obtain power of attorney.

The client received several IRS letters stating the family was being assessed more than $30,000 in taxes and penalties. Moore drafted a letter to the Hawaii tax department but did not send it; the client sent it instead. When the client drafted a letter to the IRS and asked Moore to review it, Moore told the client to send the letter himself.

From June to November 1999, the client wrote and called Moore several times with information, but the attorney failed to respond to inquiries. At one point, he told the client everything was under control, although the client continued to receive correspondence from the IRS. When the client terminated Moore's employment, he failed to promptly return documents and all unearned fees.

In mitigation, Moore has no record of prior discipline.

NEIL KAUFFMAN [#81008], 52, of Chicago was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on probation for two years with a one-year actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Aug. 17, 2001.

Kauffman has no record of discipline in California, but he was disciplined in Illinois in 1995. He sought review of discipline imposed on him by the California bar that corresponds with the Illinois punishment but his matter was delayed by several years.

The review department denied his request that the California discipline be retroactive, but reduced the hearing judge's recommendation of an 18-month actual suspension to one year.

Because Kauffman completed the terms of his Illinois discipline long ago, he argued that suspending him in California would effectively punish him twice for the same misconduct.

He also noted he did not practice in California during the Illinois suspension, promptly reported the discipline, endured the bar's delays and will have an increased malpractice insurance premium.

At trial, the bar conceded the delay had occurred, but argued it was without prejudice. The hearing judge decided the actual suspension should not be retroactive.

Kauffman's misconduct involved three cases. In a 1984 client matter arising from an automobile accident, he settled the case without authority, forged the client's signature on settlement papers, commingled settlement funds with personal funds and misappropriated the client's $1,500 share of the settlement.

The same year, he commingled another client's funds with office funds and misappropriated them. It was also found that between June and November 1988, Kauffman deposited funds belonging to 78 clients in his office account.

EDWARD H. HOROWITZ [#135566], 49, of Riverside was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for two years. The order took effect Aug. 17, 2001.

Horowitz stipulated to failing to pay court sanctions and performing incompetently.

In one matter, he represented himself in a 1995 civil action. He was sanctioned $1,320, to be paid within 20 days, based on allegations he caused a wrongful default judgment to be entered against the defendant.

In a second case, he substituted in to a felony case, replacing a public defender. But neither he nor his client appeared at a November 2000 settlement conference. The hearing was continued and a bench warrant was issued. He and his client appeared at the next hearing and the judge granted their request to continue the matter again. But then the two missed the continued hearing. A second bench warrant was issued, and Horowitz and his client again failed to appear. Horowitz did not contact the court.

He did not contact the client again until February 2001. In January, the client appeared without Horowitz and a public defender was appointed to represent her.

As part of his probation, Horowitz agreed to pay off the sanctions at $20 per month. He was not required to take the MPRE since he was ordered to pass the exam as part of an earlier discipline.

His prior record includes a 1994 public reproval for failing to report and pay sanctions. In 1997, he was suspended for 90 days after stipulating to failing to comply with conditions of the public reproval.

In mitigation, Horowitz was suffering from severe financial stress at the time of the misconduct.

JOHN OWEN MEYERS III [#57799], 54, of Irvine was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on probation for three years with a 20-month actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE, comply with rule 955 and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 17, 2001.

Meyers stipulated to misconduct in three cases. In a 1998 matter, he repeatedly issued checks drawn from a client's trust account when he should have known funds were insufficient.

In a 1994 case, he took legal fees for himself and disbursed fees to the law firm which originally handled the case when it settled for $25,000. He should have kept a balance of $16,666 in his client trust account on behalf of the client.

Instead, he let the balance fall below the required amount over the next two years, expecting the law firm which originally handled the case to inform him when disbursements needed to be made. He did not return repeated phone calls from the client. After she complained to the State Bar, Meyers paid her the $16,666 plus $1,750 in interest. He stipulated that he misappropriated client funds, an act of moral turpitude.

In 1997, he failed to promptly pay a lien due a medical provider on behalf of a client, failed to maintain a proper balance in the client trust account and misappropriated $2,826 of the client's settlement funds, also an act of moral turpitude.

Meyers has a record of discipline. He was privately reproved in 1997 for misconduct in three client matters, including performing incompetently, withdrawing from employment without taking steps to avoid prejudice to the client and failing to communicate with a client.

Other aggravating factors included trust violations, causing harm to clients and showing a pattern of misconduct.

In mitigation, Meyers cooperated with the investigation, showed remorse and paid restitution.

JOHN RAYMOND DEMPSEY [#102658], 46, of Fountain Valley was suspended for two years, stayed, and actually suspended for nine months and until he completes ethics school and the bar court grants a motion to terminate the suspension. He also was ordered to comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Aug. 19, 2001.

Dempsey did not participate in the recent proceedings. He failed to comply with the terms of a probation imposed in 1997 by not filing four quarterly reports or attending ethics school.

Dempsey's misconduct involved his negligence in paying child support for 10 months. He failed to request the court to modify his child support order and in July 1996, he was charged with one count of violating Penal Code 166(4), contempt, for failing to provide child support as ordered by the court.

Later that month, he fulfilled his child support obligations. In August 1996, he pleaded guilty to violating Penal Code 270, failure to provide, and the contempt charge was dismissed. He was sentenced to three years' probation, a $100 fine and 16 days of community service with CalTrans.

In the current case, aggravating factors include Dempsey's disciplinary record, pattern of misconduct and failure to participate in proceedings.

In mitigation, Dempsey filed three reports on time before mislabeling a report as "final." There was a nearly 11-month delay by the State Bar in advising Dempsey about the mislabeling. The court noted that had Dempsey known the report was not final, he "might have continued to file the reports as required."

PATRICIA L. REBER [#84460], 61, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, and actually suspended for six months and until she pays $1,000 in restitution and the bar court grants a motion to terminate. 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 Aug. 19, 2001.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Reber intentionally failed to perform legal services, respond to client inquiries, provide an accounting of fees or refund fees and that she charged an illegal fee.

Reber was court-appointed counsel representing an indigent client in her appeal from a 1995 burglary conviction. The client was incarcerated at the time.

Reber was appointed through the Sixth District Appellate Program (SDAP) and was not entitled to payment by the client. To receive state compensation, the court-appointed attorney must submit a written fee claim to the state.

Reber filed the appeal and advised the client that a petition for writ of habeas corpus should also be filed; she also asked the client twice for advance payment to pursue the writ. The client paid Reber a total of $1,000 in legal fees to pursue the habeas corpus petition.

Meanwhile, a petition for review was still pending, and it was denied in February 1998. Reber did not inform the client of the denial. The client's brother learned about it after contacting Reber in March 1999, and soon after the client requested a copy of the ruling. Reber did not provide it.

The client also asked for the status of the habeas corpus petition and for an accounting of the legal fees paid. Reber did not respond.

Because the client was not informed that the petition for review was denied, she forfeited her right to seek a rehearing and to seek federal relief. Because the petition for writ of habeas corpus was never filed, she lost her right to further state appeals.

Reber never returned the client's fees.

In aggravation, she committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, and her conduct was surrounded by bad faith and overreaching since the client was indigent and incarcerated at the time. The misconduct significantly harmed the client.

In mitigation, Reber had no prior record of discipline in 18 years of practice.

INTERIM SUSPENSION

JOHN JEFFREY REINER [#77867], 54, of Los Angeles was placed on interim suspension July 20, 2001, following a felony conviction of extortion.

DAVID MATSUMOTO [#77325], 51, of Los Angeles was placed on interim suspension July 20, 2001, following federal felony convictions of money laundering and six counts of aiding and abetting. Matsumoto has since resigned from the bar, effective Sept. 6, 2001.

OTHELLO H. CURRY III [#142928], 40, of Sacramento was placed on interim suspension Aug. 18, 2001, following a conviction of possessing a controlled substance.

RESIGNATION/CHARGES PENDING

CARLTON VERNON PHILLIPS JR. [#112902], 51, of Corona (June 3, 2001)

DAVID MARTIN AGNEW [#49991] 55, of Chatsworth (June 6, 2001)

STEVEN H. KIM [#189746] 33, of Los Angeles (June 6, 2001)

MYRON BERNARD ROTHBERG [#35354], 63, of Encino (June 6, 2001)

STEPHEN LESLIE WHEELER [#39466], 60, of Temecula (June 6, 2001)

ROBERT M. DEFEO [#149750], 36, of Bloomington (June 14, 2001)

STEPHEN SCOTT KING [#33489], 63, of Sherman Oaks (June 14, 2001)

MICHAEL JOSEPH MOLLOY [#116877], 50, of Riverside (June 14, 2001)

GERARD EDMUNDO SABO [#74988], 51, of Glendale (June 14, 2001)

ARTHUR FREDERICK SILBER [#130768], 53, of Los Angeles (June 14, 2001)

WILLIAM LITTELL BRYAN JR. [#117084], 48, of Foothill Ranch (June 17, 2001)

CREIG ALAN DOLGE [#101651], 45, of Santa Barbara (June 28, 2001)

PATRICK R. FREGA [#85365], 56, of Solana Beach (July 1, 2001)

BRUCE RONALD SAFRAN [#58206], 56, of Tarzana (July 11, 2001)

JOSEPH LESTER COWAN JR. [#55559], 61, of Berkeley (July 14, 2001)

PAUL HALDY ERICKSON [#80005], 51, of Simi Valley (July 14, 2001)

JEFFREY ALLAN MATZ [#51123], 59, of Tempe, Ariz. (July 14, 2001)

ERIC KOBUCK WAGNER [#154065], 40, of Sacramento (July 14, 2001)

DALLAS D. BROCK [#26459], 73, of San Francisco (July 27, 2001)

MANUEL SAUSEDA RIVERA [#77912], 49, of Pasadena (July 27, 2001)

PAUL M. STEELE [#69437], 56, of Los Gatos (July 27, 2001)

JERRY ALAN GREEN [#41793], 58, of Santa Rosa (Aug. 10, 2001)

GARY LELAND ASHTON [#37361], 61, of Sonora (Aug. 12, 2001)

JAMES CANDEE BOTTOMLEY [#63509], 53, of Carlsbad (Aug. 12, 2001)

DAVID L. GANEZER [#134337], 41, of Santa Monica (Aug. 19, 2001)