LEO JOSEPH MORIARTY JR. [#140093], 46, of
Irvine was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation
with a 30-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The
order took effect Feb. 12, 2000.
Moriarty stipulated to misconduct in two matters.
In the first, he falsely told a court several times that a criminal
defendant was represented by another attorney and that he was making special appearances
for that attorney. He stipulated that he misled the court and by doing so committed an act
of moral turpitude.
In the second matter, Moriarty stipulated that he improperly withdrew
from employment by failing to communicate with his client and allowing her case to be
In that case, he filed a product liability complaint over a car fire.
The automobile did not remain in his clients possession, so Moriarty determined
there was no viable cause of action since the car was not available for inspection.
Moriarty did not appear at two hearings, the case was dismissed with
prejudice, and he took no steps to set aside the dismissal.
Although Moriarty says he told his client the case would be dismissed
if it could not be settled, his client claims Moriarty never communicated any intention to
allow a dismissal. He also stated that his failure to appear and the resulting dismissal
were intentional, since a case could not be made at trial.
Moriarty does admit he never spoke to the client after the matter was
MARTIN H. RUB [#62586], 50, of Encino was suspended
for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a requirement that he make
restitution and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Feb.
Rub stipulated to misconduct involving settlement funds he received
for five clients. Although he prepared breakdown sheets and contends he forwarded them,
with releases for the clients signatures, the clients never received the documents.
The funds were not disbursed for five months.
The doctor who treated the clients never was paid, although Rub wrote
two checks for him.
Rub stipulated that he failed to communicate with clients, promptly
notify them of his receipt of settlement funds, pay out funds as requested by the clients,
or perform competently to insure that medical liens were paid, and he did not properly
maintain his client trust account.
In mitigation, he paid his clients attorney fees when they
hired new counsel and he has no record of prior discipline.
DAVID ALLEN TALLEY [#148057], 40, of Suisun was
suspended for six months, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 60-day actual
suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Feb.
Talley stipulated to four instances of misconduct.
He was hired in 1994 to prepare a living trust for a client. He was
suspended in 1996 for non-payment of dues. Just prior to the suspension, the client asked
him to revise her trust.
Over the next eight months, the client called Talley once a month; he
never returned the phone calls or made the changes to the trust. He never told the client
of his suspension or made arrangements for other counsel to represent her.
Talley stipulated that he failed to perform legal services
competently, keep his client informed of significant developments in her matter, or
promptly respond to her status inquiries.
He also represented another client in an immigration matter while he
In another case, Talley agreed to prepare a living trust for another
client, but when the client tried to contact him several years later, he did not return
phone calls. The client fired him and asked that his files be returned. The file was not
returned for 13 months.
Talley stipulated that he failed to respond to the clients
inquiries or promptly return his files when requested.
In mitigation, Talley practiced for nine years without any
discipline, he cooperated with the bars investigation, and took steps to make amends
with his clients.
ROBERT H. BARNHILL [#46513], 67, of Calabasas was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day
suspension and until he proves rehabilitation, and was ordered to take the MPRE. The order
took effect Feb. 17, 2000.
Barnhill stipulated to misconduct in two matters. In the first, he
represented a client in two personal injury matters. He filed a claim in the first, but
failed to pursue it after learning the defendant was not insured. He then told the client
that he had filed a demand for arbitration when he had not.
He never filed a complaint in the second personal injury case.
Barnhill accepted a workers compensation case, an area with
which he was unfamiliar, because he had represented the client in other matters. He then
failed to do any work on the case.
For almost two years, the client, his son and daughter contacted
Barnhill repeatedly. On each occasion, Barnhill informed them he was working on the case
and that it was proceeding in court.
Barnhill stipulated that he failed to perform the legal services for
which he was employed in both cases and committed acts of moral turpitude by
misrepresenting the facts to his clients.
Barnhill was publicly reproved in 1989, and in 1992 was disciplined
for failing to perform legal services competently, keep a client informed about his case
or promptly deliver client funds, improperly withdrawing from a case, and for committing
acts of moral turpitude.
JOAN BAUMGARTEN [#108909],49, of North Palm Springs
was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to
take the MPRE and prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 17, 2000.
Baumgarten stipulated to five counts of misconduct.
Publicly reproved in 1997, Baumgarten did not comply with the
conditions attached to the reproval. She failed to submit quarterly probation reports,
mental health reports and a law office reorganization plan, and she did not attend ethics
school or take the professional responsibility exam.
In an insurance matter, Baumgarten did not file an answer on her
clients behalf and did not seek to set aside the resulting entry of default, despite
repeated assurances that she would do so.
She stipulated that she failed to perform legal services competently,
respond to her clients reasonable status inquiries, and refund unearned fees. She
also did not cooperate with the bars investigation.
Baumgarten was publicly reproved in 1997 for failing to act
competently, promptly return client papers, respond to a clients status inquiries or
cooperate with the bars investigation.
In mitigation, Baumgarten suffered from chronic serious health
problems, requiring several surgeries. She could not drive, was housebound and bedridden
for a time, and she incurred thousands of dollars in uninsured medical and hospital bills.
In addition, her mother died after a three-week hospitalization, exacerbating Baumgartens
physical and mental stress.
STEVEN R. FINCH [#80033], 51, of Hollywood was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual
one-year suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply
with rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 17, 2000.
Finch stipulated to two counts of making false representations to the
court and committing acts of moral turpitude.
Finch was cited by the California Highway Patrol in 1997 for driving
a car without a license plate and with tinted left and right front windows. In order to
have such a citation cleared, the corrections must be made and the car inspected by a law
Finch appeared in court, said the citation had been signed off, and
although he did not produce documentation, the court dismissed the counts. Finch had not
made the necessary changes to the car. When he was cited again several months later, he
admitted he had not made the required changes and was given two $180 fines for the
infractions. The fines were suspended since Finch provided proof of compliance.
In another matter, Finch represented a defendant who was charged with
contempt for disobeying a court order. He twice told the district attorney the victim in
the case wished to drop a temporary restraining order against Finchs client. Based
on those representations, the court dismissed the case against Finchs client.
In fact, Finch never talked to the victim, who did not wish to drop
the restraining order.
Finch was suspended for five years, beginning in 1987, as a result of
a conviction for possession of goods stolen from interstate shipment.
KATHY LYNN HOLDER [#153045], 43, of San Bernardino
was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual
three-year suspension and until she proves her rehabilitation and makes restitution, and
was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Feb. 17,
In a personal injury matter, Holder wrote a check to her clients
chiropractor which was incorrectly returned by the bank for insufficient funds. Although
the bank rectified its mistake, Holder never paid the medical lien. She stipulated to
failure to maintain funds in a client trust account, promptly deliver client funds or
cooperate with the bars investigation.
As part of a 1997 discipline order, Holder was required to comply
with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court by notifying all her clients and other
pertinent parties that she was suspended from practice and submitting an affidavit to that
effect to the Supreme Court. She submitted her affidavit after the deadline and stipulated
to failing to comply with a court order.
In addition, Holder did not comply with other conditions of that
probation or the conditions attached to a 1996 probation by the required deadlines.
In mitigation, she expressed remorse and said she attempted to make
restitution to the chiropractor, but he moved to another state. She submitted a lengthy
declaration about personal problems, including the death of her secretary, her
guardianship of her boyfriends three children after his death, eviction from her
office and bankruptcy.
JOHN WALLACE LARSON [#30700], 72, of Walnut Creek
was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a nine-month
actual suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE. Credit
toward the actual suspension will be given for a period of interim suspension which began
April 2, 1999. The order took effect Feb. 17, 2000.
Larson pleaded guilty to grand theft in 1999, based on retaining
funds due to 21 different clients over a three-and-a-half year period. He had negotiated
medical lien discounts and kept the difference rather than refunding it to his clients.
The aggregate amount of the loss to the clients was $8,600; Larson
made restitution in amounts satisfactory to the court.
In mitigation, Larson cooperated with law enforcement and with the
bars investigation and he has no prior record of discipline.
BRUCE JAY FRIEDMAN [#57053], 51, of San Anselmo was
suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on three years of probation. The order took
effect Feb. 18, 2000.
The State Bar Courts review department increased the discipline
which had been recommended by a hearing judge, particularly because an additional
discipline was recommended in the interim.
Friedmans problems began with a private reproval, imposed after
he practiced law in Wyoming without a license. The review department characterized his
misconduct as minor.
When he did not comply with the conditions attached to the reproval,
he was again reproved, with additional conditions. That led to a third set of disciplinary
charges, to which Friedman stipulated before the bar court. It recommended a six-month
stayed suspension and two years of probation.
In a fourth proceeding in which Friedmans default was entered,
he failed to perform legal services, return a clients business records, respond to a
clients requests for information, or refund unearned attorneys fees, and he
improperly withdrew from employment.
Bar prosecutors petitioned the review department to increase the
recommended discipline, arguing that the hearing judge did not consider aggravation
including multiple acts of misconduct, indifference toward rectification and a failure to
cooperate in the last disciplinary matter.
The review department said it was extremely troubled by
Friedmans repeated failure to comply with the simplest of reproval conditions,
and concluded that an actual suspension was necessary to impress on him the seriousness of
MARTIN K. HARARY [#49911], 55, of Oxnard 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. Credit was given for a period
of interim suspension which began March 31, 1998. The order took effect Feb. 18, 2000.
In 1998, Harary pleaded no contest to two counts of unlawfully paying
client referral fees, a violation of the Insurance Code. In a sting operation in Ventura
County, he accepted two personal injury cases referred by a fictitious medical marketing
Although he declined the deal when it was first offered, Harary then
suggested a way to circumvent rules governing fee-sharing.
In mitigation, he has no record of prior discipline and cooperated
with the bars investigation, and no client was harmed by the misconduct.
KEITH GERARD LIGGINS [#124055], 43, of Los Angeles
was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual
suspension of one year and until he makes restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE
and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his
rehabilitation. The order took effect Feb. 18, 2000.
Liggins stipulated that he failed to comply with probation conditions
attached to a 1997 discipline. Among other things, he failed to submit to the State Bars
probation office proof that he made restitution, attended ethics school, completed three
hours of MCLE instruction in law office management, joined the bars law practice
management section or returned client files.
The original misconduct included seven counts of failing to perform
legal services competently, five counts of failing to return client papers, two counts of
failing to refund unearned fees, nine counts of failing to respond to client inquiries and
three counts of violating a court order.
HAROLD SAMUEL WROBEL [#120783], 40, of Pacific Palisades
was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to
take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Feb. 18, 2000.
In 1997, Wrobel was convicted of conspiracy to violate currency
reporting requirements. He was acquitted of charges of conspiracy to launder drug
trafficking proceeds and money laundering.
Wrobel was arrested with another California lawyer and a Las Vegas
casino collections manager for their roles in exchanging large amounts of currency,
supposedly derived from drug sales, for money orders. The scheme was actually a Drug
Enforcement Agency sting operation, with the DEA supplying the money.
The other lawyer gave Wrobel two payments of $100,000 in currency
which he exchanged for cashiers checks. Wrobel then structured deposits of the cash into
his accounts to avoid the $10,000 statutory reporting requirement and was paid $3,000 for
conducting the transactions.
He was arrested during a third, similar transaction.
NORMAN A. LEWIN [#123734], 40, of Glendale was
suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the
MPRE within a year. The order took effect Feb. 17, 2000.
Lewin stipulated that he failed to maintain his client trust account,
misappropriated client funds, wrote checks against insufficient funds and commingled
personal and client funds.
He allowed the balance in the trust account to fall below the
required amount numerous times, wrote several checks against insufficient funds, and used
the account to pay personal expenses.
In mitigation, he has no record of discipline, has hired an
accountant to monitor his trust account and cooperated with the bars investigation.
DAVID GREGORY ROTH [#123893], 44, of Portola Valley
was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day
suspension and was ordered to make restitution and take the MPRE within one year. The
order took effect Feb. 25, 2000.
Roth stipulated to misconduct in his handling of two criminal
In the first, he twice failed to appear in court with his client, and
he did not meet with the client or keep him informed about the status of his case. Roth
was removed as attorney of record at his clients request.
In the second matter, he nodded off and fell asleep three times
during a criminal jury trial. A mistrial was declared upon a motion by his clients
co-defendants. Roth underwent a drug test, and although it was negative, the bailiff
noticed several needle marks on his arm.
In mitigation, Roth cooperated with the bars investigation and
sought help for his substance abuse problems.
ALAN G. KAROW [#131353], 39, of Santa Barbara was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 60-day actual
suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation, and he was ordered to take the MPRE
within one year. The order took effect March 5, 2000.
Karow stipulated that he failed to comply with conditions attached to
a 1997 probation: he failed to submit five quarterly probation reports or proof of
attendance at a substance abuse program, and failed to attend ethics school, take the MPRE
or maintain a current address with the bar.
In mitigation, he currently is enrolled in a substance abuse program.
The original discipline was imposed for failure to perform legal
services competently or promptly return client files and for withdrawing from a case
without protecting his clients interests.
DIANE HELENE NADLER [#116798], 46, of San Jose was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to
take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect March 5, 2000.
In two separate cases, Nadler stipulated that she did not deposit
client funds in a trust account.
In the first matter, she deposited a $25,000 settlement draft in her
general account. She also maintained between $4,000-8,000 of her own money in her trust
In a second case in which she represented a client in an action for
child support, Nadler deposited support payments for the client in her general account and
then issued checks to the client from that account.
In mitigation, Nadler has no record of discipline and her clients
were not deprived of any funds as a result of her actions.
MICHAEL BRUCE BAKER [#53099], 53, of Thousand Oaks
was suspended for five years, stayed, and was placed on six years of probation with an
actual three-year suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation. He was ordered to
take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. Credit toward the actual suspension will be given
for a period of interim suspension which began Nov. 8, 1996. The order took effect March
According to a stipulation Baker reached with the bar, he was
convicted for the fourth time of indecent exposure in 1996. He served 15 months in jail.
His history of exhibitionism is the result of a medical condition for
which he has undergone therapy. He has agreed to return to therapy as a result of the
Baker was privately reproved twice for previous convictions.
In mitigation, his conduct did not involve clients.
BRENT OMALLEY BARNES [#68656], 62, of San Diego
was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 45-day actual
suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect March
Barnes stipulated that due to his misuse of his client trust account
and poor record-keeping, the balance in the account fell below the required amount on nine
dates. In addition, he deposited non-client funds belonging to a friend and employee in
the trust account and he commingled personal funds
in the account as well.
Barnes was publicly reproved in 1990.
In mitigation, he cooperated with the bars investigation.
PATRIZIA JANE BOEN [#112399], 52, of Mission Viejo
was suspended for two years, stayed, and was placed on three years of probation with an
actual 60-day suspension. The order took effect March 17, 2000.
Boen stipulated to misconduct in two cases.
In the first, she represented a client who had been severely injured
and hospitalized. His son hired Boen to handle a personal injury matter and to establish a
conservatorship, paying a $1,000 fee.
When the son expressed concern two months later that he had heard
nothing from Boen, she assured him she was handling the matter and she did contact some of
the fathers creditors.
However, she did not petition the court for the conservatorship and
decided the personal injury action could not be pursued. She did not advise the cli-ents
son about her decisions.
The son fired Boen and sought a refund of the advanced fee, which she
did not return.
The son then filed a small claims action against Boen, who eventually
was ordered to refund $1,200 plus $77 in costs.
She stipulated that she failed to properly withdraw from employment
and protect her clients interests, and failed to respond to a clients
inquiries or promptly return an advanced fee.
In the second matter, Boen was publicly reproved with conditions in
1995. She did not file nine quarterly probation reports or complete six hours of MCLE
In mitigation, Boen suffered health problems and had to care for her
terminally ill mother for more than a year. She presently does not practice.
RAYMOND ORTIZ BUENDIA [#94975], 47, of San Diego was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day
suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect March 17,
2000, but the actual suspension began April 2.
Buendia stipulated that he failed to perform legal services
competently in three immigration matters. In the first, he filed a single asylum
application for a family of four. When informed individual applications were required for
each family member, he re-submitted the applications, which were denied because they were
incomplete. He never completed the filing.
Buendia then represented two sons in the family separately before the
INS. As a result of his actions, one son was deported and the case of the other son, who
faced a deportation proceeding, was considered abandoned. In those matters, Buendia failed
to file court papers or explain his failure to file papers in a timely fashion, paid an
incorrect filing fee, and entered an incorrect alien registration number on the motion.
Buendia also stipulated that he failed to properly manage his client
trust account, letting the balance fall to a negative amount and writing two checks
against insufficient funds.
Buendia was publicly reproved in 1990 as a result of false
advertising, and was disciplined in 1993 for failing to comply with the conditions of the
reproval, mishandling his client trust account and failing to perform legal services
competently or communicate with clients.
In mitigation, he cooperated with the bars investigation.
JACK SAMUEL FELTSCHER, aka JACOB SAMUEL FELTSCHER [#91973],
48, of Escondido was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of
probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within a year.
The order took effect March 17, 2000.
Feltscher practiced law and held himself out as entitled to practice
while he was suspended in 1995 for non-payment of bar dues.
He has no record of discipline since his 1980 admission to the bar.
GERALDINE D. GREEN [#50282], 67, of Los Angeles was
suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual
two-year suspension and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect March
Green petitioned for review of a hearing judges findings of
misconduct and sought a reduction of the recommended discipline, arguing that the State
Bar failed to prove she committed any violations. The review department upheld the hearing
judges findings on most charges, and reduced the actual suspension from 30 months to
24 after finding serious aggravation, which compels significant actual suspension.
Green, who is a former California Commissioner of Corporations,
represented a client in the wrongful death of
his wife and unborn child in a car accident. The case was dismissed, following mediation,
by attorneys for the plaintiff, who signed a release as to the drivers and owners of two
automobiles involved in the accident and their insurance carriers.
Green then filed a products liability action in superior court
against Nissan. When Nissan demurred, she filed no opposition and the demurrer was
sustained without leave to amend. Several months later, Green tried to vacate the courts
order, blaming her staff for not scheduling a response or an appearance.
The review department agreed with the hearing judge that Green did
not respond to the demurrer because she concluded she could not overcome it. It did not
find, however, that her conduct was reckless.
Although not charged, the review department found that Green
misrepresented to the superior court her reasons for neither opposing the demurrer or
appearing in court for the hearing. It also agreed that Green did not keep her client
notified about developments in the case.
In a second matter, Green represented a psychologist in litigation
involving breaches of a lease. The review judges found she failed to attend two status
conferences and tried to obscure that failure by billing the client for attending one
conference and for mileage. She had her client sign blank forms, and did not show the
client proposed responses to interrogatories before filing them.
She did not inform her client about developments in her case.
Green was privately reproved in 1993 for writing two bad checks on
her trust account. When she failed to comply with the conditions of the reproval, she was
disciplined in 1995. That discipline also included her acknowledgment of failing to
perform legal services competently or to keep clients advised of developments in their
In mitigation, Green has a history of involvement in social and civic
affairs, including serving as president of the Beverly Hills NAACP and accepting pro bono
referrals from two Los Angeles congresswomen.
CONNIE SUE KRAMER [#100973], 52, of Long Beach was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual six-month
suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The
order took effect March 17, 2000.
Kramer stipulated that she failed to perform legal services
competently by not supervising an employees work in 12 different matters, by not
finalizing a divorce and by failing to confirm a settlement and appear at trial. She also
did not appear at a hearing when no settlement had been reached and did not file a
cross-complaint as promised.
Kramer formed a business relationship with a paralegal in 1995,
opening a bank account to which he was a co-signatory. By March 1996, the paralegal was
paying Kramers business bills, making deposits for her and maintaining her client
files. Kramer, who had closed her law office but maintained a post office box and handled
some work out of the paralegals office, was
neither regularly checking on the status of her cases nor picking up her mail.
In the 12 client matters in which she was charged, the paralegal
variously entered into settlement negotiations, signed Kramers name on legal
documents without her knowledge, did not tell Kramer she had been hired by clients, failed
to return advance fees, made misrepresentations to clients and opposing lawyers and
deposited client funds into his personal account.
Several clients were harmed: a judgment was ordered against a couple,
a mothers visitation rights were negatively affected and a writ of attachment was
issued against another client.
Kramer was disciplined with a public reproval in 1996, but did not
comply with probation conditions she did not attend ethics school or take the
professional responsibility exam.
She also stipulated to writing a check against insufficient funds in
her client trust account.
In mitigation, Kramer was suffering from depression, lost her home to
foreclosure, has taken steps to compensate the injured clients and cooperated with the bars