California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - MAY 2002
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DISCIPLINE

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CAUTION!
More than 178,000 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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SUSPENSIONS/PROBATION

TIMOTHY C. BRYSON [#140798], 50, of San Diego was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 23, 2001.

Bryson stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently for a client who hired him to represent her in immigration proceedings. He did not review his client's application to adjust her immigration status or supervise his staff, including a woman who obtained a work permit for the client to which she was not entitled.

The client was deported.

In mitigation, Bryson had significant personal and family problems, including serious medical and psychiatric problems of his wife and children, which affected his ability to practice.

He has no record of discipline and he cooperated with the bar's investigation.

JEFFREY SCOTT PETERS [#150738], 44, of Tustin was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 23, 2001.

Peters filed a complaint in a personal injury and property damage claim but did not serve the defendants. He appeared in court three times as a result of failing to serve the complaint and at a fourth appearance, he told the court a settlement had been reached. He asked for a six-week continuance to allow for filing a dismissal.

At no time did he obtain a settlement.

He falsely told his client he had obtained a default judgment and gave his client a document which appeared to bear the signature of a judge and a court clerk's stamp, indicating the judgment had been filed. He also tried to obtain his client's consent to accept a settlement, but the client refused and fired Peters.

The client informed the judge that Peters had tried to settle a case without his consent; Peters did not appear for a hearing on an order to show case. Peters ultimately admitted to the court that he had given his client a false document to convince him to settle the case.

He stipulated that he sought to mislead a judge and committed an act of moral turpitude by deceiving his client.

Peters was publicly reproved in 1998 for failing to return client phone calls and for appearing for a party without authority.

In mitigation, he was having financial problems at the time, causing him stress and family problems. He misrepresented the status of the case in order to gain time to resolve the matter. He is closing his law practice and has accepted employment with a corporation. He cooperated with the bar's investigation and admitted his actions to the judge.

DANIEL JOHN KLIER [#168679], 41, of Encino was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with a 30-month actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE. Credit shall be given for a period of interim suspension which began Dec. 9, 1999. The order took effect Nov. 23, 2001.

In 1998, Klier and his client offered opposing counsel in a civil dispute $90,000 in exchange for persuading his client to accept a lesser amount of a disputed $1 million insurance settlement than he was seeking. If the client would not accept the proposal, the opposing counsel was to withdraw as his attorney and write a letter discouraging him from pursuing his claim.

The opposing counsel reported the scheme to the Orange County district attorney, which directed the taping of conversations between Klier and the other lawyer. During discussions over the next few weeks, Klier said he was holding a $50,000 cashier's check for payment to the opposing counsel. Klier's client then met with opposing counsel and asked the other lawyer to represent him without telling Klier. Klier and his client ended their relationship and no money was given to the opposing counsel.

When confronted by a D.A. investigator, Klier maintained the discussions were part of settlement negotiations and his client's attempt to pay opposing counsel a fee for his efforts to obtain the original million dollar settlement. He denied offering a bribe.

Eventually, however, Klier pleaded no contest to one count of deceit and collusion by an attorney, a misdemeanor.

In mitigation, Klier has no record of discipline, his client was not harmed and he provided letters attesting to his good character.

WILLIAM REAMY KENNON [#57481], 53, of Tustin was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual nine-month suspension, and was ordered to make restitution, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 23, 2001.

Kennon stipulated to misconduct in two cases.

In the first, he entered into a contingency fee agreement with a client he represented in a dispute with his school district employer. The client paid a $500 advance fee. Kennon prepared a complaint alleging breach of contract which the client filed, but Kennon never served the defendants.

He did not appear at three hearings and the case was dismissed. He also did not respond to his client's phone calls, although his wife promised the client he would appear at one of the hearings.

Kennon stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, refund an unearned fee or cooperate with the bar's investigation.

In the second matter, Kennon was hired by an incarcerated inmate's wife to sue the inmate's former criminal attorney. The wife paid Kennon $5,000. He failed to perform any legal services, including failing to file a lawsuit prior to the running of the statute of limitations.

He did not respond to the family's inquiries, failed to return the client's file or refund the advance fee and did not cooperate with the bar's investigation.

Kennon was disciplined in 1991 for failing to perform or refund unearned fees and for improperly withdrawing from representation. When he did not comply with probation conditions, he was suspended. He also practiced law while suspended, and failed to promptly pay a medical lien and communicate with a client.

PAUL HARRY STEELE [#72798], 53, of San Leandro was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a two-year actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs for one year, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. Credit shall be given for a period of interim suspension which began Nov. 30, 2000. The order took effect Nov. 24, 2001.

Steele was convicted in 1998 of driving under the influence and in 2000 of possession of methamphetamine. At the time of his second arrest, his blood alcohol level was .08 percent. He was still on probation for the DUI, so his probation was revoked and reinstated on stricter terms, including 15 days of county jail time.

The State Bar Court found that Steele's conduct did not amount to moral turpitude, but it did involve conduct warranting discipline.

He had at least four prior DUIs and other alcohol-related offenses.

In mitigation, he has no record of discipline in more than 24 years of practice and he has been candid about his substance abuse history.

SHERE R. BAILEY [#153525], 40, of Moreno Valley was suspended for five years, stayed, and actually suspended for two years and until she makes restitution, proves her rehabilitation, takes the MPRE and complies with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 30, 2001.

The State Bar Court's review department upheld a hearing judge's findings as to Bailey's misconduct and increased the recommended level of discipline.

The hearing judge found in a default proceeding that Bailey improperly withdrew from employment without protecting the interests of her clients four times, she collected an illegal fee, and failed to perform legal services competently, return a client's papers, respond to a client's inquiries, keep her address current with the State Bar and cooperate with the bar's investigation.

Three clients engaged Bailey to handle the probate of estates in which they had an interest. The court found that in the first case, Bailey collected a $1,500 fee without the court's authority, demanded additional fees to complete the probate, failed to respond to her client's calls and then moved her office without notifying her client, who was forced to complete the probate herself.

In the second matter, Bailey was hired to prevent secured creditors from foreclosing on real property standing in the name of the decedent. Although the client had enough money to stay foreclosure by one creditor, the creditor scheduled a foreclosure sale anyway.

Because the client had only a personal check, the property was sold to a third party. After the sale, the client met with Bailey in the lobby of her building and she advised him to call her a few days later. He was not able to communicate with her further.

Bailey commenced the third probate and collected $4,000 in advance fees and costs without a required court order. Over the course of about a year, the client was not able to contact Bailey. She had to complete the probate herself.

After being quoted a fee of $1,500 to handle an estate planning matter, another client paid Bailey $1,900. When she complained about errors in the disposition of assets, Bailey said it would cost another $550 to make the corrections. The client was subsequently unable to reach Bailey.

GABRIEL S. GANOR [#189905], 33, of Venice was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 30, 2001.

Ganor was convicted in 1999 of contempt of court as a result of violating the terms of a restraining order which involved a dispute with a neighbor. The conviction involved misconduct warrant-ing discipline.

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

THOMAS CHRISTOPHER WEBB [#64699], 56, of Moreno Valley was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 30, 2001.

Webb failed to comply with conditions attached to a 1999 private reproval by not attending ethics school. He falsely advised a probation monitor that he had signed up for the program when he had not and when he filed his final report, he certified under penalty of perjury that he had signed up for ethics school. He stipulated that he committed an act of moral turpitude.

He eventually completed ethics school six months later.

In mitigation, Webb suffered financial problems due to the loss of his employment and foreclosure upon his home. He also was diagnosed with emphysema.

JOHN ALAN COVEY [#174935], 37, of San Diego was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on five 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 a period of interim suspension that began Dec. 19, 2000. The order took effect Nov. 30, 2001.

Covey stipulated to misconduct in three matters, each a criminal conviction.

Following a 1998 jury trial, Covey was convicted of being under the influence of methamphetamine and battery. He struck an 8-year-old on the head while under the influence. He first claimed his symptoms were the result of working around chemicals and taking allergy medication. He later accused the child's mother of putting drugs in his soda. However, he tested positive for methamphetamine.

In 2000, he pleaded guilty to spousal abuse, a misdemeanor, after being charged with six counts following a day-long domestic dispute with his wife.

According to the stipulation, he took his wife's car keys, drove to his in-laws' home and took his infant daughter from them, grabbed his wife by the throat and hit her numerous times, punched her in the stomach and threatened to kill her. He denied the allegations and accused his wife of making up the story.

He was convicted later the same year of possession of methamphetamine, a felony.

Covey also was disciplined in 1998 for improperly withdrawing from employment, failing to pay court-ordered sanctions and committing an act of moral turpitude.

THOMAS MARTIN COX [#122667], 51, of Minco, Okla., was suspended for six months, stayed, and placed on three years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension. The order took effect Nov. 30, 2001.

A client paid Cox $1,500 to determine if she should pursue a wrongful death claim as the result of her son's death. Cox signed a fee agreement but the client did not. She paid another $500 to an investigator, who determined a claim was in order.

Cox filed suit one day before the statute of limitations expired, but said he did not receive clear direction from his client. They did not enter into a new fee agreement.

Cox claims the client fired him and that he returned the file to her son. He did not obtain a receipt for the file or a signed substitution of counsel, nor did he apply to the court to be relieved as counsel. The client says she did not fire him.

When the parties failed to appear at two hearings, the case was dismissed. Cox says he notified the client of the dismissal; she says she learned about it when her son went to court. Cox did not answer five letters from a new attorney asking for an accounting and the return of the file.

Cox stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, account for client funds and return client papers.

Cox was disciplined in 1995 for failing to prepare an order after a hearing or communicate with a client, and again in 2001 for failing to perform competently or return unearned fees and for not complying with a probation condition from the earlier discipline.

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

RICARDO LOPEZ MENDOZA [#129356], 45, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 30, 2001.

Mendoza practiced law while suspended for being in arrears in support payments. He filed a court petition on behalf of a client.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline, his client was not harmed and he cooperated with the bar's investigation.

JON D. RAILSBACK [#64853], 54, of Huntington Beach was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 30-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 2, 2001.

Railsback practiced law while suspended for non-payment of child support. He accepted a $1,200 retainer fee and filed pleadings. Although he was present at the courthouse, he left prior to a hearing and his client appeared without a lawyer. The court initially denied his client's motion due to Railsback's failure to file an answer.

The client then handled his case in pro per and was permitted to file an answer. Railsback failed to file documentation with the court formally removing himself as attorney of record. The court entered judgment against Railsback's client in the amount of $2,619.12.

He stipulated that he practiced law while not entitled, committed an act of moral turpitude, improperly withdrew from employment and took an unconscionable fee.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline.

JACK MICHAEL PILSON [#117487], 45, of Temecula was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 2, 2001.

Pilson stipulated that he failed to respond to a client's reasonable status inquiries in three cases.

A client paid him $2,000 to represent him in a real property dispute against the previous owner of his home, which had water and flooding damage. Three months after Pilson filed a civil complaint, the client opted for mediation, for which he paid $340.

He won the mediation but the amount of the award was not satisfactory, so Pilson sought arbitration, for which the client paid an additional $1,000 in attorney fees. Pilson answered the interrogatories and the defense cancelled the depositions and home inspections. Pilson did not pursue discovery, saying he had all the information he needed to litigate the matter.

Over the next year, the client, who sustained new damage to his home, repeatedly attempted to contact Pilson, who returned only one phone call to report no new developments. He claims he returned other calls, but has no documentation.

Three years after the mediation, the defense offered a compromise of $7,500, good for 35 days. The client says Pilson did not inform him of the offer; Pilson disputes this but admits there was no written communication. The defense took the client's deposition and inspected his home. After the inspection, the client suffered more flooding and called Pilson 12 times. Pilson returned one phone call and said there were no new developments.

The defense ultimately cancelled the arbitration and offered $10,000. The client rejected the offer and fired Pilson. Eventually, the case went to arbitration, the defense prevailed and was awarded $15,000 in attorney fees and $500 in costs.

In a second matter, Pilson was hired by a member of the military to handle a step-parent adoption. When he filed the documents, however, they were rejected because the client had been sent to Germany, so his residence was out of the country. Over the next year, Pilson responded to only one of many e-mails from the client, who finally fired him and requested an accounting and a refund of any unearned fees.

Another client paid Pilson $2,305 to represent her in a property dispute with neighbors. He filed and served a complaint, and filed for a default when the defense did not answer. However, he failed to file and serve a statement of damages prior to requesting the default.

Although Pilson took steps to obtain an estimate of damages, he decided without consulting his client to dismiss the case and start over. He prepared another complaint which he intended to file, but because the client had not heard from him, she hired another lawyer.

In mitigation, Pilson has no record of discipline in 15 years of practice and he cooperated with the bar's investigation.

C.R. "BUD" MARSH [#79631], 59, of Tustin was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 2, 2001.

Marsh stipulated to misconduct in five personal injury cases.

He agreed to pay his clients' medical bills from the settlement proceeds, but he did not pay some of those bills until the clients hired a new lawyer.

He settled another case for $27,500 and issued a check to his client drawn on a bank account that was not designated as a client trust account. The check bounced and the client applied to the Client Security Fund for a refund. Marsh reimbursed the Client Security Fund.

He settled a third case for $15,000 and was authorized by his client, who lives in another state, to endorse the check on his behalf. He did not give his client his share of the settlement for 20 months and did not pay the medical bills for nearly one more year.

Another personal injury matter settled for $25,000, the limit of the policy. The clients' medical bills exceed that amount, however. Marsh issued checks for more than $14,000 to the client, several of her doctors and himself and attempted to work out a distribution of the remainder to satisfy the remaining medical liens. He did not complete a disbursement sheet for another year.

The client was upset that her share of the proceeds was only $2,000 and sought to obtain more money, in spite of the unpaid medical bills, through a civil suit and a claim with the Client Security Fund, which eventually paid her more than $10,000. Marsh refunded that amount to the fund.

In the last case, Marsh wrote a check against insufficient funds to a client as her share of the settlement of her personal injury matter. He paid her the amount three months later.

The client disagreed with the amount charged by one of her doctors and instructed Marsh to withhold payment. When she was notified by a collection agency that the bill had not been paid, she tried to contact Marsh but he was unavailable due to health problems. The bill was subsequently paid.

Marsh stipulated that he failed to perform medical services competently, promptly pay client funds, deposit client funds in a trust account and communicate with a client.

Marsh has a prior record of discipline: He was suspended in 1994 for failing to perform legal services competently and communicate with a client.

In mitigation, Marsh was suffering from health problems at the time of the misconduct and faced severe financial stress, he cooperated with the bar's investigation and he has demonstrated his rehabilitation.

MANUEL LOPEZ [#40235], 62, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 2, 2001.

Lopez stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently in a breach of contract action. He filed a complaint but did not serve opposing counsel and failed to appear at a status conference and order to show cause hearing.

The case was dismissed and Lopez' brother, who served as his office manager, told the client there was a scheduling mix-up, but the claims were viable and the matter could be refiled. The client asked that his file be returned.

The client's new lawyer refiled the case, then settled in the client's favor. He asked again that Lopez return the file. Lopez could not locate the file, but said he believed the client had copies of all the pleadings.

Lopez also was disciplined in 1996 for failing to perform legal services competently and communicate with a client.

ANDERSON LIGHTFOOT JONAS [#86193], 52, of Los Angeles was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. Credit will be given for a period of interim suspension which began April 10, 2001. The order took effect Dec. 2, 2001.

Jonas was convicted of felony child endangerment, and misdemeanor DUI and reckless driving.

He had been drinking one night when his 13-year-old son called him for a ride home. He picked up his son in a two-seat car, but the son had a friend with him. Neither child was wearing a seatbelt.

Jonas went through a red light and when a police officer tried to stop him, he accelerated to more than 100 mph. A short, high-speed pursuit ensued, with Jonas eventually pulling over.

He disputes allegations of evading an officer, contending that he did not stop because he did not hear the siren or see the squad car lights because he was on a downhill slope when the chase began.

His blood alcohol level was .22 percent at the time of the incident.

In mitigation, Jonas had no prior record of discipline and he completed a six-month alcohol rehab program and is in a yearlong outpatient treatment program.

He resigned from the bar Jan. 13, 2002.

PARIS D. BRUNNER [#139112], 45, of Santa Monica was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a one-year actual suspension and was ordered to make restitution,  take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Dec. 2, 2001.

Brunner stipulated to seven acts of misconduct in his handling of a client's estate.

After his client died and while Brunner was distributing her assets to her three daughters, he wrote at least 37 checks against his client trust account for personal and business expenses. He repeatedly allowed the balance in the trust account to fall below the required amount.

After the client died, Brunner also was hired as attorney for the trust and was to negotiate a reduction in the client's outstanding debts. He did not do so, nor did he pay the beneficiaries the money to which they were entitled.

After two daughters died, the surviving daughter asked for an accounting of the estate monies, a return of the file and requested that Brunner give her the remaining balance of the net proceeds. He provided an accounting but did not release the file.

Brunner stipulated that he failed to provide competent legal services, promptly pay out trust funds, maintain settlement funds in a client trust account, release a client file or maintain complete records of all client funds, and he commingled and misappropriated client funds, committing an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, he has no record of prior discipline and he had family problems at the time of the misconduct.

ALI MORAD FARAHMAND [#150402], 36, of Sherman Oaks was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 13, 2001.

During a 1997 vacation, Farahmand's employee forged his signature on at least 11 client trust account checks, totalling more than $31,000, and misappropriated the funds. Farahmand was unaware of the employee's actions, but failed to adequately supervise him.

As a result of the misappropriations, the balance in Farahmand's trust account fell below the required amount with regard to six clients. In those matters, however, payment was made to the clients and their doctors either without delay or with only a short delay.

In the case of three other clients, two doctors were not paid promptly and the balance in the trust account fell below the amounts that should have been held for them.

Farahmand stipulated that he failed to adequately supervise an employee or maintain client funds in a trust account.

In mitigation, Farahmand has no record of prior discipline, no clients were harmed, he cooperated with the bar's investigation and he showed remorse for his conduct.

DAVID EDWARD KLEIN [#61739], 56, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 13, 2001.

Klein settled a client's personal injury claim for $15,500 and deposited the proceeds into his client trust account. As part of the settlement, he was to pay the client's medical provider. When the client received her share of the settlement proceeds, she also received a letter from Klein stating that the medical provider had been paid a reduced sum of $1,300.

The client continued to receive medical bills, however, and Klein discovered that through inadvertence the bill had not been paid. For the next 16 months, the client continued to receive invoices. She finally paid the bill when notified she had 48 hours to settle the outstanding debt or it would be sent to collection.

Klein made reimbursements of $100 a month for four months and then stopped. The client won a small claims judgment of $975 but was unsuccessful in levying his bank account because it held insufficient funds. Only after the client complained to the State Bar did Klein repay her, with interest.

He stipulated that he failed to maintain her funds in trust or to distribute them promptly.

In mitigation, he has no record of discipline, he cooperated with the bar's investigation and he was under severe financial stress at the time.

McCALL B. KUHNE [#133483], 42, of Olathe, Kan., was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a nine-month actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 13, 2001.

Kuhne was suspended from practice in 1999 for failure to pay bar dues. Prior to paying the fees, she mistakenly believed her employer had paid them. She paid the overdue amount as soon as she learned the dues had not been paid. During the suspension, however, she worked as a contract attorney, screened 200-300 cases and made six court appearances.

She stipulated that she practiced law while not entitled to do so.

In a second matter, she stipulated that she failed to pay client funds promptly in a workers' compensation/personal injury matter in which she represented a good friend. Kuhne originally represented the friend as a favor but at some point it was agreed she would receive a share of the recovery as her fee.

Kuhne settled the claim for $50,000; she and the client received about $18,000 and a medical provider was to receive nearly $32,000 to satisfy a lien from the workers' comp portion of the claim. Kuhne paid $2,000 to another attorney who had helped with the case.

When she received the $18,000 check from an insurance company, she deposited it in her trust account and said she would forward her client's share. They still had not discussed her fee.

Kuhne did not return her friend's phone calls for three months and when they spoke, the friend offered her half of the settlement. Kuhne was candid in telling the friend she could not pay the money at one time and offered to pay her $2,000 a month. However, she never paid any of the friend's portion of the settlement.

In mitigation, she has no prior record of discipline, she had family problems at the time of the misconduct and she cooperated with the bar's investigation.

STEPHEN M. LOSH [#127508], 63, of Beverly Hills was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 13, 2001.

Losh worked in the law offices of Joseph Gellman (see below) and was responsible for handling a client's personal injury case, which he settled. The client was to receive $2,000 after fees and costs were deducted. Gellman deposited the settlement check into the firm's client trust account and told Losh he had taken care of the funds. Losh assumed the client had been paid.

The balance in the trust account fell to $100.

The client worked in the same building where the law firm was located, ran into Losh one day, and inquired about his money. Losh told him to speak to Gellman, with whom he was parting ways. The client saw Losh on Christmas Eve, when Losh assured him his money was forthcoming.

In addition to oral requests, the client made two written requests six months apart. He was not paid for three years, less than three weeks before the matter was scheduled to go to trial. Losh and Gellman made equal contributions to the payment.

In mitigation, Losh has no record of discipline since joining the bar in 1987 or prior to that, when he was a member of the Michigan bar for more than 20 years. He ultimately made restitution to the client.

JOSEPH GELLMAN [#52402], 57, of Beverly Hills was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and was ordered to make restitution, prove his rehabilitation and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 19, 2001.

Gellman stipulated to misconduct in nine consolidated cases.

The first involved the same matter for which Stephen M. Losh (see above) was disciplined. Gellman stipulated to failing to supervise Losh adequately in his use of the firm's client trust account and to failing to perform legal services competently.

In another matter, he substituted in to a workers' compensation case the day trial was to begin. He won a continuance and told his client she need not appear since he planned to seek another continuance. He did not do so and informed opposing counsel the day before the hearing that neither he nor his client planned to appear.

Opposing counsel moved to dismiss the matter and the judge gave Gellman 30 days to respond. He did not respond and the case was dismissed. He also did not respond to seven phone calls and a letter from his client, nor did he respond to a State Bar investigator.

Another workers' comp client telephoned Gellman numerous times over a 14-month period to determine the status of her case. When she was able to talk to Gellman, he told her her employer was not insured and he was waiting for the state to insure the employer.

At no time did he start an action for his client, advise her about the merits of her case or tell her he could not pursue her claim. He also did not respond to a bar investigator.

In another matter, Gellman was retained to represent a client in a claim for specific performance of a real property sales contract and for damages for breach of contract. The clients' relatives also hired Gellman to defend them in an unlawful detainer action seeking to remove them from the property in question in the relative's case. Together, the three clients paid Gellman $2,000.

Although he took initial action in all the matters, he subsequently did not return the clients' phone calls or a letter, and because he did not answer a motion by opposing counsel, one of the cases was dismissed. He did not return his clients' file, as requested, or respond to a bar investigator.

Gellman did not keep other clients apprised of developments in their cases, failed to refund unearned fees, and although he took some action on behalf of clients, he did not fully pursue their cases.

In one matter, he listed his address incorrectly on pleadings and did not receive the opposing party's motions. His clients defaulted and were sanctioned as a result of his actions. He turned over some client files only because their new lawyer obtained a court order. He failed to appear twice at trial dates in another case, and never petitioned for a new date.

He stipulated to five counts of failing to perform legal services competently, seven counts of failing to respond to clients' reasonable status inquiries, he disobeyed one court order and failed to release client files three times, refund an unearned fee once or cooperate with the bar's investigation of six cases.

In mitigation, Gellman suffered from serious physical and emotional problems. He was so severely injured in a 1989 automobile accident that he had to stop practicing for four years. When he resumed practice, he was plagued by problems related to the accident which included chronic pain, small strokes, clinical depression, memory problems and panic attacks. His health problems have improved and are being brought under control.

TERRANCE ROBERT McKNIGHT [#76362], 51, of Shelburne, Vt., was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 13, 2001.

McKnight pleaded no contest in 1999 to one instance of inappropriate physical contact with a minor, a misdemeanor.

In 1985, McKnight was diagnosed with manic depressive illness, which was controlled for years by medication. In 1998, his medication was changed to Wellbutrin, a new drug. It was later learned that Wellbutrin can affect some individuals in a manner that they behave the way McKnight did.

McKnight has had no previous or subsequent incidents similar to the one instance that led to his conviction and his illness is now controlled by a different medication. He has complied with all terms of his criminal probation.

He also was disciplined in 1991 for improperly entering into a business transaction with a client, failing to deposit client funds into a trust account, notify a client of receipt of funds and promptly deliver those funds, and misappropriation.

DENISE DAVIS MOOREHEAD [#136369], 49, of Oakland was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for one year and until she proves her rehabilitation, makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 13, 2001.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Moorehead failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a 2000 suspension order. She did not file a quarterly probation report, a law office management plan or a report from her treating psychologist or clinical social worker.

The discipline was imposed as a result of Moorehead's failure to perform legal services competently, report judicial santions or maintain respect due to judicial officers, and she violated a court order, improperly withdrew from employment and advanced facts prejudicial to the reputation of her client.

In another discipline in which she defaulted, Moorehead was suspended last August for the unauthorized practice of law, making misrepresentations to a client, and failure to perform competently, communicate with a client, return an unearned fee and maintain a current address with the bar.

WILLIAM MIHRTAD PAPARIAN [#86598], 53, of Huntington Beach was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 13, 2001.

Paparian stipulated that in a personal injury case, he failed to perform legal services competently, maintain funds in a client trust account or promptly pay out funds as requested by a client.

He deposited a settlement check for $9,999.99 into his client trust account and wrote a check to the client for $3,000. The client's doctor refused to reduce his bill of $6,060, so Paparian sued him for breach of contract, charging that he refused to reduce his bill. He paid the bill seven months later after receiving an inquiry from the State Bar regarding its nonpayment. The payment was made 20 months after the client initially authorized Paparian to pay the bill.

The balance in his trust account repeatedly fell below the required amount, including a negative balance of more than $3,000. The expenditure of the settlement money was the result of Paparian's prolonged inattention to the accounts and accounting procedures in his office.

In mitigation, Paparian became the mayor of Pasadena, virtually a full-time job which paid only $50 a month and resulted in serious financial problems. Because he could no longer afford to pay for office staff, he did not pay adequate attention to his client trust account. The financial problems led to bankruptcy.

He also served as an airport commissioner and member of the board of directors of the Los Angeles County Sanitation District. His life became so stressful that he collapsed at a city council meeting and subsequently was diagnosed with a rare immune system disease. He no longer suffers from emotional distress.

JOSEPH PETER KOENIG [#150142], 40, of Tarzana was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec.19, 2001.

Koenig stipulated to misconduct in three consolidated matters.

He substituted in to a breach of contract matter and although he filed an amended complaint, he did not provide proof of service to the court. He did not appear at either a case management conference or an order to show cause hearing, was sanctioned $300 and did not pay the sanction. Koenig did not appear at a subsequent hearing and the case was dismissed. He did not tell the client about the dismissal or answer three inquiries from the client, which learned about the dismissal six months later.

Koenig stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently or communicate with his client.

In the other matters, numerous checks, payable to Koenig, were written against insufficient funds in his client trust account. He entrusted the deposit of funds which would have covered the checks to third parties and did not supervise his client trust account. He stipulated to committing acts of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Koenig has no prior record of discipline, he had family problems at the time of the misconduct and he cooperated with the bar's investigation. He reimbursed the first client for fees it paid another attorney to complete the case.

INDIA SHERRYL THOMPSON [#143787], 54, of Sherman Oaks was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 19, 2001.

Thompson failed to appear at five status conferences in a civil action she filed against a school district and the case was dismissed. The court indicated it would set aside the dismissal if Thompson paid $600 in sanctions to opposing counsel and obtained co-counsel by a certain date. She was unable to comply on time, but she later sought a reconsideration and the case was reinstated. Thompson says she was unable to contact her client and could not prepare an opposition to a motion for summary judgment, which was granted.

She also failed to appear at hearings in another civil matter, which was dismissed and Thompson was sanctioned $400. She filed and won a motion to set aside the dismissal and subsequently settled the case.

Thompson failed to appear at two hearings in another civil matter, was sanctioned $364 and the court granted summary judgment. Thompson realized she had inadvertently failed to oppose the motion for summary judgment and contends she believed she had filed the opposition with other pleadings. She belatedly filed the opposition and then a motion for reconsideration, which was not granted. The client hired a new lawyer.

Thompson also practiced while suspended. She stipulated that she failed to perform legal services competently.

In mitigation, Thompson suffers from severe depression, which she controls with medication. However, she stopped taking her medication, which interfered with her ability to practice. At the time of the misconduct, she also had to care for her ailing mother after the death of her father, which contributed to her emotional difficulties.

T.R. WRIGHT JR. [#96780], 55, of Oakland was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE. The order took effect Dec. 19, 2001.

He handled a discrimination lawsuit for a client who paid him $5,000. For three months, he said he would file suit within two weeks but did not do so. When the client fired him, he persuaded her to let him continue as her lawyer.

About two months later, the client decided not to pursue the case and asked that her advance fee be returned. Wright did not refund the money and the client obtained a small claims judgment against Wright.

In another case, a client paid him $1,500 to resolve a contract/trade name dispute. When the opposing party sued, the client forwarded a copy of the complaint to Wright. Two weeks later, Wright became an inactive lawyer and took no action on the case. Default was entered against Wright's client.

Wright stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar's investigation, and he improperly withdrew from representation without protecting his client's interests.

In mitigation, Wright has no prior record of discipline, he has extreme emotional problems but cannot afford medical treatment and put himself on inactive status because he realized he could not practice effectively.

INTERIM SUSPENSION

OTHELLO HERBERT CURRY III [#142982], 40, of Sacramento was placed on interim suspension Dec. 12, 2001, following a conviction for possession of marijuana for sale. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

ALEXANDER GUDIS [#155846], 44, of North Hollywood was placed on interim suspension Dec.15, 2001, following convictions for one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of tax evasion. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

SCOTT ALLEN BRANDON [#189654], 37, of Torrance was placed on interim suspension Jan. 20, 2002, following a felony conviction for escape while misdemeanor charges are pending. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

WILLIAM LEROY CARAWAY [#31517], 66, of Bakersfield was placed on interim suspension Jan. 20, 2002, following four convictions resulting from furnishing drugs to an incarcerated client. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

KARL FREDERICK MUNZ [#45668], 65, of Sacramento was placed on interim suspension Jan. 25, 2002, following a conviction for driving under the influence and DUI causing injury. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

PUBLIC REPROVAL

LAWRENCE EDWIN GALE [#43888], 59, of Beverly Hills (June 16, 2001)

JOHN ERIC GELB [#168848], 34, of Ruston, La. (June 7, 2001)

NATASHA ANKE KOTTO [#161806], 39, of Santa Monica (Feb. 25. 2001)

BARRY WILLIAM REIDEL [#77898], 60, of Huntington Beach (July 4, 2001)

GARY A. QUACKENBUSH [#137752], 43, of San Diego (Oct. 10, 2001)

JULIA A. KEMP [#146670], 50, of La Habra (Oct. 13, 2001)

SUSPENSION/FAILURE TO PASS PRE

ARNOLD LEE ROSEN [#48572], 64, of Encino (Nov. 14, 2001)

RALPH STAFFORD BRANSCOMB [#53209], 58, of San Diego (Nov. 22, 2001)

DAVID WILLIAM BARGMAN [#90684], 49, of New York, N.Y. (Nov. 23, 2001)

KAREN REED [#134022], 51, of Beverly Hills (Nov. 23, 2001)

JOHN FORREST FRANKLIN III [#100737], 47, of Reseda (Dec. 7, 2001)

STEVEN HOWARD UNGER [#121952], 43, of Glendale (Dec. 7, 2001)

CALVIN F. ELAM JR. [#146368], 44, of Sacramento (Jan. 11, 2002)

RESIGNATION/CHARGES PENDING

H. DAVID SCHMERIN [#31847], 67, of Pico Rivera (Oct. 10, 2001)

DAUNYA LYNN MOORE [#177727], 40, of Corona (Oct. 20, 2001)

GERALD WAYNE STRONG [#56149], 70, of Lemon Grove (Oct. 27, 2001)

CLIFFORD LEMONT LINDVIG [#36037], 69, of Van Nuys (Nov. 15, 2001)

LAWRENCE C. BRAGG [#33302], 69, of Hacienda Heights (Nov. 17, 2001)

DOUGLAS JOHN FOLEY [#107179], 50, of San Jose (Nov. 17, 2001)

JOHN RICHARD STUHLEY [#41591], 62, of Los Angeles (Dec. 5, 2001)

RENARD GEORGE LAVERNE [#73394], 54, of Los Angeles (Dec. 27, 2001)

JAMES STANLEY GOODMAN [#131769], 43, of San Diego (Dec. 29, 2001)

STEVEN HOWARD [#66247], 52, of Los Angeles (Jan. 10, 2002)

DENNIS ROBERT CONSTANT [#85119], 48, of Upland (Jan. 10, 2002)

ANDERSON L. JONAS [#86193], 52, of Los Angeles (Jan. 13, 2002)

ALEXANDER GUDIS [#155846], 44, of North Hollywood (Jan. 13, 2002)

CHARLES ALBERT PRICE [#27568], 68, of Washington, D.C. (Jan. 17, 2002)

JAMES C. LOPEZ [#153229], 44, of Campbell (Jan. 17, 2002)

ERNEST S. ORNELAZ [#146011], 49, of Glendale (Jan. 27, 2002)

LAURIE A. STOFFEL [#130897], 41, of Sacramento (Jan. 27, 2002)

REINSTATEMENT

SUSAN KATHLEEN HOLLIDAY [#96472], 53, of West Covina (Aug. 31, 2001)

MONROE DAVID BRYANT JR. [#74067], 50, of Dallas (Sept. 5, 2001)

STEPHEN RONALD WOLFSON [#46175], 58, of Los Angeles (Sept. 14, 2001)              

ROBER JAMES AGAJANIAN [#55393], 56, of Anaheim (Oct. 10, 2001)

CANCELLATION OF LICENSE
EDWARD ANTONINO [#213908], 25, of Northridge (Dec. 30, 2001)