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3 Trevor lawyers suspended

By Nancy McCarthy
Staff Writer

Three Beverly Hills attorneys who filed thousands of lawsuits against small business owners under the Unfair Competition Law were suspended from practice last month by a State Bar Court judge who ruled they pose a threat of harm to the public.

Damian S. Trevor, Shane C. Han and Allan C. Hendrickson, all principals with the Trevor Law Group, were placed on involuntary inactive enrollment by Judge Richard A. Honn. The State Bar will file disciplinary charges against the three within 45 days of the ruling seeking their disbarment.

In a 125-page decision, Honn said the bar proved that the three lawyers "have engaged in misconduct that has caused significant harm to clients and the public, that there is a reasonable likelihood that the harm will recur or continue and that there is a reasonable probability that the State Bar will prevail on the merits of the underlying disciplinary matters."

Mike Nisperos, the bar's chief trial counsel, hailed Honn's findings. "The decision is in the best interests of the public and the California justice system as a whole," he said. Nisperos put together the biggest task force in bar history to investigate complaints against the trio, whose tactics also led to an investigation and lawsuit by Attorney General Bill Lockyer and hearings by the legislature, which is considering ways to amend §17200 of the Business & Professions Code, the statute the men used to file the suits.

The bar sought to lift the attorneys' law licenses before actual disciplinary proceedings begin, a procedure it uses when lawyers' alleged misconduct is particularly egregious. In its application for inactive enrollment, it charged the men with misconduct that includes the unauthorized practice of law; making misrepresentations to defendants; forming a sham corporation to serve as plaintiff in litigation carried out with a corrupt purpose; engaging in questionable litigation tactics; using paralegals to engage in high pressure settlement tactics; and charging excessive contingency fees, with 80 to 90 percent of the recovery going to the Trevor Law Group.

In his ruling, Honn laid out in ex-haustive detail the lawyers' activities, from a "game plan" for litigation on a massive scale, to creating what the judge called a shell corporation that was the law firm's "alter ego," to an Internet-based search for defendants, to coercive settlement tactics.

In summaries of 21 cases filed against auto repair shops and seven against restaurants, Honn found the lawyers failed to investigate allegations and pursued cases "from a corrupt motive." In total, he found 71 instances of moral turpitude.

Honn said because of the three lawyers' efficiency in "manufacturing" claims, "their relatively small firm was capable of far-reaching harm." By combining Internet technology with a relaxed standing requirement in §17200, they were "able to redefine traditional notions of 'plaintiff' and 'defendant,'" Honn wrote.

He also said the Trevor Group employed as many as 10 law clerks to handle the volume of cases, and they routinely crossed the line and actually practiced law. The three lawyers therefore contributed to the unauthorized practice of law, as well.

Honn accused Han of making misrepresentations to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees, and said the others made misstatements to the press. And he said they have "shown a willingness to continue to engage in the same conduct," even when faced with a bar investigation.

"Respondents have made clear their intentions," Honn said. "They have a plan that they intend to carry out. Unless prevented from doing so, there is a reasonable likelihood that harm to the public will reoccur or continue."

3 Trevor lawyers suspended

By Nancy McCarthy
Staff Writer

Three Beverly Hills attorneys who filed thousands of lawsuits against small business owners under the Unfair Competition Law were suspended from practice last month by a State Bar Court judge who ruled they pose a threat of harm to the public.

Damian S. Trevor, Shane C. Han and Allan C. Hendrickson, all principals with the Trevor Law Group, were placed on involuntary inactive enrollment by Judge Richard A. Honn. The State Bar will file disciplinary charges against the three within 45 days of the ruling seeking their disbarment.

In a 125-page decision, Honn said the bar proved that the three lawyers "have engaged in misconduct that has caused significant harm to clients and the public, that there is a reasonable likelihood that the harm will recur or continue and that there is a reasonable probability that the State Bar will prevail on the merits of the underlying disciplinary matters."

Mike Nisperos, the bar's chief trial counsel, hailed Honn's findings. "The decision is in the best interests of the public and the California justice system as a whole," he said. Nisperos put together the biggest task force in bar history to investigate complaints against the trio, whose tactics also led to an investigation and lawsuit by Attorney General Bill Lockyer and hearings by the legislature, which is considering ways to amend §17200 of the Business & Professions Code, the statute the men used to file the suits.

The bar sought to lift the attorneys' law licenses before actual disciplinary proceedings begin, a procedure it uses when lawyers' alleged misconduct is particularly egregious. In its application for inactive enrollment, it charged the men with misconduct that includes the unauthorized practice of law; making misrepresentations to defendants; forming a sham corporation to serve as plaintiff in litigation carried out with a corrupt purpose; engaging in questionable litigation tactics; using paralegals to engage in high pressure settlement tactics; and charging excessive contingency fees, with 80 to 90 percent of the recovery going to the Trevor Law Group.

In his ruling, Honn laid out in ex-haustive detail the lawyers' activities, from a "game plan" for litigation on a massive scale, to creating what the judge called a shell corporation that was the law firm's "alter ego," to an Internet-based search for defendants, to coercive settlement tactics.

In summaries of 21 cases filed against auto repair shops and seven against restaurants, Honn found the lawyers failed to investigate allegations and pursued cases "from a corrupt motive." In total, he found 71 instances of moral turpitude.

Honn said because of the three lawyers' efficiency in "manufacturing" claims, "their relatively small firm was capable of far-reaching harm." By combining Internet technology with a relaxed standing requirement in §17200, they were "able to redefine traditional notions of 'plaintiff' and 'defendant,'" Honn wrote.

He also said the Trevor Group employed as many as 10 law clerks to handle the volume of cases, and they routinely crossed the line and actually practiced law. The three lawyers therefore contributed to the unauthorized practice of law, as well.

Honn accused Han of making misrepresentations to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees, and said the others made misstatements to the press. And he said they have "shown a willingness to continue to engage in the same conduct," even when faced with a bar investigation.

"Respondents have made clear their intentions," Honn said. "They have a plan that they intend to carry out. Unless prevented from doing so, there is a reasonable likelihood that harm to the public will reoccur or continue."

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