MAGAZINE
California Lawyer

DISBARMENT

James W. Bravos, State Bar #138097, San Diego (December 28, 2011). Bravos, 56, was disbarred for failing to competently perform legal services, accepting representation of more than one client in a matter involving a potential conflict of interest, engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, failing to obey a court order, collecting an illegal fee, failing to keep a client informed of significant developments, failing to provide an accounting, failing to promptly refund unearned fees, and committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In aggravation, Bravos had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused serious harm to his clients. He also failed to participate in the disciplinary proceedings. The order took effect January 27, 2012

Christian M. Dillon, State Bar #89376, Dana Point (November 30, 2011). Dillon, 67, was disbarred for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to respond to reasonable client inquiries, failing to refund unearned fees, improperly withdrawing from representation, collecting illegal fees, and holding himself out as an attorney in jurisdictions where he was not licensed.

Between October 2008 and August 2009 eight California clients retained Dillon to help negotiate home loan modifications. The clients each paid Dillon between $1,500 and $3,495 in legal fees. Dillon, however, failed to negotiate and obtain loan modifications, and he performed no other legal services of value. He failed to respond to reasonable client inquiries regarding the status of their matters.

During the same period of misconduct Dillon also represented clients from Hawaii, Tennessee, and New York for legal help regarding their loan modifications. The clients each paid Dillon between $2,500 and $3,950 in advance fees, notwithstanding the fact that he was not licensed to practice law in those states.

In August 2009 Dillon resigned from the State Bar, thereby terminating his employment with his clients. Dillon’s phone lines were disconnected, and his clients were unable to contact him. To date Dillon had not refunded unearned legal fees paid by his loan modification clients.

In aggravation, Dillon had a record of prior discipline. His wrongdoing involved 14 matters that caused significant harm to clients and demonstrated a pattern of misconduct. In mitigation, Dillon cooperated with the State Bar during its investigation and proceedings. The order took effect December 30, 2011

Juan M. Falcon, State Bar #177400, Fresno (December 12, 2011). Falcon, 44, was disbarred for failing to comply with rule 9.20 of the Rules of Court and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In October 2009 Falcon was suspended from practice for one year. Conditions to the discipline required Falcon to notify clients of his suspension within 30 days and file an affidavit of compliance within 40 days. He failed to timely comply with the conditions.

In aggravation, Falcon had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, several witnesses detailed Falcon’s good character. The order took effect January 11, 2012

Wayne M. Fong, State Bar #158172, San Francisco (December 28, 2011). Fong, 49, was disbarred for engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption. Between April 1999 and January 2010 Fong was employed as associate counsel and vice president with a financial services firm. He diverted funds belonging to the firm into several bank accounts under fictitious business names, converting approximately $500,000 for his own use. When a compliance officer discovered Fong’s misconduct, the company filed a civil complaint against him.

In aggravation, Fong engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused serious harm to his employer. In mitigation, Fong had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1992. During the time of the misconduct he had a gambling disorder. Once he was confronted, Fong acknowledged and took responsibility for his misconduct.

The order took effect January 27, 2012

Craig D. Foster, State Bar #179488, Haleiwa, HI (January 5, 2012). Foster, 61, was disbarred for failing to comply with state and federal laws and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption. Foster, a dentist licensed in California, practiced dentistry from September 1975 to June 2001. He was admitted to the State Bar in December 1995. His dental practice specialized in temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) treatment, using narcotics for pain relief, sleep, and muscle relaxation.

Foster generally worked alone during therapy sessions, which lasted one to two hours at a time. Foster had sexual liaisons with drug-dependent patients, to whom he supplied medications. Dentists are prohibited from engaging in sexual relations with patients, unless the patient is the dentist’s spouse or is in a domestic relationship with the dentist. Foster’s misconduct violated state and federal laws. In June 2001 his dental license was revoked due to his misconduct. A superior court affirmed the revocation of his dental license in 2009.

In aggravation, Foster had a record of prior discipline, and he lacked insight into his wrongdoing. In mitigation, seven persons attested to his good character. The order took effect February 4, 2012

Samuel L. Hart, State Bar #66135, West Hills (January 10, 2012). Hart, 68, was disbarred for failing to promptly respond to reasonable client inquiries, failing to provide an accounting, misappropriating client funds, and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In aggravation, Hart had a record of prior discipline. Also, his misconduct involved wrongdoing in two client matters. In mitigation, Hart cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. The order took effect February 9, 2012

Susan L. Hornsby, State Bar #216920, Alto, TX (December 28, 2011). Hornsby, 57, was disbarred for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In 2010 Hornsby was publicly reproved in connection with a no contest plea to a misdemeanor violation of driving under the influence of alcohol. That same year she again pleaded no contest to misdemeanor DUI violations, driving while her license was suspended under a prior DUI conviction, and operating a vehicle without a functioning interlock device. Hornsby’s State Bar discipline required her to comply with various conditions. She failed to timely comply, failed to attend eight self-help meetings, failed to provide lab-screening reports to the Office of Probation, and failed to update her membership records until June 2011.

In aggravation, Hornsby had a record of prior discipline, and she engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that demonstrated a pattern of misconduct. Also, she failed to cooperate during the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. The order took effect January 27, 2012

Tanmay P. Mistry, State Bar #251425, Hacienda Heights (January 12, 2012). Mistry, 32, was disbarred for forming a partnership with a nonattorney, failing to competently perform legal services, failing to inform clients of significant developments, failing to refund unearned fees, and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In late 2008 Mistry was affiliated with a loan modification business owned and operated by persons not licensed to practice law in California. Police officers investigating the business contacted Mistry because it appeared to be operating under his name. Mistry denied knowing about the business and claimed he was the victim of identity theft. He told the State Bar the business had used his name without his permission. In fact, Mistry had a business agreement with the operation to receive $4,000 a month in exchange for authorizing it to use his name, law license, letterhead, signature, and retainer agreements.

In addition, the loan modification business filed fraudulent grant deeds and bankruptcy petitions on behalf of clients without their knowledge or consent. Mistry knew of these practices, but did nothing to stop them. In one of eight client matters, in May 2009 two clients hired Mistry through the loan modification business to represent them. They paid the business $2,995 in advance fees. Mistry failed to contact the clients’ lender, and he did not comply when the clients requested a refund.

In aggravation, Mistry’s wrongdoing significantly harmed his clients, the public, or the administration of justice. He demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for the consequences of his misconduct. In mitigation, Mistry had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2007. During the period of his misconduct he experienced extreme emotional difficulties due to substance abuse and mental health problems. The order took effect February 11, 2012

Lucinda K. Moreno, State Bar #136850, El Monte (December 13, 2011). Moreno, 55, was disbarred for engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In 1993 Moreno was appointed a successor trustee of a family trust and agreed to serve without pay. The trust had been created by Moreno’s relative for the benefit of the relative’s family members, who were all disabled.

Thereafter, Moreno caused the decedent’s wife to sign a grant deed conveying title to the family home out of the trust. She did this by concealing the true nature, contents, and effect of the document. Soon after, a $75,000 loan was issued under the wife’s name without her consent. Moreno deposited the net proceeds of the loan into the trust bank account and later engaged in several other fraudulent transactions. From December 2003 to May 2009 Moreno withdrew at least $113,048 from the trust account for her personal use. Because the wife was unaware she owed mortgage payments, her house went into foreclosure in January 2010.

In aggravation, Moreno had a record of prior discipline. Further, she committed multiple acts of misconduct that caused serious harm to the trustor and trust beneficiaries. In mitigation, Moreno cooperated during the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. The order took effect January 12, 2012

Jon M. Smith, State Bar #166458, La Palma (December 12, 2012). Smith, 51, was disbarred for failing to promptly disburse client funds, failing to respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries, threatening to file criminal charges on a client’s behalf, and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In aggravation, Smith had a record of prior discipline. He committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed a client, and he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for the consequences of his misconduct. In addition, he failed to participate in the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. The order took effect January 11, 2012

Steven J. Stanwyck, State Bar #48728, Santa Monica (January 12, 2012). Stanwyck, 67, was disbarred for maintaining unjust actions in state and federal courts.

In October 1999 Stanwyck sought to arbitrate a matter against a telecommunications company. Upon being informed that he would have to pay a filing fee, he refused to do so and filed suit in state court. The company removed the case to federal district court, and all of Stanwyck’s claims were dismissed.

The federal court directed Stanwyck to pay the filing fee, but he still refused to do so and filed a new demand for arbitration. The district court again dismissed Stanwyck’s action and concluded that Stanwyck had abused the court’s process.

After Stanwyck filed several unsuccessful lawsuits against the telecommunications company, it filed a motion in 2001 to declare Stanwyck a vexatious litigant. The superior court granted the motion after finding that in seven years, Stanwyck had commenced more than five lawsuits that were finally determined adversely against him. The superior court found that he had repeatedly relitigated issues, filed unmeritorious pleadings, and engaged in frivolous tactics solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.

In aggravation, Stanwyck’s misconduct caused significant harm to the administration of justice. He committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, and showed a lack of insight and remorse. In mitigation, Stanwyck had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1971. The order took effect February 11, 2012

SUSPENSION

Drago C. Baric, State Bar #105383, San Pedro (November 30, 2011). Baric, 55, was suspended for 18 months and placed on three years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust and failing to promptly return unearned fees.

In March 2008 Baric was hired and paid $5,000 in advance fees to represent a client in an appeal. Baric filed no opening brief and was served notice that the appeal would be dismissed if an opening brief were not filed within 30 days. The client then terminated Baric’s employment, and Baric was granted a motion to be relieved as counsel. But when the client requested a refund of the advance fees, Baric did not comply.

That same year, Baric issued 31 checks drawn from his client trust account to pay for personal expenses. On 15 occasions he deposited personal funds into his client trust account.

In aggravation, Baric had a record of prior discipline. He was found culpable of three acts of misconduct in two client matters, and for three years he failed to refund unearned fees. Also, Baric failed to cooperate with the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. The order took effect January 27, 2012

Susan L. Dill, State Bar #132607, Kansas City, MO (December 28, 2011). Dill, 55, was suspended for two years for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In October 2010 Dill was placed on two years of probation. She was required to contact the Office of Probation within 30 days, but Dill failed to contact the office and failed to timely file quarterly reports.

In aggravation, Dill had a record of prior discipline, her misconduct significantly harmed the administration of justice. The order took effect January 27, 2012

David R. Endres, State Bar #123564, Davis (December 13, 2011). Endres, 62, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for aiding in the unauthorized practice of law and misleading judicial officers.

Endres was a sole practitioner representing clients who wanted to evict tenants from their property. In 2009 he employed several nonattorney staff, who were supervised by nonattorney paralegal assistants. In most cases Endres had nonattorneys sign court documents, using his name. Endres did not review and had no input on any of the documents that were submitted to the court.

By failing to supervise his staff, delegating nonattorneys to provide legal advice, and permitting nonattorneys to sign his name on legal documents, he aided in the unauthorized practice of law. Further, Endres misled the court when he claimed he had read the complaints filed under his name and was aware of their contents.

In mitigation, Endres had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1986. He cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings, and has modified his law practice to include attorney oversight in all stages. The order took effect January 12, 2012

Matthew J. Fairshter, State Bar #131667, Los Angeles (December 12, 2011). Fairshter, 50, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for misconduct in a Colorado bankruptcy matter. The bankruptcy court later sanctioned Fairshter, and the disciplinary panel of the federal district court in Colorado suspended him for three years.

In aggravation, Fairshter had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Fairshter’s client provided a declaration attesting that he had suffered no harm from Fairshter’s actions and was fully aware of the potential conflict of interest. Also, Fairshter cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings and entered into a stipulation. The order took effect January 11, 2012

William T. Hays, State Bar #20286, Newport Beach (December 13, 2011). Hays, 90, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for collecting an illegal fee, failing to keep a client informed of significant developments, failing to provide an accounting, failing to return client files upon termination of employment, and practicing law in a state in violation of the regulations in that jurisdiction.

In 1 of 14 matters, in August 2010 a client consulted Hays about loan modification services. During the consultation, the client provided Hays with his bank information and was assured that no fees would be withdrawn prior to the performance of services. Before execution of the attorney-client agreement, Hays’s services were terminated. Hays then collected $874 from the client’s bank account without the client’s knowledge or consent. When the client requested a refund, Hays refused to provide it.

In aggravation, Hays’s clients were seriously harmed by his misconduct. Twelve clients were harmed by repeated acts of wrongdoing, and Hays demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, he had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1949. The order took effect January 12, 2012

Stanley G. Hilton, State Bar #65990, San Francisco (November 30, 2011). Hilton, 62, was suspended for three years and placed on five years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments, failing to respond to reasonable client status inquiries, seeking to mislead a judicial officer, failing to maintain respect due to the courts, failing to promptly refund unearned fees, failing to provide an accounting, filing a false police report, and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In aggravation, Hilton engaged in repeated acts of wronging that showed a pattern of misconduct. Also, he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for the consequences of his misconduct. In mitigation, Hilton had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1975, and he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect December 30, 2011

Barry J. Post, State Bar #72286, San Pedro (November 30, 2011). Post, 60, was suspended for three years and placed on four years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In 1999 Post was placed on five years of probation. Conditions to the discipline required him to submit client matters to binding fee arbitration and to pay restitution to identified individuals. He failed to pay restitution.

In 2004 his probation was extended and the restitution conditions were modified. Post failed to comply with the requirements.

In aggravation, Post had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that demonstrated a pattern of misconduct. In mitigation, during the period of misconduct Post had mental and physical illnesses. The order took effect December 30, 2011

Charles D. Trejo, State Bar #187529, Los Angeles (December 12, 2012). Trejo, 50, 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 January 2010 Trejo was placed on two years of probation. Conditions to the discipline required him to pay restitution to two individuals, provide proof of his passage of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, attend ethics school, complete six hours of MCLE, join the Law Practice Management and Technology Section of the State Bar, and submit quarterly reports to the Office of Probation. He failed to timely comply with the conditions.

In aggravation, Trejo had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, at the time of his misconduct, Trejo experienced severe financial stress. Trejo admitted his misconduct, and he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 11, 2012

Gary C. Wykidal, State Bar #92437, Costa Mesa (November 30, 2011). Wykidal, 57, was suspended for 60 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust and commingling funds.

In aggravation, Wykidal’s misconduct involved a trust fund violation. In mitigation, Wykidal had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1980, and he cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. The order took effect December 30, 2011

PROBATION

Kaveh Ardalan, State Bar #188775, Santa Ana (November 30, 2011). Ardalan, 49, was placed on two years of probation for failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In 2008 Ardalan was placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services. In 2009, while still on probation, he refunded a $2,500 retainer to a former client, but the draft was returned for insufficient funds. Ardalan failed to cooperate in the State Bar’s investigation of the matter.

In aggravation, Ardalan had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Ardalan expressed remorse and admitted his wrongdoing. The order took effect December 31, 2011

Thomas J. Bayard, State Bar #226247, Diamond Bar (December 12, 2011). Bayard, 42, was placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, filing a civil action on a plaintiff’s behalf without her consent, failing to promptly respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries, failing to promptly refund unearned fees, and failing to promptly release a client’s files upon termination of employment. The order took effect January 11, 2012
Lorraine Dickson, State Bar #220841, Santa Ana (November 30, 2011). Dickson, 38, was placed on probation for one year for failing to competently perform legal services and failing to respond to clients’ reasonable status inquiries.

In mitigation, during the time of her misconduct Dickson experienced extreme emotional and physical difficulties. The order took effect December 30, 2011

Stanley L. Evans, State Bar #119091, Monterey (December 12, 2012). Evans, 59, was placed on five years of probation for failing to promptly respond to clients’ reasonable status inquiries in two criminal matters.

In aggravation, Evans had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Evans cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. The order took effect February 23, 2012

There are no recent disciplinary actions of this type.