MAGAZINE
California Lawyer

SUSPENSION

Jack I. Adler, State Bar #97380, Moreno Valley (December 3, 2013). Jack Israel Adler, State Bar # 97380, Moreno Valley (December 3). Adler, 66, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for failing to timely file a declaration of compliance with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In aggravation, Adler had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Adler cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. Also, during the period of misconduct Adler experienced serious physical difficulties. The order took effect January 2, 2014

Jeffrey A. Agnew, State Bar #105268, Ramona (October 29, 2013). Agnew, 57, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline. There was one other matter involving similar misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Agnew had a record of prior discipline. He committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Agnew cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Alfred O. Anyia, State Bar #183571, North Hollywood (December 31, 2013). Anyia, 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 aggravation, Anyia had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Anyia cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 30, 2014

Timothy B. Balcom, State Bar #190496, Roseville (October 29, 2013). Balcom, 49, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Balcom had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing and demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Robert W. Bates, State Bar #125291, Altadena (December 3, 2013). Bates, 52, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for failing to deposit client funds into a trust account, failing to promptly pay client funds, and committing an act involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Bates committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. In mitigation, Bates had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1986. Also, during the time of misconduct he experienced extreme emotional difficulties. The order took effect January 2, 2013

Lorna P. Brown, State Bar #133795, Berkeley (December 6, 2013). Brown, 67, was suspended for two years and was placed on three years of probation for failing to support the laws of California and committing acts involving moral turpitude dishonesty, or corruption.

In April 2009 Yusuf Bey IV was indicted on three counts of murder in Oakland. In August 2009 Brown was appointed to represent Bey after another attorney withdrew from the case. In March 2010 Brown visited Bey at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where Bey gave her legal documents, including grand jury transcripts, witness interview transcripts, and a sealed envelope addressed to Bey’s common-law wife. Bey asked Brown to give the documents to Aisha Taylor, his sister-in-law. A note in the sealed envelope referred to certain letters, instructing Bey’s wife to destroy them. Brown took the documents from Bey without seeking permission from jail officials.

Later that month Brown met with Taylor and gave her the documents, which Brown had placed in manila envelopes. Brown also gave Taylor a list of witnesses’ names, which Brown put into an envelope and addressed to Gary Popoff.

The next day, a confidential informant notified the district attorney’s office that Brown had delivered the documents to Taylor, and that Taylor would hand them over to Popoff, who the informant described as Bey’s “number one soldier.” Based on the informant’s tip, the district attorney’s office was able to recover the documents from Popoff. In April 2010 two investigators from the district attorney’s office interviewed Brown about her involvement in delivering the documents. Brown claimed she had permission from deputies to remove documents from the jail, denied knowing about a greeting card among the transcripts, and denied delivering a list of witnesses to Popoff. Afterward, Brown advised the court she had a conflict of interest, and she was removed from the case.

In August 2010 Brown submitted to a second interview with the district attorney’s office. She admitted that she had lied about the greeting card, and she also admitted delivering of list of witness names to Popoff. In June 2011 Bey was convicted on three counts of murder. Brown has not been charged with any crime.

In aggravation, Brown’s misconduct was surrounded by dishonesty and concealment. She committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed the administration of justice. In mitigation, Brown had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1988. Also, she cooperated with the investigation and proceedings, and she showed remorse for her misconduct. The order took effect January 5, 2014

James P. Chandler, State Bar #215886, Roseville (November 13, 2013). Chandler, 44, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to obey court orders, seeking to mislead a judge, failing to refund unearned fees, and committing acts involving moral turpitude. There were three other matters involving misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Chandler committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. Also, he demonstrated a lack of insight into his misconduct. In mitigation, Chandler had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2001. Also he cooperated by entering into a partial stipulation. The order took effect December 13, 2013

Kenneth M. Cooke, State Bar #159341, San Diego (November 20, 2013). Cooke, 47, was suspended for 120 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to provide appropriate accounts, and failing to return client funds.

In aggravation, Cooke had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Cooke presented evidence of his good character. The order took effect December 20, 2013

Michael H. Crosby, State Bar #125778, San Diego (December 16, 2013). Crosby, 62, 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 aggravation, Crosby had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing and demonstrated indifference regarding compliance with his professional obligations. The order took effect January 15, 2014

Shannon M. Dodge, State Bar #258335, Bakersfield (December 11, 2013). Dodge, 32, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation following her conviction for discharging a firearm within a city, a misdemeanor.

In March 2012 police were dispatched to Dodge’s apartment, where neighbors had reported hearing several gunshots. The police entered the apartment, which was empty, and recovered several bullet casings. The officers later received another call that Dodge had gone to another residential neighborhood and had begun firing rounds into the ground. The police soon found Dodge and arrested her.

In December 2012, Dodge entered a plead of no contest to one count of violating Municipal Code § 9.50.010 (discharging a firearm within city limits), a misdemeanor. Although the circumstances surrounding these events did not involve moral turpitude, they did involve other misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Dodge harmed her neighbors and others by placing them in fear for their safety. In mitigation, Dodge cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation.

Bruce W. Ebert, State Bar #151576, Roseville (December 3, 2013). Ebert, 62, was suspended for four months and placed on one year of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust.

In aggravation, Ebert committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Ebert had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1991. During the period of misconduct, Ebert experienced extreme emotional difficulties. Also, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 2, 2014

John M. Ebner, State Bar #100618, Long Beach (November 13, 2013). Ebner, 64, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to release a client file and failing to render appropriate accounts.

In aggravation, Ebner had a record of prior discipline. Also, he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Ebner cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect December 13, 2013

Gerald W. Filice, State Bar #99657, Sacramento (October 29, 2013). Filice, 57, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline and failing to cooperate with a disciplinary proceeding.

In aggravation, Filice had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing and demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Jeffrey A. Fishkin, State Bar #213021, Santa Clarita (December 18, 2013). Fishkin, 39, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to inform his client of significant developments in his case, misleading a judge, improperly withdrawing from employment, failing to promptly release the client’s file upon termination of employment, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In aggravation, Fishkin engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. In mitigation, Fishkin had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2001. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 17, 2014

Alexis Galindo, State Bar #136643, Long Beach (December 3, 2013). Galindo, 52, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to promptly notify a client of received funds, failing to promptly pay client funds, and failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries.

In aggravation, Galindo committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, Galindo had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1988. Also, during the period of misconduct Galindo experienced family problems. The order took effect January 2, 2013

Paul L. Giannini, State Bar #53593, Beverly Hills (October 29, 2013). Giannini, 66, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to notify a client of receiving client funds, failing to render appropriate accounts, and failing to promptly pay client funds.

In aggravation, Giannini committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. In mitigation, Giannini had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1972. He also stipulated to his misconduct and demonstrated recognition of his wrongdoing. In addition, during the period of misconduct Giannini experienced extreme emotional difficulties. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Dorothy D. Guillory, State Bar #114891, Oakland (November 20, 2013). Guillory, 64, was suspended for two years and placed on probation for four years for representing clients with conflicting interests, charging unconscionable fees, failing to obey a court order, and failing to report sanctions.

In aggravation, Guillory’s misconduct caused significant harm to her clients. In mitigation, Guillory had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1984. The order took effect December 20, 2013

Edward W. Haase, State Bar #189819, San Diego (December 9, 2013). Haase, 43, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for accepting fees from a third party to represent a client without obtaining the client’s informed written consent. He also sought to mislead a judge.

In August 2011 Haase was hired to represent a client’s brother, who was in immigration custody following a criminal conviction. Haase was hired to defend the brother in removal proceedings. However, Haase failed to obtain the brother’s written consent after informing him of the potential adverse consequences of the fee arrangement.

While preparing for the case, Haase drafted a petition using facts supplied by the client’s brother, but Haase failed to obtain his signature on the petition. Haase then forged the brother’s signature and attempted to mislead the court.

In aggravation, Haase had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Haase’s misconduct did not harm his client. Also, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 8, 2014

J. Clegg Ivey, State Bar #220680, Savannah, GA (December 3, 2013). Ivey, 42, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that he had complied with his MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Ivey demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Ivey had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2002. The order took effect January 2, 2014

Armen Janian, State Bar #102747, Glendale (November 13, 2013). Janian, 63, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for accepting advance fees in loan-modification matters, a violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a). There were also 15 matters involving similar misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Janian had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, during the period of misconduct Janian experienced extreme emotional difficulties. Also, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect December 13, 2013

Susan L. Jeffries, State Bar #95296, Alameda (). Jeffries, 68, was suspended for two years and placed on two years of probation for seeking to mislead a judge and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Jeffries had a record of prior discipline. Also, she committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, and her false testimony harmed the administration of justice. In mitigation, Jeffries cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation.

Michael K. Johnson, State Bar #210069, Elk Grove (November 13, 2013). Johnson, 44, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation following his misdemeanor conviction for accepting advance fees in loan-modification matters, a violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a).

In aggravation, Johnson’s misconduct resulted in significant harm to six separate clients. In mitigation, Johnson had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2000. Also, he showed remorse for and recognition of his wrongdoing. He pleaded no contest in his criminal matter, and he cooperated with the attorney general in its case against his employer, Flahive Law Offices. The order took effect December 13, 2013

Linda C. Jovich, State Bar #170900, Scotts Valley (December 18, 2013). Jovich, 55, was suspended for three years and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to communicate, commingling funds, misappropriating funds, improperly withdrawing from employment, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In aggravation, Jovich committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed her clients. Also, her misconduct was surrounded by concealment. In mitigation, Jovich had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1994. The order took effect January 17, 2014

Christian R. Juarez, State Bar #175611, San Pedro (December 9, 2013). Juarez, 45, 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 aggravation, Juarez had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Juarez cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 8, 2014

Corey M. Kagan, State Bar #228318, Pasadena (December 9, 2013). Kagan, 46, was suspended for 18 months and placed on three years of probation following convictions for violating Health and Safety Code § 11350(a) (possession of a controlled substance, heroin).

In November 2009 police officers checked on a motel with a reputation for being frequently used by narcotics users and sellers. They found Kagan there, with various drugs and drug paraphernalia in his room. Kagan was arrested but released on the scene. The district attorney’s office later filed a felony complaint against Kagan for possessing heroin. Kagan entered a plea of no contest and was admitted into a drug-treatment program. He was also sentenced to five years of probation.

In a second matter, in January 2010 police officers were dispatched to the Santa Monica Medical Center, where Kagan had been admitted while carrying various drugs and drug paraphernalia. Kagan pleaded no contest to two counts of possessing heroin. He was sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation. There were also three other matters involving misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Kagan committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Kagan cooperated with the State Bar during its investigation and proceedings. The order took effect January 8, 2014

Jennifer L. Kammerer, State Bar #204888, Sacramento (October 29, 2013). Kammerer, 44, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for sending emails to potential clients advertising her legal services while administratively suspended for not complying with her MCLE requirements.

In aggravation, Kammerer demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for her misconduct. In mitigation, Kammerer had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1999. Also, she cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Eugene D. Kim, State Bar #194100, Los Angeles (December 18, 2013). Kim, 51, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of suspension for failing to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriating funds, and failing to notify a client of receipt of funds.

In aggravation, Kim committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Kim had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1997. Also, he cooperated with the investigation and paid restitution to his clients. The order took effect January 17, 2014

Kenneth J. Kleinberg, State Bar #110732, Irvine (November 20, 2013). Kleinberg, 62, was suspended for nine months and placed on four years of probation following his successful completion of the State Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) and Alternative Discipline Program (ADP). In four disciplinary matters, Kleinberg stipulated that he willfully violated rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, failed to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline, and held himself out as entitled to practice law and then practiced law while he was not an active member of the State Bar.

In aggravation, Kleinberg had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, Kleinberg successfully completed the LAP and the ADP. The order took effect December 20, 2013

Jang H. Kwon, State Bar #259659, La Crescenta (October 29, 2013). Kwon, 36, 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, Kwon cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Andrew F. Linehan, State Bar #194350, Temecula (December 9, 2013). Linehan, 42, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with two sanctions orders, failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Linehan had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Linehan admitted culpability and cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 8, 2014

Rita Luevanos-Castro, State Bar #212576, Banning (November 13, 2013). Luevanos-Castro, 43, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for falsely reporting to the State Bar that she had complied with her MCLE requirements, an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Luevanos-Castro 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 December 13, 2013

Pablo A. Manga, State Bar #228582, San Francisco (December 3, 2013). Manga, 41, 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, Manga 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 January 2, 2014

Jim M. Marshall, Jr., State Bar #99911, Saint Helena (November 13, 2013). Marshall, 60, 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, Marshall had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1981. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect December 13, 2013

Willard P. McCrone, State Bar #74763, Monterey (December 11, 2013). McCrone, 67, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for holding himself out as entitled to practice law, and then practicing law, while not authorized to do so. Also, McCrone concealed his inactive status from his client, which constituted an act involving moral turpitude.

In mitigation, McCrone had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1977. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 10, 2014

Victor D. Mireles, State Bar #249298, San Diego (November 13, 2013). Mireles, 36, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Mireles had a record of prior discipline. In the present case, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Mireles cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect December 13, 2013

Timothy D. Myers, State Bar #199356, Huntington Beach (December 11, 2013). Myers, 46, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to promptly refund unearned fees, and committing an act involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Myers committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his client. In mitigation, Myers had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1998. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 10, 2014

Kevin M. O'Casey, State Bar #159858, Fresno (October 29, 2013). O’Casey, 59, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for failing to communicate with a client, failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline, and failing to cooperate with a disciplinary proceeding.

In aggravation, O’Casey had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, O’Casey’s misconduct did not harm his client. O’Casey also cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation, and he showed remorse for his wrongdoing. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Iwo Ostoja-Lojasiewicz, State Bar #244259, San Diego (November 13, 2013). Ostoja-Lojasiewicz, 33, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for improperly communicating with a judge.

In April 2011 Ostoja-Lojasiewicz sent a letter to superior court Judge Timothy B. Taylor regarding a recently decided matter involving a client. At the time, Ostoja-Lojasiewicz was neither a party to the action nor representing a party. Upon reviewing the letter, Judge Taylor determined that it was an improper judicial communication. A member of the judge’s staff sent Ostoja-Lojasiewicz a letter notifying him that his letter violated the California Rules of Court and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Undeterred, Ostoja-Lojasiewicz sent Taylor a letter to his home address in July 2011. Ostoja-Lojasiewicz and Taylor had no prior business or personal relationship that would permit such correspondence. Moreover, Ostoja-Lojasiewicz did not send a copy of the letter to any counsel of record in the underlying matter.

Judge Taylor filed a complaint against Ostoja-Lojasiewicz with the State Bar. In response, Ostoja-Lojasiewicz issued a trial subpoena for Judge Taylor to appear as a witness in the disciplinary proceeding. Ostoja-Lojasiewicz attempted several times to personally serve Judge Taylor with the subpoena at his home, and he refused to accept substituted service. Finally, when the two met face to face, Ostoja-Lojasiewicz called the judge “corrupt” and continued to yell accusations and profanities at him as the judge retreated into his home. Ostoja-Lojasiewicz admitted that his main purpose was to embarrass the judge, and he maintained that he had a constitutional right to confront him.

In aggravation, Ostoja-Lojasiewicz denied any wrongdoing and showed complete indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. Moreover, his aggressive and offensive conduct in serving a trial subpoena for the disciplinary proceeding was a serious aggravating factor. The order took effect December 13, 2013

John H. Petersen, State Bar #193084, Glendale (December 18, 2013). Petersen, 56, was suspended for 30 days and placed on three years of probation for disobeying a court order to return $18,000 in legal fees.

In aggravation, Petersen’s misconduct harmed the administration of justice. Also, he showed indifference toward his wrongdoing by failing to return the disputed fees. In mitigation, Petersen had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1997. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 17, 2014

Thomas D. Pham, Jr., State Bar #183521, Huntington Beach (December 6, 2013). Pham, 54, was suspended for one year and had his probation revoked for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Pham had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing and demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. The order took effect January 5, 2014

John M. Ribarich, State Bar #183883, Los Angeles (November 20, 2013). Ribarich, 49, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for accepting advance fees in loan-modification matters, a violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a); failing to release client papers; and seeking an agreement from a plaintiff to withdraw a disciplinary complaint.

In aggravation, Ribarich had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, Ribarich cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect December 20, 2013

Padrik S. Ryan, State Bar #256997, Coarsegold (December 18, 2013). Ryan, 39, was suspended for 90 days and placed on one year of probation for failing to respond to status inquiries, failing to take reasonable steps to avoid foreseeable prejudice to his client upon termination of employment, failing to render appropriate accounts, and failing to refund unearned fees.

In aggravation, Ryan committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused significant harm to his client. In mitigation, Ryan cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 17, 2014

Thomas M. Swihart, State Bar #98564, Hidden Valley Lake (December 11, 2013). Swihart, 64, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for disobeying a court order, failing to report sanctions for filing improper bankruptcy petitions, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In aggravation, Swihart committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that wasted judicial resources. In mitigation, Swihart had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1981. Also, he cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect January 10, 2014

Jeffrey D. Tochterman, State Bar #170466, Sacramento (November 13, 2013). Tochterman, 47, was suspended for 18 months and placed on two years of probation for sharing legal fees with nonattorneys.

In December 2009 Tochterman began working for My US Legal to handle predatory lawsuits on behalf of the company’s clients. My US Legal consisted of US Loan Auditors LLC, US Loan Auditors Inc., and My US Legal Services—all companies owned, in part, by nonattorneys. The companies also were not registered as lawyer- referral services. Homeowners hired My US Legal to file predatory lender lawsuits, and they paid advance attorneys fees in monthly installments. My US Legal then hired outside attorneys, or contract attorneys, to handle the predatory lender lawsuits and paid the attorneys $250 from monthly installments paid by homeowners as advance fees.

During the relevant time period, My US Legal paid Tochterman $58,500 in fees, which constituted impermissible fee-splitting with a nonattorney.

In October 2010 the state attorney general filed a complaint against My US Legal, and the company subsequently filed for bankruptcy. In aggravation, Tochterman’s misconduct harmed his clients, the public, and the administration of justice. In mitigation, Tochterman had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1994. Also, he demonstrated remorse for his misconduct and cooperated by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect December 13, 2013

Mark D. Walsh, State Bar #206059, San Diego (October 29, 2013). Walsh, 44, was suspended for 30 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to obey court orders and failing to timely pay sanctions. There were seven other matters involving similar misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Walsh had a record of prior discipline. He engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that burdened the court system. In mitigation, Walsh cooperated with the State Bar’s investigation, and he presented witnesses attesting to his good character. The order took effect November 28, 2013

Curtis A. Westfall, State Bar #128447, Santa Monica (December 18, 2013). Westfall, 53, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to inform a client of significant developments in his case, improperly withdrawing from employment, and failing to cooperate with a State Bar investigation.

In aggravation, Westfall had a record of prior discipline. Moreover, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, during the period of misconduct Westfall experienced extreme emotional difficulties. The order took effect January 17, 2014

Jenny Wong, State Bar #248111, Manteca (November 22, 2013). Wong, 33, was suspended for one year for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Wong had a record of prior discipline. Also, she committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, and she demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for her misconduct. The order took effect December 22, 2013

Robert Zwierlein, State Bar #138485, Hawthorne (November 14, 2013). Zwierlein, 50, 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 aggravation, Zwierlein had a record of prior discipline. Also, he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing, and he demonstrated indifference toward compliance with conditions to probation. The order took effect December 14, 2013

Actions From Previous Issues

Marlon M. Alo, State Bar #143338, Seal Beach (September 19, 2013). Alo, 55, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation following his conviction for making harassing telephone calls, a misdemeanor that may or may not involve moral turpitude.

In 2009 Alo began repeatedly calling a woman who had worked for him as a consultant two years before, leaving voice messages and claiming he was in love with her. The woman sent him a letter asking that he not contact her, but he continued to do so. Eventually, the Laguna Beach Police Department warned Alo not to contact the woman again, and arrested him when he did.

In July 2011 the Orange County District Attorney’s office charged Alo with one count of violating Penal Code § 653m(b), making annoying phone calls. The next month he was charged with ten counts of violating Penal Code § 653m(a), making harassing phone calls. A trial court later issued a restraining order against Alo, who pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of making harassing phone calls.

In November 2011 Alo resumed calling the woman, in violation of the restraining order, and attempted to go to her apartment. He was charged again with making harassing phone calls, and he pleaded guilty to another misdemeanor count.

From February to March 2012, Alo again violated the restraining order by calling the woman. He was arrested and charged with multiple counts of disobeying a criminal protective order; he pleaded guilty to one count.

In aggravation, Alo’s misconduct harmed the woman, and he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Alo 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 October 19, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Joel R. Bander, State Bar #119460, Los Angeles (August 28, 2013). Bander, 57, was suspended for two years and placed on four years of probation for failing to keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments and failing to competently perform legal services. He stipulated to misconduct in ten client matters in which he was hired to perform home loan modification services. In most of the cases, Bander failed to file the lawsuits against his clients’ lenders that they expected. In one matter, Bander did not tell a client that he had filed a request with the court to dismiss the client’s lawsuit. He failed to perform any services of value for the clients and refunded none of the advance fees.

In aggravation, Bander had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Bander cooperated with the State Bar by in entering into a stipulation. The order took effect September 27, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Jerry F. Childs, State Bar #218457, Fresno (August 22, 2013). Childs, 40, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for committing an act involving moral turpitude.

In October 2011 Childs was hired to assist another attorney in defending a medical malpractice case. Childs spoke with a physician who told him that she did not see a breach of the standard of care in the case. More importantly, the physician told Childs that she was not an expert, and never held herself out as an expert.

Nevertheless, Childs later filed an expert witness designation listing the physician as his retained expert. He did this despite knowing that the physician had not been retained as an expert witness, had not agreed to testify, and was not familiar enough with the case to give a meaningful deposition regarding her opinions.

In mitigation, Childs had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2002. The order took effect September 21, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Thaddeus J. Culpepper, State Bar #220194, Pasadena (September 26, 2013). Culpepper, 39, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, and failing to return client papers.

In October 2010 a client paid Culpepper $500 in advance fees to represent him in a lawsuit. The case had already been filed and was in default, so Culpepper was retained to prove up the default, obtain a judgment, and collect it.

However, Culpepper failed to appear at a mandatory order to show cause hearing, and at a later continuance. As a result, he failed to obtain a default judgment and the client’s action was dismissed. When the client learned of the dismissal, Culpepper filed a motion to have it set aside. The dismissal was set aside, but Culpepper never filed the necessary declaration and documentation.

In April 2011 the client terminated Culpepper’s employment, requesting that he refund the $500 advance fee and return his file. Culpepper failed to comply.

In aggravation, Culpepper had a record of prior discipline, and he committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his client. In mitigation, Culpepper performed volunteer work and community service activities. The order took effect October 26, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Vicki S. Dalva, State Bar #210683, Beverly Hills (August 28, 2013). Dalva, 44, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to maintain client funds in trust, failing to respond to reasonable client inquiries, commingling funds, and engaging in acts involving moral turpitude.

In December 2006 Dalva was hired to represent a client in a personal injury matter based on a slip-and-fall accident. In October 2009 the matter settled for $25,000. Dalva deposited the settlement funds into a client trust account. Based on a contingency fee agreement, Dalva was entitled to 40 percent of the settlement, or $10,000. However, she failed to negotiate or pay the Medicare and Medi-Cal liens on the settlement amount, failed pay her client her share of the proceeds, and failed to maintain the required balance in the account. On numerous occasions, Dalva used the account to pay her personal and business expenses. After a State Bar investigator inquired into the matter, Dalva issued settlement funds to her client in February 2012.

In aggravation, Dalva committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed her client. In mitigation, Dalva had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 2000. Also, she cooperated by entering into a stipulation, and presented numerous character witnesses. The order took effect September 27, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Jonathan R. Ellowitz, State Bar #86234, Lake Forest (October 2, 2013). Ellowitz, 67, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for practicing law in jurisdictions where he was not admitted to practice, failing to competently perform legal services, accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a), and failing to return unearned fees. There were three other matters involving conduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Ellowitz committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients, and he demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Ellowitz 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 November 1, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Lewis S. Goldblatt, State Bar #90674, Gilroy (September 25, 2013). Gilroy, 60, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for misconduct in another jurisdiction. The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel (OCDC) for the Supreme Court of Missouri audited Goldblatt’s client trust account, and determined that his accounting was deficient in numerous ways. Goldblatt did not maintain a client ledger, did not perform monthly trust account reconciliations, and did not monitor or supervise activity in the account.

In June 2010 Goldblatt was hired by 18 plaintiffs to represent them in a real estate matter; he was paid a flat fee of $100,000. He filed a lawsuit on their behalf, and the plaintiffs paid him a total of $120,070. Goldblatt informed the plaintiffs that the additional amount was for fees incurred in the case. However, the OCDC audit revealed that Goldblatt had failed to keep trust account records, including receipts, payments, and income balances.

One month later Goldblatt was hired by 29 clients to represent them in another matter; he charged them a fee of $100,000 as well. When the OCDC audited Gold­blatt, they found that he had failed to keep proper account records.

In aggravation, Goldblatt committed multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, he 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 October 25, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Stephen F. Guiner, State Bar #44495, San Gabriel (September 19, 2013). Guiner, 73, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to promptly release client files upon termination of employment, failing to render appropriate accounts, and failing to participate in a disciplinary investigation.

In December 2008, Guiner was hired by a client to resolve issues related to his inherited estate, including Medi-Cal claims for unpaid medical services provided to his father, the deceased. Medi-Cal sought repayment of approximately $123,214, plus interest, from the estate’s beneficiaries. The client paid Guiner $3,000 in advance fees.

Over the next several months Guiner researched issues pertaining to the estate. But he failed to complete the necessary filings and failed to resolve the Medi-Cal balance, which by the following August had increased to $134,096. Guiner apologized to the client for his lack of communication, but he never resolved the Medi-Cal bill.

In aggravation, Guiner had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his client. Also, Guiner demonstrated indifference toward rectification of or atonement for his misconduct. In mitigation, Guiner presented evidence of his good character. The order took effect October 19, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Gregory T. Highnote, State Bar #144627, San Diego (September 19, 2013). Highnote, 50, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for engaging in misconduct in another jurisdiction, including acts of moral turpitude.

In March 2007 a client hired Highnote to represent her in a marital dissolution matter in Hawaii, where Highnote is also licensed to practice. However, Highnote repeatedly requested continuances, and the client ultimately terminated him from employment. A new attorney substituted into the matter, but Highnote would not return a signed substitution of attorney form after requests to do so. The Office of Disciplinary Counsel in Hawaii also attempted to contact Highnote regarding the matter, but he failed to reply. Eventually, in 2012, Highnote claimed that he found the client’s file and sent her the signed substitution form. The Hawaii Supreme Court ordered that Highnote be disciplined for his misconduct.

In a second matter, in July 2012 Highnote was suspended from the practice of law in California for failing to comply with the State Bar’s minimum continuing legal education requirements. However, he continued to represent a client in a bankruptcy matter: He engaged in negotiations, prepared court documents, and appeared at hearings. He did not inform opposing counsel or the court that he was not entitled to practice at the time.

In aggravation, Highnote had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect October 19, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Jack H. Karpeles, State Bar #134478, Walnut (August 28, 2014). Karpeles, 56, was suspended for 30 days and placed on one year of probation for the unauthorized practice of law in another jurisdiction, failing to promptly respond to reasonable status inquiries, and failing to refund unearned fees.

In May 2011 Karpeles joined the Maryland-based Miller Law Group. That summer, Equable Ascent Financial LLC sued one of the firm’s clients in Maryland, seeking the repayment of a debt. Karpeles allowed nonattorneys within the firm to relay debt settlement proposals to the client, even though Karpeles was not licensed to practice in Maryland and neither Equable’s complaint nor the client’s representation related to any proceeding in California. Moreover, Karpeles did not retain local Maryland co-counsel to represent the client. Thus, Karpeles violated Maryland’s regulation of the profession, and the California State Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct.

In October 2011 the client attempted to contact Karpeles, but he did not respond. The client terminated his service agreement with the Miller firm and requested a refund. The client then called the firm several times to speak with Karpeles, but he never responded. The client ultimately resolved Equable’s complaint on terms more favorable than either offer negotiated by Miller. Karpeles did not refund the client’s unearned fees until December 2011.

In aggravation, Karpeles committed multiple acts of wronging that harmed his client. In mitigation, Karpeles had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1988, and he cooperated with the investigation. The order took effect September 27, 2014

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Jiyoung Kym, State Bar #125974, Los Angeles (September 25, 2013). Kym, 62, was suspended for 90 days and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to inform a client of significant developments, disobeying court orders, filing an adversary complaint without just cause, and failing to report the imposition of sanctions.

Kym represented a client and his company, Atex Corp., in several matters. In one matter, Kym filed an answer to a complaint filed against his client, and a cross-complaint against the plaintiff for breach of contract and fraud. Kym then failed to respond to discovery requests despite numerous extensions granted by the opposing party. Kym also failed to comply with the court’s order compelling discovery responses from his clients, and failed to appear at scheduled hearings or communicate with his client. Consequently, the court imposed $7,040 in total sanctions and dismissed his client’s cross-complaint against the plaintiff. Ultimately, the court entered a $408,106 judgment against the client. Kym neither attempted to set aside the judgment nor informed his client of the court’s rulings on the motions, the sanctions, dismissal of the cross-complaint, or the judgment. Kym made partial payment of $500 with respect to the sanctions.

In several other matters where Kym also represented the client and Atex Corp., the cases were ultimately dismissed due to his failure to prosecute. In all of the matters, Kym failed to appear in court, leading to the imposition of monetary sanctions against him. Kym never informed the client that the actions were dismissed.

In aggravation, Kym committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused significant harm to his clients. Moreover, his failure to report the sanctions to the State Bar permitted him to continue to practice law by avoiding potential discipline. In mitigation, Kym had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1986. He acknowledged his poor judgment, stipulated to misconduct early in the proceedings, and demonstrated remorse. Also, at the time of his misconduct he experienced marital and family problems. The order took effect October 25, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

John J. Leonard, State Bar #232040, Sag Harbor, NY (August 22, 2013). Leonard, 43, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to deposit client funds in trust, failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline, and committing acts involving moral turpitude.

In May 2012 Leonard was hired to draft and file an unlawful detainer complaint on behalf of a property management company to evict several tenants. The client agreed to pay Leonard a $500 flat fee, and an additional $400 to cover court filing fees. Leonard failed to deposit the $400 into a client trust account. When he eventually filed the complaint, it was rejected for failing to meet certain procedural requirements. Leonard did not realize it had been rejected until some time later. When he informed the client of the court’s action, he was terminated. Leonard then charged the client $2,135, despite the prior fee agreement.

He kept the $400 in filing fees to pay his legal fees, without the client’s knowledge or consent.

In aggravation, Leonard had a record of prior discipline. Also, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Leonard cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect September 21, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Brian R. Linnekens, State Bar #206144, Los Angeles (September 19, 2013). Linnekens, 41, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation for the unauthorized practice of law in another jurisdiction, and for requesting and accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of California Civil Code § 2944.7(a).

Between March 2010 and March 2011, Linnekens performed legal services related to loan modification matters for 46 residents of Washington state, where he was not licensed to practice law. He collected advance fees related to those services, which he later refunded. There were other matters involving misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Linnekens engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, Linnekens had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1999. He cooperated by entering a stipulation, and provided restitution to his clients. The order took effect October 19, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Andrea S. Loveless, State Bar #231735, Irvine (September 25, 2013). Loveless, 35, was suspended for six months and placed on three yeas of probation for practicing law in a jurisdiction where he was not admitted to practice, and accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of California Civil Code § 2944.7(a). There were eleven matters involving 22 separate acts of misconduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Loveless had a record of prior discipline, and she engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed her clients. In mitigation, Loveless cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect October 25, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Ollie P. Manago, State Bar #140135, Los Angeles (August 28, 2013). Manago, 71, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to maintain client funds in trust, and failing to participate in a disciplinary investigation.

In May 2010 Manago was contacted by the caregiver of a 90-year-old woman with dementia whose trust had been prepared in 2004 by another attorney. The previous year the caregiver had asked the other attorney to change the beneficiary of the trust to herself, and the attorney had declined to do so.

Manago instructed the caregiver to obtain a note from the elder woman’s physician regarding her mental state. In August 2010 the caregiver brought a note from the client’s physician, who was not a psychiatrist, stating that the client was “of sound mind” and no longer wanted her aunt and daughter to be the executors of her trust. The note was silent as to whether the client wanted to disinherit her next-of-kin beneficiary.

After reviewing the note and speaking with the elderly client, Manago prepared a revised trust, durable powers of attorney for assets and health care, a pour-over will, and a trust transfer deed to disinherit her next of kin in favor of the caregiver. Manago reasonably should have known that the client was not competent to change her estate plan, and that the change of beneficiary to the caregiver would unduly subject the estate to claims that the caregiver had exercised undue influence.

Later, the parties entered into a stipulation revoking the 2010 trust and related documents. The court subsequently voided the 2010 trust and the trust transfer deed, and ordered the 2004 trust reinstated.

In aggravation, Manago had a record of prior discipline. Also, she engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed her client. In mitigation, although Manago did not initially cooperate in the disciplinary proceedings, she later recognized her wrongdoing and entered into a stipulation. At the time of her misconduct, she was dealing with serious and chronic illnesses. The order took effect September 27, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Rayehe Mazarei, State Bar #155873, Fountain Valley (August 22, 2013). Mazarei, 47, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption.

In March 2007 a client hired Mazarei to help him repair deficiencies in a previously filed application for naturalization. Mazarei agreed to seek withdrawal of the application from the Department of Homeland Security to allow time for the client to secure the proper evidentiary showing. In addition, Mazarei agreed to timely file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to determine the contents of the client’s file. Mazarei knew when she agreed to represent the client that she could not withdraw the application once the DHS renders a decision. In April, DHS rejected the client’s application for several reasons.

Between August 2007 and April 2009, Mazarei repeatedly told the client that she had withdrawn his application and filed the FOIA request, even though she never withdrew the application and did not submit a FOIA request until March 2009. The client later terminated Mazarei’s services, and she admitted her falsehoods. In March 2013 Mazarei refunded the client’s $1,200, plus interest.

In aggravation, Mazarei had a record of prior discipline. Her continuous misrepresentations and failure to refund advance fees caused her client significant harm. In mitigation, Mazarei cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect September 20, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

James C. Mitchell, State Bar #87151, San Diego (September 26, 2013). Mitchell, 62, was suspended for 30 days and placed on two years of probation for failing competently perform legal services, disobeying a court order, and failing to return client papers.

In October 2009 Mitchell was hired to defend a client and his company in a fee-collection lawsuit brought by Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, and to file a cross-complaint alleging legal malpractice. The client was on the board of his company and a 51 percent shareholder. The next month Luce Forward served Mitchell with various discovery requests, but he did not reply. As a result, Luce filed motions to compel sanctions and answers to the discovery requests. In response, Mitchell filed the cross-complaint and an opposition to the discovery motions. Nonetheless, the court granted Luce Forward’s motions and ordered the defendant to answer the discovery requests.

In April 2010 Mitchell sent Luce Forward some responses, but not others. He also did not pay the monetary sanctions. The court later granted a demurrer to his cross-complaint, but Mitchell repeatedly failed to appear at hearings. As a result, the court ordered Mitchell and his client to pay additional sanctions. Eventually, a default judgment was entered against the client for $265,127.

In March 2011 Mitchell finally paid the sanctions ordered against him. The client retained new counsel and requested that Mitchell turn over his file, but Mitchell failed to do so.

In aggravation, Mitchell engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his client. In mitigation, he had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1979. The order took effect October 26, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Lee Sik No, State Bar #249092, Newport Beach (September 26, 2013). No, 34, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation for accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of California Civil Code § 2944.7(a), failing to competently perform legal services, failing to respond promptly to reasonable status inquiries, failing to refund unearned fees, failing to cooperate in disciplinary proceedings, committing an act involving moral turpitude, and violating rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In aggravation, No had a record of prior discipline: He committed eleven acts of misconduct in three client matters. In mitigation, No entered into a stipulation with the State Bar. The order took effect October 26, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Wahida Noorzad, State Bar #200622, Pleasanton (September 25, 2013). Noorzad, 42, was suspended for six months and placed on two years of probation for accepting advance fees in loan modification matters in violation of California Civil Code § 2944.7(a), and failing to deposit advance fees into a client trust account.

In aggravation, Noorzad committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed her clients. In mitigation, Noorzad had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1999. Also, she entered into a stipulation and presented evidence of her good character. The order took effect October 25, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Brandon B. Powell, State Bar #167740, Pomona (August 22, 2013). Burnham, 53, was suspended for two years and placed on three years of probation following his convictions in three separate incidents involving substance abuse.

In October 2005 Powell pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor violations of the Vehicle Code: § 23152(b), driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more; and § 14601.1 (a), driving while a license is suspended or revoked.

In May 2007 Powell was charged with two violations of the Health and Safety Code: § 11350(a), felony possession of a controlled substance (hydrocodone); and § 11357(b), misdemeanor possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana. Powell failed to appear at a pretrial conference, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Two years later Powell was arrested and booked into jail. In October 2009 he pleaded guilty to both pending charges, was placed on three years of criminal probation, and ordered to complete a drug treatment program. At no time did Powell report to the State Bar his felony conviction on Health and Safety Code § 11350(a).

In April 2011 Powell was convicted of violating Health and Safety Code § 11364(a), possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and Vehicle Code § 14601.2(a), driving when a license is suspended or revoked for DUI. Powell pleaded guilty to both misdemeanor charges.

In aggravation, Powell engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that demonstrated a pattern of misconduct. He showed indifference by failing for two years to respond to the charges of possessing controlled substances. In mitigation, Powell had no record of prior discipline since being admitted to the State Bar in 1993. He cooperated by admitting his culpability and entering into a stipulation. The order took effect September 21, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Sameer A. Qadri, State Bar #276011, Claremont (August 28, 2013). Qadri, 28, 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 competently perform legal services, and practicing law in a jurisdiction where he was not authorized to do so. There were four matters warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Qadri engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. The order took effect September 27, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Christopher A. Radlinski, State Bar #82563, Temecula (September 19, 2013). Radlinski, 60, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years of probation for charging and collecting an illegal fee, and failing to promptly pay client funds.

In July 2010 Radlinski was hired by a married couple to file and handle their Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Radlinski filed a Chapter 13 petition on their behalf, and then charged the couple another $500 in fees in February 2011 to convert the bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 petition. Radlinski did not disclose to the bankruptcy court that he had charged a $500 fee, nor receive the bankruptcy court’s approval to do so. Radlinski later advised the husband to apply for bankruptcy relief for his company as well. Radlinski handled the filings and charged $299. The husband later decided not to pursue corporate bankruptcy and requested that Radlinski return some of the advance fees, but he did not do so. Although Radlinski maintained that he had earned the money he received, he later refunded all attorneys fees and filing fees to the clients.

In aggravation, Radlinski had a record of prior discipline, and he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing. In mitigation, Radlinski acknowledged his misconduct early in the proceedings, and provided letters attesting to his good character. The order took effect October 19, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Verna J. Ross, State Bar #165744, Oakland (September 11, 2013). Ross, 58, was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to update her official membership records, and committing acts of moral turpitude.

In May 2008 Ross filed a petition for letters of administration in the estate of a deceased Eritrean on behalf of his mother, who lived in Oakland. The petition stated that the deceased’s estate consisted of $175,000 in a U.S. bank account. Under penalty of perjury, Ross claimed that she had attempted to serve the deceased’s widow with the petition but could not reach her, and therefore would deposit her half of the estate in probate. The mother was appointed administrator of the estate, and the entire $175,000 was placed in a blocked account.

Ross was later able to locate the widow with the help of the U.S. Embassy in Eritrea. As a result, Ross was responsible for delivering $80,000 to the widow, but she failed to do so. Ross also did not update her address in State Bar membership records, making it difficult for the bar to contact her regarding the matter. Only after the widow hired an attorney to help recover the funds did Ross deliver the check.

In aggravation, Ross had a record of prior discipline, and her misconduct significantly harmed the widow. Also, she demonstrated a lack of insight and remorse for her wrongdoing. In mitigation, during the time of her misconduct Ross experienced extreme emotional and physical difficulties. The order took effect October 11, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

David A. Silva, State Bar #149506, Fresno (September 25, 2013). Silva, 57, was suspended for three years and placed on five years of probation for failing to timely comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In aggravation, Silva had a record of prior discipline. In mitigation, no clients were harmed by Silva’s misconduct, and he cooperated with the State Bar by entering into a stipulation. The order took effect October 25, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Michael B. Stone, State Bar #160177, Las Vegas, NV (August 22, 2013). Stone, 56, was suspended for 90 days and placed on two years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to two previous orders of discipline.

In aggravation, Stone had a record of prior discipline. By failing to pay restitution, he engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that harmed his clients. In mitigation, Stone entered into a stipulation with the State Bar. Also, at the time of his misconduct Stone experienced extreme financial difficulties. The order took effect September 20, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Zachary A. Toran, State Bar #267822, San Francisco (September 19, 2013). Toran, 32, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation following his misdemeanor conviction for disturbing the peace. The facts and circumstances surrounding his conviction involved moral turpitude, which warranted discipline.

In October 2011 Toran found a diamond bracelet in San Francisco and took it to a local jeweler, who appraised its worth as between $5,000 and $7,000. Toran was unaware that the bracelet’s owner had reported the loss to the police department and had sent email and a photo of the lost bracelet to jewelry stores and pawn shops, indicating that she was willing to buy it back. The jeweler showed Toran the email, and gave him the owner’s telephone number and email address. Toran contacted the owner and spoke with her. Their conversations left her with a clear impression that Toran would not return the bracelet unless she gave him $5,000.

The owner contacted the police department, which conducted a sting operation. Toran first agreed to meet the owner at a library, but then changed the location because he noticed “strange” men lurking behind the bushes. He was concerned that the owner had come with others who intended to rob him.

The exchange eventually took place in Toran’s car. Immediately afterward, plainclothes officers moved in with guns drawn and conducted a felony stop. Toran threw money out of the car and screamed, “Don’t shoot me!” The officers arrested Toran.

Later that month Toran was charged in a felony complaint with violating Penal Code § 524 (attempted extortion); § 496 (receiving or buying stolen property); § 487(a) (grand theft of personal property); and § 487(c) (grand theft person).

In January 2012 Toran pleaded nolo contendere to violating Penal Code § 415(2) (disturbing the peace), a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation, two days in county jail with credit for time served, and required to pay a $120 fine.

In mitigation, Toran’s honest but mistaken belief that he was receiving a reward for returning the bracelet, as well as his fear that the owner had set him up to be mugged, were reasonable. Moreover, Toran presented evidence of his good character and expressed remorse for his misconduct. He was unaware he was legally obligated to return the bracelet to the owner. The order took effect October 28, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Debra R. Torres-Reyes, State Bar #146724, Spring Valley (October 29, 2012). Torres-Reyes, 59, was suspended for six months and placed on three years of probation for failing to comply with conditions to a previous order of discipline.

In aggravation, Torres-Reyes had a record of prior discipline. The order took effect October 28, 2013

This action originally appeared in our March 2014 issue.

Daniel I. Wagner, State Bar #235705, La Jolla (August 28, 2013). Wagner, 42, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, and for collecting an advance fee in a loan modification matter in violation of Civil Code § 2944.7(a).

In September 2010 a client hired Wagner to negotiate and obtain a home loan modification. The client agreed to pay Wagner $2,500 in advance fees and $500 upon completion of services. When Wagner collected the $2,500, he had not completed all the legal services he had agreed to perform. By January 2011 Wagner informed the client he had been approved for a trial loan modification. But a month later Wagner terminated the retainer agreements because the client had failed to pay him the remaining $500 fee. The client requested a refund of the advance fees, but Wagner did not comply until the State Bar began an investigation. There were four other matters involving similar conduct warranting discipline.

In aggravation, Wagner had a record of prior discipline. He committed multiple acts of wrongdoing that significantly harmed his clients. In mitigation, Wagner entered into a stipulation with the State Bar. The order took effect September 27, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.

Charles R. Wear, State Bar #102381, Moreno Valley (August 28, 2013). Wear, 64, was suspended for one year and placed on three years of probation for failing to competently perform legal services, failing to keep a client informed of significant developments, failing to take reasonable steps to avoid foreseeable prejudice to his client following termination of employment, and failing to cooperate and participate in a disciplinary investigation.

In August 2009 a client hired Wear to file a personal bankruptcy petition on her behalf. The following January, Wear filed the bankruptcy petition, but three months later another party filed an adversary complaint related to the petition. Wear agreed to represent his client in the adversary action.

Between July and December 2010, opposing counsel served Wear’s client with two sets of interrogatories. Although Wear responded to the first set, he failed to provide responses to the second set. Wear also walked out of a deposition, effectively terminating it without legal justification. He failed to inform his client of his inaction on the second interrogatories, and he repeatedly delayed her deposition in the matter.

Eventually, the trial court ordered the client to personally pay $12,013 in sanctions, and warned her that failing to do so would result in the striking of her answer to the adversary complaint. The court also scheduled an order to show cause hearing as to why her default should not be entered. In June 2011, in an email, Wear advised his client that he would no longer represent her in the adversary action. Wear filed neither a substitution of attorney form, nor a motion to withdraw as the client’s counsel of record. As a result, the client was forced to represent herself in pro per at the OSC hearing. Although Wear later explained to the trial court that his client did not pay the sanctions due to his failures, the judge struck the client’s answer and entered her default.

In March 2012 the trial court entered an amended default judgment of $153,277 in the adversary action. The next month the State Bar opened an investigation based on the client’s complaint.

In aggravation, Wear had a record of prior discipline. He engaged in multiple acts of wrongdoing that caused his client significant harm. Also, he failed to cooperate in the State Bar’s investigation and proceedings. In mitigation, during the period of his misconduct Wear experienced emotional problems. Also, he eventually agreed to enter into a stipulation. The order took effect September 27, 2013

This action originally appeared in our February 2014 issue.