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November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014

DISBARMENT

Bryan C. Becker, State Bar #241956, San Diego (April 29, 2014). Becker, 36, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Becker was charged with failing to competently perform legal services, failing to make necessary court appearances or to file court documents on a client’s behalf, failing to respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries, improperly withdrawing from employment, and failing to return $2,529 in unearned fees. The order took effect May 29, 2014
Roderick K. Bickerstaff, State Bar #153180, Los Angeles (April 11, 2014). Bickerstaff, 56, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Bickerstaff was charged with four counts of misconduct stemming from one client matter, including failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to promptly pay client funds, misappropriating funds, and committing an act of moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption. In its petition for disbarment, the State Bar noted that Bickerstaff had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect May 11, 2014
Raymond O. Buendia, State Bar #94975, Chula Vista (April 29, 2014). Buendia, 62, was disbarred for failing to competently perform legal services, misleading a judge with false statements, and committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In aggravation, Buendia had a record of prior discipline. Moreover, his misconduct harmed his client, and it demonstrated a pattern of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Buendia cooperated with the State Bar in its investigation and proceedings. The order took effect May 29, 2014

Raymond O. Buendia, State Bar #94975, Chula Vista (April 29, 2014). Buendia, 62, was disbarred for failing to competently perform legal services, misleading a judge with false statements, and committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In aggravation, Buendia had a record of prior discipline. Moreover, his misconduct harmed his client, and it demonstrated a pattern of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Buendia cooperated with the State Bar in its investigation and proceedings. The order took effect May 29, 2014

Alfred W. Driscol, III, State Bar #60996, Chico (April 11, 2014). Driscol, 66, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Driscol was charged with misappropriating $87,534 in client funds and misrepresenting to his clients that the funds in the client trust account were still available. In its petition for disbarment, the State Bar noted that there were 13 misconduct investigations pending against Driscol. The order took effect May 11, 2014
Carl W. Nyman, State Bar #57915, Irvine (April 29, 2014). Nyman, 65, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Nyman was charged with failing to comply with conditions to a previous order or discipline. The order took effect May 29, 2014
Matthew H. Powell, State Bar #87602, San Diego (April 29, 2014). Powell, 62, was disbarred for failing to support the law, disobeying a court order, misappropriating funds, and committing an act of moral turpitude.

In December 2010 Powell was hired by a client to file a bankruptcy petition on his behalf. Later that month Powell filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition for the client, whom Powell represented until October 2012. During this period, the client paid Powell $12,250 in attorneys fees. However, Powell never sought the bankruptcy court’s approval for payment of the fees, as required by 11 U.S.C. § 327 and related rules. Powell also failed to obtain the bankruptcy court’s approval of his employment. In May 2013 the bankruptcy court ordered Powell to disgorge $12,250 in attorneys fees, but he failed to do so.

In aggravation, Powell engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing, harming his client and the administration of justice. In mitigation, Powell had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1979. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 29, 2014

Paul E. St. Amant, State Bar #236141, Menifee (April 11, 2014). St. Amant, 42, was disbarred for permitting nonattorneys to use his name and State Bar number to operate a purportedly lawful business, sharing legal fees with a nonattorney, aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, improperly soliciting a prospective client, collecting advance fees for loan modification services in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a)(1), failing to deposit funds in a client trust account, misappropriating funds, failing to competently perform legal services, failing to inform a client of significant developments, failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to refund unearned fees, and committing acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In 2010 nonattorney Ruben Vargas registered Consumer Legal Centers, A Professional Law Corporation, with the California secretary of state. However, CLC was not and has never been a professional law corporation registered pursuant to the laws of California and the State Bar Act or to relevant state regulations. CLC was managed and owned by Vargas and other nonattorney employees.

In 2011 St. Amant entered into a contract with Vargas on behalf of CLC in which he agreed to a monthly payment of $5,000, provided that he worked a minimum of 20 hours per month on CLC legal matters. Afterward, St. Amant held himself out as the managing attorney and/or owner of CLC. CLC nonattorney employees also informed the public and their clients that St. Amant was the attorney handling all legal matters when in fact he did not. As a result, St. Amant misled several clients and shared fees he received from those clients with nonattorney CLC employees. St. Amant also allowed CLC’s nonattorney employees to provide legal services, with scant supervision, to clients St. Amant obtained through CLC. He repeatedly failed to competently perform legal services, provided false accounting, misappropriated $37,500, and failed to refund more than $88,000 to clients.

In aggravation, St. Amant’s misconduct caused significant harm to his clients. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing, involving 30 counts of misconduct. In mitigation, St. Amant had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2005. Also, he agreed to enter into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Martin B. Snyder, State Bar #78253, Los Angeles (April 11, 2014). Snyder, 63, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. He was charged with failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline. In its petition for disbarment, the State Bar noted that Snyder had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect May 11, 2014
Roger D. Stacy, State Bar #208500, San Diego (April 11, 2014). Stacy, 44, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Stacy was charged with failing to competently perform legal services, failing to return unearned fees, failing to communicate, failing to obey a court order, and misappropriating funds. In its petition for disbarment, the State Bar noted that Stacy had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect May 11, 2014
Diane M. Trzcinski, State Bar #78199, Los Angeles (April 29, 2014). Trzcinski, 68, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Trzcinski was charged with failing to cooperate in a State Bar investigation involving MCLE compliance, and failing to maintain a current membership records address. In its petition, the State Bar noted, among other things, that Trzcinski had not contacted the State Bar since the entry of default against her. Trzcinski also failed to respond to the petition for disbarment. The order took effect May 29, 2014
Jennifer M. Urquizu, State Bar #231134, Riverside (April 23, 2014). Urquizu, 37, was disbarred for failing to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity to do so. Urquizu was charged with 16 counts of misconduct involving three client matters and a bankruptcy court matter. The charges included failing to competently perform legal services, failing to communicate, failing to pay client funds, failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to refund unearned fees, failing to release client files, failing to comply with the bankruptcy court’s disgorgement orders, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation. In its petition for disbarment, the State Bar noted that Urquizu had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect May 23, 2014
Hal E. Wright, State Bar #157814, Davis (April 23, 2014). Wright, 60, was disbarred for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to promptly notify a client of the receipt of funds, failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to refund unearned fees, and committing multiple acts of moral turpitude.

In September 2010 a client retained Wright in a personal injury matter against the Big Idea Theater in Sacramento. Without informing the client, Wright settled the claim through the theater’s insurance company for $40,000, even though the value of the case greatly exceeded that amount.

In April 2011 Wright forged the signatures of his client and his client’s wife on a release form he sent to the theater’s insurance company. Thereafter, Wright received two checks amounting to $40,000 from the insurance company. Wright again forged the signatures on these checks, deposited them in his client trust account, and then diverted the funds to another account for his own personal benefit. Furthermore, between September 2010 and January 2013 Wright made numerous false statements to the client regarding the personal injury case. Wright indicated that he had filed and was pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, but that was not true.

In May 2012 the client also hired Wright to obtain proceeds that were left to the Davis Musical Theater Company in a patron’s will. After receiving $15,500 from the trustee of the patron’s trust, Wright deposited the funds into his client trust account. He paid $3,000 to his client and then falsely told him that it was a payment from the insurance company in relation to the personal injury case. Wright never told his client that he received $15,500 from the trust, misappropriating $12,500 for his personal use.

In aggravation, Wright had a record of prior discipline. He engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. Also, he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of his misconduct by failing to return any of the funds. In mitigation, Wright cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 23, 2014

SUSPENSION

Oscar A. DeChavez, State Bar #108605, Chula Vista (April 18, 2014). Oscar Arturo Ruiz DECHAVEZ, State Bar # 108605, Chula Vista (April 18). DeChavez, 66, was suspended for one year and had his probation revoked for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, DeChavez had a record of prior discipline. In addition, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing and demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. The order took effect May 18, 2014

Gaspar R. Garcia, II, State Bar #215762, Sacramento (April 11, 2014). Garcia, 40, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for repeatedly failing to competently perform legal services, failing to keep a client reasonably informed, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

In June 2009 a client retained Garcia for representation in a lawsuit against her employer, the California Department of General Services (CDGS) and James Martin. Garcia substituted into the case, which was already pending.

In December 2010 Garcia obtained leave from the court to file a Third Amended Complaint (TAC) by a certain deadline. Garcia did so, but the TAC was deficient because it failed to name Martin as a defendant and also failed to comply with filing requirements. As a result, CDGS filed a motion to strike the TAC. Garcia did not file an opposition to the motion to strike. Instead, he sought leave to file a Fourth Amended Complaint, which the court eventually dropped for lack of jurisdiction.

Ultimately, the court granted CDGS’s motion to strike the TAC. CDGS then filed a motion for dismissal, which Garcia did not oppose. The court granted the motion and dismissed CDGS from the case with prejudice.

In May 2011 Martin filed a motion to dismiss himself from the case. Garcia failed to file an opposition, and the following month the court granted Martin’s motion. Consequently, the court entered judgment in favor of CDGS in the underlying lawsuit. Garcia never informed his client that the TAC had been stricken, that the case was dismissed and Martin was dismissed, or that a judgment had been entered against her in the underlying lawsuit. In aggravation, Garcia had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused his client significant harm, and he failed to cooperate with the State Bar’s investigation. In mitigation, Garcia cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Steve S. Gohari, State Bar #189339, Los Angeles (April 11, 2014). Gohari, 52, was suspended for 30 days and was placed on two years of probation for repeatedly failing to competently perform legal services. In February 2012 a client met with nonattorney Edison Castro about filing a civil complaint against his mortgage lender. Castro was the owner of a company called BKLAW4U, which provided paralegal services to Gohari on a regular basis. The client paid Castro $4,000 in advance fees.

In March 2012 Gohari filed a complaint on behalf of the client, and later that month Castro sent the client a fee agreement with Gohari’s law firm. The client signed the agreement. Later, Gohari filed an ex parte motion for a temporary restraining order on behalf of the client, which was denied. Eventually Gohari also filed a request to dismiss the underlying lawsuit, which was granted.

At all relevant times during his representation of BKLAW4U client, Gohari employed Castro for paralegal services. But Gohari failed to properly supervise Castro, who exceeded his client-intake duties by accepting the client for representation, assessing the case, collecting legal fees, and providing the client legal advice. Gohari severed all ties with Castro in August 2013.

In mitigation, Gohari had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1997. Also, he agreed to enter into a stipulation and presented evidence of good moral character. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Lyndsey M. Heller, State Bar #188234, Encinitas (April 11, 2014). Heller, 50, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for committing seven acts of professional misconduct in four client matters in California and one in New York.

Between May 2010 and December 2011 Heller was paid advance attorneys fees in the California matters to perform residential loan modification services in violation of Civil Code § 2944(a)(1). Heller failed to obtain a loan modification that was acceptable to her clients. Furthermore, in two of these matters Heller was hired to file lawsuits against the clients’ lenders. In one of these, Heller failed to file an opposition to a demurrer and filed a substitution of attorney, substituting in the client to represent herself ten days prior to the hearing on the demurrer. The court then sustained the demurrer. In the other, Heller also failed to file an opposition to a demurrer and failed to appear at a hearing on the demurrer, resulting in the court sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend.

In a fifth client matter, Heller was hired by a resident of New York to perform loan modification services relating to a home in that state. However, Heller was not admitted to practice law in New York.

Heller failed to refund any of the legal fees paid to her in the five client matters.

In aggravation, Heller engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Heller had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1997. In addition, during the period of misconduct, Heller suffered extreme physical and emotional difficulties. Also, she cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Dawn M. Hunter, State Bar #177153, Newell, IA (April 11, 2014). Hunter, 51, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for holding herself out as entitled to practice law while suspended, collecting an illegal fee, failing to cooperate with a disciplinary investigation, and committing acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In May 2011 a client hired Hunter, paying her $1,000 in advance fees for a lawsuit pending in the superior court. Two days later Hunter was served a California Supreme Court order, effective July 2011, suspending her from practice for failure to pay State Bar membership fees. Hunter did not inform her client about the suspension and accepted $4,146 in legal fees from him while she was suspended. Also, Hunter sent her client several emails regarding issues connected with the lawsuit. When the client discovered her status, he filed a complaint with the State Bar. Hunter did not respond to letters sent by a State Bar investigator.

In aggravation, Hunter engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed her client. Also, she failed to show any remorse for her misconduct. In mitigation, Hunter had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1995. Also, she cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Nathan N. Jardine, State Bar #158502, Farmington, UT (April 23, 2014). Jardine, 53, was suspended for 18 months and placed on two years of probation following disciplinary action in Utah for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to adequately communicate with a client, failing to refund unearned fees, and failing to promptly return a client file.

In August 2000 Jardine, who is admitted to practice in the State of Utah, was hired by a client to represent him in a civil rights action against the Utah Highway Patrol. In May 2002 Jardine filed a complaint, but he failed to serve it within the allotted time frame.

In April 2004 he had the original complaint dismissed and filed a second complaint. However, he failed to serve the correct Utah Highway Patrol officer. After neither party appeared at a hearing on an order to show cause, the complaint was dismissed again in June 2006.

Although Jardine refiled the complaint, the client complained to the Utah State Bar and discharged him. Throughout his six years of representing the client, Jardine had seldom communicated with the client.

There were also two other matters warranting discipline in Utah. In aggravation, Jardine had a record of prior discipline in Utah that he failed to report to the State Bar of California. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, Jardine cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 23, 2014

Rene C. Nunez, State Bar #226171, San Gabriel (April 18, 2014). Nunez, 42, had his probation revoked and was suspended for one year for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline. He was charged with failing to provide the Office of Probation with proof that he attended and passed the State Bar’s Ethics School, as well as failing to provide satisfactory proof of full payment of restitution. In aggravation, Nunez had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. The order took effect May 18, 2014
Michael A. Rivera, State Bar #136931, Downey (April 11, 2014). Rivera, 49, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for filing an unjust legal action, failing to obey a court order, and failing to report judicial sanctions against him to the State Bar within 30 days.

In aggravation, Rivera had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing in a single client matter. In mitigation, Rivera provided six letters from people attesting to his good character, and he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

John S. Sargetis, State Bar #80630, Roseville (April 11, 2014). Sargetis, 63, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in another jurisdiction, collecting an illegal fee for loan modification services in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a)(1), failing to disclose to an out-of-state client that he was only licensed to practice law in California, improperly limiting his liability to a client in a fee agreement, failing to avoid representation of an adverse interest by obtaining the client’s informed written consent, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Sargetis had a record of prior discipline. The misconduct occurred just months after Sargetis had entered an Agreement in Lieu of Discipline, and while he was under State Bar supervision. Also, Sargetis committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused harm to a client and to the administration of justice. In mitigation, Sargetis cooperated with the State Bar during its investigation and proceedings. In addition, Sargetis displayed remorse for his conduct and made changes to his practice to avoid further misconduct. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Alan M. Schnitzer, State Bar #129024, Los Alamitos (April 11, 2014). Schnitzer, 54, was suspended for eight months and placed on three years of probation for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law while he was involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member of the State Bar.

In aggravation, Schnitzer had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, during the time of his misconduct Schnitzer was suffering from a serious illness, as well as associated extreme physical and emotional difficulties. The order took effect May 11, 2014

David R. Schwarcz, State Bar #152896, Los Angeles (April 11, 2014). Schwarcz, 50, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for knowingly entering into a business transaction with clients without fully disclosing potential conflicts of interest in writing in a manner the clients could reasonably understand, as well as failing to advise clients in writing that they may seek the advice of an independent lawyer.

In aggravation, Schwarcz engaged in a pattern of misconduct that harmed his clients, and he failed to pay $65,000 due them as part of one transaction. In mitigation, Schwarcz had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1991. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation and presented evidence of his good character. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Aalok Sikand, State Bar #248165, Oxnard (April 11, 2014). Sikand, 33, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for practicing law in Virginia and New York when he was not licensed to practice in those states, collecting an advance fee for loan modification services in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a)(1), aiding and abetting in the unauthorized practice of law, and sharing legal fees with nonattorneys.

From June 2012 through October 2012 Sikand aided nonattorneys operating under the name Financial Research Group (FRG) in signing up loan modification clients for his law firm, Silver Law Center. In May 2012 a client received FRG’s mailer offering legal services related to mortgage loan modifications at her home in Virginia. She contacted FRG, which informed her that Sikand’s law firm could represent and assist her in the matter. The client paid the $2,995 retainer fee, and Sikand thereafter submitted a loan modification request on her behalf. The same scenario unfolded in New York, where a client paid Sikand $3,995 in fees related to loan modification services. However, Sikand was not licensed to practice law in either Virginia or New York. From June 2012 through October 2012 Sikand allowed FRG’s nonattorney employees to provide legal advice and to prepare loan modification requests without supervision. He also shared the fees he received with FRG’s nonattorney principals.

In aggravation, Sikand’s misconduct financially harmed his clients. Also, he engaged in a pattern of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Sikand cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Jason A. Smith, State Bar #237584, Mission Viejo (April 11, 2014). Smith, 40, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services in eleven client matters, failing to promptly respond to reasonable status inquiries in ten client matters, collecting advance fees for loan modification services in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a)(1) in six client matters, failing to refund unearned fees in six client matters, and failing to return a client file.

Between March 2010 and the first half of 2013, Smith committed misconduct in 17 client matters.

In aggravation, Smith had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, during the period of his misconduct Smith suffered extreme emotional difficulties and family problems. Also, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Cynthia L. Spalding, State Bar #170899, Rancho Cucamonga (April 11, 2014). Spalding, 60, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to respond to multiple status inquiries, practicing law while under suspension, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In March 2010 a husband and wife hired Spalding to provide legal services in a bankruptcy matter. Between September 2010 and September 2012 the clients called Spalding approximately 20 times requesting status updates, but she failed to respond. After the clients complained to the State Bar, Spalding failed to serve a written response to two letters from the State Bar investigator concerning the matter.

In a second matter, just two days after she was suspended from practice in September 2012 Spalding substituted in as the attorney of record for an applicant in a Workers Compensation Appeals Board case. In the following month she appeared in court for a defendant in a civil matter, and she permitted her law firm website to continue advertising her availability to practice as an attorney.

In aggravation, Spalding had a record of prior discipline. Also, she committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Spalding cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Adrian H. Triminio, State Bar #192894, Fair Oaks (April 11, 2014). Triminio, 46, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation for practicing law while suspended, failing to competently perform legal services, failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries, and committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In June 2009 a client hired Triminio to amend her certification of naturalization. Triminio filed a petition to do so in district court the following November. From August 2010 to October 2010 the client called and emailed Triminio several times, seeking a status update. Triminio did not return any of her calls or emails. In September 2010 the district court had ordered Triminio to show cause as to why the court should not dismiss the case due to failure to prosecute, but Triminio failed to file a response. In November 2010 the client’s petition was dismissed due to lack of prosecution.

In a second matter, between May 2012 and May 2013, Triminio was suspended from the practice of law for failing to pay child support. His suspension continued after July 2013 for failure to pay State Bar membership fees. However, in August 2012 and in January 2013 Triminio filed motions on behalf of a friend in superior court and argued the motions orally in January 2013. He failed to inform the court or his friend that he was suspended from practice. The following month the court vacated the motions and continued the matter, causing a three-month delay in the case.

In aggravation, Triminio had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 11, 2014

Tanya C. Zerounian, State Bar #235207, Simi Valley (April 23, 2014). Zerounian, 37, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In March 2013 the California Supreme Court filed an order requiring that Zerounian timely comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. She filed her declaration of compliance 39 days late, in June 2013.

In aggravation, Zerounian had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, she admitted wrongdoing and fully resolved the matter by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 23, 2014

PUBLIC REPROVAL

Michael D. Waks, State Bar #106452, Long Beach (). Waks, 58, received a public reproval for failing to provide written disclosure about his financial relationship with another entity that he knew, or reasonably should have known, would affect resolution of a client’s underlying matter.

In January 2011 Waks was hired on a contingency basis by a client who had been a passenger in a truck driven by his uncle that was involved in an accident. The client was referred to three medical providers for treatment, one of which was MAX MRI Imaging Inc. Meanwhile, Waks began negotiations with the uncle’s insurance carrier.

In April 2011 Waks authorized a lien by MAX on the client’s case to cover medical costs. The next day, Waks signed a factoring agreement, assigning MAX’s lien to Medical Finance LLC. Waks had an ownership interest in Medical Finance. The client signed both documents. Medical Finance then purchased MAX’s lien for $400. Waks failed to inform the client that he had an ownership interest in Medical Finance.

To settle the accident claim, Waks demanded $70,000. The insurer countered with a $500 offer, which the client rejected. Next, Waks filed a lawsuit on the client’s behalf. Waks, as president of Medical Finance, then sent a letter to himself, as his client’s attorney, with details of the lien assignment and the total amount of the medical bill.

In February 2012 the insurer served an offer to compromise of $501, which the client rejected. At that point, Waks expressed his desire to resign from the case, which the client did not oppose. In a meeting the following month, the client signed a substitution of attorney relieving Waks of his duties. At this time, Waks revealed that he had a financial interest in Medical Finance, but at no time did he provide the client with a written disclosure.

In mitigation, Waks had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1982. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation.

Ann K. Waltzer, State Bar #130865, Santa Cruz (April 16, 2014). Waltzer, 52, received a public reproval following her conviction for violating Penal Code § 148(a)(1), resisting, delaying, or obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor; and for violating Penal Code § 242–243(b), battery on a peace officer, a misdemeanor.

In April 2012, while at a hotel in San Jose, Waltzer and a companion were heavily intoxicated and yelling at hotel security. Four police officers arrived. At one point Waltzer grabbed one of the officers’ hands, the officer objected, and Waltzer became verbally abusive. Waltzer and her companion were asked to leave the premises and were escorted to their room to retrieve their belongings. One officer told Waltzer that the door to the room needed to stay open. Waltzer yelled at the officer and slammed the door shut. Hotel security then opened the door and Waltzer was placed under arrest. Waltzer attempted to break free from the officer and refused to comply with the officer’s commands. After Waltzer was handcuffed and escorted to the elevator, she turned and spit in the officer’s face, and her saliva entered his eye. A preliminary alcohol screening breath test showed Waltzer’s blood-alcohol content was .147.

Following Waltzer’s plea of nolo contendere, the court sentenced her to two years of formal probation and four days in jail, and ordered her to perform 50 hours of volunteer work and attend 60 meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

In February 2014 the Review Department found that Waltzer’s conviction did not involve moral turpitude, but did involve other misconduct warranting discipline.

In mitigation, Waltzer had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1987. Also, she cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect May 7, 2014

There are no recent disciplinary actions of this type.