STEVEN HAROLD GROSS [#100833], 56, of Agoura
Hills was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on one year of probation, and
was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 17, 1999.
Gross was convicted in 1998 of conspiracy and capping as a result of
a sting operation in Ventura County. Both felonies were reduced at sentencing to
He was approached on one occasion by the operator of a chiropractic
office and an undercover officer posing as the owner of a medical referral business. The
chiropractic business planned to pay the phony referral office for workers comp and
personal injury referrals.
Gross advised that he would pay referral fees, handle any clients
sent to him, and suggested a way to avoid a direct connection between him and the referral
Two undercover agents posing as personal injury clients met with
Gross, who made an insurance demand. He also agreed to pay the referral agency, and said
he expected a settlement of approximately $5,000.
Ultimately, 12 suspects, including four attorneys, five
chiropractors, two office managers and one psychologist, were arrested in the sting
operation. Indictments were returned against 10 individuals.
In mitigation, Gross practiced for 12 years without any discipline.
The conspiracy charge arose from a single conversation, in which
Gross agreed to pay for personal injury referrals. The capping charge was the result of a
Gross never actually paid for the referral.
Although the charges were reduced to misdemeanors at the time of
sentencing, they remain felonies within the meaning of the Business and Professions Code.
NANCY MARIE JONES [#61648], 51, of San Diego was
suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation, and was ordered to take
the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 17, 1999.
Jones stipulated to two counts of practicing law while she was
suspended for failure to pay dues.
In one of the matters, her client terminated her services, but Jones
did not read the letter until nine days after it was received in her office. The day
before she read the letter, she sent a complaint on behalf of her client to federal court
and it was actually filed three days later.
She wrote to her client and then served the complaint on the opposing
parties because she believed it was necessary to protect her clients rights.
By filing a complaint after her termination, Jones appeared without
In mitigation, Jones failure to pay bar dues was a result of
financial hardship. During the period of misconduct, she was suffering from personal
difficulties resulting from the death of her mother and her fathers heart attack.
OREN JACQUES MARSH [#118015], 41, of Glendale was
suspended for four years, stayed, and was placed on five years of probation with an actual
18-month suspension and until he makes restitution and proves rehabilitation. He was
ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Sept. 17, 1999.
Marsh stipulated to misconduct in 12 consolidated cases.
He settled six personal injury cases without the consent of his
clients. He then misrepresented the status of cases and failed to maintain settlement
funds in trust. Client signatures were forged on checks; some checks were written against
A medical malpractice case was dismissed because Marsh was unable to
find an expert witness to testify on his clients behalf. He failed to adequately
communicate the problem to his client, although Marsh believed his client had approved the
dismissal of the action.
He and a client were sanctioned by the court in another malpractice
action. The sanctions never were paid.
The bar court found that Marsh failed to perform legal services
competently six times, failed to maintain client funds in trust six times and committed 12
acts of moral turpitude.
Marsh presented extensive mitigation detailing years of hard luck.
His office manager, with whom he was close friends, embezzled both client and personal
funds. He was out of his office for long periods of time because of a series of
debilitating health problems, including shoulder surgery, three serious automobile
accidents, and a spider bite which led to a life-threatening bacterial infection. Multiple
prescriptions written by multiple doctors led to an addiction to pain killers.
A car was repossessed, his house was foreclosed and Marsh and his
wife were forced to declare bankruptcy.
Marsh has overcome his drug problem and repaid all his clients and
most of the medical providers who were owed money.
JAMES H. ZANDER [#54870], 52, of Encino was
suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a one year actual
suspension, and was ordered to pay a $54,754 sanction order, take the MPRE within one
year, and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Sept. 17, 1999.
Zanders law firm was involved in a probate matter from 1981 to
1991. An associate handled the bulk of the case until he left Zanders firm and
substituted into the case in 1982.
Zander disputed an accounting and demanded payment of additional
fees. The court found that he had been overpaid and directed him to refund his former
associate $1,909 to compensate for the overpayment. Zander appealed the order settling the
In ensuing litigation which lasted for several more years, the Court
of Appeal found that Zander continued a frivolous appeal after a stipulated settlement and
imposed a sanction of $54,754.70 against him. Part was payable to the administrators
attorneys and $50,000, payable to the estates administrator, was ordered to deter
the species of sham appeal here apparent.
The State Bar Court found that Zander violated the rules of
professional conduct by wrongfully continuing an appeal and by misleading a judge. It also
found he committed four acts of moral turpitude.
Zander made misstatements in affidavits supporting two writs, in
arguments opposing another attorneys petition for payment and in an opening
statement in an appeal.
Zander appealed the bar courts discipline recommendation to the
review department, alleging 29 points of error by the hearing judge. The review department
upheld the hearing judge and actually increased the level of discipline.
In mitigation, Zander suffered from cancer which metastasized in
1991, requiring surgery and chemotherapy, which proved disabling. His income was reduced,
making it difficult to pay the sanctions and care for his family.
The review department noted, however, that most of the misconduct
occurred prior to his health problems. His misconduct included multiple acts of wrongdoing
over a significant time period and caused significant harm to the administration of
justice, the court found.
STEPHEN S. KING [#33489], 62, of Santa Monica was
suspended for one year, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual 30-day
suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE within a year. The order took effect Sept.
King stipulated to misconduct in three consolidated cases, and two
other cases were dismissed.
In the first case, King represented a doctor in a divorce and five
other matters. He did not notify the doctor for three months that he had received $15,000
from the sale of his clients residence. Because King was representing the doctor in
other matters, he mistakenly believed he had the authorization to sign the clients
name on the check and deposit it in his client trust account. King then took the $15,000
and applied it toward fees the doctor purportedly owed on the other cases.
King stipulated that he failed to maintain client funds pending their
authorized distribution, and he failed to notify a client of the receipt of funds.
King prepared and filed a lawsuit against another clients
former attorney, but he did not file an answer to a summons and complaint or request a
time extension. As a result, a default judgment was entered against his client. King
stipulated that he acted with gross negligence in failing to perform legal services for
his client. In mitigation, he succeeded in getting the default set aside.
In a third matter, he represented a client in a slip and fall claim
which settled for $25,000. Because the clients expenses exceeded the amount of the
settlement, King negotiated reduced fees with her medical providers. However, it took him
nine months to distribute the settlement proceeds.
In mitigation, King has an extensive background in teaching and
lecturing in law schools for 30 years, has been active in professional groups involved
with family law, and has served as both an arbitrator and a judge pro tem in the Los
MARK E. POWERS [#132894], 42, of Santa Maria was
suspended for nine months and placed on three years of probation. Credit toward the
suspension will be given for the period of interim suspension which began June 9, 1997.
The order took effect Sept. 24, 1999.
Powers was convicted in 1997 of assault with a deadly weapon, second
degree burglary, possession of cocaine, battery and being under the influence of cocaine.
He was found not guilty of battery causing serious bodily harm, but the jury found true
special allegations of inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.
An appellate court upheld the felony convictions, and Powers was
sentenced to 270 days in custody, 100 hours of community service and probation, with
requirements for random drug tests and anger management therapy.
He had assaulted a friend of his former girlfriend, with whom he had
a daughter. When the police responded to the fight, they found a packet of cocaine in his
pocket, although Powers denied it belonged to him.
The State Bar Court found that his misconduct did not constitute acts
of moral turpitude.
Powers was privately reproved in 1994 after pleading no contest to
hitting another friend of his then-girlfriend. As part of his 1997 interim suspension for
the criminal convictions, he was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules
of Court by notifying all clients and other pertinent parties of his suspension and filing
an affidavit with the Supreme Court.
He failed to file the required affidavit, but he had no clients at
the time. Nonetheless, he was given an additional suspension by the bar.
In mitigation, Powers voluntarily entered substance abuse and anger
management programs before being ordered to do so by the court.
He regularly attends church and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, has
been sober for three years, and undergoes regular drug testing.
He submitted letters attesting to his good character, is employed as
a law clerk, has repaired his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, and has remarried.
DANIEL PATRICK WILLSEY [#143772], 39, of Pasadena
was suspended for nine months, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to
take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 24, 1999.
Willsey stipulated that he failed to comply with the conditions of a
1997 private reproval. He did not submit three quarterly probation reports or proof of
attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
Willsey also was privately reproved in 1998.
In mitigation, he cooperated with the bars investigation.
The probation of DAVID A. DOBBS [#130931], 39, of San
Francisco is revoked, the previous stay of suspension was lifted and he was
suspended for two years and ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Oct.
In 1998, Dobbs was given a stayed suspension and three years of
probation with conditions, including quarterly probation reports, restitution to a former
client and development of a law office management plan.
He failed to comply with those probation requirements.