LEGAL TECH

Caution!

More than 150,400 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names.

All discipline reports should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Attorneys must report address changes within 30 days.


Disbarments

MARION CLIFFORD McGHEE [#79509], 54, of Ceres was disbarred Feb. 16, 1996, for failing to comply with Rule 955 of the California Rules of Court. He again was ordered to comply with 955.

McGhee has a long history of misconduct, going back to 1984 when he was privately reproved.

In 1991, he was suspended and placed on probation for failing to perform competently, representing conflicting interests and failing to return unearned fees.

That probation was extended because McGhee failed to file a quarterly probation report or prove that he had made restitution to a client. In 1994, when he still hadn't made restitution, he was suspended.

In another matter, also in 1994, McGhee stipulated that he failed to perform competently in one client matter and he was suspended and placed on probation. Again, however, he failed to comply with probation by not filing a quarterly probation report or providing required medical information to the probation unit.

As a result, that probation was revoked, he was actually suspended for two years, 10 months, and ordered to comply with Rule 955. It was his failure to comply with 955 that finally led to McGhee's disbarment.

In recommending disbarment, the State Bar Court wrote, "His failure to comply with the probation conditions of his first disciplinary matter, followed by his failure to comply with Rule 955 establishes that he cannot or will not carry out his responsibility and obligations to the public and the profession."

CRESSLEY MARGARET GARRETT [#74438], 59, of Mira Loma was disbarred Feb. 16, 1996, for failing to comply with Rule 955. She was again ordered to comply.

Garrett has a history of discipline beginning in 1991, when she stipulated to failing to communicate with clients, perform competently, return files and protect her clients' interests, and misrepresenting the status of a case. As a result, she was suspended and placed on probation.

The following year, she stipulated to misconduct in two other matters, including failure to keep a client informed of the status of a case and representing clients with conflicting interests.

Probation was revoked by an order filed in December 1994 and she was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

In February 1995, Garrett was suspended again for 90 days for failing to communicate with a client or cooperate with the bar's investigation.

ROBERT FERNANDEZ [#105706], 40, of Los Angeles was disbarred Feb. 16, 1996, for failing to comply with Rule 955. He was ordered again to comply.

Fernandez has a record of discipline beginning with a 1993 public reproval for failure to perform competently or return unearned fees.

In 1994, he was suspended and placed on probation because he failed to communicate with his clients or perform the services for which he was hired, and he improperly withdrew from representation. A personal injury matter was dismissed because he failed to pursue it and he failed to complete a marital dissolution.

He also failed to cooperate with the State Bar and to fulfill the conditions attached to his public reproval.

In 1995, Fernandez was suspended and placed on probation in two more cases involving failure to perform, deposit entrusted funds in a client trust account and promptly pay funds a client was entitled to receive, and misappropriation of client funds.


Suspensions/Probation

ELLEN ELIZABETH STEVENSON [#153967], 39, of Marina Del Rey was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for two years, with 90 days actual suspension. She also was ordered to pass the CPRE and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 4, 1996.

Stevenson's misconduct involved multiple acts of wrongdoing primarily involving her failure to communicate with clients.

She failed to appear at depositions of clients in two separate matters and five clients waited two years to learn the status of their workers' compensation cases.

The bar court found that Stevenson suffered extreme emotional and physical difficulties throughout her life and practice of law. She has been the victim of several assaults through the years, including two which left her with cerebral concussions and memory loss. She suffered from major depression, financial problems, digestive disorders and a violent childhood. However, she failed to provide adequate medical documentation of her disabilities and evidence that she is rehabilitated.

Also discounted as a mitigating factor was her discipline-free bar record, since the court noted that her misconduct began shortly after her admission to the bar in 1991.

BABATUNDE A. OLADAPO [#94220], 48, of Yorba Linda was suspended for five years, stayed, and until he makes restitution of more than $68,000, effective Feb. 4, 1996. He was placed on probation for five years on the condition that he actually be suspended for two years and until he makes restitution and provides proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. He also must comply with Rule 955.

Oladapo's misconduct involved 10 instances of wrongdoing and included commingling and failure to communicate, perform legal services competently and supervise his staff.

In one instance, Oladapo took over a client's personal injury case from another lawyer who sold his practice.

He filed the complaint on behalf of the client in late 1992 and settled the case in early 1993 for $42,500. He deposited the check into an account that was not his client trust account and failed to pay the settlement proceeds to the client.

In another instance, a woman and her three minor children hired an attorney in August 1992 to represent them in a personal injury matter arising from an auto accident. Oladapo took over the attorney's practice, but never informed the woman of the substitution of counsel.

The client was unable to reach her lawyer, discovered the office was closed and eventually, in May 1993, contacted the insurance company of the other party involved in the accident.

The insurance company told the woman that the case had been settled the previous February. All of the settlement checks, amounting to $30,000, had been fraudulently endorsed and deposited in the account of a check cashing company.

As early as 1992, Oladapo was aware that a member of his office staff was cashing settlement checks, but he failed to sever his ties with the staff member or rectify the problem.

Oladapo has a prior record of discipline. He received a private reproval in July 1990, and in July 1993 he received a one-year stayed suspension with two years probation and was ordered to make restitution.

The bar court said his misconduct significantly harmed his clients and that he demonstrated indifference to rectifying the consequences of his actions.

JOHN JOSEPH MULROONEY [#40255], 66, of Long Beach was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years probation with an actual 90-day suspension, and was ordered to take the CPRE within one year and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 8, 1996.

Mulrooney stipulated to several acts of misconduct, including failing to communicate with clients, perform legal services competently, keep a client informed of the status of a case, honor a medical lien or keep his address current with the State Bar. He also misappropriated client funds that he should have used to pay a medical lien in a personal injury matter.

In mitigation, Mulrooney practiced law since 1967 without any discipline. He suffers from cancer and a severe heart condition, and he went through a difficult divorce after 28 years of marriage. His ex-wife had been his office manager and secretary and she took all office account records and personal and business funds when she left his office.

In addition, one matter stemmed from his involvement with his twin brother's estate. Because of his attachment to his brother, he was emotionally ill-equipped to handle the probate.

RONALD JEROME LeMIEUX [#49077], 60, of Malibu was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years on the condition that he actually be suspended for four months and until he makes restitution. The order took effect Feb. 10, 1996.

If the period of actual suspension is two years or greater, LeMieux will remain suspended until he has shown proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. He also was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

In one instance, LeMieux was hired by a client to represent him in an attempt to have a 1988 felony burglary conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.

The client intended to apply for a position as a security guard in the defense industry and did not want to answer "yes" to any questions regarding prior felony convictions.

However, LeMieux failed to take the necessary steps to have the client's motion heard until May 1994, more than two years later. LeMieux did not know that two weeks earlier the public defender was successful in moving the courts to reduce the felony, after the frustrated client approached him for assistance.

Seven months after he initially hired LeMieux, the client applied for the security position, mistakenly believing that LeMieux had obtained the felony reduction.

However, the felony burglary conviction was still on his record. For seven years (from late 1992) the client will have a record that he lied on his security application.

LeMieux has a prior record of discipline. In 1993 he was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years with a 30-day actual suspension and an order to make restitution.

The bar court hearing judge found that LeMieux harmed his clients, he was not candid with bar investigators and his failure to honor a financial agreement with his client's previous counsel was determined to be "in the nature of fraud."

LeMieux expressed remorse during the sanction phase of trial and indicated his embarrassment. As another mitigating factor, he noted that he is the father of four and has been a single parent to his two sons since 1984.

He also successfully completed probation conditions of his prior discipline, including restitution.

RICHARD F. PINTAL [#152727], 36, of Santa Monica was suspended for two years and until he makes restitution and provides proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. The order was stayed, and he was placed on probation for two years on the condition that he actually be suspended for 120 days. He also was ordered to take the CPRE and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 10, 1996.

In one instance, Pintal and another attorney were listed as the attorneys of record for a client in a criminal matter. Pintal failed to appear at a pretrial/trial setting conference and later failed appear at a hearing to show cause why he should not be discharged as a result of contempt.

The court had found Pintal in direct contempt for failing to appear and abandoning his client.

At the order to show cause hearing, the court found client abandonment, discharged Pintal as attorney for the client and imposed sanctions totaling $3,000.

Pintal failed to pay the sanctions, neglected to report them to the State Bar and did not cooperate with the bar's investigation.

In aggravation, his misconduct involved multiple acts of wrongdoing and significantly harmed his clients.

In mitigation, Pintal was admitted to the bar in 1991 and has no prior record of discipline.

During the period of his misconduct, he had mental and medical problems due to his addiction to drugs and alcohol. He also suffered from major depression.

He voluntarily ceased practicing law in 1994 and has been receiving professional help for his problems.

He accepted responsibility for his actions and has taken steps to atone for his professional wrongdoing.

GARY J. SHELTON [#118608], 44, of Sacramento was actually suspended for two years and until he makes restitution and provides proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. He also was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 10, 1996.

His current misconduct involved multiple acts of wrongdoing and included failure to perform legal services competently, failure to cooperate with the bar and violating probation conditions in the two prior disciplinary matters.

Among other things, Shelton was disciplined for his misconduct in a divorce matter. After accepting advanced attorney fees of cash and new tires for his car, Shelton made a court appearance, but never contacted his client again and failed to file a formal order as directed by the court.

There were no factors in mitigation, but many in aggravation. Shelton has a prior record of two disciplinary matters, one in 1992 and another in 1994.

His conduct significantly harmed the administration of justice when he ignored Supreme Court and State Bar Court orders. He demonstrated indifference for his actions and failed to participate in proceedings prior to the entry of default.

In his decision, the hearing judge wrote, "Since (Shelton) was already under scrutiny by the State Bar, he should have been more aware of his professional duties and heeded the import of the past discipline."

TITO ANTHONY TORRES [#69478], 44, of Sausalito was suspended for two years and until he provides proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 10, 1996.

In one instance, Torres was placed on administrative inactive status from July 19-Sept. 13, 1993, for failing to comply with MCLE requirements.

During this period, while on inactive status, he associated in as attorney of record for two brothers in a criminal matter on appeal. He appeared twice in court on discovery motions and conducted discovery on behalf of his clients with the district attorney, without advising that he was ineligible to practice law.

In another instance, Torres requested a rescheduling of sentencing for a client in a criminal matter in 1994, but failed to appear.

The hearing was again rescheduled, but that morning Torres telephoned the court to say he would be late.

In court, he explained that he was late due to child care problems and had missed the previous appearance due to a heavy workload. The court assessed him $1,000 in sanctions, which he failed to report to the State Bar.

He failed to respond to letters sent by bar investigators and did not keep his address current with the bar's membership office.

In a third instance, he failed to perform legal services competently, neglected to keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments in a civil action and did not respond promptly to the client's case status inquiries.

Torres has a record of two prior disciplinary matters.

FREDERICK MICHAEL WALKER [#38357], 54, of Walnut Creek was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for two years, with 30 days actual suspension, effective Feb. 10, 1996. He also was ordered to pass the CPRE.

Walker's misconduct involved his failure to inform a client, the Superior Court and opposing counsel of his co-counsel's suspension by the State Bar.

Walker shared an office with another attorney, Francis X. Driscoll, and assisted him with legal matters.

Driscoll was employed by a couple to represent them in a civil complaint. The clients agreed that Walker could assist Driscoll in their case, and he was listed on the complaint as co-counsel.

However, they regarded Driscoll as their attorney and objected when Walker represented them in court on several occasions.

Driscoll was suspended in August 1992 for failure to pay his State Bar dues and for failure to pass the CPRE, a requirement of a prior disciplinary matter.

Driscoll, however, continued to practice law during this period and when Walker eventually learned of the suspension, he failed to notify all involved parties.

Driscoll was eventually disbarred in October 1995, after the State Bar Court found him culpable of defrauding clients, commingling personal and business funds in his client trust account and making misrepresentations to the bar during its investigation.

Considered as aggravating factors were Walker's failure to participate in discipline proceedings prior to the default's entry and failure to promptly answer the notice to show cause.

His failure to notify all parties of his co-counsel's ineligibility to practice law caused the dismissal of the client's case.

He demonstrated indifference by failing to respond to his client's letter regarding the validity of the court's dismissal order.

Considered a mitigating factor was the fact that Walker has not been disciplined for professional misconduct since his admission to the State Bar in 1966 and his misconduct did not begin until about 1993.

SUSAN P. KENNEY [#124609], 36, of San Francisco was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years probation with an actual 60-day suspension, and was ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Feb. 16, 1996.

Kenney stipulated to misconduct in four matters including failure to maintain respect due to courts, act diligently on her clients' behalf, return client files, provide an accounting or notify clients of her receipt of funds. She disobeyed a court's orders after she failed to comply with local rules and sanctions were imposed. She also charged clients an unconscionable fee.

In mitigation, Kenney has no record of discipline since her admission to the bar in 1986, her clients were not harmed by her failure to pay sanctions, and her work was affected when she was occasionally hospitalized for pregnancy-related health problems.

She reached a settlement agreement with clients after she was sued for malpractice.

GARRETT KARL BUELL [#122989], 41, of Salinas was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until he proves rehabilitation. He also was ordered to comply with Rule 955 and to take and pass the CPRE. The order took effect Feb. 16, 1996.

The State Bar Court found that Buell committed multiple acts of wrongdoing against five clients and showed a pattern of misconduct. His misconduct included illegally soliciting prospective clients, failure to communicate or perform competently, and withdrawing from representation without protecting his clients' interests.

One client lost his cause of action as a result of Buell's inaction and two other clients were abandoned at the time of their hearings. Without benefit of counsel, they felt pressured to accept settlement offers.

The court noted that Buell's employees secured clients and performed initial work on workers' compensation cases, but then Buell stopped working on them. He is "difficult if not impossible to find and has in effect abandoned these clients, who have been left to suffer the consequences," the court wrote.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline.

ALEXANDER M. WOLFE [#27446], 65, of Modesto was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on three years probation and ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect March 1, 1996.

Wolfe stipulated to misconduct in three client matters, including failure to provide his client with a written fee agreement, respond to reasonable status inquiries, perform legal services competently, or return client files.

Wolfe stipulated that the misconduct in these matters was partly due to inadequate law office management and staffing.

He also stipulated to similar misconduct in an earlier disciplinary hearing in which his previously unmarred record of discipline-free practice since 1956 was taken into account.

JONATHAN M. ROLDAN [#135298], 39, of Paso Robles was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years probation with an actual suspension of 18 months, and was ordered to take the CPRE and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect March 1, 1996.

With two non-lawyers, Roldan opened a law office in Los Angeles bearing his name. He also maintained two other offices elsewhere and did not supervise the operation of the L.A. office, where the two non-lawyers were handling personal injury cases, settling them and handling settlement funds without Roldan's knowledge or participation.

In a stipulation resolving four consolidated cases, Roldan admitted to multiple acts of wrongdoing, including aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, gross negligence of his client trust account, and allowing client funds to be misappropriated by one of the non-lawyers due to his inadequate supervision.

Both the client trust account and his general account were misused; some clients' entrusted funds were misappropriated and Roldan was unable to account for the disbursement of funds to individuals who did not maintain funds in his account.

However, the parties stipulated that it did not appear that Roldan personally benefitted from the unaccounted for funds. One of the non-lawyers wrote checks to "cash" on the trust account, and deposits and disbursements to clients did not add up.

In one instance, a settlement draft in a personal injury matter for $10,000 was falsely endorsed by both Roldan and the client without either one's knowledge. The client's signature also was placed on a release of claims without the client's knowledge. The funds which were deposited in the client trust account were eventually misappropriated by the non-lawyer and Roldan later reimbursed the bank.

In another personal injury matter, Roldan tried to notify his client by letter that the case would be difficult to prove and should not be pursued, but the letter never was sent. He failed to communicate with his client or return her file and withdrew from representation without protecting his client's rights.

In mitigation, Roldan cooperated fully with the investigation, took out a loan to make restitution to the bank, made restitution to one client by obtaining a loan and tried to rectify the harm to another client. He contacted law schools in the Los Angeles area and offered to speak to students about his misconduct to help them avoid his situation.

The probation of C. STEVEN CATHERS [#137827], 48, of Fallbrook was revoked and his stay of suspension was lifted. He was given an actual suspension for six months, but received credit for the period of involuntary inactive enrollment which began Oct. 3, 1995. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect March 15, 1996.

Cathers was suspended and placed on probation last year but failed to file the required quarterly probation reports.

His original discipline was the result of misconduct which included failing to communicate, perform legal services and return unearned fees.

The probation of TONY RODRIGUEZ [#102882], 43, of Santa Fe Springs was revoked and the stay of suspension lifted. He was placed on actual suspension for 15 days, given a 75-day stayed suspension and placed on two years probation. The order took effect March 15, 1996.

Rodriguez was suspended for 90 days and placed on probation in September 1994 as a result of misconduct involving his client trust account. His failure to file two of the required probation reports led to this probation revocation.

The probation of GEORGE D. SAKATA [#83780], 43, of Watsonville was revoked, his stay of suspension was lifted, and he was actually suspended for four months and ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect March 15, 1996.

Sakata failed to file quarterly probation reports or attend ethics school, as required by a May 1994 disciplinary order involving 60 days actual suspension and a two-year probation.

He was disciplined at that time for failing to finalize a client's divorce over a nine-year period, misrepresenting the status of the case to his client, and for giving his client forged court documents purporting to be a judgment.


Interim Suspension

FREDERIC FORREST NAGEL III [#121773], 34, of San Diego was placed on interim suspension effective Jan. 21, 1996, following his conviction for violating Title 18 U.S. Code 371/1341 and 1343, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, crimes involving moral turpitude. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

ROBERT A. DePIANO [#89341], 43, of Green Village, Colo., was placed on interim suspension effective Jan. 22, 1996, following his conviction for violating Title 18 U.S. Code 371, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by impeding the collection of income taxes. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

DAVID MICHAEL BROWN [#43249], 52, of Sherman Oaks was placed on interim suspension effective Jan. 24, 1996, following his conviction for violating Title 18 U.S. Code 371, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by impeding the collection of income taxes. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

DAVID KARL MOOS [#91454], 44, of Visalia was placed on interim suspension effective Feb. 4, 1996. Moos was convicted of violating Title 18 U.S. Code 153, embezzlement of property belonging to a bankruptcy estate by a custodian or officer of the court. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

JOHN THEODORE WELD [#41178], 56, of El Cerrito was placed on interim suspension Feb. 27, 1996, following a conviction for 40 counts of loitering and peeping and one count of receiving stolen property.

He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

VERNON ELSWORTH McGHEE [#77377], 51, of Beverly Hills was placed on interim suspension March 6, 1996, following his felony conviction of one count of a forcible lewd act committed on a child.

He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.


Suspension/Failure to Pass PRE

STANLEY ALAN GRUMET [#95227], 49, of Pacifica (Jan. 31, 1996)

APRIL KATHRYNE MOTELL FORD [#95688], 44, of Riverside (Jan. 31, 1996)

WAYNE MICHAEL NAPHTAL [#62236], 46, of Beverly Hills (Feb. 17, 1996)

THOMAS LEE BROWN [#47519], 53, of Westminster (Feb. 16, 1996)

KENNETH DALE FAIR [#87535], 49, of Anaheim (Feb. 16, 1996)

LEONARD CHESTER HALL [#23320], 72, of Bakersfield (Feb. 16, 1996)

LEAVY WINSTON OLIVER [#86574], 48, of North Hollywood (Feb. 16, 1996)

PAULA F. SCHMIDT [#56075], 49, of Woodside (Feb. 16, 1996)

GOLI K. ALAI [#140460], 34, of Santa Ana (Feb. 21, 1996)

PERRY G. DeLUNA [#102657], 39, of Culver City (Feb. 21, 1996)

FLETCHER FONEY BOUYER [#85973], 65, of Sherman Oaks (Feb. 23, 1996)

JAMES M. WILLISON [#141708], 40, of Inglewood (Feb. 23, 1996)

LAWRENCE J. MURRAY [#57873], 54, of San Diego (Feb. 23, 1996)

ROBERT G. LEVENE [#66574], 51, of Tustin (March 4, 1996)


Public Reproval

PATRIZIA JANE BOEN [#112399], 48, of Fullerton (Oct. 27, 1995)

PETER DOUGLAS DeBRUYN [#108276], 50, of Long Beach (Nov. 4, 1995)

JAMES CHRISTOPHER WOODWARD [#73225], 44, of Irvine (Nov. 9, 1995)

STUART WILLIS [#48878], 52, of Martinez (Jan. 5, 1996)

PHILLIP B. GREER [#96438], 43, of Newport Beach (Jan. 26, 1996)

JOHN C. PYLE [#98212], 49, of Lodi (Feb. 1, 1996)


Resignation/Charges Pending

TAMMI J. ALLEN [#158600], 33, of Fullerton (March 15, 1996)

PERRY G. DeLUNA [#102657], 39, of Culver City (March 15, 1996)

STEVEN B. DORF [#108334], 41, of Los Angeles (March 15, 1996)

KEVIN C. DOYLE [#70691], 57, of Palm Springs (March 15, 1996)

COLETTE LISANNE FACIO [#113787], 39, of Monterey (March 15, 1996)

FRANK ANTHONY HOLMES [#102198], 47, of San Diego (March 15, 1996)

ANDREW P. LAMIS [#127435], 36, of Atlanta (March 15, 1996)

WALTER LEE McELRAVY III [#77372], 47, of San Diego (March 15, 1996)

FREDERICK FORREST NAGEL III [#121773], 34, of San Diego (March 15, 1996)

FREDERICK ROBERT PALUMBO [#92041], 43, of San Diego (March 15, 1996)

JAMES SANDERS READY JR. [#45797], 56, of Carlsbad (March 15, 1996)

MICHAEL REX SHEAN [#62747], 48, of Santa Maria (March 15, 1996)

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