MAGAZINE
California Lawyer

SUSPENSION

Patricia M. Boag, State Bar #174680, North Tustin (February 24, 2014). Boag, 53, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In January 2013 Boag appeared on behalf of a client at a pretrial hearing in a criminal matter, even though she was under suspension pursuant to a previous disciplinary order. Boag did not inform the court of her suspension.

In aggravation, Boag had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Boag presented evidence of her good character and cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Michael A. Brush, State Bar #46576, Los Angeles (February 24, 2014). Brush, 74, was suspended for 60 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In July 2012 the California Supreme Court publicly reproved Brush and ordered him to comply with certain conditions. However, Brush failed to contact the Office of Probation within 30 days of the reproval order, failed to attend meetings of an abstinence-based self-help group, failed to comply with conditions to his criminal probation in the underlying matter, failed to make restitution for property damage he had caused, and failed to timely submit three quarterly reports to the Office of Probation.

In aggravation, Brush committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Kimberly R. Burke, State Bar #248051, Upland (February 24, 2014). Burke, 35, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to competently perform legal services, failing to render appropriate accounts, and committing an act of moral turpitude.

In July 2011 Burke employed an office manager who became responsible for booking, bookkeeping, and billing clients. From December 2011 to February 2012 Burke failed to properly supervise the employee, whom she realized had been issuing fraudulent checks and making fraudulent debit charges using Burke’s accounts. Burke later opened a new client trust account and transferred funds from her accounts into it. In one workers compensation matter, Burke determined how much a client had been owed following deposit of a settlement check into the trust account, and she issued the client a check in that amount. However, Burke acknowledged that she had been careless in managing her office.

In aggravation, Burke committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, she expressed remorse for her misconduct and presented evidence of her good character. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Young S. Cho, State Bar #239773, Pacific Palisades (February 24, 2014). Cho, 35, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation following his conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. In April 2012 Cho called the Los Angeles Police Department to report that he was the victim of an attempted robbery. As a result, the police arrested two individuals matching the description Cho provided. The suspects were subsequently charged with attempted robbery. Later, surveillance footage of the alleged incident surfaced, which showed no attempt by the alleged perpetrators to rob Cho. Consequently, the charges against them were dropped. When the incident took place, Cho was being treated for depression with a prescription amphetamine drug. The drug’s side effects included paranoia, which was exacerbated by alcohol. Cho had consumed alcohol with the drug on the night of the alleged attempted robbery, which increased the potential for side effects. In November 2012 the Los Angeles district attorney charged Cho with one count of felony perjury and making a false report of a crime, a misdemeanor. In February 2013 Cho entered a plea of no contest on the misdemeanor count; the other charge was dropped. Cho was sentenced to serve time in county jail, and the State Bar subsequently placed him on interim suspension. In mitigation, Cho cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014
Raymond F. Choi, State Bar #227132, Huntington Beach (February 24, 2014). Choi, 36, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, disobeying a court order, and failing to comply with agreements made with the State Bar in lieu of disciplinary action.

In May and June 2009 Choi failed to appear for pretrial hearings in his client’s criminal matter. He also did not inform the court, his client, or opposing counsel that he would not appear at the scheduled hearings. In 2010 the court required Choi to appear in another client’s criminal matter. When Choi failed to do so, the court issued a bench warrant against Choi for his failure to appear. The court subsequently sanctioned him $1,000 for his misconduct. Choi has not paid the full amount of the sanction.

In December 2011 Choi entered into an Agreement in Lieu of Discipline with the State Bar in connection with the two matters. He was required, among other things, to comply with the State Bar Act and the California Rules of Professional Conduct. However, while representing another client in a third criminal matter, Choi failed to appear at a pretrial conference and failed to appear at the client’s trial, delaying the matter.

In aggravation, Choi engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed the administration of justice and caused delay in his clients’ criminal matters. In mitigation, Choi had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2003. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Patrick B. Condon, State Bar #144012, Carlsbad (January 30, 2014). Condon, 65, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In April 2011 Condon entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar regarding conditions to his probation. However, Condon failed to timely file quarterly reports and failed to attend the State Bar’s Ethics School.

In aggravation, Condon had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, at the time of his misconduct Condon experienced serious medical problems that resulted in physical disabilities. The order took effect March 1, 2014

Mark D. Estes, State Bar #110518, San Diego (February 24, 2014). Estes, 58, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to avoid interests adverse to a client, making misrepresentations, issuing checks against insufficient funds, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In 2006 Estes represented a client in litigation related to the client’s family trust. The matter settled, and the trust’s real estate was sold. The client received $575,000 from the proceeds and paid Estes a fee of $10,000. Estes then contacted the client, seeking a loan from the client of $50,000 at 10 percent interest. The client agreed to the deal, but he requested a legally binding paper or note. Estes prepared a note and a deed of trust, presented them to the client, and told him that nothing else was needed to secure the loan. Estes did not inform the client that there were already two liens on his property or that the deed needed to be recorded and notarized. Estes also did not inform the client that he should seek the advice of an independent lawyer before agreeing to the loan.

In 2008 Estes prepared a second deed of trust for the client in order to obtain an extension on the loan, but he did not record it. In 2010 Estes stopped making interest payments to the client and stopped making mortgage payments on his property. When the client tried to contact Estes regarding the loan, Estes did not respond. Eventually, the client filed a civil complaint against Estes and a disciplinary complaint with the State Bar. When the State Bar attempted to contact Estes, he did not respond.

In aggravation, Estes committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. He also demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Estes had no prior record of discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1983. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

David A. Harper, State Bar #112913, Maitland, FL (February 19, 2014). Harper, 60, was suspended for 90 days and placed on one year of probation following his suspension by the Supreme Court of Florida.

In 2006 Harper, who is licensed to practice in both Florida and California, became involved in a case involving his mother that was filed in Seminole County, Florida. In 2008 Harper had a dispute with opposing counsel, which escalated into a relentless campaign against several judges in the county.

From 2008 to April 2009 Harper filed at least ten pleadings to disqualify judges who were assigned to his mother’s case. His petitions were denied because his allegations had no factual basis. During the same period, he made several misrepresentations to the trial court and to the appellate court.

Ultimately, the Florida Supreme Court suspended Harper in 2011 for 90 days in connection with his misconduct. Because his misconduct in Florida also violated the laws of California, the State Bar recommended a 90-day suspension. However, the California Supreme Court concluded that Harper’s misconduct warranted more discipline. It found Harper culpable of failing to competently perform legal services, making statements without an objectively reasonable factual basis, failing to obey a court order, and making false statements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Harper committed multiple acts of wrongdoing and demonstrated a lack of insight and indifference about his misconduct. In mitigation, Harper had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1984. The order took effect March 21, 2014

Nathan V. Hoffman, State Bar #135155, Los Angeles (February 24, 2014). Hoffman, 53, was suspended for 30 days and was placed on two years of probation for willfully disobeying or violating court orders, improperly withdrawing from representation, and failing to report sanctions imposed against him.

In January 2012 Hoffman represented a defendant in a breach of contract case. The court conducted an initial status conference and then referred the case to mediation, which was to be completed by May 2012. However, Hoffman repeatedly failed to comply with the court’s orders by failing to cooperate with opposing counsel in completing mediation, failing to appear for a post-mediation status conference, and failing to appear for an order to show cause hearing on why he and his client should not be sanctioned for his previous acts. As a result, the court imposed a total of $3,000 in sanctions against him and his client, jointly and severally. Hoffman also withdrew from representation without filing a proper substitution of attorney or a motion to withdraw. Next, Hoffman failed to appear for another order to show cause hearing, resulting in the court striking the defendant’s answer and entering a default judgment against him. Neither Hoffman nor his client paid the sanctions. Additionally, Hoffman did not report the monetary sanctions ordered against him. He eventually paid the sanctions after having been informed that the court had reported him to the State Bar for an investigation.

In aggravation, Hoffman had a record of prior discipline. He also engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused his client significant harm. In mitigation, Hoffman cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 26, 2014

Joshua S. Mayesh, State Bar #193282, Los Angeles (February 13, 2014). Mayesh, 43, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for failing to comply with MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In January 2012 Mayesh reported to the State Bar that he was exempt from the MCLE requirements because he was an employee of the state of California. However, Mayesh was actually employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is not a state entity. Although he had an honest belief that he was exempt from the MCLE requirements, his belief was unreasonable. He later took the necessary MCLE courses to come into compliance.

In mitigation, Mayesh cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

John C. Monohan, State Bar #141092, Lucerne Valley (February 13, 2014). Monohan, 68, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for failing to comply with MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In January 2012 Monohan reported to the State Bar that he was in compliance with his MCLE requirements when he was not. After being contacted by membership services regarding an audit of his compliance, Monohan took additional MCLE courses necessary to meet his requirements.

In mitigation, Monohan had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1989. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Roger A. Moore, State Bar #146375, Stockton (February 27, 2014). Moore, 53, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to keep all agreements made in lieu of disciplinary prosecution, failing to cooperate with a disciplinary investigation, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In May 2008 Moore was hired to prosecute a personal injury lawsuit on a client’s behalf. Moore did not immediately file the lawsuit, and he failed to file it before the statute of limitations had expired. Moore eventually dismissed the lawsuit after realizing it had no merit. The State Bar then initiated an investigation against him, based on a complaint from his client. During the investigation, Moore claimed he had legal malpractice insurance coverage, although he did not. He later entered into an Agreement in Lieu of Discipline, which required Moore to comply with certain conditions. He failed to meet the conditions by not informing his client that his legal malpractice insurance had lapsed. A State Bar investigator later sent Moore a letter of inquiry, but Moore did not respond to it.

In aggravation, Moore engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his client. In mitigation, Moore had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1990. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 29, 2014

Mark S. Mooschekian, State Bar #82423, San Clemente (February 11, 2014). Mooschekian, 59, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that he had complied with his MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Mooschekian had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1978. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 13, 2014

Michael Parra, State Bar #216596, Santa Ana (February 13, 2014). Parra, 45, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries, disobeying a court order, failing to report an order of discipline, failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation, failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to release client papers, and failing to refund unearned fees. In March 2012 Parra was ordered in a federal civil matter to file both paper and electronic copies of claim-initiating documents. Parra failed to comply with the court order. In June 2012 he failed to appear at a hearing on an order to show cause as to why $500 in sanctions should not be imposed against him. The court ultimately increased the sanctions to $1,500. Parra never reported the sanctions to the State Bar and did not respond to letters sent by a State Bar investigator looking into a complaint about his conduct.

In a second matter, in November 2011 a client hired Parra to represent her interests as a plaintiff in a pending civil matter. The client paid Parra $2,500 in advance fees. Between November 2011 and April 2012 the client made weekly phone calls to Parra and left messages inquiring into the status of her case. Parra did not respond to the calls, but he spoke with the client in June 2012. In November 2012 Parra finally informed the client that he would take no further action in her case because his research established that her claim would fail. The client requested an accounting, the return of her file, and a refund of advance fees, but Parra did not comply.

In aggravation, Parra had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Parra cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Chad T. Pratt, State Bar #149746, Pasadena (February 11, 2014). Pratt, 50, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust, commingling funds, and failing to maintain a written ledger of client funds.

In aggravation, Pratt engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Pratt had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1990. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 13, 2014

Samuel J. Saltalamacchia, State Bar #94353, Tujunga (January 30, 2014). Saltalamacchia, 60, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a reproval action in 2008 and a probation action in 2011.

In aggravation, Saltalamacchia had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Saltalamacchia cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. Also, during the period of misconduct Saltalamacchia suffered from clinical depression. The order took effect March 1, 2014

Joseph Sclafani, State Bar #134026, Beverly Hills (February 13, 2014). Sclafani, 54, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to obtain his client’s informed consent before accepting compensation from someone other than his client, failing to promptly respond to reasonable status inquiries, failing to render proper accounts, failing to return client funds, failing to refund unearned fees, failing to cooperate with a disciplinary matter, and failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In October 2011 Sclafani was retained by a husband and wife to file a civil complaint against their lender. The clients paid Sclafani $6,200 in advance legal fees and $410 for costs. After that initial meeting, Sclafani did not meet with the clients again, despite their repeated requests. Sclafani also failed to respond to their emails, phone calls, and inquiries regarding the status of their case.

In February 2012 the clients terminated Sclafani’s employment, demanded an accounting, and requested a refund. Sclafani never filed a complaint on their behalf. He also never refunded the fees and costs.

In a second matter, a client retained Sclafani to represent her adult son in a criminal matter. The client paid Sclafani $2,500 in advance fees and advised him of the next court appearance date. However, Sclafani failed to appear and failed to communicate with either the client or her son. In addition, he did not obtain the son’s informed consent before accepting compensation from his mother. He also did not refund any portion of the unearned fees. The client filed a complaint against Sclafani with the State Bar, but Sclafani did not cooperate with the State Bar’s investigators.

In 2012 Sclafani entered into a stipulation with the State Bar that required him to comply with certain conditions to a reproval action. He was required to timely submit quarterly reports, pay $1,500 in restitution with interest, attend and pass the State Bar’s Ethics School, and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Sclafani made only one payment of $382, which was sufficient to satisfy accrued interest, and made no other attempt to pay restitution. He also failed to comply with the other conditions.

In aggravation, Sclafani had a record of prior discipline. He also committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Sclafani cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Roger W. Shpall, State Bar #47142, Beverly Hills (February 11, 2014). Shpall, 70, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to render appropriate accounts, failing to promptly disburse client funds, failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

In aggravation, Shpall engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. In mitigation, Shpall had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1970. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 13, 2014

Jason A. Smith, State Bar #237584, Mission Viejo (February 13, 2014). Smith, 40, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a), failing to respond to client inquiries, and failing to render appropriate accounts. He was charged with four counts of misconduct involving four client matters.

In aggravation, Smith committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused significant harm to his clients. Also, he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Smith had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2005. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Rosemary Stathakis-Cook, State Bar #104143, Sun City West, AZ (February 24, 2014). Stathakis-Cook, 56, was suspended for one year and placed on four years of probation following five alcohol-related driving convictions in Arizona, including felony aggravated assault, and a disciplinary decision by the Arizona Supreme Court issued largely as a result of those criminal convictions.

In aggravation, Stathakis-Cook had a record of prior discipline. Also, she committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed the other driver in one accident. In mitigation, Stathakis-Cook cooperated with the Arizona State Bar by entering into pleas of no contest in all five criminal matters against her. Also, at the time of her misconduct she was going through substance-abuse and emotional problems that she later took steps to address. The order took effect March 26, 2014

William F. Vogel, State Bar #119421, Van Nuys (February 27, 2014). Vogel, 58, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services and failing to keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments in the client’s case.

In January 2012 Vogel appeared in court on behalf of a client who had been involved in an automobile accident and was then cited by police. The court continued the client’s arraignment and plea, and Vogel received oral notice of the continued hearing. However, he did not inform the client of the continued hearing date. On that date, Vogel did not appear on the client’s behalf, and a bench warrant was issued for the client’s arrest. In July 2012 the client was arrested at his place of work for failing to appear. The client was released on bail and resolved the traffic matter on his own.

In aggravation, Vogel had a record of prior discipline. Also, his misconduct significantly harmed his client. In mitigation, Vogel cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 29, 2014

Dennis L. Wright, State Bar #60210, San Rafael (February 13, 2014). Wright, 68, was suspended for 120 days and placed on three years of probation for committing 14 counts of misconduct involving six client matters. Wright stipulated to repeatedly failing to competently perform legal services, failing to adequately communicate with clients, commingling funds, failing to promptly return his clients’ files, failing to promptly execute substitution of attorney forms and forward client files, failing to cooperate with the State Bar’s investigations, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Wright committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that involved client trust funds. Also, his misconduct significantly harmed his clients or the administration of justice. In mitigation, Wright had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1974. The order took effect March 15, 2014

Actions From Previous Issues

Daniel H. Afari, State Bar #237832, Beverly Hills (January 7, 2014). Afari, 36, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriating funds, failing to promptly pay client funds, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In aggravation, Afari committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar during its disciplinary proceedings and made restitution to his clients. At the time of his misconduct, Afari was experiencing emotional difficulties. The order took effect February 6, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Leon Arakelian, State Bar #243180, Pasadena (January 7, 2014). Arakelian, 38, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to respond to client inquiries, failing to refund unearned fees, failing to render appropriate accounts, engaging in acts of moral turpitude, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In aggravation, Arakelian committed multiple acts of wrongdoing in four client matters. In addition, his misconduct caused his clients significant harm, and he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Arakelian had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2006. The order took effect February 6, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Terri L. Brewer, State Bar #212743, Concord (February 6, 2014). Brewer, 54, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriating client funds, failing to promptly disburse funds a client was entitled to receive, and committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In aggravation, Brewer committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed her client. In mitigation, Brewer had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2001. Also, she cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

David J. Carriere, State Bar #178002, Corte Madera (January 14, 2014). Carriere, 44, was suspended for one year for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Carriere had a record of prior discipline, and he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. The order took effect February 13, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Byron E. Congdon, State Bar #123286, San Bernardino (January 14, 2014). Congdon, 67, was suspended for two years for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Congdon had a record of prior discipline, and he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. The order took effect February 13, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Martin I. Cutler, State Bar #139536, Los Angeles (January 7, 2014). Cutler, 50, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for commingling funds, engaging in acts of moral turpitude, and failing to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation.

In aggravation, Cutler committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, he had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1989. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect February 6, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Jon J. Eardley, State Bar #132577, Aliso Viejo (January 30, 2014). Eardley, 53, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for appearing for a party without authority, making false representations, issuing checks against insufficient funds, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In 2007 Eardley, through his attorney, filed an application to stay a nonjudicial foreclosure action, with supporting declarations. The court granted a stay of the foreclosure proceeding. Later, Eardley filed an ex parte application for a stay of foreclosure in another matter. He stated that he had not previously applied to any judicial officer for relief, and had given notice to the opposing party. Neither statement was true.

In a second matter, in February 2008 Eardley informed the court that he was representing Britney Spears, whom the court had ruled incapacitated. Eardley filed to remove the Spears conservatorship action to federal court. However, Eardley was not then the attorney for Spears and never had been. By falsely representing that he was Spears’s attorney, Eardley committed an act of dishonesty. Spears incurred fees to defend against Eardley’s action.

In a third matter, from August to October 2009 Eardley repeatedly issued checks against insufficient funds in his client trust account.

In aggravation, Eardley committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, and he failed to participate in a disciplinary proceeding against him. In mitigation, Eardley had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1987. The order took effect March 1, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Steven A. Geringer, State Bar #107826, Madera (January 15, 2014). Geringer, 63, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for improperly withdrawing from employment.

In December 2008 Geringer substituted into a client’s lawsuit against the City of Madera Police Department for alleged civil rights violations. In 2010 the city filed two motions for summary judgment. Geringer believed filing an opposition would be futile, and he conveyed that opinion to his client. Later, Geringer urged his client to seek other representation if he decided to file an opposition. Geringer enclosed a substitution of attorney for the client’s signature, but the client never signed it. As such, the substitution of attorney was invalid.

The district court ultimately granted the city’s motions for summary judgment. Geringer informed his client there was no basis for filing an appeal. Between March 2010 and April 2011 Geringer took no action on the client’s behalf. He neither advised the court that he was no longer representing the client, nor sought permission to withdraw from representation.

In 2011 the client filed a motion for reconsideration and executed the 2010 substitution of attorney. The client also asked whether he could represent himself. He claimed he was not aware of the city’s motions for summary judgment, and therefore had not filed a response. A magistrate judge later found that Geringer had effectively abandoned the client. In addition, the judge recommended that the district court provide relief by granting the client’s motion for reconsideration and setting aside the summary judgment motions in the city’s favor.

In aggravation, Geringer had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect February 14, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Richard K. Griffith, State Bar #41807, Honolulu, HI (February 6, 2014). Griffith, 76, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In 2012 Griffith entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar regarding conditions to his suspension and period of probation. He was required to timely submit written quarterly reports, complete six hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) in legal ethics, pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), complete the Ethics School’s client trust accounting program, and make timely restitution payments. Griffith failed to comply with the conditions.

In aggravation, Griffith had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that demonstrated indifference to his misconduct. In mitigation, Griffith cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Allen J. Gross, State Bar #141082, Pacific Palisades (February 6, 2014). Gross, 65, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation following his misdemeanor convictions for failing to file his individual state tax returns.

In 2012 Gross pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of violating § 19701 of the California Revenue & Taxation Code, having failed to file income tax returns for the years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. He was sentenced to three years of summary probation, ten days in county jail, and 500 hours of community service and ordered to pay restitution of $171,103 in taxes and $33,932 in investigation costs.

In aggravation, Gross engaged in a pattern of misconduct. In mitigation, he had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1989, and he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Shawn M. Haggerty, State Bar #219231, Hacienda Heights (January 30, 2014). Haggerty, 53, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries, failing to refund unearned fees, failing to return client property, and committing an act involving moral turpitude.

In July 2011 a client paid Haggerty $1,500 in advance fees to file petitions to expunge several criminal convictions. However, Haggerty failed to perform any legal services of value, and did not seek to have the records expunged. The client sent Haggerty several messages requesting status updates, but Haggerty failed to respond. When Haggerty finally did respond, he lied and told the client that he had filed an expungement motion, when he had not. The client continued to send status inquiries, but Haggerty did not respond.

In May 2012 the client learned that no petitions had been filed on her behalf, and she notified Haggerty that she would be requesting a refund. Again, Haggerty did not respond. When the client went to Haggerty’s office, she learned he no longer worked there. The client was unable to locate Haggerty or contact him. Eventually, the client filed a complaint with the State Bar, and Haggerty returned the client’s file. However, he did not refund $1,500 in unearned fees.

In aggravation, Haggerty engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused significant harm to his client. In addition, he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Haggerty had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2002, and he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 1, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Stephen A. Harvey, State Bar #47976, Willow Creek (January 15, 2014). Harvey, 72, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for practicing law while on inactive status resulting from his failure to comply with the State Bar’s minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Harvey engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused harm to the administration of justice. In mitigation, Harvey had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1971. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect February 14, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Bradley L. Jensen, State Bar #182272, Aliso Viejo (January 15, 2014). Jensen, 47, was suspended for 120 days and placed on two years of probation following his conviction for misdemeanor child endangerment. In March 2011 Jensen, along with his wife and two children, visited Los Angeles and stayed at a hotel in Santa Monica. While his wife was away working, Jensen left his nine-month-old daughter napping in her crib and went for a walk with his three-year-old son. His daughter’s crib was placed in the bathtub of the hotel room. A hotel bellman later found the baby crying in the bathroom, and hotel staff attempted to contact Jensen. Jensen returned at least 40 minutes later and was confronted by police officers. The officers concluded that the children were in an unsafe environment, arrested Jensen, and took the children into protective custody.

Jensen was charged with violating Penal Code § 273(a), subdivision (b) (misdemeanor child endangerment). In November 2011 Jensen pleaded no contest to the charge. The superior court sentenced him to two years of informal probation, imposed a fine, granted credit for one day in jail, and ordered Jensen to complete 52 weeks of parenting classes.

In aggravation, Jensen had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, he promptly accepted responsibility for his misconduct, and he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect February 14, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Michael S. Kendall, State Bar #248957, Loma Linda (February 6, 2014). Kendall, 39, was suspended for 60 days and placed on one year of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that he had complied with his MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Kendall had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2007, and he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

William H. Kerry, State Bar #76995, Seal Beach (January 30, 2014). Kerry, 66, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that he had complied with his MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Kerry had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1977, and he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 1, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Steele Lanphier, State Bar #146163, Sacramento (February 6, 2014). Lanphier, 67, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for commingling funds.

Lanphier operated a client trust account (CTA) for his law firm, with client funds segregated from nonclient funds. In early 2011 the State Bar learned that Lanphier had written checks against insufficient funds in the CTA. An investigator wrote to him regarding the matter, advising him of the consequences of continuing to do so.

Despite the warning, Lanphier continued to write checks against insufficient funds in the CTA. The State Bar then filed a notice of disciplinary charges against him. Lanphier later admitted to depositing nonclient funds into the CTA, and that he had paid personal and business expenses from it.

In aggravation, Lanphier engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing, and he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Lanphier had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1990, and he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Kimuel W. Lee, State Bar #141518, Baton Rouge, LA (February 6, 2014). Lee, 53, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for committing legal misconduct in another jurisdiction.

In October 1999 Lee was hired by the co-executors of an estate to handle the deceased’s succession. Lee claimed he performed 171.4 hours of work for $51,420. He claimed fees of $13,820 but collected only $6,910—which was still considerably higher than the rate normally charged in the locality for similar services. Lee later negotiated reduction of a fee due to a hospital by $1,169, but rather than returning the difference to the estate, he kept the funds for himself. When the executors later learned of his actions, Lee returned $769 to the estate. The executors then filed a complaint with the Louisiana State Bar. Eventually, the Louisiana Supreme Court found that Lee had failed to provide competent representation to a client, charged an unreasonable fee, and failed to timely remit client funds.

In aggravation, Lee committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, he had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1989. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

James H. Lehr, State Bar #90371, Pacific Palisades (February 6, 2014). Lehr, 60, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for making court appearances while on inactive status, acts involving moral turpitude.

In May 2012 the California Supreme Court entered an order suspending Lehr from the practice of law for failure to comply with MCLE requirements. While enrolled as inactive in July 2012, Lehr made a special appearance in a marital dissolution case. Later that year, Lehr again made a special appearance. At no time did Lehr inform the court of the status of his law license.

In aggravation, Lehr committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Lehr had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1979, and he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Sergio J. Lopez, State Bar #259288, Santa Ana (February 6, 2014). Lopez, 38, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation following his misdemeanor conviction for possessing a firearm while under a criminal protective order, an act warranting attorney discipline.

In September 2011 the Los Angeles Superior Court filed a criminal protective order against Lopez, ordering him to have no contact with the woman complainant and prohibiting him from owning, possessing, or purchasing a firearm. Lopez also was required to relinquish any firearms during the period of the criminal protective order.

The following January, while the order remained in effect, Lopez met with a client he was representing in a marital dissolution. The client brought a gun to the meeting and gave it to Lopez, asking that he return the gun to her husband. Lopez’s assistant later placed the gun in Lopez’s briefcase, without his knowledge. The next day, when Lopez entered a courthouse for an appearance in another matter, a security guard discovered the gun as the briefcase passed through an x-ray machine.

Lopez was remanded and charged with violation of Penal Code § 171b(a) (unlawfully possessing a handgun within a courtroom and building designated as a courthouse and court building and at a meeting required to be open to the public) and § 29825(a) (unlawfully purchasing or receiving a firearm while knowingly prohibited from doing so by a temporary restraining order, an injunction, or a protective order).

In September 2012 Lopez pleaded nolo contendere to one misdemeanor count of Penal Code § 29825(a). The court sentenced Lopez to 120 days in jail with credit for time served, and ordered him to pay a fine and fees.

In aggravation, Lopez had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Cesar A. Lopez, State Bar #195868, Pico Rivera (December 31, 2013). Lopez, 47, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In March 2011 Lopez entered into a stipulation with the State Bar that required him to comply with certain conditions to a disciplinary order. Lopez, however, failed to contact the Office of Probation by the agreed deadline, failed to submit written quarterly reports in a timely manner, failed to pay required restitution to one of his former clients, and failed to provide proof that he had attended State Bar Ethics School.

In aggravation, Lopez had a record of prior discipline, and he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, at the time of his misconduct Lopez was experiencing personal problems. He cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 30, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Marjan Mortazavi, State Bar #189701, San Diego (January 15, 2014). Mortazavi, 42, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for practicing law while on inactive status, an act involving moral turpitude.

In July 2012 Mortazavi was suspended from practice until the 30th of that month for failing to comply with the State Bar’s MCLE requirements. During the time Mortazavi was ineligible to practice, she filed 13 bankruptcy petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. She also represented clients in a bankruptcy petition, and filed a motion on her clients’ behalf. At no time did Mortazavi inform her clients, opposing counsel, the bankruptcy trustees, or the court that she was not entitled to practice.

On July 31, 2012 opposing counsel inquired about Mortazavi’s status, and she admitted she had not been entitled to practice law. As a result, the bankruptcy court ordered Mortazavi to file a declaration explaining the circumstances of her inactive status. Mortazavi contacted all of the involved parties to inform them that she had not been entitled to practice. She later entered an agreement with the bankruptcy trustees to return a portion of her attorneys fees. Finally, the bankruptcy court determined that her inactive status had not affected her clients’ case, and permitted Mortazavi to continue representing them.

In aggravation, Mortazavi committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, she had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1997, and she cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect February 14, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Lisa B. Nevarez, State Bar #206226, Cypress (January 14, 2014). Nevarez, 43, 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 February 2013 Nevarez violated the terms of her criminal probation following convictions for driving under the influence of drugs in 2007 and driving under the influence of alcohol in 2012. The State Bar had determined that these offenses did not involve moral turpitude, but involved other misconduct warranting discipline. As a condition of her disciplinary probation, she was required to comply with all the terms of her criminal probation.

In aggravation, Nevarez had a record of prior discipline. Also, she committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. The order took effect February 13, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Janice E. Polglase, State Bar #140759, Fresno (December 31, 2013). Polglase, 54, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation following her conviction for petty theft, an act involving moral turpitude.

In March 2008 Polglase entered a retail store and hid $487 worth of merchandise in her bag. She then left the store without paying for the merchandise. The store’s security employees caught Polglase and called the police. Polglase was arrested, and she admitted stealing the items.

Shortly afterward, Polglase voluntarily sought help through the Lawyer Assistance Program and reported the criminal case to the State Bar. The following February, she pleaded no contest to violating Penal Code § 484(a), petty theft, a misdemeanor. She was given a suspended sentence of three years.

In mitigation, Polglase had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1989. She was continuing ongoing professional medical and psycho/medical treatment that began before the incident. Also, she cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 30, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Verne C. Scholl, State Bar #48634, Carlsbad (January 30, 2014). Scholl, 71, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in other states, accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a), failing to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriating funds, and failing to promptly return client funds.

In aggravation, Scholl engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, he had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1971. Also, he cooperated by admitting his misconduct and showed remorse by repaying his client. The order took effect March 1, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Jose A. Velasco, State Bar #94407, Fullerton (January 30, 2014). Velasco, 59, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriating client funds, and issuing checks against insufficient funds.

In aggravation, Velasco engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Velasco had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1980, and he displayed candor and cooperated during the proceedings. The order took effect March 1, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.

Burke W. Willsey, State Bar #68510, Shadow Hills (January 15, 2014). Willsey, 80, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In August 2011 the State Bar Court placed Willsey on probation, requiring him to comply with various terms and conditions. However, Willsey failed to timely submit two written quarterly reports, and he failed to timely pay restitution to two clients.

In aggravation, Willsey had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Willsey cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect February 14, 2014

This action originally appeared in our May 2014 issue.

Jack M. Winick, State Bar #68512, San Diego (February 6, 2014). Winick, 76, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for commingling client funds.

In aggravation, Winick engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Winick had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1976, and he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect March 8, 2014

This action originally appeared in our June 2014 issue.