California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - MARCH 2001
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DISCIPLINE

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CAUTION!

More than 175,000 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers.

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DISBARMENTS

ROBERT EARL MITCHELL [#165631], 47, of San Jose was disbarred Oct. 22, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Mitchell committed multiple acts of misconduct in six separate client matters. His actions included improperly withdrawing from representation, resulting in the dismissal of one client’s case, failing to refund $15,500 in unearned fees to three clients, and practicing law while suspended.

In a criminal matter in which he represented the defendant, Mitchell did not attend his client’s sentencing hearing or a continued sentencing hearing, nor did he appeal the sentence despite his promise to do so.

He prepared a complaint in a wrongful termination case, but never filed it, and did not return his client’s phone calls or refund an advance $4,000 fee.

Although Mitchell did file a complaint in another wrongful termination case, he said the claim was for sexual harassment when in fact her claim was for age discrimination. He failed to appear for a case management conference, did not oppose a motion for summary judgment and was sanctioned by the court, but did not pay the sanction.

He did not tell the client the motion for summary judgment was granted. When she arrived at his office for a scheduled appointment, she discovered he had moved. Mitchell did not return her phone calls or refund the unearned portion of her fee.

Mitchell handled a racial discrimination case against a school district, filing a claim that was not timely. He subsequently filed a civil action, but failed to appear at two hearings. The case was dismissed and he did nothing to have it reinstated. He did not return phone calls or letters, moved without notifying his client, and failed to return his client’s file, refund an unearned fee or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Mitchell’s misconduct was similar in a marital dissolution, which he filed but did not pursue. He did not reply to his client’s letters, give her file to a new attorney or cooperate with a bar investigation.

Mitchell was suspended from practice in 1998 for failure to comply with child support obligations. He accepted a case, took $5,000 in advance fees, misrepresented his actions to his client, falsely told opposing counsel his client was not available for a deposition, and when he and his client were sanctioned, he did not inform the client.

Mitchell never paid the sanction, did not appear at a related contempt hearing, did not refund his client’s fees and did not pay a small claims judgment his client obtained.

The State Bar Court found that Mitchell failed to perform legal services six times, refund unearned fees fives times, return client files three times, communicate with clients five times or cooperate with the bar’s investigation five times. He also maintained an unjust action, collected an unconscionable fee and committed four acts of moral turpitude.

Mitchell was suspended earlier last year for similar misconduct. Pointing out that Mitchell failed to perform legal services for 11 different clients, Judge Eugene E. Brott wrote, “It is clear that respondent has effectively abandoned his law practice and his clients. . . . There is no evidence that [he] recognizes his misconduct or appreciates the harm that has been caused to his clients or that he has been rehabilitated to any extent.”

JACQUELINE SUE PARKINSON [#149203], 48, of Fair Oaks was disbarred Oct. 28, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

As part of a 1998 disciplinary order, Parkinson was required to comply with rule 955 by notifying her clients and other pertinent parties of her suspension and to file an affidavit with the Supreme Court attesting to her compliance.

Her failure to do so led to her disbarment.

The underlying discipline was imposed because of Parkinson’s misconduct in three matters, including improper withdrawal from employment, and failing to refund unearned fees, communicate with clients, obey court orders or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

She defaulted in both the 1998 case and in the disbarment proceeding.

DAVID STANTON RUSSELL [#39841], 65, of Pasadena was disbarred Nov. 2, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Russell did not meet the terms of a 1998 disciplinary order requiring him to comply with rule 955 by notifying his clients, courts and other pertinent parties of his suspension and to file an affidavit to that effect with the Supreme Court.

The 1998 discipline was Russell’s third. A 1993 private reproval was issued for failure to provide competent legal services, communicate with a client or return client files. Russell was privately reproved a second time in 1995 for failure to comply with the conditions attached to the 1993 reproval.

The 1998 discipline resulted when he then failed to comply with the 1995 reproval as well as for failing to perform legal services competently, promptly refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

His disbarment was ordered in a default proceeding.

ROBERT CLIFFORD CANNON [#97471], 56, of Beverly Hills was disbarred Nov. 5, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Cannon committed seven acts of misconduct in two matters.

In the first, he failed to perform legal services competently, return his client’s documents despite four requests, respond to the clients letters and phone calls or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and he withdrew from employment without protecting his client’s interests.

He represented his client in a probate matter, and although he advised the client he submitted an inventory and appraisement to the probate court referee, he did no further work. He did not respond to 18 phone calls or six fax transmissions and the one time he did speak to the client, he provided incorrect information to her.

In a second matter, the bar court found that Cannon did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 1998 discipline: he failed to attend ethics school, provide proof of restitution, submit five quarterly probation reports or proof of completion of six hours of continuing education.

The 1998 discipline was imposed as a result of Cannon’s failure to pay court-ordered sanctions.

He also was disciplined in 1994 after stipulating that he failed to communicate with a client, return client files or cooperate with the bar’s investigation and improperly withdrawing from employment.

SHELLY MARIE MATIS [#95507], 46, of Rancho Cucamonga was disbarred Nov. 5, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Matis did not meet the terms of a 1999 disciplinary order requiring her to notify her clients and other pertinent parties of her suspension from practice and to submit an affidavit to that effect to the Supreme Court. She was ordered disbarred in a default proceeding.

The underlying discipline resulted from Matis’ failure to respond to a client’s status inquiries, return clients’ papers and property or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. She also withdrew from employment without protecting her client’s interests and misappropriated client funds.

SUSPENSION/PROBATION

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 judge’s 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 Putman’s failure to communicate with a client, perform legal services competently or return a client’s 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 wife’s attorney, accusing him of wrongs arising from the family law action.

Despite an appellate court decision which made Putman’s 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 Putman’s testimony that many of his difficulties were the fault of his former law partners.

The review department further rejected Putman’s 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, 2000.

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 client’s medical expenses. When the client sought to obtain the money, Bosque gave him two-thirds and kept about $11,000 as attorney’s 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 attorney’s fees.

Bosque agreed to keep the $11,000 in trust until an issue was resolved concerning his client’s 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 client’s behalf, Bosque made no payments and did not determine the amount of the lien, because he’d 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 attorney’s 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 bar’s 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 unearned fees.

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 bar’s 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 limitations expired.

His client then sued Foley for malpractice and won damages of $271,000 plus costs of $245 and attorney’s 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 client’s 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 misconduct.

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 defender’s 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 report.

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 bar’s 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 bar’s 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 bar’s 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 business transaction.

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.

Kent’s mother died and he supports his father, who is paralyzed as the result of a stroke. He attends regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and remains sober.

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 wasn’t 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. 2, 2000.

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 client’s father.

Piepes provided a misleading ex-planation about the letter in his answer to the woman’s 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, Piepes’s 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 bar’s 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 it.

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 dismissed.

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 Bragg’s 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 case.

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 bar’s investigation and for two counts of splitting legal fees with a non-lawyer.

In mitigation, Bragg cooperated with the bar’s 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 Attorney Discipline

California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - MARCH 2001
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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 anoth

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California Bar Journal

ber 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 bar’s 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 $750order="0" WIDTH="190" HEIGHT="25">


REGULARS

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Front Page - March 2001
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News / News Briefs
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 company’s motion, the court granted a company motion which allowed for eventual foreclosure of her client’s property.

In mitigation, Mireles has no record of discipline since her 1994 admission to the bar, she cooperated with the bar’s 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.

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Clarification

DISCIPLINE

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USLaw.com

spacer.gif (810 bytes)
CAUTION!

More than 175,000 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers.

spacer.gif (810 bytes)
DISBARMENTS

ROBERT EARL MITCHELL [#165631], 47, of San Jose was disbarred Oct. 22, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Mitchell committed multiple acts of misconduct in six separate client matters. His actions included improperly withdrawing from representation, resulting in the dismissal of one client’s case, failing to refund $15,500 in unearned fees to three clients, and practicing law while suspended.

In a criminal matter in which he represented the defendant, Mitchell did not attend his client’s sentencing hearing or a continued sentencing hearing, nor did he appeal the sentence despite his promise to do so.

He prepared a complaint in a wrongful termination case, but never filed it, and did not return his client’s phone calls or refund an advance $4,000 fee.

Although Mitchell did file a complaint in another wrongful termination case, he said the claim was for sexual harassment when in fact her claim was for age discrimination. He failed to appear for a case management conference, did not oppose a motion for summary judgment and was sanctioned by the court, but did not pay the sanction.

He did not tell the client the motion for summary judgment was granted. When she arrived at his office for a scheduled appointment, she discovered he had moved. Mitchell did not return her phone calls or refund the unearned portion of her fee.

Mitchell handled a racial discrimination case against a school district, filing a claim that was not timely. He subsequently filed a civil action, but failed to appear at two hearings. The case was dismissed and he did nothing to have it reinstated. He did not return phone calls or letters, moved without notifying his client, and failed to return his client’s file, refund an unearned fee or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Mitchell’s misconduct was similar in a marital dissolution, which he filed but did not pursue. He did not reply to his client’s letters, give her file to a new attorney or cooperate with a bar investigation.

Mitchell was suspended from practice in 1998 for failure to comply with child support obligations. He accepted a case, took $5,000 in advance fees, misrepresented his actions to his client, falsely told opposing counsel his client was not available for a deposition, and when he and his client were sanctioned, he did not inform the client.

Mitchell never paid the sanction, did not appear at a related contempt hearing, did not refund his client’s fees and did not pay a small claims judgment his client obtained.

The State Bar Court found that Mitchell failed to perform legal services six times, refund unearned fees fives times, return client files three times, communicate with clients five times or cooperate with the bar’s investigation five times. He also maintained an unjust action, collected an unconscionable fee and committed four acts of moral turpitude.

Mitchell was suspended earlier last year for similar misconduct. Pointing out that Mitchell failed to perform legal services for 11 different clients, Judge Eugene E. Brott wrote, “It is clear that respondent has effectively abandoned his law practice and his clients. . . . There is no evidence that [he] recognizes his misconduct or appreciates the harm that has been caused to his clients or that he has been rehabilitated to any extent.”

JACQUELINE SUE PARKINSON [#149203], 48, of Fair Oaks was disbarred Oct. 28, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

As part of a 1998 disciplinary order, Parkinson was required to comply with rule 955 by notifying her clients and other pertinent parties of her suspension and to file an affidavit with the Supreme Court attesting to her compliance.

Her failure to do so led to her disbarment.

The underlying discipline was imposed because of Parkinson’s misconduct in three matters, including improper withdrawal from employment, and failing to refund unearned fees, communicate with clients, obey court orders or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

She defaulted in both the 1998 case and in the disbarment proceeding.

DAVID STANTON RUSSELL [#39841], 65, of Pasadena was disbarred Nov. 2, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Russell did not meet the terms of a 1998 disciplinary order requiring him to comply with rule 955 by notifying his clients, courts and other pertinent parties of his suspension and to file an affidavit to that effect with the Supreme Court.

The 1998 discipline was Russell’s third. A 1993 private reproval was issued for failure to provide competent legal services, communicate with a client or return client files. Russell was privately reproved a second time in 1995 for failure to comply with the conditions attached to the 1993 reproval.

The 1998 discipline resulted when he then failed to comply with the 1995 reproval as well as for failing to perform legal services competently, promptly refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

His disbarment was ordered in a default proceeding.

ROBERT CLIFFORD CANNON [#97471], 56, of Beverly Hills was disbarred Nov. 5, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Cannon committed seven acts of misconduct in two matters.

In the first, he failed to perform legal services competently, return his client’s documents despite four requests, respond to the clients letters and phone calls or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and he withdrew from employment without protecting his client’s interests.

He represented his client in a probate matter, and although he advised the client he submitted an inventory and appraisement to the probate court referee, he did no further work. He did not respond to 18 phone calls or six fax transmissions and the one time he did speak to the client, he provided incorrect information to her.

In a second matter, the bar court found that Cannon did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 1998 discipline: he failed to attend ethics school, provide proof of restitution, submit five quarterly probation reports or proof of completion of six hours of continuing education.

The 1998 discipline was imposed as a result of Cannon’s failure to pay court-ordered sanctions.

He also was disciplined in 1994 after stipulating that he failed to communicate with a client, return client files or cooperate with the bar’s investigation and improperly withdrawing from employment.

SHELLY MARIE MATIS [#95507], 46, of Rancho Cucamonga was disbarred Nov. 5, 2000, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Matis did not meet the terms of a 1999 disciplinary order requiring her to notify her clients and other pertinent parties of her suspension from practice and to submit an affidavit to that effect to the Supreme Court. She was ordered disbarred in a default proceeding.

The underlying discipline resulted from Matis’ failure to respond to a client’s status inquiries, return clients’ papers and property or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. She also withdrew from employment without protecting her client’s interests and misappropriated client funds.

SUSPENSION/PROBATION

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 judge’s 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 Putman’s failure to communicate with a client, perform legal services competently or return a client’s 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 wife’s attorney, accusing him of wrongs arising from the family law action.

Despite an appellate court decision which made Putman’s 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 Putman’s testimony that many of his difficulties were the fault of his former law partners.

The review department further rejected Putman’s 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, 2000.

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 client’s medical expenses. When the client sought to obtain the money, Bosque gave him two-thirds and kept about $11,000 as attorney’s 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 attorney’s fees.

Bosque agreed to keep the $11,000 in trust until an issue was resolved concerning his client’s 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 client’s behalf, Bosque made no payments and did not determine the amount of the lien, because he’d 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 attorney’s 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 bar’s 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 unearned fees.

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 bar’s 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 limitations expired.

His client then sued Foley for malpractice and won damages of $271,000 plus costs of $245 and attorney’s 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 client’s 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 misconduct.

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 defender’s 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 report.

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 bar’s 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 bar’s 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 bar’s 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 business transaction.

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.

Kent’s mother died and he supports his father, who is paralyzed as the result of a stroke. He attends regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and remains sober.

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 wasn’t 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. 2, 2000.

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 client’s father.

Piepes provided a misleading ex-planation about the letter in his answer to the woman’s 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, Piepes’s 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 bar’s 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 it.

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 dismissed.

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 Bragg’s 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 case.

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 bar’s investigation and for two counts of splitting legal fees with a non-lawyer.

In mitigation, Bragg cooperated with the bar’s 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 bar’s 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 client’s home was lost to foreclosure as a result of her actions.

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 company’s motion, the court granted a company motion which allowed for eventual foreclosure of her client’s property.

In mitigation, Mireles has no record of discipline since her 1994 admission to the bar, she cooperated with the bar’s 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.