More than 156,435 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.
LOUIS HAROLD BERNSTEIN [#35840], 62, of Santa Monica was disbarred Oct. 24, 1997, and ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.
Bernstein was disbarred for misconduct surrounding three client matters, including misappropriation of client funds.
In one instance, Bernstein was employed by a woman in 1990 to represent her in a personal injury matter. The client agreed to settle for $15,000 and Bernstein went to the opposing partys law firm to pick up the settlement check.
However, he did not inform the client of his receipt of the check, which was made out jointly to Bernstein and the client.
The client maintained that her endorsement on the back of the check was a forgery and she never gave anyone permission to sign either the release or the settlement draft.
Bernstein deposited the check in his client trust account and although no disbursements were made to the client, the account fell below the required balance.
Bernstein told the client that her case was unresolved and that the settlement offer had been rejected. However, the client discovered otherwise after she reviewed the court file for her case.
By the time the client testified in Bernstein's disciplinary case, she had not been paid the funds due to her.
In another matter, Bernstein was employed by a man to represent his son in a criminal matter, paying him $7,500 for anticipated services and $650 for a court reporters transcripts.
Bernstein did not complete legal services and did not return unearned fees, despite several demands from the boys father.
Bernstein also neglected to follow through with a case concerning a disputed probate matter and did not return unearned fees from the $2,600 advance or provide an accounting of the fees, as requested by the client.
No mitigating circumstances were established and Bernsteins prior record of discipline was considered an aggravating factor.
Bernstein received a 30-day stayed suspension and one-year probation in 1985 for failure to perform legal services and return unearned legal fees in a criminal matter.
Also considered as aggravating factors was evidence of multiple acts of wrongdoing, significant harm to clients, failure to make restitution and Bernsteins failure to participate in disciplinary hearings prior to entry of default.
Bernstein has been a member of the bar since 1965.
KAREN CROFT NELSON [#81049], 56, of Shingle Springs was disbarred Oct. 29, 1997, following her failure to comply with rule 955, a requirement of a February 1996 disciplinary order. She was again ordered to comply with rule 955.
Nelson did not abide by conditions of a public reproval which led to the February 1996 discipline order and a suspension for 60 days and until she filed a required declaration.
The court also ordered her to comply with rule 955 if she failed to file the declaration and her actual suspension lasted 90 days or longer.
The hearing department of the State Bar Court found that Nelson wilfully failed to comply with the February 1996 disciplinary order.
Although the Office of Trial Counsel had requested that Nelson be prevented from petitioning for reinstatement for 10 years, the recommendation was denied by the hearing judge.
The judge said such action was inappropriate because disciplinary charges were filed before the effective date of amended rule 662, which currently is before the Supreme Court for approval.
JAMES CHRISTOPHER TEVINI [#88159], 57, of Brisbane was disbarred Nov. 1, 1997, and ordered to comply with rule 955.
Tevins disbarment was the result of his failure to file an affidavit of compliance with rule 955, a requirement of a June 1996 disciplinary order.
At that time, Tevini was disciplined after he failed to obey four court orders in two different cases, failed to report a $10,000 court-ordered sanction and failed to communicate with a client in another case.
He showed disrespect to the court by failing to pay sanctions or apprise the court of his inability to comply with its order.
He also filed a frivolous action, provided incompetent legal services and failed to account for $10,000 in advanced attorneys fees.
In addition, he used his trust account for personal business and did not cooperate with the bar's investigation of five different complaints.
The bars office of chief trial counsel considered Tevinis misconduct serious because his prior record involved three clients, nonparticipation in disbarment proceedings and failure to obey a Supreme Court order (compliance with rule 955).
The hearing judge ruled that Tevini must wait five years before he can petition for reinstatement to the State Bar.
DALE KAPP NEES [#127943], 37, of Carmichael was disbarred Nov. 15, 1997, and ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.
Under a November 1996 disciplinary order, Nees was required to comply with rule 955 by notifying all clients and other pertinent parties that he was suspended from practice and to submit an affidavit to that effect to the Supreme Court.
His failure to do so led to the disbarment.
Nees discipline was the result of failure to communicate and perform legal services for an incarcerated client, return about $7,000 in unearned advanced legal fees in the matter, and cooperate with the State Bar's investigation.
Nees was admitted to the bar in 1986.
CLAYTON RANDALL JACKSON [#43442], 54, of Sausalito was disbarred Nov. 19, 1997.
Jackson has been on interim suspension since 1994, following his conviction in federal court the previous year on 10 counts of racketeering, mail fraud and money laundering. He declined to participate in the disbarment proceedings.
Jackson was a Sacramento lobbyist for various insurance companies, and his conviction resulted from bribing then-Sen. Alan Robbins, who chaired the Senate insurance committee.
Jackson offered Robbins a $250,000 bribe related to a pending workers compensation bill, and then solicited funds from insurance company executives, telling them the money would be used to form a political action committee.
Jackson also solicited money from several unsuspecting clients to make what he described as campaign contributions to Paul Carpenter, a former state senator who then served on the board of equalization. In fact, the funds were to be funneled to Robbins.
Jacksons mail fraud convictions were based on checks mailed to Carpenter by Jacksons clients at his request.
In a letter submitted to the State Bar, Jackson acknowledged the bars jurisdiction to impose discipline resulting from his convictions, but refused to resign from practice, believing he will eventually be vindicated.
(The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.)
Although Jackson has not been previously disciplined, which is a mitigating factor, the State Bar Court found that his conduct involved moral turpitude and included multiple acts of wrongdoing committed over a long period of time.
The bar court concluded that his actions clearly damaged public confidence in its governmental officials (Jackson) is found to have significantly harmed the public by corrupting an important aspect of the legislative process.
RICHARD DOUGLAS WORSLEY [#56306], 58, of Homeland was disbarred Nov. 19, 1997, and ordered to comply with rule 955.
This matter arose from a default hearing on charges of unauthorized practice of law, violation of the Supreme Court order suspending Worsley, acts of moral turpitude and failure to cooperate with the bars investigation of his misconduct.
As a result of failing to pay his bar dues, Worsley was suspended from practice between August 1992 and March 1993. He practiced law during that time, representing the defendants in a case in Orange County Superior Court.
In June 1993, disciplinary charges were filed against him by the bar, and he was placed on involuntary inactive status in October 1993 because he failed to respond to the charges. While suspended, he continued to handle the Orange County case, making five appearances and filing pleadings for his clients. These acts constituted the unauthorized practice of law.
Although Worsley did not receive several notices regarding his suspension from the bar, he also did not keep his membership records current. However, the court found that Worsley had notice he was ineligible to practice, and that he committed wilful acts of dishonesty by engaging in the practice of law in disregard of the courts order.
He also failed to cooperate with the bars investigation.
In a prior probation revocation matter, Worsley failed to attend ethics school, make restitution to a client and file quarterly probation reports as required by a disciplinary order that also imposed a period of suspension. As a result, he was again suspended.
ROBERT J. CURATOLA [#140948], 34, of Diamond Bar was suspended for three years, stayed, and placed on three years of probation, with an actual suspension of one year and until he proves his rehabilitation. He was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Oct. 11, 1997.
Curatola was later placed on inactive status by the bar for failing to complete his MCLE requirements. He practiced law while not entitled.
He failed to appear at a hearing, causing his clients matter to be taken off calendar.
In a personal injury case, Curatola did not pay his client settlement funds to which she was entitled until more than a year later. He allowed the balance in his client trust account to dip below the required amount during that period of time, misappropriated client funds, and used the client trust account to pay personal expenses.
Curatola had no record of discipline since his admission to the bar in 1989.
EDWARD G. DUREE [#116569], 40, of Fairfield was suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 11, 1997.
Duree stipulated that he failed to cooperate with a bar investigation and that he practiced law, representing clients on 23 occasions, while suspended.
In the first matter, Duree did not respond to a bar investigators letter or phone calls requesting information. As a result, he was placed on involuntary inactive status in February 1996.
When Durees wife returned to college, he began working almost exclusively at home in order to care for the couples young child. His office mail was forwarded to his home only sporadically. When Duree and his wife moved, some of the mail was stored in a box and remained unopened for months.
He learned he was suspended from practice only when informed by an acquaintance, and quickly made arrangements to return to active status.
In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline, cooperated with the bars investigation of the unauthorized practice charge, and presented 11 letters from attorneys and members of the public attesting to his good character.
He has represented criminal defendants on a pro bono basis in at least 28 cases during the past five years.
The probation of ANTHONY R. GASTON [#100767], 47, of Carson was extended for one year, beginning Oct. 11, 1997.
Gaston was given a stayed suspension and placed on two years of probation with conditions in October 1995. He did not file one quarterly probation report and did not report his change of address to the bar.
Although bar prosecutors requested that probation be revoked and that Gaston be suspended for one year, the court viewed the request as disproportionate to the misconduct. It said that although it appears Gaston may have not complied with probation in other ways, the bar did not amend the notice to add the new information as grounds for revocation. The court therefore declined to consider the request.
Gastons 1995 discipline was the result of failing to meet the conditions of a private reproval, which was based on his failure to communicate with a client.
HOWARD A. LIPTON [#79301], 47, of Santa Monica was suspended for 30 days, effective Oct. 11, 1997.
Lipton did not comply with the conditions of a 1994 public reproval: he filed late or incomplete probation reports nine times, did not pass the professional responsibility exam, and did not complete law office management courses.
In mitigation, he was forced to file bankruptcy and became nearly homeless for a period of time, his wife suffered a brain tumor and they were divorced, he closed his Los Angeles law office and barely practiced, and he was under psychiatric treatment for emotional problems.
The original discipline resulted from Liptons representation of potentially adverse interests without obtaining the consent of his clients, and his inadequate supervision of staff.
In another prior matter, Lipton was suspended and placed on three years of probation last year for soliciting clients, and failing to adequately supervise employees, promptly deliver clients files to new counsel and obtain the written consent of clients concerning a potential conflict of interest.
JOHN GEORGE BRONOS II [#75931], 48, of Orlando, Fla., was suspended for three years and until he has provided proof of his fitness to practice, effective Oct. 24, 1997. His suspension was stayed, and he was placed on probation for three years on the condition that he is actually suspended for two years and until he has provided proof of his rehabilitation.
He also was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955.
Bronos suspension stems from his failure to comply with a 1992 disciplinary order.
At that time, he received a five-year stayed suspension with five years of probation and a four-year actual suspension. The period of his suspension and probation was to be retroactively concurrent with the period of his inactive status, which began Jan. 1, 1991.
Bronos failed to file required quarterly probation reports and provide proof of participation in seven hours of professional responsibility courses in Florida or California by Jan. 1, 1996.
He also did not complete required law office management courses and pass required MCLE courses.
Bronos 1992 discipline record in California was considered a factor in aggravation and there were no mitigating circumstances.
JOEL H. GOLDBERG [#92657], 44, of Upland was suspended for four and one-half years, stayed, and placed on probation for five years on the condition that he is actually suspended for two and one-half years and until he makes restitution of more than $40,000 and provides proof of his rehabilitation. He also was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order was effective Oct. 24, 1997.
Goldberg stipulated to 45 counts of misconduct involving nine separate client matters.
In one instance, Goldberg settled a personal injury case on behalf of a client for $30,000. He disbursed $7,500 to the client, kept $10,000 for his fee and held $12,500 to pay the clients medical care providers. However, he did not pay the medical providers.
In another instance, Goldberg was hired to deal with the confiscation of a clients guns by the Los Angeles Police Department and an alleged assault.
Although the court ordered that some of the client's guns be returned, they were mistakenly destroyed. The client was awarded $1,500 in arbitration for the destroyed guns, but he was unsatisfied and opted to proceed with a trial. Goldberg failed to inform the client that the arbitration award was entered as judgment.
The trial request was not filed within the required statutory period and Goldberg made no attempt to remedy the problem. He also neglected to file a timely civil rights action against the LAPD on behalf of the client and his wife, who requested the action.
The couple eventually won a legal malpractice claim of $15,000 against Goldberg, but his check bounced.
After making many promises to pay the judgment, he falsely told the couples new attorney one year later that he had given a partial payment to a messenger for delivery that day.
For the next two years, Goldberg made payments on the $15,000 owed to his former clients.
In aggravation, Goldbergs misconduct exhibited a pattern of abandonment of his clients interests and delays in communicating, cover-up and misappropriation of client trust account funds, and failure to return unearned fees.
Also, once abandoned, clients found it almost impossible to get a copy of their file from Goldberg.
After two of his clients cases were dismissed due to his inaction, Goldberg took some further action, but then hid the news about the dismissal from one client for more than a year.
Goldberg reassured one client for three years and another for one year that their cases had been filed when, in fact, they had not.
Six of the nine clients lost their causes of action. Goldberg misappropriated $12,450 of one clients money and failed to return unearned fees of $9,000 from three clients.
One couple learned from the State Bar, not Goldberg, that he had caused their case to be dismissed. Five other clients found out about dismissals or significant inaction on the part of Goldberg, too late to remedy their situations.
Goldberg has only made sporadic restitution to his clients and he chronically hid the truth of the status of his clients causes of action.
He also failed to participate in five of the nine investigations and displayed a lack of candor and cooperation with the bar.
Goldbergs prior discipline-free record was not applicable in mitigation due to the serious nature of his misconduct.
In mitigation, he took steps to atone for his actions when he refunded to one client all of the advanced attorney fees she had paid him before the State Bar became involved.
DENNIS VINCENT GREENE [#117833], 49, of Beverly Hills was suspended for four years, stayed, and placed on probation for four years, with 14 months actual suspension, effective Oct. 24, 1997.
As a condition of probation, he must make restitution of $11,000. He also was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955.
Greenes misconduct involved inadequate supervision of employees, which resulted in the misappropriation of client funds.
In 1990, Green opened a personal injury office in Artesia and employed an office manager who, in turn, hired staff who had worked with him previously.
Greene also opened other law offices in the state during this period.
Most of Greene's clients were non-English speaking and he generally did not conduct formal client-attorney interviews, relying on bilingual office personnel to obtain necessary information.
Because of the large-scale operation of his law office, Greene negotiated only the most difficult cases, with his office manager and at least two other employees negotiating the remainder. Greene conducted all depositions, arbitrations and trials.
From July 1991 to March 1992, the office manager and other employees forged Greenes and clients signatures on settlement checks and cashed them for their personal use.
In March 1992, Greene went to his law office in Artesia and discovered the office had been cleared of all files, banking records, client lists, computer equipment and software.
In addition, Greene learned that his office manager had withdrawn about $20,000 from his client trust account.
Greene contacted his victimized clients and hired a private investigator to track down the office manager. Although he did not contact local police, he reported the incident to the FBI and submitted reports of fraudulent check cashing to the banks.
In September 1993, an amended complaint for recovery of the funds which were obtained through forged endorsements was filed on behalf of himself and several clients.
Numerous complaints and related cross actions ensued, involving Greene, several banks, the check-cashing company and another attorney representing many of the clients. Litigation eventually ended without recovery for any of the clients, or a resolution on the merits.
In aggravation, Greenes misconduct involved multiple acts of wrongdoing. Greenes use of his own money to return settlement funds to his clients lessened the aggravating nature of the significant harm to the clients. Because of the serious nature of his misconduct, his prior discipline-free record was not applicable in mitigation.
In mitigation, Greene promptly took steps to rectify the consequences of his misconduct and will voluntarily pay $11,000 out of his own funds to partially compensate several of his clients for their losses.
JENNIFER H. ROBERTS [#147203], 34, of Norman, Okla., was suspended for 90 days, stayed, and placed on probation for 18 months, effective Oct. 24, 1997. She was ordered to pass the MPRE.
Roberts misconduct involved one client matter and included failure to communicate significant information to a client and improperly withdrawing from a case.
Roberts was employed by two clients to represent them in a civil litigation matter against a bank.
The case was actively litigated until she failed to file written oppositions to motions and a judgment not favorable to her clients was eventually awarded.
Roberts became ill, closed her law office and left California, but did not adequately communicate with her clients as to the outcome of the summary judgment hearing, including the award of costs and possibility of an appeal.
In mitigation, Roberts suffered extreme emotional and physical difficulties during the period of her misconduct. Nine months after delivering a baby, she suffered a severe case of Hepatitis A and was bedridden for about three months.
Roberts prior discipline-free record was not applicable in mitigation because she had only been admitted to practice for five years at the time of the misconduct.
JAMES STRATTON SHEPARD [#31097], 65, of Fresno was suspended for four years, stayed, and placed on probation for five years on the condition that he is actually suspended for one year and until he makes restitution, effective Oct. 24, 1997. If the period of actual suspension is two years or longer, he will remain suspended until he has provided proof of his rehabilitation. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
Shepards misconduct involved two client matters, failure to comply with conditions of a 1995 disciplinary order and practicing law while on disciplinary suspension.
In one of the client matters, Shepard was hired in 1992 for representation in a child support modification case. Shepard failed to make several court appearances on behalf of his client.
During the course of his representation, Shepard failed to apprise his client of all defenses available to him and did not seek recusal of the district attorney based upon an alleged conflict of interest.
The public defender later brought that motion on the clients behalf.
In addition, while the client admitted contempt and entered into a child support agreement while represented by Shepard, it became necessary for his new attorney to argue insufficient notice and ineffective assistance of counsel with regard to the agreement. The matter was not resolved until 1995.
When contacted by the State Bar regarding the allegations of misconduct, Shepard said he no longer had the clients file. He failed to respond to the bar investigators request that he provide a written response based on his review of the Fresno Superior Court file.
In aggravation, Shepard has a prior record of discipline. In 1995, he was ordered to make restitution and received a two-year stayed suspension with two years probation and a 30-day actual suspension. In addition, his misconduct involved multiple acts of wrongdoing, including his failure to comply with conditions of the 1995 disciplinary order.
BRIAN DONALD BEAUDOIN [#128925], 39, of San Diego was actually suspended for two years and until he makes restitution. He was ordered to attend the State Bar ethics school and the bars client trust account record-keeping course. In addition, he must pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order was effective Oct. 29, 1997.
Beaudoin was hired by a client to represent him in a civil action against a management company in 1990 and paid $250 in advanced attorneys fees. A few months later, the client paid Beaudoin another $150 in fees for representation in a real estate matter.
Shortly thereafter, an escrow company sent a $6,000 check to Beaudoin to be held for the client, pending resolution of the real estate case.
Beaudoin failed to deposit the check into his client trust account and did not return the client's numerous telephone calls.
Attempts to contact Beaudoin by the State Bar were unsuccessful, indicating that he had disappeared. State Bar investigators eventually discovered a Rhode Island address for him, but received no responses from delivered mail or telephone calls.
Beaudoins abandonment of the case left the client with no information about the status of his case.
His prior discipline-free record was given little weight in mitigation because the misconduct occurred less than four years after his admission to the bar.
Beaudoin's failure to participate in the disciplinary proceedings prior to entry of default was considered an aggravating circumstance.
GREGORY JAMES DORST [#113922], 42, of Arcadia was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for one year, with 30 days actual suspension, effective Oct. 29, 1997. He also was ordered to pass the MPRE.
In this decision, the bar court hearing judge found that Dorsts misconduct significantly harmed one client, a video business, when he failed to perform services competently, resulting in court sanctions and dismissal of two causes of action.
Also considered an aggravating factor was his failure to advise another client about a settlement in a civil dispute.
By failing to communicate with his clients about case status and significant developments, Dorst demonstrated indifference toward the consequences of his misconduct.
Prior to his entry of default, Dorsts failure to file a response to the notice of disciplinary charges in one case and his failure to participate in the proceedings in another case were considered factors in aggravation.
Dorsts lack of a prior disciplinary record in seven years of practice when his misconduct began was not given significant weight in mitigation.
The bars trial counsel recommended a 90-day actual suspension with a two-year stayed suspension and a three-year probation, but the hearing judge found it excessive.
The judge considered a 30-day actual suspension adequate, followed by remedial education and continuing probationary controls.
However, the judge wrote, the court is troubled by [Dorsts] default in this matter and his contumacious attitude toward the discipline system.
JAMES MICHAEL SCHAEFER [#35705], 59, of Las Vegas was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for two years, with a 30-day actual suspension, effective Oct. 31, 1997. He was ordered to pass the MPRE and comply with rule 955.
In this opinion on review, Schaefer was found culpable of violating conditions attached to a 1993 public reproval.
Schaefer was publicly reproved in 1993, after he stipulated that his conviction of battery and injury to his spouse was a basis for discipline.
He also admitted: that he wilfully failed to maintain the respect due the courts by disobeying a federal court order; that he engaged in an act of offensive personality toward another lawyer in litigation; and that he failed to safeguard a clients documents after his representation of the client had ended.
Conditions of his public reproval included filing quarterly reports with the State Bar and providing proof of psychiatric or psychological treatments. He failed to timely comply with those conditions.
Schaefer sought review of the bar courts decision, but the bar court review department upheld the original finding.
As grounds for review, Schaefer said he was not provided effective assistance of counsel, his violations were not wilful, the bar had a duty to provide the State Bar employee-witness he requested and that his discipline should be reduced to a private reproval.
The review judge disagreed with Schaefers points and said that among other things, Schaefers claim of excessive discipline was without merit, especially in view of the fact that he initially agreed he could be suspended for six months if he failed to comply with conditions of the 1993 public reproval.
The probation of SCOTT N. HANSEN [#61414], 48, of Sonoma was revoked and the previously ordered stay of suspension lifted, effective Nov. 1, 1997. Hansen was actually suspended for one year with credit given for 90 days of actual suspension served prior to the probation violation. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
Hansen failed to abide by the conditions of a September 1996 discipline order. At that time, he received a one-year stayed suspension, two years of probation and a 90-day actual suspension for misconduct involving two client matters.
His misconduct included reckless failure to perform legal services, promptly respond to a client's reasonable case status inquiries, communicate with a client, cooperate with the bars investigation and improper withdrawal from a case.
He failed to file a required report certifying that he had not practiced law during the period of his actual suspension.
JAMES LESTER PRICE [#87275], 53, of San Bernardino was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on three years of probation with a nine-month actual suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation. He was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. He will receive credit for the interim suspension which began July 15, 1996. The order took effect Nov. 1, 1997.
In an unprecedented finding, the State Bar Court determined that the facts and circumstances surrounding Prices conviction for driving under the influence with four priors constituted acts of moral turpitude and therefore recommended a more severe level of discipline than in non-moral turpitude DUI matters.
In December 1995, Price was arrested for the fifth time in 16 years for driving under the influence. He ran a red light and hit another car, seriously injuring a passenger who was hospitalized for 15 days with a major brain trauma, fractured collarbone and multiple lacerations. The victim missed four months of work and suffers ongoing physical and financial problems.
Price pleaded guilty to felony drunk driving with priors, was sentenced to 240 days in jail and placed on four years of probation.
Price now attends AA meetings and enrolled in an outpatient program at the Betty Ford clinic. In mitigation, he presented 10 character witnesses, who attested to his excellent legal work and maintained that his rehabilitation is solid.
ABRAHAM A. FLORES JR. [#95365], 43, of San Francisco was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect Nov. 8, 1997.
Flores stipulated that he failed to properly handle a personal injury case on behalf of his client against a public high school. He did not file a required tort claim within six months. He filed a lawsuit against the school district in the municipal court, but the case was dismissed after the defendants demurrers were sustained without opposition by Flores. He did not inform his clients that the case was dismissed until eight months later.
After the client filed a small claims action against Flores, he paid his client $3,500 as settlement.
In aggravation, Flores was privately reproved in 1992 and he failed to cooperate with the bars investigation of the latest matter.
CLARK H. SUMMERS JR. [#69454], 57, of Santa Rosa was suspended for six months, stayed, and placed on two years of probation. The order took effect Nov. 8, 1997.
Summers was publicly reproved in 1995. He stipulated that he failed to comply with the condition of his reproval requiring him to take and pass the professional responsibility exam within one year. He did, however, pass the exam two months later.
ROBERT JAY BARTH [#75776], 54, of Beverly Hills was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on one year of probation, to run consecutive to and subject to the conditions of an earlier probation. The order took effect Nov. 9, 1997.
Barth stipulated that he did not file three quarterly probation reports, conditions of a 1994 disciplinary probation.
Barth was suspended in a separate matter in March, charged with five counts of misconduct in two matters. He has four other prior records of discipline, including two in which he abandoned clients and two which were probation violation matters.
In mitigation, he did not harm any clients. He also has suffered from extreme depression and has experienced serious family problems.
BARRY OTTO BERNSTEIN [#43230], 57, of Los Angeles was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on 18 months of probation, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 9, 1997.
Bernstein stipulated that he did not return unearned legal fees in five criminal cases he handled.
In mitigation, he had purchased a large statewide law practice which, unknown to him, was deeply in debt with hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax liabilities. After major reductions in the caseload, the business was destroyed in the Northridge earthquake. Bernstein ultimately repaid all clients.
JOHN M. BLACKBURN [#87393], 60, of Brighton, Colo., was suspended for 90 days, stayed, and placed on one year of probation with an actual 30-day suspension. The order took effect Nov. 9, 1997.
As part of an August 1996 discipline, Blackburn was ordered to comply with rule 955. Although he submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court stating he had complied with the requirements, the submission was late.
He had stipulated to three separate acts of dishonesty and two acts of violating the California Rules of Professional Conduct.
In mitigation, Blackburn's actions did not harm any clients, and he has cooperated with the bars investigation.
DWIGHT G. HICKS [#52468], 69, of Whittier was suspended for 120 days, stayed, and placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension, to run concurrently with another suspension. The order took effect Nov. 9, 1997.
Hicks stipulated that he practiced law while suspended in 1994 for non-payment of bar dues.
Hicks probation in another matter was revoked in September when he did not comply with its conditions. That discipline was the result of his failure to perform legal services competently and maintain client funds in trust.
In mitigation, prior to 1995, Hicks had practiced for 23 years without any discipline.
BARBARA J. WEISER [#138955], 48, of San Diego was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a requirement that she make restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 9, 1997.
Weiser stipulated to three counts of misconduct, including failing to pay court-ordered sanctions, perform legal services competently, or inform a client of significant developments.
One matter was dismissed because Weiser did not file the complaint before the statute of limitations ran.
In mitigation, Weiser cooperated with the bar's investigation.
R. LEE MILLER [#97741], 48, of Hollywood was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on three years of probation. The order took effect Nov. 15, 1997.
Miller is one of eight attorneys who purchased Centro de Proteccion Legal Inc. and hired previous owner Tito Alvarez to produce and place advertising for the referral service. Centro is a southern California lawyer referral service whose advertising violated Business & Professions Code standards.
According to a stipulation Miller reached with the bar, the television ads did not initially disclose Alvarez title as spokesman or the impersonations of clients by actors. Print and bus advertisements did not identify individual attorneys or provide Alvarez title.
Miller also was disciplined in 1995, but did not file probation reports or comply with an MCLE requirement on time. In that matter, he did not promptly reply to a medical lienholders inquiries or pay the lien and he allowed the balance in his client trust account to dip below the required amount.
Miller also was publicly reproved in 1993.
In mitigation, he consulted with counsel prior to entering into the advertising agreement, and no clients complained or alleged they were misled by the advertising.
GARY KEITH RAVET [#89849], 43, of La Jolla was suspended for nine months, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a requirement that he make restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 15, 1997.
Ravet stipulated that in one matter, he failed to perform legal services competently and conveyed incorrect information to a court. He also did not notify the bar about sanctions amounting to $2,500, nor did he pay the sanctions.
In a second matter, Ravet was sanctioned $6,500 when sued for discovery abuse. He did not pay the sanctions.
In mitigation, he has no discipline record since his 1979 admission to the bar.
DAVID B. MURRAY [#85478], 47, of San Diego was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual one-year suspension and until he makes restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 16, 1997.
Murray was retained to act as defense counsel in an insurance matter which was referred to arbitration. After the arbitrator awarded $60,000 to the plaintiff, Murrays associate notified opposing counsel he planned to file a motion for a trial.
The motion was not filed within the required 30 days and was rejected.
However, Murray later filed a motion to set aside the arbitrators judgment and filed a false declaration, purportedly prepared and signed by his associate, that the earlier request for trial had been filed on time.
In fact, the associate did not prepare the declaration and his signature was forged.
When the court denied Murrays motion, it issued sanctions against him totalling $3,500 for frivolous and fraudulent acts in bad faith to delay judgment. The court also ordered him to pay $1,000 to Los Angeles County for a fraudulent filing.
Murray never paid the sanctions or reported them to the State Bar.
He also did not maintain a current address with the bar and did not cooperate with its investigation.
In mitigation, he practiced for 16 years without any discipline.
KEVIN REID RICHARDS [#108590], 43, of Templeton was suspended for two years, stayed, and placed on two years of probation with an actual suspension that will last until he passes the MPRE and attends ethics school. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation; if it exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 16, 1997.
Richards was privately reproved in 1995 with conditions including a requirement that he take the professional responsibility exam within a year and attend ethics school.
He did neither, reporting instead a series of family crises. Although he was told how to seek a time extension, he did not do so.
Richards was privately reproved for failing to communicate with two clients or perform legal services competently.
INDERJEET SINGH AULAKH [#47411], 65, of Visalia was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 45-day suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
The State Bar Court's review department upheld a hearing judges findings that Aulakh failed to perform legal services, return unearned fees and render an accounting, and that he improperly withdrew from employment.
He had represented a couple convicted of a misdemeanor but did not file an appeal on time. His client, who was free on bail, was jailed for 10 days before hiring a new attorney.
Although he did not dispute those findings, Aulakh sought a dismissal of the matter, based on five issues. He argued, among other things, that the bar could not discipline him because his clients signed a release of all claims against him, and because 28 months elapsed between the time the clients complained and the bar's filing of charges. The review department rejected his arguments.
It also rejected bar attorneys request that Aulakh be required to make restitution to his clients before being reinstated.
In mitigation, Aulakh practiced for 20 years without any discipline.
WAYNE B. ALLBIN [#65024], 56, of Alameda was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and until he makes restitution, and was ordered to pass the MPRE. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
In a default matter, the bar court found that Allbin failed to perform legal services or return a client's unearned fee, and that he did not cooperate with the bars investigation.
Allbin was hired to represent a woman who was convicted in a traffic case and fined $225. She paid him $250 to handle the appeal.
When Allbin did not file the notice of appeal on time, the matter was dismissed and his client paid the fine. He never returned her fee.
LORI A. DONAHUE [#125979], 36, of Anaheim was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual one-year suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
Donahue represented the owner of a shopping center in three separate real estate matters. She did not do any of the work she claimed she had done: file a complaint, do discovery work, and begin settlement discussions.
However, the client was billed for more than $4,300.
Her law firm eventually reimbursed the client for the amount billed and paid an $80,000 settlement for Donahue's negligence.
In a default hearing, the bar court found that Donahue failed to provide legal services competently and that her actions constituted moral turpitude.
J. TERENCE LYONS [#51036], 51, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual six-month suspension, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
In a 1995 discipline order which originally resulted from violating the probation requirements of a 1994 private reproval, Lyons was ordered to attend ethics school, submit a law office plan and file quarterly probation reports. His failure to do so led to the current discipline.
The private reproval resulted from Lyons misconduct in two matters, including failure to perform legal services, respond to a clients status inquiries, return unearned fees, turn over client files to a new attorney, and cooperate with the bars investigation. He also withdrew from a case improperly.
JAN STANLEY MASON [#44566], 60, of Pasadena was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on probation for three years with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
Mason practiced law while suspended for a period of 75 days in 1993, an act which constituted moral turpitude. He stipulated that he made a court appearance in superior court in a domestic relations matter. He further admitted that he filed a continuance motion and a trial brief. He did not inform the court or opposing counsel of his suspension.
On review at the request of the bars prosecutor, the bar courts review department increased the hearing judges recommended actual suspension from 30 to 90 days. Bar prosecutors had sought six months.
The review department disagreed with the hearing judges findings in mitigation that the misconduct did not harm the client and Mason's eventual admission to the superior court that he had been suspended at the time of his court appearance. The review department said Mason harmed the courts administration of justice, and that his admission of wrongdoing four months after the fact may have been the result of his fear that opposing counsel would report his wrongdoing to the court.
The review judge agreed with the hearing judge that Masons pro bono work is a mitigating factor.
DUNCAN T. MORAN [#157560], 32, of Marina Del Rey was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and until he makes restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
Moran stipulated to misconduct in six client matters, most of them personal injury cases he accepted on a contingency fee basis. He failed to perform legal services, communicate with clients, promptly pay settlement funds, or pay a medical provider, and he withdrew from representation improperly several times.
In mitigation, Moran is an alcoholic and suffers from depression. He voluntarily stopped practicing in 1996, and in every case in which he failed to competently represent a client, he tried to ensure that the client was not harmed.
MARY FRANCES RICHARDSON [#112961], 51, of Claremont was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 45-day suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Richardson practiced law while suspended, and failed to communicate with clients, keep her address current with the bar or cooperate with the bars investigation.
While suspended in 1994 for not paying her bar dues, Richardson represented a client in an appeal by preparing, signing and filing documents. She also corresponded with her client using stationary with her law office letterhead. She failed to inform her client of her suspension.
In mitigation, Richardson practiced for 13 years without any discipline.
BENJAMIN NEWTON WYATT JR. [#33214], 43, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 19, 1997.
In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Wyatt did not comply with the conditions of a private reproval issued in 1995 by failing to submit three probation reports on time.
The underlying disciplinary reproval arose from his conviction in Los Angeles municipal court of various health code violations involving failure to maintain a dwelling.
Wyatt has been disciplined previously three times, but the misconduct occurred long ago and was given little weight in aggravation.
BABATUNDE ADEYEMI OLADAPO [#94220], 49, of Anaheim Hills was placed on interim suspension Nov. 5, 1997, following his conviction last July in Orange County Superior Court for one count of the unauthorized practice of law. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
JEAN MICHAEL IRIGOYEN [#177626], 35, of Fresno was placed on interim suspension Nov. 18, 1997, following his conviction on one count of petty theft. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.
NICOLE A. GARZA [#150967], 34, of Chowchilla (Sept. 3, 1997)
JULIETTE Z. ALLEN [#105285], 52, of Tustin (Oct. 11, 1997)
WILLIAM F. BRIODY [#50193], 73, of Willow Creek (Oct. 11, 1997)
MILTON D. ROSENBERG [#25947], 67, of Los Gatos (Oct. 11, 1997)
JAN BIGGS [#60585], 49, of Fresno (Oct. 24, 1997)
DAN ALAN CRADDOCK [#166115], 48, of San Jose (Oct. 29, 1997)
JOHN ALLEN HAM [#86030], 50, of Reno, Nev. (Oct. 29, 1997)
DENISE M. LYNCH [#97355], 43, of Manhattan Beach (Oct. 29, 1997)
MELVYRN STEIN [#58947], 64, of San Antonio, Texas (Oct. 29, 1997)
JOSE CHAVEZ, JR. [#91635], 43, of Los Angeles (Nov. 1, 1997)
JEFFREY PORTNOY [#96869], 43, of Los Angeles (Nov. 1, 1997)
RONALD WAYNE SAMPSON [#67398], 59, of Los Angeles (Nov. 15, 1997)
NATHAN DAVID SINGER [#117340], 49, of Los Angeles (Nov. 15, 1997)
ROBERT HOWARD SWENSEN [#123865], 49, of Tustin (Nov. 15, 1997)
JAN LIVINGSTON WARNSHUIS [#54759], 64, of McCall, Idaho (Oct. 5, 1997)
JUSTIN R. DAHLZ [#139783], 61, of South San Francisco (Oct. 8, 1997)
DEAN RUSSELL HYATT [#53797], 52, of Ontario (Oct. 8, 1997)
DEBORAH G. LEVINSON [#123773], 38, of Woodland Hills (Oct. 20, 1997)
BRETT L. FRANCISCO [#141745], 48, of Valencia (Nov. 8, 1997)
SCOTT NORDBY HANSEN [#61414], 48, of Sonoma (Nov. 9, 1997)
JAMES M. MAHER [#126872], 42, of Agana, Guam (July 24, 1997)
KEITH McCULLOUGH [#142519], 35, of Costa Mesa (Aug. 2, 1997)
PANOS LAGOS [#61821], 49, of Oakland (Aug. 22, 1997)
Temporary Stay of Suspension
JOSEPH M. ALIOTO [#42680], 54, of San Francisco (Oct. 20, 1997)
Involuntary Inactive Enrollment
BRIAN W. VARNER [#143061], 45, of Sacramento (Aug. 1, 1997)