PHILIP A. PUTMAN [#51368], 65, of Huntington
Beach was suspended for nine months, stayed, placed on two years of probation
with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule
955. The order took effect Oct. 27, 2000.
The State Bar Court review department upheld a hearing judges
findings that Putman failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a private
reproval (he did not submit quarterly probation reports)
The private reproval, issued in 1995, was the result of Putmans
failure to communicate with a client, perform legal services competently or return a
clients documents, as well as improperly sharing legal fees with a non-lawyer and
improperly withdrawing from employment.
The hearing judge also found in another matter that Putman failed to
comply with a court order or report sanctions to the State Bar. In that case, Putman
represented the husband in a dissolution of marriage petition, and brought a civil action
against the wifes attorney, accusing him of wrongs arising from the family law
Despite an appellate court decision which made Putmans claims
moot, he pursued his claims, forcing the wife and her lawyer to defend themselves. He and
his client were sanctioned $1,500. Although the client paid $1,100, Putman never paid the
sanction or reported it to the bar.
The hearing judge declined to credit Putmans testimony that
many of his difficulties were the fault of his former law partners.
The review department further rejected Putmans argument that he
delegated his compliance to others who did not follow through and that he was the victim
of a conspiracy by other attorneys to ruin him.
The previously ordered probation of JOHN MICHAEL BROWN
[#38995], 59, of Pleasanton was extended for six months, effective Nov. 1, 2000.
Brown did not comply with the conditions of a 1998 discipline order
that he complete at least six hours of continuing education.
ANDREW BELLO BOSQUE [#164656], 54, of San Jose was
suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual
suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 2,
Without arbitration or a trial, Bosque recovered $100,000 for his
client in a personal injury case and retained one-third for payment of the clients
medical expenses. When the client sought to obtain the money, Bosque gave him two-thirds
and kept about $11,000 as attorneys fees on the medical payments collected in behalf
of the California Department of Health Services (DHS). He mistakenly believed he could
keep a portion of the money as attorneys fees.
Bosque agreed to keep the $11,000 in trust until an issue was
resolved concerning his clients responsibility to reimburse Medi-Cal. Later,
however, because of his mistaken understanding about the two cases, he withdrew the money
from his trust account and spent it.
When DHS notified Bosque that Medi-Cal held a lien on any recovery on
his clients behalf, Bosque made no payments and did not determine the amount of the
lien, because hed already given most of the medical payments portion of the
settlement to his client. Eventually, he negoatiated a reduced lien and disbursed
additional money to his client and to DHS.
Bosque took the position that case law authorized him to withhold the
attorneys fees he took from his client. But he stipulated that he charged an
unconscionable fee and failed to promptly disburse client funds.
In mitigation, he cooperated with the bars investigation and
provided documentation of his involvement in community and pro bono activities.
TODD ROBERT CORREN [#85790], 47, of Stockton was
suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual
six-month suspension and was ordered to make restitution, prove his rehabilitation, take
the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Corren stipulated to five counts of misconduct.
He commingled personal and client funds in his client trust account,
writing at least 287 checks for personal and business expenses over a three-year period.
In three personal injury cases, he misappropriated almost $8,000 in
settlement funds which were to have been used to pay a medical lien, acts of moral
turpitude. He did not pay the liens.
In a criminal matter for which he was paid $1,500, he did $700 worth
of work and then stopped performing legal services for his client. He failed to refund
In mitigation, Corren had severe financial and family problems as a
result of his divorce, and did not adequately supervise the employee who was responsible
for managing his trust account. He cooperated with the bars investigation.
DOUGLAS JOHN FOLEY [#107179], 49, of San Jose was
suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a one-year
actual suspension, and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order
took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Foley stipulated to misconduct in nine consolidated cases.
In one matter, Foley was retained to handle an appellate matter, but
it was dismissed due to his failure to perfect the record. He told his client he had filed
and briefed the appeal and that it was pending.
The same client employed Foley to handle a wrongful termination
matter; he advised the client to dismiss the action and sue his former attorney for
malpractice. Foley then did not oppose a motion for summary judgment, a judgment was
entered against his client, he did not file a malpractice suit and the statute of
His client then sued Foley for malpractice and won damages of
$271,000 plus costs of $245 and attorneys fees of $2,555. He did not carry
professional liability insurance and did not notify the State Bar of the judgment or
respond to subsequent bar inquiries.
Foley stipulated that he failed to perform legal services
competently, committed an act of moral turpitude by giving his client false information,
improperly withdrew from employment without protecting his clients interests and
failed to report a malpractice judgment to the bar or cooperate with its investigation.
In another case, Foley did not advise his client that he had obtained
a default judgment in his favor.
In other matters, Foley did not respond to his clients requests
for information or perform legal services competently, he did not maintain proper client
trust account records and wrote checks against insufficient funds, and practiced while
suspended for non-payment of bar dues.
In mitigation, Foley has no record of discipline since his 1982
admission to the bar, he has performed pro bono services in Santa Clara County and worked
as a judge pro tem, and he was having serious marital problems at the time of the
He repaid one client and took out a second mortgage on his house to
pay a compromised settlement in the malpractice action.
STEVEN PAUL GIEDZINSKI [#167278], 37, of Los Angeles
was suspended for 12 months, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to
take the MPRE. The order took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Giedzinski pleaded guilty in 1999 to causing injury while driving
under the influence and driving with a suspended license. He had a previous DUI conviction
and was still on probation when the second incident occurred.
In mitigation, Giedzinski is enrolled in an 18-month alcohol program.
At the time of his arrest, he was under financial and emotional stress as a result of
discipline imposed by his employer, the Los Angeles public defenders office.
DONALD E. GLASS [#147044], 50, of Irvine was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual
six-month suspension, and was ordered to make restitution, take the MPRE and comply with
rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation.
The order took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Glass stipulated to misconduct in five cases, each stemming from his
so-called Walk Away with Credit program, under which he told homeowners who
owed more on their mortgage payments than their house was worth that they could legally
walk away from their mortgage without ruining their credit. In fact, his program
offered no benefit to clients, whose credit ratings were adversely affected.
He sought to have some clients transfer title of their homes to
Property Mortgage Service, a company he and his wife owned.
The company purportedly would deal with all phone calls from the
mortgage lender, provide a letter for clients to insert in their credit history explaining
the home had been sold, and would refer clients to American Processing Services, a company
specializing in restoring good credit.
One matter, typical of the cases for which Glass was disciplined,
involved a couple who wished to divorce but neither could afford their mortgage payments
on their own. They had excellent credit at the time they contacted Glass.
A letter he sent them guaranteed that as part of his walk away
program, negative items such as late mortgage payments would not show up on their credit
If they did, they would be removed within 60 days by Property
Mortgage Service. Glass also orally guaranteed the couple their credit would not be ruined
by their participation in the program.
The couple gave Glass the grant deed to their home, checks totalling
$1,935 and various forms and contracts Glass told them to provide. As instructed by Glass,
they stopped making mortgage payments.
Several months later, they obtained a copy of their credit report
which reflected their default on mortgage payments and the initiation of foreclosure
proceedings. Glass informed them that American Processing Services was out of business but
offered to repair their credit for an additional $2,000.
Glass stipulated to committing four acts of moral turpitude by making
misrepresentations to clients, and five instances of engaging in false, deceptive and
misleading communications with clients.
In mitigation, Glass has no record of discipline since his 1990
admission to the bar.
ERNEST WAYNE HUGHES [#106943], 46, of Carmichael 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 Nov. 2, 2000.
As part of a 1996 private reproval imposed for failing to communicate
with clients, Hughes was to attend ethics school and take the MPRE, both within one year.
Although the deadline was extended because Hughes had limited financial resources, he did
not take the MPRE on time.
He stipulated that he did not meet the conditions of the reproval.
In mitigation, he cooperated with the bars investigation.
CHRIS PATRICK JOHNSON [#54928], 53, of Monterey was
suspended for one year, stayed, and was actually suspended for 90 days and until he files
four overdue quarterly reports, attends ethics school, makes restitution and the bar court
grants a motion to terminate the suspension. If the actual suspension exceeds two years,
he must prove his rehabilitation. He also was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with
rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Johnson did not comply with any of the conditions attached to a 1997
private reproval imposed because of his failure to complete legal services, communicate
with a client or cooperate with the bars investigation.
MELANIE L. JONES [#153698], 39, of Oakland was
suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an 18-month
actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order
took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Jones was ordered to comply with rule 955 as a condition attached to
a 1999 disciplinary order, but she filed the required affidavit with the Supreme Court
three months late.
The underlying discipline was the result of failing to deposit client
funds in a client trust account and committing an act of moral turpitude.
In mitigation, Jones cooperated with the bars investigation.
THOMAS EDWARD KENT [#107238], 44, of Encino was
suspended for 18 months, stayed, and placed on three years of probation with an actual
45-day suspension. The order took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Kent stipulated that he practiced law while he was suspended for two
months in 1997. He sent letters and bills, filed documents and made court appearances.
The discipline was the result of failure to perform legal services
competently, return fees or account for client funds, and entering into a prohibited
In mitigation, Kent was not sober when he signed the stipulation with
the bar in 1997, and did not understand he had to pay all disciplinary costs before being
reinstated. After leaving an in-patient drug treatment facility, he worked for a woman who
owned a paralegal service, but apparently was unaware he was still suspended.
Kents mother died and he supports his father, who is paralyzed
as the result of a stroke. He attends regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and remains
GEORGE CAMPOS MARTINEZ [#86978], 49, of Pasadena was
suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 60-day
suspension and was ordered to make restitution and take the MPRE. If the suspension
exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955, and if it exceeds two years, he must prove
his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Martinez stipulated that he practiced law while suspended in 1998,
accepting a case and fees of $3,200. He committed an act of moral turpitude by not
informing his clients he wasnt entitled to practice and he accepted an illegal fee.
The suspension was the result of non-payment of bar dues.
ERIC JAY PIEPES [#130522], 44, of Douglaston, N.Y.,
was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual
six-month suspension and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov.
Piepes was disciplined in New York for his conduct while representing
a woman who was seeking compensation from another woman with whom she had had an
altercation. After the woman against whom the claim was made moved to Florida, Piepes
wrote her a letter conveying an offer of $25,000 purportedly made by his clients
Piepes provided a misleading ex-planation about the letter in his
answer to the womans complaint to the New York lawyer grievance committee.
His misconduct in New York would warrant discipline in Califor-nia
had it been committed here and as a result he was suspended.
In mitigation, Piepess diabetes medication produced
aberrational behavior; a physician testified that Piepes became manic and the drug
impaired his thinking.
RIC JOHN SQUAGLIA [#170096], 50, of Fresno was
suspended for 30 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the
MPRE. The order took effect Nov. 2, 2000.
Squaglia stipulated to a private reproval in 1998, but failed to take
the MPRE as required.
The reproval was imposed as a result of his failure to perform legal
services competently or communicate with a client.
In mitigation, he cooperated with the bars investigation.
STEVEN HOWARD UNGER [#121952], 42, of Glendale 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. 2, 2000.
Unger was hired to file a case in relation to abuse of process for a
client against whom a $200,000 de-fault judgment had been entered in Los Angeles. The
opposing party to his client had registered the judgment in New York in order to enforce
Unger prepared a judgment by default by court, purporting
to be from the Orange County municipal court, for $1.3 million. The court had not ordered
any such judgment.
His client used the judgment in the New York proceedings.
Unger stipulated to committing two acts of moral turpitude: preparing
a fraudulent judgment and failing to inform his client that the judgment was not valid.
Unger also was disciplined in 1995 with a private reproval for
failing to perform legal services competently.
In mitigation, he explained that the misconduct resulted from his
overreaction to stress from the case and his relationship with his client. He underwent
therapy to resolve his problems.
LAWRENCE CRAWFORD BRAGG [#33302], 68, of Hacienda Heights
was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual
three-year suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, make restitution, take
the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Nov. 5, 2000.
Bragg stipulated to misconduct in five consolidated cases.
In three matters, Bragg failed to appear at case management
conferences, a deposition or hearings on summary judgment, allowing the cases to be
In two of the cases, he did not notify his clients about the
dismissal. He told one client he was attempting to negotiate a settlement. Another client
learned about the dismissal of his case when he called Braggs office, learned Bragg
was suspended and another lawyer had purchased his practice.
Bragg stipulated to three instances of failing to perform legal
services competently, two counts of failing to communicate with clients and one count of
committing an act of moral turpitude.
In another case, Bragg represented a party without providing written
disclosure of his personal relationship with another person who would be affected by the
He also did not pay out client funds promptly.
Bragg has been disciplined twice. In 1997, he was suspended for
sharing legal fees with a non-lawyer, failing to perform legal services competently or
comply with the terms of an agreement in lieu of discipline and committing an act of moral
turpitude. Last year, he was again suspended for failure to inform clients he was in
possession of their funds, failure to cooperate with the bars investigation and for
two counts of splitting legal fees with a non-lawyer.
In mitigation, Bragg cooperated with the bars investigation.
DONNA LEE LOPEZ [#123121], 40, of Tucson, Ariz., was
suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take
the MPRE. The order took effect Nov. 5, 2000.
Lopez stipulated to misconduct in four cases.
In a civil matter, Lopez failed to comply with four court orders or
pay sanctions of $1,060, failed to maintain the respect due the courts and did not notify
the bar she was ordered to pay sanctions.
In a matter in which she represented a criminal defendant, she
appeared late so many times the court appointed stand-by counsel to represent her client.
When she continued to show up late, the court appointed a new lawyer and declared a
mistrial. Lopez was sanctioned $1,500 and was ordered to appear for a contempt hearing,
but appeared more than five hours late.
Lopez was found guilty of contempt and placed on probation, with
requirements that she serve five days in the county jail and cooperate with the probation
department in a plan for domestic violence and substance abuse counseling. She missed a
court appearance scheduled for a progress report.
As a result of similar behavior in another case, she was removed as
counsel for the defendant and ordered to appear at a hearing to show cause why she should
not be held in contempt. She missed the hearing.
In mitigation, Lopez was having serious family problems at the time
of the misconduct. She cooperated with the bars investigation.
PATRICIA MIRELES [#171342], 42, of Ontario was
suspended for one year, stayed, placed on 18 months of probation with an actual 30-day
suspension and was ordered to make restitution to three clients and take the MPRE within
one year. The order took effect Nov. 5, 2000.
Mireles stipulated to eight counts of misconduct in four matters.
She did not do the work she was hired for in two real property
foreclosure actions, nor did she return her clients phone calls or faxes or refund
two $750 advance fees. One clients home was lost to foreclosure as a result of her
Mireles and another client agreed that Mireles would receive a
contingency fee of 27 percent of the gross recovery in a personal injury matter.
She settled the claim, received a check for $11,500 and agreed to
accept $3,000 as her fee. The client asked Mireles to pay a $2,500 medical lien, but she
did not do so until the physician obtained a judgment against her.
She also did not refund a $475 fee she was paid for a bankruptcy
matter. Because Mireles did not prepare or file an opposition to a mortgage companys
motion, the court granted a company motion which allowed for eventual foreclosure of her
In mitigation, Mireles has no record of discipline since her 1994
admission to the bar, she cooperated with the bars investigation, and she had family
problems at the time of the misconduct. She is the primary caretaker for her mother, who
was in the process of undergoing a liver transplant.