ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE

DISBARMENTS

LARRY ABRAM LUBIN [#153053], 36, of Fort Lee, N.J., was disbarred Nov. 3, 1995, when he failed to comply with Rule 955 of the California Rules of Court. He was again ordered to comply with 955.

Lubin was disciplined in 1994 for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, misrepresenting his status as an attorney, failing to perform legal services competently and improperly withdrawing from representation.

He failed to participate in the proceedings.

"The public, justice system and State Bar cannot afford to have runaway attorneys who do not obey California Supreme Court orders and who will not or can not take time to demonstrate that they can be responsible for their actions," wrote the hearing judge.

Lubin was admitted to the bar in 1991.

JOHN E. WALTZ [#31487], 64, of Vacaville was disbarred Nov. 3, 1995, and ordered to comply with Rule 955.

In a default hearing, the State Bar Court found that Waltz failed to respond to a client's inquiries or inform her of developments in her divorce case. About a year after hiring Waltz, the client had difficulty contacting him and learned that he had been suspended.

Waltz acknowledged the suspension, told his client to hire another attorney and promised to return her file. Despite many attempts, the client could never reach Waltz and he never returned the file.

In addition to this newest case, Waltz has a lengthy history of bar discipline involving four previous matters. In 1990, he was suspended for failing to perform legal services competently and misrepresenting the status of a client's case. The probation from that discipline was extended in 1992 when he failed to comply with its conditions.

Waltz was suspended again in 1993 for misconduct in three matters; he failed to communicate with clients, perform legal services competently or return unearned fees, and he made repeated misrepresentations to clients.

In the fourth case, he was actually suspended for five years for violating the probation requirements of the 1993 case.

The court noted that although Waltz has been in practice since 1961, his misconduct is serious. Further suspension and probation would serve no purpose, the court said, given Waltz' "apparently recalcitrant attitude, the gravity of his total misconduct, his failure to participate, his history of serious past misconduct, and his current five years actual suspension."

DOUGLAS ANDREW PALASCHAK [#116708], 47, of Ventura was disbarred Nov. 11, 1995, and ordered to comply with Rule 955.

Palaschak was found culpable of ten different instances of practicing law while on interim suspension.

In its decision, the hearing department of the State Bar Court said, "nothing short of disbarment will serve the purposes of the disciplinary system."

Palaschak was placed on interim suspension in May 1992, following his felony conviction of possession of a hallucinogenic drug, LSD, which he ingested during his 1991 birthday party.

The court's review department vacated its interim suspension order in January 1994, when Palaschak's criminal conviction was reversed.

The superior court in Ventura had assumed jurisdiction over Palaschak's law practice in September 1993, but he regained control and his bar membership was restored in February 1994.

However, in August 1993, during the period of time he was ineligible to practice law, Palaschak extensively advertised his services as a bankruptcy lawyer and performed legal services.

Palaschak failed to participate in the current disciplinary proceedings and no factors in mitigation were presented in evidence.

In aggravation, Palaschak has a prior record of discipline. In March 1995, the hearing department of the bar court issued a decision finding Palaschak culpable of "other misconduct warranting discipline."

That decision involved eight consolidated conviction matters between 1989 and 1991, resulting from his failure to appear in court on 11 different occasions.

He was suspended for two years, stayed, with six months actual suspension and three years probation.

In May 1995, Palaschak was found culpable of numerous violations of the Business & Profession Code and it was recommended that he be suspended for five years, stayed, and placed on probation for five years, including two years actual suspension.

His refusal to participate in the current State Bar proceeding, prior to his entry of default, was considered an aggravating factor.

In its decision, the bar court said that Palaschak "has a serious problem respecting people in positions of authority, i.e. judges."

In addition, Palaschak "continued to send an unequivocal message: the law does not apply to him."

CHARLES PHILLIP RHODES [#45820], 56, of Sherman Oaks was disbarred Nov. 12, 1995, and ordered to comply with Rule 955.

Rhodes' disbarment was the result of his failure to comply with Rule 955, a requirement of a July 1994 disciplinary order.

At that time he was suspended for two years and until he made restitution and provided proof of his fitness to practice law.

Aggravating circumstances included his failure to participate in the disbarment proceedings and failing to make any effort to comply with Rule 955.

Rhodes has been a member of the bar since 1970.

FRANK S. HILLS [#34650], 60, of Sausalito was disbarred Nov. 24, 1995, for failing to comply with Rule 955. He was ordered again to comply.

Originally disciplined in 1993, Hills failed to meet the conditions of his probation. The probation was lifted and he was suspended and ordered to comply with Rule 955. It was his failure file an affidavit with the Supreme Court attesting that he notified all pertinent parties of his suspension that led to the disbarment.

CLARENCE C. MACKEY Y SALAZAR [#49614], 52, of San Francisco was disbarred Nov. 24, 1995, for failing to comply with Rule 955. He was again ordered to comply.

Salazar was placed on interim suspension in 1994 following his conviction on two counts of selling or buying securities using false statements or omissions. He did not file an affidavit with the Supreme Court attesting that he notified his clients of his suspension.

Salazar was given a public reproval last year for improperly handling a bankruptcy and failing to report monetary sanctions assessed against him in that case.

He failed to participate in the disbarment proceeding.

ROBERT EUGENE SCAMIHORN [#72527], 55, of Terre Haute, Ind., was disbarred Dec. 1, 1995, for failing to comply with Rule 955. He was again ordered to comply.

Scamihorn was publicly reproved in 1990 for failure to perform legal services competently and improperly withdrawing from employment in two cases.

When he failed to comply with the conditions of his reproval, he was suspended and placed on probation.

Failure to comply with his probation requirements led to a two-year suspension and an order that he comply with Rule 955 by notifying his clients of his suspension and filing an affidavit to that effect with the Supreme Court.

His failure to do so led to his disbarment.

RICHARD MILLER TRAVIS [#67838], 52, of Pleasant Hill was disbarred Dec. 1, 1995, and ordered to comply with Rule 955.

The State Bar Court, describing Travis' conduct as "outrageous," determined that he mismanaged estate funds and properties and misappropriated funds from the estates.

Travis was trustee and co-executor of the wills of his clients. Over a period of two years, he charged the estates more than $270,000 in legal fees, paid himself another $28,000 to write an unauthorized biography of his deceased client, and attempted to sell his clients' residence at below market value to his co-executor's husband.

He billed as legal services his frequent lunches with his co-executor, visits to his client, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, shopping trips to buy expensive clothing for that client and his attendance at his clients' funerals.

In a civil case filed by his clients' heirs, Travis was ordered to pay them $589,312 plus interest. The court concluded that Travis had breached his fiduciary duty to the estates and found him liable for the losses sustained by the estate, the trust and the conservatorship.

In scathing language, the bar court judge found Travis "egregiously mismanaged" the estate and trust of his clients and engaged in fraud.

"The manipulation of funds by [Travis] in order to claim these for spurious attorney fees and expenses was fraud," the judge wrote. "Even if one did not consider his actions to constitute fraud, his appalling mismanagement of the estates and the resulting losses constituted gross negligence rising to the level of moral turpitude."


SUSPENSION/PROBATION

JOHN STEPHEN RILEY [#77902], the self-proclaimed "motorcycle lawyer" who advertises heavily on daytime television in southern California, was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on three years of probation with an actual 89-day suspension. The probation is concurrent with the remaining portion of a previous probation. The order took effect Oct. 13, 1995.

Riley, 47, of Pasadena, earned local fame with his commercials featuring testimonials that critics say imply that unhurt or slightly injured motorcycle accident victims can reap big settlements for little or no pain.

In two personal injury cases, Riley did not honor medical liens in a timely fashion. In one matter, he didn't pay the doctor for three years and did not represent his client competently. He also did not place settlement funds in his client trust account.

In another matter, Riley took over a personal injury case from another law firm which notified him that because of the amount of work already done, the firm expected to receive some attorney's fees.

Riley responded that he would not respect that request and he urged his client to sue the firm for malpractice. The other firm then filed with Riley a notice of lien for attorneys' fees and costs.

When a $100,000 settlement was reached, Riley notified the former law firm, whose signature was needed to negotiate the settlement check. In exchange for that signature, Riley gave the former lawyer a check for $9,496, the amount the firm sought for the work done earlier.

As soon as Riley cashed the settlement check, he stopped payment on the check he gave the other attorney. Eventually, the other attorney sued Riley, who agreed to pay him $25,000.

In another matter, Riley represented two clients injured in a motor scooter accident case without obtaining the written consent of each.

Riley was disciplined earlier this year for failure to uphold the law in three counts, collection of an illegal fee, eight counts of failure to perform legal services competently, improperly withdrawing from employment and failure to pay trust funds on demand. Most of his misconduct stems from not honoring medical liens between 1986-90.

The court rejected Riley's argument that he was singled out for prosecution because of his "fame and success."

RONALD ALAN KNELL [#71521], 48, of Woodland Hills was suspended for five years, stayed, and placed on five years probation with an actual one-year suspension which began retroactively on July 23, 1995. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 1, 1995.

Knell was handling a bankruptcy case when he was suspended from practice. Although he arranged for another attorney to substitute in, neither attorney signed the substitution form and it was not filed with the court.

Faced with a deadline and out of fear of client abandonment, Knell filed an opposition to a motion while he was suspended.

A subsequent misunderstanding with the client and the failure of the client to receive a notice from the court resulted in foreclosure on the client's house.

The client sued both Knell and the attorney who substituted for him.

Knell also stipulated that when he notified his clients that he would be suspended, he did so by first class mail rather than certified mail as required.

His first suspension was the result of commingling funds and misappropriating $30,000 to pay for maintaining his law office and household, supporting two children and his dying wife, and for payment for medical and hospital bills. He had repaid the victim before being disciplined.

LYLE L. BLANE [#34384], 64, of Glendale was suspended for 90 days, stayed, and placed on probation for two years. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Blane negotiated a stipulated award in a workers' compensation matter and signed his client's name without informing his client. The stipulation was later vacated when the judge learned the signature on the agreement was not the client's. As a result, the client's disability rating was lowered.

By his conduct, Blane failed to keep the client informed of developments in his case, appeared without his client's authority and sought to mislead a judicial officer.

In a second workers' comp case, Blane filed with an appeals board copies of a rejected settlement offer that contained his client's forged signatures.

Blane received a public reproval in 1988 for driving under the influence.

In mitigation, his actions were calculated to achieve the best possible results for his clients.

DAVID EUGENE BROWN [#85788], 57, of Orangevale was suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on probation for 18 months and was ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Brown pleaded guilty to seven counts of wilful disobedience of a court order. In a 1993 restraining order, Brown was prohibited from telephoning or otherwise annoying or harassing a woman.

The woman received anonymous hang-up calls, notes and letters from inmates at Folsom State Prison and her parents also received threatening notes. An investigation determined that Brown, who was chief legal counsel for the state Board of Prison Terms, was responsible for the harassment.

Brown pleaded no contest in 1991 to a disturbing the peace charge. Charges of vandalism and making annoying telephone calls to the same woman were dropped.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline and he was suffering from depression following his mother's death. He sought counseling. He also has been honored for his work in the field of corrections and for pro bono work.

PETER BUMERTS [#44921], 50, of Santa Rosa was suspended for four years, stayed, and placed on five years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until he proves rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the law. He was ordered to take the CPRE within one year. Bumerts received credit for an interim suspension which began Feb. 16, 1994. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Bumerts, the former chief deputy district attorney for Sonoma County, was convicted of three felonies, all involving attempts to obtain drugs through fictitious prescriptions. His third conviction occurred while he was on criminal probation.

An alcoholic and drug addict, Bumerts resigned his job, underwent residential chemical dependency treatment, and now works part time as a legal assistant and does criminal law research. He practiced for 23 years prior to his drug problems and enjoyed high standing in the legal community.

NATHANIEL S. COLLEY JR. [#91776], 39, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on two years probation with an actual 90-day suspension and a requirement that he make restitution. He was ordered to take the CPRE within one year and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Colley took over a civil case from his father, who had been paid $10,000 in advance fees by the clients. He never accounted for the fees or for money he withheld from the settlement he negotiated. He improperly withdrew from employment, did not finalize the clients' legal matter by failing to sign all necessary documents and did not promptly pay settlement funds.

Colley failed to finalize two other matters and failed to communicate with clients, return client files, provide a status report to clients or provide an accounting for advance fees. In addition, he did not initiate foreclosure proceedings for a client when he should have and he failed to withdraw as attorney of record when he was suspended for non-payment of bar dues.

In mitigation, he refunded some money to clients and there was confusion about the case because he took over for his father.

ROBERT C. KENDRICK [#57474], 52, of San Francisco was suspended for 30 months, stayed, and placed on probation for three years with an actual suspension for one year. He was ordered to make restitution, take the CPRE within one year and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Kendrick filed and settled an employment discrimination case for his client. However, he did not pursue collection of part of the settlement, kept a settlement check in his drawer without depositing it in his client trust account, misappropriated money withheld for court reporter fees and failed to disburse the undisputed portion of the settlement.

In mitigation, Kendrick had no record of discipline since his 1973 admission to the bar, and he was distracted by an illness in his family at the time of the misconduct.

MALCOLM L. McPHEE [#55917], 48, of Daly City was suspended for 45 days and until he makes restitution. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

McPhee failed to file a Rule 955 affidavit with the Supreme Court as required by a 1994 probation order. Because he had no clients at the time, he did not notify anyone of his suspension from practice and therefore did not file an affidavit of compliance. He eventually filed the affidavit in early 1995.

McPhee has been disciplined three previous times.

RICARDO C. SARIA [#74999], 47, of Palo Alto was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on two years of probation. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

In July 1993 Saria was given an actual 30-day suspension, but the notice he received did not specify the date the suspension was to begin. As a result, Saria practiced law while suspended.

When he discovered the problem, he contacted his attorney and requested a temporary stay of actual suspension, which was denied.

He stopped practicing at that time.

Saria also was placed on interim suspension in 1983 following his conviction for violating the state insurance code.

MICHAEL G. SHARPE [#123965], 35, of Cupertino was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years with an actual 18-month suspension. Credit for the period of actual suspension will be given for an interim suspension which began Dec. 20, 1994.

Sharpe pleaded guilty to driving under the influence with three priors and driving without a license. Although the conviction did not involve moral turpitude, it did involve other misconduct.

Sharpe was publicly reproved in 1990 following his second DUI conviction, and later was twice disciplined for failure to comply with conditions of probation. He has four criminal convictions over seven years.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar's investigation and he has undergone alcohol rehabilitation.

JEFFREY JOSEPH SLOANE [#103245], 39, of San Jose was suspended for five years, stayed, given an actual suspension of 18 months, and ordered to make restitution and prove rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the law. When he returns to active status, he will be on probation for three years. Sloane also was ordered to take the CPRE within one year and to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Sloane failed to perform legal services in three matters, failed to communicate with his clients in two, and misrepresented the status of one case.

In a divorce case in which time was of the essence for his client, Sloane told her that a variety of court dates were set and then continued. In fact, the case had been dropped from the calendar because Sloane had done no work on it.

He was fired by another client in a divorce matter but never refunded her fees.

In a third case, as a result of his failure to notify his client and appear at scheduled depositions, a bench warrant was issued for his client's arrest. The court ultimately found she was abandoned by Sloane.

Sloane has been disciplined twice before for failure to communicate or perform competently.

In mitigation, he suffers from depression and has undergone five operations since 1992.

JAMES D. TAYLOR [#123866], 40, of Sacramento was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on five years probation with an actual 30-day suspension and was ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Taylor practiced law while suspended for non-compliance with MCLE requirements and misrepresented his status to a federal attorney in a bankruptcy case.

In another matter, he negotiated a $20,000 loan from a client without advising the client to seek advice about the transaction. The conditions of the loan were not put in writing and the client did not agree to anything in writing.

Two checks Taylor wrote as loan payments bounced. He owed more than $22,000 on the loan.

In another matter, he bounced a $500 check written against his client trust account.

In mitigation, Taylor suffers from alcoholism and receives treatment.

NANCY JANE WHITE [#113289], 57, of San Francisco was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years probation with an actual two-month suspension and was ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

In a personal injury case, White deposited her client's settlement funds in her general business account, thereby commingling funds. She also failed to maintain settlement funds for the client's doctor in her client trust account and misappropriated those funds.

In mitigation, White has practiced law since 1984 without any discipline.

ROBERT MICHAEL WILLIAMS [#69540], 49, of Stockton was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years probation, and was ordered to make restitution and take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

Williams stipulated to six instances of misconduct, including failure to communicate with clients, perform competently, deposit settlement funds into a client trust account or pay a medical provider promptly. He also withdrew from a case without notifying the client and did not prepare an order requested by a judge.

Williams said his misconduct was a result of office management problems which he has taken steps to remedy.

SAUL DENNY WRIGHT [#44695], 56, of La Mesa was suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on two years of probation and ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 3, 1995.

In one matter, Wright failed to take the CPRE, as ordered when he was privately reproved in 1993.

In another matter, he did not perform legal services competently in an employment discrimination case. He did not respond to his client's inquiries, did not appear for a case management conference, was sanctioned for failure to comply with discovery requests and failed to oppose a motion for summary judgment against his client which was granted.

JOSEPH MICHAEL LYNN [#61963], 50, of San Francisco was suspended for one year, stayed and placed on probation for two years, including 90 days actual suspension and until he makes restitution.

If the period of actual suspension exceeds two years, he will remain suspended until he has shown proof of his rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the general law.

He also was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order was effective Nov. 12, 1995.

Lynn was found culpable of failing to communicate with a client, perform legal services competently, properly withdraw from employment, return client files and unearned fees, provide a requested accounting of services and cooperate with the State Bar.

Lynn was hired by a client to defend him in a civil action in 1993, but he failed to complete legal services and did not return numerous telephone calls. The client eventually employed another attorney.

Lynn did not participate in the bar court proceedings and no evidence of mitigation was presented. He has a prior record of discipline, which was considered an aggravating factor. In 1990, he stipulated to a 90-day stayed suspension and one year probation for practicing law while suspended for nonpayment of membership dues.

Lynn has been a member of the bar since 1974.

The probation of DEBRA BROUSSARD [#108245], 38, of Camarillo was revoked effective Nov. 12, 1995, and the previously ordered stay of suspension lifted.

Broussard actually was suspended for 90 days and ordered to comply with Rule 955.

Broussard's current discipline is the result of her failure to return a client's case file, comply with Rule 955 and file a quarterly probation report, requirements of a January 1995 disciplinary order.

The probation of DAVID LYNN [#73718], 48, of Los Angeles was revoked effective Nov. 12, 1995. He was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on probation until April 30, 1997.

Lynn failed to comply with all the conditions attached to a September 1993 disciplinary order during the required period of time.

At that time, he received a three-year stayed suspension with three years probation and 18 months actual suspension. His previous discipline was considered an aggravating factor.

In mitigation, during the period Lynn was scheduled to comply with conditions of his probation, he suffered extreme emotional difficulties due to the illness and death of his mother.

He has since complied with the required conditions of his probation.

ALEXANDER ZEV RIBAKOFF [#97193], 42, of Irvine was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for two years on the condition that he actually be suspended for 30 days and until he makes restitution.

If the period of actual suspension is two years or more, he will remain actually suspended until he has shown proof of his rehabilitation and fitness to practice law.

If the period of actual suspension is 90 days or more, he must comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 12, 1995.

Ribakoff was disciplined for violating certain conditions of a private reproval he received in October 1992. He neglected to file a quarterly probation report and provide proof that he made restitution to a client.

In its decision, the hearing department of the bar court considered Ribakoff's failure to participate in formal proceedings prior to the default's entry and his failure to answer a notice to show cause as aggravating factors. No mitigating circumstances were found.

MERVYN HILLARD WOLF [#41639], 56, of Encino was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for three years, effective Nov. 12, 1995. He was ordered to make restitution and to pass the CPRE.

Wolf's misconduct involved three different client matters and included failure to supervise, failure to promptly pay medical lienholders and allowing his client trust account to fall below the required balance.

In one instance, Wolf took over a personal injury case for his law partner and eventually settled the matter in 1993. On about 35 occasions between February 1993 and January 1994, the balance of his trust account fell below the amount he should have maintained to pay client and lienholders in the case. He also failed to promptly respond when his client called and wrote letters requesting payment to the lienholders.

In mitigation, Wolf has been a member of the bar since 1968, has no prior record of discipline and cooperated fully with the bar's investigation.

During the period of the misconduct, Wolf was engaged in an exceedingly heavy trial schedule and was absent from his office on a daily basis.

In addition, during the same period he employed nine different bookkeepers in his office who were either incompetent, stayed only for brief periods or, in one case, forged checks for her personal benefit.

Problems with the distribution of client settlement funds and payment of medical liens resulted in the confusion. Also, his partner's retirement added to Wolf's increased workload.

Wolf accepted full responsibility for his office management problems, rectified the client fund distribution problems before being contacted by the State Bar, and there was no evidence that he wilfully misappropriated funds.

Wolf has an extensive pro bono and community activist background. Among other things, he is an active patron of the Los Angeles orchestra and opera communities, has served on the Los Angeles County arbitration panel and sat for six years as a judge pro tem.

STANLEY ALAN LANGFUS [#48157], 50, of Hollywood was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on probation for five years with an actual suspension of 15 months and until he makes restitution. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the law. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 13, 1995.

In 12 consolidated cases, Langfus stipulated that he failed to communicate with clients in numerous cases, did not return their files and papers when they hired new counsel and commingled personal and business funds. Several cases he was hired to handle were dismissed for lack of prosecution.

A malpractice case was dismissed for failure to comply with a discovery order. Langfus did not tell his client the case was dismissed; instead he wrote a $25,000 "settlement" check on his client trust account.

Langfus also did not cooperate with the bar's investigation.

Langfus was suspended in 1992 for failing to perform and communicate with clients in six instances. His probation in that case was extended in 1994 when he did not file quarterly probation reports on time.

In mitigation, Langfus had to take over the practice of his sick father and was inattentive to his own practice.

PHILIP STANLEY BAUMFELD [#68662], 48, of Huntington Beach, was suspended for two years and until he proves rehabilitation, and was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 24, 1995.

In a child support case, Baumfeld failed to perform legal services competently, withdrew from representation without protecting his client's interests and did not cooperate with the bar's investigation.

In another count, he violated probation imposed in 1994 by failing to file quarterly probation reports or a statement from a professional regarding mental health treatment.

Baumfeld had been disciplined for failing to perform legal services competently in three client matters and failing to comply with conditions of an agreement in lieu of discipline he entered into in 1990 for misconduct in three matters.

EDWARD DEANE DONOVAN [#145981], 38, of Corona Del Mar was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years probation with an actual 45-day suspension and was ordered to pass the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 24, 1995.

Donovan was convicted in 1993 of driving under the influence with a prior conviction and refusing to submit to an alcohol test.

The following year, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, driving without a license and having two priors. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case to disorderly behavior while intoxicated.

In a default hearing, the bar court determined Donovan's conduct did not involve moral turpitude but did warrant discipline.

Donovan also was suspended last August for failing to pay bar dues and was placed on administrative inactive status for not completing his MCLE requirements.

ANTHONY R. GASTON [#100767], 45, of Inglewood was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years probation with an actual 20-day suspension and ordered to take the CPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 24, 1995.

Gaston was given a private reproval in 1993, but failed to attend ethics school or pass the CPRE, as required.

He was reproved for failing to communicate with a difficult client in 1989.

Gaston also was suspended for failure to pay bar dues last year and was placed on administrative inactive status for not completing MCLE requirements.

ELLEN RUTH PALEIAS ADLER [#104769], 45, of Belmont was suspended for 90 days and until she submits a written office management plan to the bar. If the suspension exceeds two years, she must prove rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the law. She was ordered to comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 1, 1995.

Adler did not comply with conditions of a 1994 private reproval by failing to submit quarterly probation reports or an approved office management plan.

She was reproved for failing to communicate and perform legal services for two clients and for her violation of a court's discovery order.

KENNETH G. EADE [#93774], 38, of Oxnard was suspended for nine months, stayed, and placed on two years of probation. The order took effect Dec. 1, 1995.

In two cases, Eade practiced law while suspended. In one of the cases, his client filed three pleadings with the court, purportedly on his own. However, Eade's address and telephone number appeared on the front of the pleadings and the envelopes in which they were sent, and someone from his office signed the proof of service.

Although Eade claimed he dictated and prepared the pleadings prior to his suspension, he remained attorney of record at the time.

In another matter, he improperly acquired an interest adverse to his clients in a bankruptcy case when he agreed to pay them $3,500 for the title to their home. He gave the clients $500 in cash but did not pay the remaining money for nine years.

At the time, the clients had no equity in the property and were more than $24,000 in arrears on their mortgage.

Eade also was disciplined in 1992 for negligent handling of trust funds for one client.

In mitigation, Eade arranged for an attorney to substitute in for him during his suspension in all cases but the two in question. The substitutions in those cases were made late. No parties were harmed by Eade's actions.

BRIAN PAUL PETRUNICH [#69275], 51, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for two years with 30 days actual suspension, effective Dec. 1, 1995. He also was ordered to make restitution.

Petrunich was found culpable of multiple acts of wrongdoing including failure to communicate to clients, perform legal services competently, return client case files and promptly pay medical liens.

In one instance, Petrunich was employed by two clients involved in an auto accident. Although both clients received personal injury settlements, Petrunich failed to pay all the medical liens and his clients received notices of threatened legal action from a credit bureau.

When the clients requested proof of payment by Petrunich, he failed to provide it.

In aggravation, Petrunich has a prior record of discipline. In October 1987, he received a public reproval for failure to perform legal services competently, improper withdrawal and failure to communicate.

He was again publicly reproved in July 1992 for similar reasons. In June 1994, he was disciplined by the bar for failing to totally comply with conditions of the July public reproval. At that time he received a 60-day stayed suspension and two years probation.

Petrunich's misconduct resulted in a negative credit record for one of his clients.

LEO J. RAMOS [#163498], 28, of Beverly Hills was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for two years on the condition that he actually be suspended for nine months and until he makes restitution.

If the period of suspension continues for two years or longer, he will remain actually suspended until he has provided proof of his rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the general law.

He also was ordered to comply with Rule 955 and pass the CPRE. The order took effect Dec. 1, 1995.

Ramos was employed by the widow and four children of a man who was killed in an auto accident on his way to work. He was hired to represent them in a wrongful death action and all other related rights and probate matters arising from the accident.

Ramos performed the legal work, deposited the $44,000 insurance settlement in his client trust account and disbursed to himself the agreed fees of 33 percent.

However, he failed to promptly disburse the trust funds to his clients, failed to maintain the full amount of the undistributed funds in his client trust account and misappropriated some funds.

He eventually reimbursed and maintained the full amount of the undisbursed funds.

Ramos' retainer agreement of 33 percent of the insurance proceeds and the decedent's $1,900 tax refund were considered "grossly unconscionable" in proportion to the value and type of services he performed.

Ramos has made partial restitution and will refund the remaining $20,000, with interest, to his former clients.

In mitigation, Ramos promptly admitted his misconduct and agreed to refund unearned legal fees. He also displayed candor and cooperated with the bar's investigation, stipulating to the bar's recommended discipline.

In addition, many individuals from his church and past clients submitted letters of recommendation in his support.

ANDREW THOMAS KETTERSON ALLER [#114099], 36, of San Diego was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years with a six-month actual suspension.

Credit toward the period of actual suspension was given for the period of interim suspension which began March 24, 1995.

He was ordered to pass the CPRE and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 3, 1995.

On the evening of Aug. 27, 1993, Aller drove his car after drinking alcohol and struck and seriously injured a pedestrian. He was charged with felony hit and run driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded guilty to the first count and the district attorney dismissed the second count.

Because evidence was submitted to the state showing that Aller did not knowingly and intentionally leave the scene of an accident, his misconduct did not involve moral turpitude, but was considered "other misconduct warranting discipline."

In aggravation, he was convicted of driving under the influence in 1992, demonstrating a pattern of misconduct, and his current misconduct caused serious physical injury to a member of the public. When the August incident took place, he was on criminal probation for the 1992 violation.

In mitigation, Aller was admitted to the bar in 1984 and has no prior record of discipline.

He cooperated with the police when he learned of the incident and cooperated with the insurance company for prompt economic redress for the victim.

He also was candid and cooperative with the bar in its investigation. In addition, he took immediate steps to enroll in a substance abuse recovery program.

KEVIN BRIAN CONNOLLY [#76107], 45, of Irvine was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for two years, effective Dec. 8, 1995. He was ordered to pass the CPRE.

Connolly's misconduct involved client trust account violations and failure to supervise his staff.

About one month after an insurance settlement check cleared, he distributed the funds to his client but had not paid six medical lien holders.

Prior to distributing the remainder of the funds, his client trust account fell below the required balance on five separate occasions.

During this period, Connolly's clerical staff mismanaged his client trust account and in several instances paid medical providers from his general office account rather than his client trust account.

In aggravation, Connolly has a prior record of discipline. In 1989 he received a two-year stayed suspension with two years probation for misleading advertising conduct in 1983.

In mitigation, he was candid and cooperative with bar investigators and responded to inquiries promptly.

The mismanagement of his client trust account was limited to a brief period in 1993 when he was involved with an "intense" trial.

Appropriate payments were made within 120 days of Connolly's receipt of the settlement draft and prior to being contacted by the bar.

MICHAEL M. KIMBROUGH [#129110], 34, of Banning was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on probation for two years with three months actual suspension. He also must make restitution, pass the CPRE and comply with Rule 955. The order was effective Dec. 8, 1995.

Kimbrough's misconduct involved eight different matters and included failure to communicate, perform legal services competently, promptly refund unearned fees and improper withdrawal.

In several instances, Kimbrough neglected to inform clients when he moved the location of his law office.

On one occasion, Kimbrough was hired to represent a couple in a bankruptcy action, but failed to return their phone calls during a two month period. They eventually filed their own bankruptcy petition and requested a return of Kimbrough's fees.

Unaware that the couple had filed their own petition, Kimbrough filed a second petition, causing the bankruptcy court to hold a hearing regarding the duplication. Kimbrough failed to appear at the hearing, the second petition was dismissed and he was ordered to refund the advanced fees to his clients. He failed to comply with the court order.

In aggravation, Kimbrough was culpable of multiple acts of wrongdoing involving several clients during 1993 and 1994. His actions harmed three clients who lost their causes of action due to his misconduct.

In mitigation, Kimbrough's prior discipline-free record was accorded little weight because he had only been practicing law for six years before the misconduct began.

Kimbrough experienced several personal problems during this period which seriously impacted his law practice. In addition to financial difficulties, his marriage broke up and there was a death in his immediate family.

SAMUEL JAIME MENDEZ [#135549], 39, of Huntington Park was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on probation for three years on the condition that he actually be suspended for one year and until he has provided proof that he returned files to three clients or provided a statement, under penalty of perjury, of his efforts to locate the files.

Should the period of actual suspension exceed two years, he will remain suspended until he has provided proof of his rehabilitation and learning and ability in the general law.

He also was ordered to pass the CPRE and comply with Rule 955. The order took effect Dec. 8, 1995.

In its decision, the hearing department of the State Bar Court found Mendez culpable of wilfully failing to perform services, communicate and return files to clients, and he improperly withdrew from representation.

He also threatened disciplinary action to obtain an advantage in a civil dispute, failed to cooperate with the bar's investigation and neglected to keep his address current with the bar's membership department.

In one instance, Mendez was employed in 1992 to represent a client in a personal injury matter involving an auto accident. He failed to comply with local court rules, resulting in the dismissal of the case in March 1994.

The client began experiencing problems in communicating with Mendez in April 1993 and at one point unsuccessfully tried to reach him eight times.

He went to Mendez' office twice and left notes asking him to contact him, and on another visit found the office vacant.

Eventually, the person who referred the client to Mendez called and told him that Mendez was no longer practicing law, would be working in Mexico and that Mendez would call him to arrange the return of his file.

The client never received his file and hired another attorney who obtained a court order setting aside and vacating the dismissal of the client's case.

Mendez' misconduct began only 17 months after he was admitted to the bar.

Considered significant in the discipline decision was Mendez' indifference and abandonment, "clearly demonstrated by the fact that he, in essence, walked away from his practice, taking with him the clients' files."


INTERIM SUSPENSION

STANLEY SAMUEL FEINSTEIN [#34243], 63, of Chatsworth was placed on interim suspension Nov. 14, 1995, following his conviction for sexual battery. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

EDUARDO ZAMARRIPA [#106671], 40, of Rowland Heights was placed on interim suspension Nov. 25, 1995, following his conviction of violating Business & Professions Code 6126(b), a felony. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.

WELDON REEVES [#62485], 50, of Sacramento was placed on interim suspension Nov. 30, 1995, following his conviction for aiding and abetting and making a false statement in a bankruptcy petition. The State Bar Court has recommended that he be summarily disbarred. He was ordered to comply with Rule 955.


RESIGNATION WITH CHARGES PENDING

RICHARD H. BILLINGS [#35842], 62, of Elizabeth, Colo. (Nov. 3, 1995)

BRUCE BRIGHT [#127315], 38, of Los Angeles (Nov. 3, 1995)

CLAUDE F. COOPER [#42015], 63, of Oakland (Nov. 3, 1995)

WAYNE BOYCE HARBARGER III [#68980], 46, of Sacramento (Nov. 3, 1995)

JOSEPH STEPHEN O'CONNELL [#57920], 50, of Manhattan Beach (Nov. 3, 1995)

THOMAS MICHAEL PATTERSON [#127222], 41, of Westminster (Nov. 3, 1995)

STANTON GILMORE WARE [#28245], 65, of Watsonville (Nov. 3, 1995)

HOYLE H. KIGER [#141663], 43, of Westlake Village (Nov. 12, 1995)

MARK ADAIR RONEY [#109724], 39, of Los Angeles (Nov. 12, 1995)

STUART MARK SHERMAN [#128373], 36, of Los Angeles (Nov. 12, 1995)

FREDERICK ALLEN CONE [#34066], 62, of Mill Valley (Nov. 24, 1995)

FRED HENRY ARM [#50027], 59, of Los Angeles (Dec. 1, 1995)

HARRY ARTHUR CONNICK [#30418], 72, of Novato (Dec. 1, 1995)

ELIZABETH D. MERCER [#157600], 40, of Santa Cruz (Dec. 1, 1995)

CARLOS MARIO HERNANDEZ [#90450], 48, of Santa Ana (Dec. 8, 1995)

JEFFREY ALAN JOSEPH [#80230], 44, of Marina Del Rey (Dec. 8, 1995)


SUSPENSION FOR FAILURE TO PASS PRE

CAREY F. SCOTT [#56080], 53, of Los Angeles (Oct. 31, 1995)

DON HUU DAO [#152772], 33, of Newport Beach (Oct. 31, 1995)

HENRY DANIEL FANDEY [#76363], 42, of Los Angeles (Nov. 6, 1995)


PUBLIC REPROVAL

ROBERT DOYLE ZIMMERMAN [#30344], 60, of Anaheim (Oct. 4, 1995)

DOUGLAS G. GRAY [#37948], 55, of Encino (Oct. 12, 1995)

STEPHEN P. WHITE [#125276], 39, of San Diego (Oct. 21, 1995)

VICTOR EDWARD HOBBS [#80191], 61, of El Toro (Nov. 8, 1995)

[MAIN MENU][CALBAR JOURNAL]