Share

Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on Linked In Share this by Email
 
Suspensions/Probation
  1. BRUCE MATSUO NISHIOKA
  2. CARL WILLIAM NYMAN
  3. THOMAS DAMIEN PAMILLA
  4. CHARLES VICTOR STEBLEY
  5. MARK LOPERT WEBB
  6. CATHERINE MARY McCAULEY
  7. DANIEL JOSEPH SWEENEY
  8. STEPHEN PATRICK WHITE
  9. SEAN PATRICK GJERDE
  10. SUNG IL OH
  11. BRIAN DINSMORE GARD
  12. ROBERT IRVING DUSKIS
  13. CYNTHIA LESLIE COX
  14. MARK STEVEN BROWN
  15. KAVEH ARDALAN
  16. DRAGO CHARLES BARIC
  17. LORRAINE DICKSON
  18. STANLEY GOUMAS HILTON
  19. KIM TRONG NGUYEN
  20. RAYMOND VAUGHN PATTON
  21. ROY EARNEST PETERSON
  22. BARRY JAY POST
  23. GARY CRAIG WYKIDAL
  24. MATTHEW JOSEPH FAIRSHTER
  25. STANLEY LEWIS EVANS
  26. THOMAS JAMES BAYARD
  27. ELLEN E. SROOG RODIN
  28. ANDREW McLAREN STEWART
  29. GERALD I. SUGARMAN
  30. CHARLES DAVID TREJO
  31. MAHAN MATTHEW ABBASI
  32. CLARENCE MICHAEL BALINGIT
  33. DAVID ROBERT ENDRES
  34. WILLIAM THOMAS HAYS
  35. GAIL MARIE LISONI (LANDTBOM)
  36. PETER DAMIAN MANNING
  37. CRAIG EUGENE MUNSON
  38. IVAN PEDRO C. PORTO
  39. THEODORE ARTHUR PINNOCK
  40. CORECIA JOY WOO
  41. MICHAEL JUDE O’BRIEN


BRUCE MATSUO NISHIOKA [#153321], 51, of Brookings, Ore., was suspended for six months, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 18, 2011.

In 2009, Nishioka was disciplined in Oregon for misconduct that warranted discipline in California. He allowed a nonlawyer to use his letterhead and pleading forms, thus aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, he did not supervise his paralegal to ensure that a probate case was handled properly, and did he not obtain court approval for fees prior to receiving them.

He allowed his paralegal to prepare and file a probate petition that identified Nishioka as the attorney. The paralegal also prepared a final accounting and petition for general judgment of final distribution, stating there were no assets. About a year after the probate closed, the paralegal petitioned to reopen the estate because he had learned of another asset. Eventually the court expressed concern about  the final accounting and distribution including the payment of attorney fees for the original probate without court approval, the reasonableness of fees, the paralegal’s representations concerning his status as an attorney, and the paralegals’s actions in the case.

Nishioka withdrew from the case. The court determined the work was below local standards and approved $1,500 as attorney fees. A beneficiary of the estate had paid $4,268.21 for legal fees. Her hourly bill exceeded what was authorized by $65. Because of the charges and Nishioka’s failure to obtain court approval of the fees before they were paid, he charged and collected illegal and excessive fees.

In mitigation, he demonstrated remorse, reimbursed the estate and cooperated with both the Oregon and California disciplinary authorities. In addition, his attention was diverted after his father died and he had to care for his elderly mother, who lived 300 miles away.

CARL WILLIAM NYMAN [#57915], 63, of Irvine was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 18, 2011.

Nyman stipulated to six counts of misconduct in two matters.

He represented the husband in a divorce, but only after a $1,500 fee was paid. Prior to that, the client’s default was entered. Although he prepared various pleadings, Nyman did not file them after learning about the default and he made no move to set it aside, including failing to file with the court a stipulation with opposing counsel to set aside the default.

Thinking the proper pleadings and motions had been filed, the wife’s lawyer proceeded with discovery requests, but Nyman did not respond, despite payment by the client of an additional $1,500. The client appeared at a hearing, without Nyman, and told the court Nyman was not communicating with him. The client represented himself. Nyman did not account for his fees or refund any funds.

Nyman stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees, account for fees or keep a client informed about developments in his case.

In a second matter, he failed to perform legal services competently or pay $1,250 in sanctions. In a divorce, Nyman represented a woman who had been severely injured in an auto accident; a conservator and a lawyer were appointed to represent her. However, Nyman never took any action to consolidate her dissolution and the conservatorship, as the court suggested.

He missed five conservatorship hearings, and didn’t provide status reports or file an accounting in the conservatorship. He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently and violated court orders.

In mitigation, Nyman had no discipline record since his 1973 admission to the bar and he suffered from depression.

THOMAS DAMIEN PAMILLA [#259931], 30, of Phoenix was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a one-year actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Nov. 18, 2011.

Pamilla stipulated to three counts of misconduct in each of 20 loan modification cases. For about three weeks in 2009, he was the principal attorney for a loan modification company entitled Waypoint Law Group, a company operated by nonlawyers. The firm advertised its services on radio, television and the Internet. He received a $100 fee from the clients in question, none of whom lived in California. Pamilla was not authorized to practice in any other state.

The clients were in Hawaii, Arizona, New York, Tennessee, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. They paid Waypoint a total of $67,551.

Pamilla stipulated that he collected illegal fees, shared fees with nonlawyers and was grossly negligent in holding himself out to practice in jurisdictions where he was not admitted.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, presented letters attesting to his good character, demonstrated remorse and was employed by Waypoint for a very short time.

CHARLES VICTOR STEBLEY [#158219], 67, of El Dorado Hills was suspended for three years, stayed, actually suspended for one year and until he makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate his suspension, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. If the suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 18, 2011.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Stebley committed nine acts of misconduct in three immigration matters.

In the first, he failed to perform legal services competently by not filing a petition to review an order of removal or an opening brief, he did not keep his client informed of developments in his case, failed for months to obey a court order and did not refund advance fees. Stebley did not tell his client, who paid a $3,200 advance fee, that his petition for review was dismissed because he did not file an opening brief, or that the court had ordered him to withdraw from the case. The client received a deportation order about a year after retaining Stebley; by that time, the review petition had been dismissed.

Stebley resigned from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals when another immigration matter was pending and the court ordered him to, among other things, return files to his clients. When he told the client a month later that he could no longer represent her, he didn’t tell her the reason. Nor did he return her file, as ordered.

Another client who had been deported without making a claim for asylum returned to the U.S. and hired Stebley. The client and his wife paid him $4,500, but did not sign a retainer agreement. Stebley advised the client to file a motion to reopen the original removal proceeding, now nine years old, but he stipulated that there was no meritorious legal argument to do so. The motion was denied. After Stebley became ineligible to practice in the Ninth Circuit, he advised the couple to complete two forms and submit them to the consulate, where they were rejected because the client who had been deported was ineligible for relief.

They fired Stebley, who did not respond to their letters and email.

The bar court found that Stebley failed to communicate with clients, perform legal services competently, obey court orders or refund unearned fees, and he improperly withdrew without protecting his clients’ rights.

MARK LOPERT WEBB [#67959], 63, of San Francisco was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a one-year actual suspension and until he makes restitution, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 24, 2011.

Webb stipulated to four counts of misconduct stemming from filing three frivolous lawsuits against an Oregon lawyer he had hired to research the merits of an appeal he was handling. The lawyer, Julia Follansbee, advised Webb to take a new approach on the appeal and Webb hired her to draft the appeal. They had a fee agreement under which Follansbee had the right to withdraw in case of a fee dispute, which would be resolved in Oregon.

Follansbee provided an opening brief and a bill for $24,414.60 in legal fees and $965.28 in expenses. She credited Webb with $6,000 for advance fees, leaving him a bill for $19,379.88. She sued Webb in Oregon after he refused to pay and won an award of $53,682.37 after Webb defaulted.

Webb then sued Follansbee three times “for the purpose of delay, harassing, and obstructing Ms. Follansbee’s entitlement to her fees,” according to the stipulation. He made frivolous objections without justification, made false statements that Follansbee had guaranteed success and claimed he never received notice of the Oregon award.

He stipulated that he committed acts of moral turpitude, failed to maintain respect due to the courts, failed to maintain a legal or just action and encouraged the continuance of a proceeding “from a corrupt motive of passion or interest.”

Webb was disciplined in 2000 and 2008 and submitted probation reports indicating he was in compliance with various rules and laws when he was actually committing misconduct and violating the State Bar Act.

In mitigation, Webb cooperated with the bar’s investigation, repaid some of the money he owes Follansbee, and acknowledged his misconduct.

CATHERINE MARY McCAULEY [#150090], 58, of Castleton, Vermont, was suspended for one year, stayed, actually suspended for 60 days and until she makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and she was ordered to take the MPRE. If the actual suspension exceeds 90 days, she must comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court; if it exceeds two years, she must prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 24, 2011.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that McCauley committed eight counts of misconduct in two matters.

After a client paid her a $900 advance fee to register a trademark for his company, McCauley stopped communicating with him. She did no work of value, did not refund his unearned fee and didn’t cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Her behavior was similar when she was asked to review trademark licensing agreements between various companies McCauley represented. She didn’t complete the review and communicated sporadically with her client.

In both matters McCauley stipulated that she failed to perform legal services competently, communicate with clients or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. She also failed to refund unearned fees in one matter and return the client’s file in the other.

DANIEL JOSEPH SWEENEY [#78362], 63, of Burbank was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 24, 2011.

Sweeney stipulated that he committed four acts of misconduct while representing a client with child support problems. The client mistakenly thought that he could get the arrearage greatly reduced by a retroactive modification to the child support order, but such modifications are forbidden by statute. He provided incomplete financial records to Sweeney, and the two miscommunicated. When it became clear to Sweeney that the client’s beliefs were mistaken, he did nothing to correct them.

The client complained that he had not received an accounting of his fees, sought a refund and complained to the bar.

Sweeney stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, account for client funds, refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Sweeney was publicly reproved in 1993 and failed to comply with probation conditions.

STEPHEN PATRICK WHITE [#125276], 56, of San Diego was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on four years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Nov. 24, 2011.

White successfully completed the State Bar’s Alternative Discipline Program for lawyers with mental health or substance abuse problems. He was convicted in 2005 of driving with a blood alcohol content of more than .08 percent, a misdemeanor.

He was disciplined three times previously, including for DUI convictions and driving without a license. In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, no clients were harmed and he presented evidence of his good character.

SEAN PATRICK GJERDE [#217467], 35, of Wilton was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 16, 2011.

Gjerde stipulated to four counts of misconduct in four cases.

While working as a network attorney for ARAG Insurance Co., which provides group legal insurance plans as an employee benefit, he knowingly submitted false bills and collected reimbursement for work he didn’t do for four clients. His actions amounted to moral turpitude.

Gjerde deposited the community property proceeds from the sale of a home in his client trust account. He represented the husband. When the dissolution was granted, the court ordered Gjerde to disburse various amounts to all the attorneys; he said he was billing $8,451 as trustee for holding the funds and refused to distribute any money until he was paid. He moved for reconsideration of the judgment but the court denied his motion.

In order to receive some money, the wife let Gjerde deduct $500 from what he owed her and he sent her a check for $500 less than what the court ordered. He stipulated that he failed to release funds promptly.

He provided no services of value to a client who paid him $4,850 to negotiate a loan modification and he did not appear at a hearing in an unlawful detainer proceeding.

Gjerde cooperated with the bar’s investigation and presented evidence of his good character.

SUNG IL OH [#201634], 47, of West Covina was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within a year and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 28, 2010.

He was disciplined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2011 for professional misconduct and stipulated to State Bar misconduct as a result. He had an agreement with the Patent Trademark Institute of America, PTI, a firm that paid him flat fees for referrals. He represented hundreds of referred inventors but did not disclose that he had a relationship with an entity that would be affected by his representation.

For example, one client who was seeking patent and trademark protection had paid PTI $11,690 but he also paid Oh to perform a “patentability study.” Oh did not tell the client about a potential conflict of interest.

In 2007, a federal court in Virginia placed PTI into receivership pending the outcome of contempt litigation proceedings brought by the Federal Trade Commission for alleged violations by PTI of a 1998 civil settlement.

In mitigation, Oh had no prior discipline record, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and demonstrated remorse.

BRIAN DINSMORE GARD [#118457], 59, of San Diego was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 28, 2011.

Gard stipulated that he failed to comply with the probation conditions of a 2009 public reproval; he did not attend ethics school or pass the MPRE within one year.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

ROBERT IRVING DUSKIS [#50438], 66, of Garden Grove was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 28, 2011.

Duskis stipulated to 10 acts of misconduct in three matters.

He loaned $15,000 to a divorce client from a trust for which Duskis was both trustee and a beneficiary. He later advised his client to file for bankruptcy, represented him and listed both himself and the trust as creditors. The case was closed when neither Duskis nor the client appeared at a creditors’ meeting.

At the client’s request, Duskis substituted out of the dissolution, but said the client owed him fees. An arbitrator ruled that $10,000 of the fees were unearned, but when Duskis did not refund any money, the client filed a breach of contract suit. Duskis alleged the clients owed him $33,248. The matter was settled through mediation.

Duskis stipulated that he acquired an interest adverse to a client, continued to represent that client without notifying him he had a legal or financial interest in the case, and he neither accounted for nor refunded any client funds.

Another dissolution case went to fee arbitration when Duskis claimed he fully earned $27,315.46 paid by his client and that she owed an additional $13,355. An arbitrator ruled that the bill should have been $18,611.20, that $8,704.26 of the advanced fees had been unearned, and that the client  was entitled to a refund of the arbitration filing fee of $507.03. Duskis filed a breach of contract suit against the client, claiming she owed him $16,497.50 as fees or damages. Following a trial, the court found that Duskis would take nothing by his complaint and the client would recover$968.

He stipulated that he failed to account for client funds or refund unearned fees.

Another client advanced $11,564 as fees in her dissolution, and after several months, Duskis indicated $2,369 remained in his client trust account for her. When she terminated his employment, he didn’t account for or refund the fees and did not sign a substitution of attorney form.

He stipulated that he failed to take steps to give his client time to hire a new attorney, refund unearned fees, account for fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Duskis was suspended in 1993. In mitigation, he had serious family problems that caused financial problems.

CYNTHIA LESLIE COX [#168112], 50, of Oakland was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and she was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 28, 2011.

Cox stipulated that she filed a late compliance declaration with rule 9.20 that also was defective because it failed to state if she had notified her clients, opposing counsel and other interested parties of her suspension. She filed a proper declaration several weeks later.

She filed a completed a bankruptcy matter for a couple, but was then suspended by the State Bar and the federal district court in 2010. When the couple later sought advice, Cox said she was suspended but could provide financial advice. She sent a letter on letterhead that indicated she was an attorney performing legal services. She stipulated that she practiced in a jurisdiction (bankruptcy court) where she was not entitled.

Cox was disciplined in 2009 for misconduct in four bankruptcy matters and in 2010 for violating probation conditions.

In mitigation, Cox was brutally assaulted in 2009 and suffered physical damage and depression, avoiding many obligations. She also was the sole source of support for herself and her daughter. Cox cooperated with the bar’s investigation and no clients were harmed by her actions.

MARK STEVEN BROWN [#225511], 47, of Los Alamitos was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and until he makes restitution and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Dec. 28, 2011.

Brown stipulated to nine counts of misconduct in two matters.

A client paid Brown $5,000 to negotiate a reduction of two credit card debts totaling $80,000. Brown didn’t contact the creditors or negotiate a reduction of his client’s debt, and did not account for fees or refund unearned fees. A fee arbitrator ordered Brown to pay the client $6,411.96 but he has not done so.

In the second matter, a client paid Brown $2,500 to handle a civil suit the client previously filed pro per that attempted to set aside an unfavorable binding fee arbitration award. The court did not vacate the award after Brown did not appear at a hearing or submit required documents. He did not respond to the client’s status inquiries, return her file, account for fees or refund unearned fees, and he didn’t cooperate with a bar investigator.

He received limited mitigation for six years of discipline-free practice and entering into a stipulation with the bar.

KAVEH ARDALAN [#188775], 49, of Santa Ana was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a one-year actual suspension, and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

A State Bar Court review panel upheld a hearing judge’s findings that Ardalan failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation. Acknowledging the misconduct generally would not warrant such a lengthy suspension, the panel said Ardalan “was on disciplinary probation when he committed the misconduct and this is his third discipline case.”

The misconduct stemmed from Ardalan’s inattention to his client trust account, resulting in a bounced check.

In the previous disciplinary proceedings, he was suspended and placed on probation in 2005 for writing checks against insufficient funds and using the trust account to pay personal expenses, and in 2008 for failing to perform competently, respond to reasonable status inquiries from clients, take reasonable steps to avoid prejudice to his client upon termination of employment or comply with seven probation conditions.

He received “nominal” mitigation for stipulating to “easily provable facts” and demonstrated remorse.

DRAGO CHARLES BARIC [#105383], 55, of San Pedro was suspended for three years, stayed, actually suspended for 18 months and until he makes restitution and the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension and he was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. If the suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Baric committed three acts of misconduct in two matters. In the first, he was hired to handle a criminal appeal but never drafted a brief. He sought a time extension on the same day the client fired him. He did not account for client funds or refund an unearned $5,000 fee.

In the second matter, he used his client trust account to pay personal expenses, writing 31 checks and making 15 deposits of personal funds over five months.

Baric was suspended earlier in 2011 for 16 counts of misconduct in five matters.

LORRAINE DICKSON [#220841], 38, of Beverly Hills was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on 18 months of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

The State Bar Court found that Dickson committed two acts of misconduct while representing a couple in a boundary dispute with their neighbors. After meeting with both sides and a surveyor, Dickson said she would file a lawsuit if the neighbors did not cooperate and accepted a $2,500 check that she said would be sufficient to prepare a cease-and-desist letter and to file suit if necessary. After sending the letter, she did no further work and stopped communicating with her clients.

The bar court found that she failed to perform legal services competently or respond to client inquiries.

In mitigation, Dickson suffered extreme emotional and physical difficulties during the time of the misconduct.

STANLEY GOUMAS HILTON [#65990], 62, of San Francisco was suspended for four years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a three-year actual suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011. He receives credit for a period of inactive enrollment that began April 5, 2011.

Hilton was terminated from the Alternative Discipline Program for lawyers with substance abuse or mental health issues and became subject to a more severe discipline than had he completed the program. He practiced law while suspended during his participation in the program.

He stipulated to 27 acts of misconduct in eight matters and also was convicted of using offensive words in public likely to provoke a violent reaction, a misdemeanor. He falsely reported to police that his estranged wife had threatened to kill their three children.

In one matter, for example, he failed to perform legal services competently by not responding to a cost memorandum or telling his clients about it, he didn’t prosecute a fraud case and by not responding to a Special Motion to Strike, a judgment was entered against his client. In another matter, he tried to mislead a judge by refiling in a court the same case that had been dismissed in another court without revealing to the new court that he had been disqualified as counsel in the matter.

He repeatedly failed to perform legal services competently or keep clients informed of developments in their cases and he committed acts of moral turpitude three times.

In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record and cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

KIM TRONG NGUYEN [#162783], 44, of Tustin was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

Nguyen stipulated to 20 counts of misconduct in five cases. In three matters, he failed to perform legal services competently: he did not file one complaint or various documents associated with his clients’ claims. He didn’t respond to two clients’ requests for information about their cases. He did not account for or refund advance fees from three clients.

He also didn’t properly maintain client funds in his client trust account, misappropriated funds, disobeyed court orders and failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In a wrongful termination and civil rights case, for example, Nguyen failed to appear at a telephonic status conference, respond to the email and voicemail messages from the defendant, file an opposition to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment or respond to its message seeking confirmation that Nguyen was still committed to a mediation. He violated a court order by not cooperating in setting a mediation date until it was no longer practical to do so by the court’s deadline, and he didn’t refund the client’s advance $3,500 fee or account for the money.

Nguyen was privately reproved in 2002. In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

RAYMOND VAUGHN PATTON [#196791], 40, of Brentwood was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual one-year suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

Patton stipulated to 37 acts of misconduct in six matters, including failing to comply with probation conditions attached to a 2008 private reproval by not submitting two quarterly reports, attending ethics school or taking the MPRE. Other misconduct included failures to perform legal services competently, respond to clients’ status inquiries, take steps to avoid prejudice to his clients when he withdrew from representation, promptly release client files, refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He also violated court orders, failing to maintain respect due the courts, and did not report court-ordered sanctions to the State Bar.

In one matter, for example, he identified himself as counsel for a man who held power of attorney for his father. He filed an objection to a motion by his client’s brother to revoke his power of attorney, but did not appear at two hearings and was sanctioned. He was later sanctioned a second time, failed to appear at another hearing and his client’s power of attorney was revoked.

Patton was privately reproved in 2008 and has taken no steps to refund unearned fees or pay sanctions. In mitigation, he suffered extreme emotional difficulties due to a child custody matter he was handling, fearing he would be disbarred or suspended for any sanction over $1,000. He was sanctioned $25,000 in that matter. As a result, he didn’t read his mail, return phone calls or emails and his clients were unable to obtain the legal services Patton agreed to provide. He is receiving therapy.

ROY EARNEST PETERSON [#153455], 63, of El Monte was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with a one-year actual suspension and he was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

Peterson stipulated to four counts of misconduct in four cases. He wrote checks against insufficient funds in two matters, committing acts of moral turpitude, and he did not file a rule 9.20 compliance declaration, as ordered in a 2010 discipline. He filed a document that incorrectly claimed he had both earned and refunded fees.

In the fourth matter, Peterson represented a client in a dissolution matter, a slip and fall civil suit, and a workers’ compensation claim. However, he failed to respond to discovery or a terminating sanction motion, and did not give due notice to his client regarding a settlement offer. By his actions, he failed to take steps to avoid prejudice to his client.

In addition to the public reproval, Peterson was disciplined in 2000 for failing to perform legal services competently, return client files or promptly pay out client funds. In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

BARRY JAY POST [#72286], 60, of San Pedro was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with a three-year actual suspension and until he proves his rehabilitation, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

Post was terminated from the State Bar’s Alternative Discipline Program, receiving a more severe discipline than would have been meted out had he completed the program. He had demonstrated a connection between his misconduct and his mental health problems but made misrepresentations to the court about his efforts to contact the bar’s probation office. The bar court denied Post’s request that it reconsider its decision to terminate him from the program.

In the underlying matter, he did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 1999 disciplinary order imposed for failures to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees or communicate with clients.

In mitigation, he had serious medical problems that led to severe financial stress.

GARY CRAIG WYKIDAL [#92437], 57, of Costa Mesa was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2011.

Wykidal stipulated that he commingled funds in his client trust account, using it to pay personal expenses, and he failed to maintain a proper balance in the account. He disbursed $34,221.50 from his trust account when there was a dispute about the funds between his client and the other co-owner of a consulting firm.

In mitigation, Wykidal had no discipline record in 29 years of practice, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, acted in good faith and presented evidence of his good character.

MATTHEW JOSEPH FAIRSHTER [#131667], 50, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 90-day suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan. 11, 2012.

Fairshter was suspended for three years in Colorado for misconduct in a bankruptcy matter.

He represented a client who filed for bankruptcy because of an adverse judgment in litigation with Stinky Love Inc. (SLI). Fairshter and his firm asked the bankruptcy court in Colorado for permission to continue to represent their client in the SLI litigation in California and sought $284,000 for pre-petition legal services. Although the bankruptcy trustee and SLI opposed his

request, Fairshter continued to represent his client in the SLI case. SLI obtained a $6.2 million judgment and the court reduced Fairshter’s pre-petition fee to $150,000.

The client sold some property to pay the judgment but didn’t have enough money to pay the claims of the unsecured creditors. He believed Old Standard Insurance Company, the principal lien holder on the property, had been overpaid and employed Fairshter to recover the alleged overpayment. Under the fee agreement, Fairshter’s firm was granted a lien against the client’s assets, including from any recovery in the Old Standard litigation, to ensure payment of attorney’s fees for: $284,000 for pre-petition services; $216,000 for post-petition/pre-confirmation fees and a contingent fee of up to 30 percent for work on the Old Standard litigation. Although the client was advised that he and Fairshter might have conflicting interests, he agreed to the representation.

Fairshter did not seek the bankruptcy court’s permission to represent his client in either the Old Standard or the California SLI litigation, nor did he inform the court that he continued to handle the California case. His actions violated federal statute.

SLI filed a motion to require that any recovery in the Old Standard litigation be deposited with the bankruptcy court. The court granted the motion and also disallowed Fairshter’s $216,000 fee. Fairshter lost an appeal of the ruling. He also objected to the settlement reached by his client and SLI, but filed his objection late. The bankruptcy court sanctioned him and he lost an appeal of the sanction order.

Fairshter was publicly reproved in 2008. In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation and his client submitted a declaration stating the he was not harmed by Fairshter’s conduct.

STANLEY LEWIS EVANS [#119091], 59, of Monterey was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until he makes restitution and proves his rehabilitation, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan. 11, 2012.

Evans was terminated from the Alternative Discipline Program for attorneys with substance abuse or mental health issues after he admitted he tested positive for alcohol. He therefore receives a more severe discipline than had he completed the program. He had stipulated to multiple counts of misconduct in four matters, including failures to perform legal services competently, release client files, refund unearned fees, maintain client funds in trust, pay client funds promptly, account for client funds or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He also misappropriated client funds.

In the misappropriation matter, Evans was hired to file a lawsuit to recover a client’s property from a house that had been foreclosed. Evans guaranteed that the client would either have his possessions returned or he would receive the value of the possessions, estimated at approximately $200,000. Evans never filed the suit or took any steps to recover the man’s possessions.

The same client retained Evans to represent him in two pending criminal actions and a dissolution. He received about $60,000 from a flood claim and the sale of his home, but because he couldn’t open a bank account, Evans offered to open an account for him and keep his money until he could open his own account.

Evans transferred $12,500, fees the client paid for his criminal cases, to another bank account, gave $15,000 to the client’s girlfriend and $10,000 to the client, and disbursed $5,000 to himself.  He then made a series of withdrawals from the account without the client’s permission, misappropriating $12,024. Evans never accounted for any of the funds or returned unearned fees, and the client hired a new lawyer.

Evans was publicly reproved in 1990.

THOMAS JAMES BAYARD [#226247], 42, of Diamond Bar was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Jan. 11, 2012.

He stipulated to 13 counts of misconduct in seven matters. In one case, he added a woman as a plaintiff in a civil matter without her consent. Despite her request, Bayard did not remove the woman’s name from the case for eight months. The property associated with the underlying action was sold, and the defendants kept $32,500 that belonged to the woman to cover legal fees. They also sued her for malicious prosecution and she had to pay more money to resolve that matter. Bayard has agreed to pay the woman $32,000.

Another client hired Bayard to appeal the denial of her claim for disability benefits. Bayard sued the Social Security Administration but his petition was dismissed because he did not file a proof of service or a joint stipulation that was ordered by the court. He didn’t tell the client her case was dismissed for more than two years, when he admitted he failed to file documents on time. He agreed to pay the client $45,000 at $2,500 per month in order to resolve any possible malpractice claims and at the time of the stipulation still owed the client $36,500.

His misconduct included failures to perform legal services competently, respond to clients’ reasonable status inquiries, refund unearned fees, return client files or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and he filed an action without authority.

ELLEN E. SROOG RODIN [#92305], 68, of Oakland was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a one-year actual suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan. 11, 2012.

Rodin stipulated to four counts of misconduct in two matters, one for commingling funds in her trust account and paying personal and business expenses from the account. The other case was a probate matter in which she represented the executor of an estate who maintained control over its assets. The client gave Rodin $5,000 to hire an accountant, but she did not do so and instead misappropriated at least $4,929.54 from the estate’s funds although she later performed the accounting.

She later asked the client for $8,000 in advance fees to continue her representation, violating the Probate Code. Rodin later refunded the money to the estate.

She stipulated that she failed to maintain client funds in trust, misappropriated funds from the estate, committing an act of moral turpitude, and collected an illegal fee.

In mitigation, Rodin had no prior discipline, displayed remorse, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and she had family problems at the time of the misconduct.

ANDREW McLAREN STEWART [#204170], 39, of San Diego was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Jan. 11, 2012.

Stewart stipulated to five counts of misconduct in a personal injury case he took on a contingency fee basis. Under the fee agreement, he was entitled to 45 percent of the gross recovery he obtained for his client. He subsequently associated with another lawyer and entered into a second fee agreement under which he was entitled to half of the gross recovery through settlement or prior to filing a lawsuit and 56 percent of the recovery obtained through mediation, arbitration or jury trial. In other words, Stewart’s interest in the recovery increased by 11 percentage points with a second fee agreement although he never advised his client to seek independent legal advice.

Stewart later loaned his client $15,000; in return, the client agreed to repay amounts ranging from $17,000 to $25,000, depending on the outcome of the case and various deadlines.

The claim settled for $1.2 million plus a $700,000 annuity. Stewart and the other lawyer were entitled to $1,064,000 for attorney fees (or 56 percent of $1,900,000) and to reimbursement of costs advanced. Stewart provided an inaccurate accounting of both the settlement and his costs, overcharging his client $1,174, and he did not maintain the proper balance in his client trust account.

He later loaned the client another $20,000; in return, the client agreed to pay Stewart $35,000, consented to sell part of his annuity to repay Stewart, hired Stewart to broker the annuity sale for a broker fee of $10,000, and agreed to repay all costs and fees advanced by Stewart relating to the brokerage deal. He did not tell the client when the $35,000 was due; what portion of the annuity would be sold and how the sale would affect the value of the annuity; how the funds from the sale would be collected and maintained; and the nature and amount of the costs and fees related to the brokerage deal.

Stewart stipulated to three counts of entering into a business transaction with a client in which he obtained a pecuniary interest adverse to the client. He also admitted he failed to account for client funds or maintain the proper balance in his client trust account.

In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record, demonstrated remorse, had severe financial problems and he suffered from bipolar disorder.

GERALD I. SUGARMAN [#84730], 77, of Arroyo Grande was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Jan. 11, 2012.

Sugarman stipulated that in two matters he did not disclose to his clients or the State Bar that he employed a disciplined attorney as a paralegal and allowed him to work on the clients’ cases.

In mitigation, the clients were not harmed and Sugarman cooperated with the bar’s investigation. He was suspended for 42 months in 1996 for committing an act of moral turpitude by attempting to conceal assets from a bankruptcy trustee. He was convicted in 1994 of of aiding and abetting bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.

CHARLES DAVID TREJO [#187529], 51, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, and was placed on two years of probation with a 60-day actual suspension. The order took effect Jan. 11, 2012.

Trejo did not comply with probation conditions of a 2010 disciplinary order. He failed to make restitution, take the MPRE, attend ethics school, develop an acceptable law office management plan on time, or take continuing education courses addressing law office management. He also submitted two quarterly probation reports late.

The underlying discipline was imposed after Trejo stipulated to failing to perform legal services competently or keep a client informed and he violated a court order to pay sanctions and misled his client in a business partnership dissolution.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation and he had financial problems that contributed to the violations of his probation.

MAHAN MATTHEW ABBASI [#215030], 37, of Woodland Hills was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Jan. 12, 2012.

Abbasi stipulated that he failed to refund a $5,500 fee he collected from a New Jersey couple to negotiate a mortgage loan modification for two properties. The couple terminated Abbasi’s employment but he did not return their advance fee.

In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record and cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

CLARENCE MICHAEL BALINGIT [#194890], 47, of Florence, Ariz., was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until he makes restitution, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan. 12, 2012.

Balingit stipulated to 17 counts of misconduct in four matters.

He told a client he represented in a misdemeanor traffic citation case that the matter was resolved when he knew he had not paid the client’s traffic fines. Balingit denies receiving $445 to pay the fines and denies telling the client he had done so. The fines were never paid, Balingit did not return the client’s repeated phone calls over three months and he didn’t cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

He was hired to file a personal injury lawsuit and although he repeatedly told the client he had done so, he never filed suit. He received $20,733 in insurance funds, and paid the client $12,809 and his doctors $3,148. He allowed the balance in his trust account to fall below the required amount, and he didn’t pay the client the full amount owed for more than two years. He stipulated that he misappropriated at least $4,518 and also didn’t give the client’s new lawyer his file, including videotapes and photos of the client’s injuries.

Although Balingit filed suit for another client who was injured in an accident, he entered into a stipulation with the opposing attorney dismissing his client’s request for punitive damages. He had alleged that the other driver was driving under the influence at the time of the accident. The client hired a new lawyer after Balingit did not respond to his phone calls, but Balingit never released the file.

In the final case, he did no work on a bankruptcy petition, did not respond to his client’s status requests, and for months did not refund unearned fees or return the file.

Balingit stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, refund advance fees, release client files, respond to reasonable status requests, maintain or promptly pay out client funds or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He also misappropriated client funds, committing an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Balingit had no prior discipline record, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and presented evidence of his good character.

DAVID ROBERT ENDRES [#123564], 62, of Davis was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan. 12, 2012.

Endres stipulated that he aided in the unauthorized practice of law by allowing nonlawyers to provide legal advice and to sign his name to legal pleadings, filings and motions, including declarations executed under penalty of perjury. He also admitted that he sought to mislead the court.

Endres was a sole practitioner representing clients who wanted to evict tenants from their property. For many years, he filed 500-600 evictions per year, but when the housing market crashed, the number of foreclosures and post-foreclosure evictions soared. In six months in 2009, he filed more than 1,000 eviction cases. In order to manage the caseload, Endres developed an efficient system using nonlawyers to handle much of the work. Many documents, including statements that he had read complaints and was aware of their contents, were submitted to the court without any input from Endres. He had little direct supervisory contact with the staff that prepared the legal pleadings, filings and motions.

In mitigation, Endres had no record of discipline, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and modified his office procedures to assure attorney oversight of its operations.

WILLIAM THOMAS HAYS [#20286], 89, of Newport Beach was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until he makes restitution and proves his rehabilitation and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan. 12, 2012.

Hays stipulated to 69 counts of misconduct in 14 loan modification cases. In each case, he violated a state law that prohibits taking advance fees for offering to perform a mortgage loan modification. He also did not provide the required statement that individuals do not need to hire a third party to arrange for a loan modification, but can call lenders directly or use nonprofit housing counseling agencies.

Hays also charged illegal or unconscionable fees, failed to account for fees, release client files or keep clients informed of significant developments in their cases, and he practiced in jurisdictions (Nevada, Florida, Massachusetts and Virginia) where he was not admitted.

He agreed to pay $35,825 in restitution.

In mitigation, Hays had no discipline record in more than 62 years of practice.

GAIL MARIE LISONI (LANDTBOM) [#90298], 63, of Buellton was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and she was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Jan. 12, 2012.

Lisoni stipulated to two counts of misconduct in a civil rights matter in which she represented a father and his minor daughter on a contingency fee basis. The case settled for $350,000 for the father and $10,000 for the daughter. The court ordered various disbursements of the funds, including a requirement that the child’s money be held in a blocked account.

Lisoni’s law partner controlled the firm’s trust account and handling of settlement funds, and she relied on him to handle the funds consistent with the court’s orders. However, he did not deposit the child’s money in a blocked account and Lisoni didn’t follow through to ensure the funds were handled correctly. The father and daughter were reimbursed after five years.

Lisoni stipulated that she failed to ensure that client funds were maintained in a blocked account.

In mitigation, Lisoni had no discipline record in 31 years of practice, cooperated with the bar’s investigation, closed the trust account shared with her law partner after learning that he had issued insufficient funds checks on the account and has performed extensive charitable work for many years.

PETER DAMIAN MANNING [#169358], 61, of San Jose was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Jan. 12, 2012.

Manning stipulated to four counts of misconduct in two matters.

He failed to appear for three hearings in a dissolution case and was sanctioned but didn’t report the sanction to the bar. He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, violated court orders and did not report court-ordered sanctions to the bar. In an immigration matter, he did not return his clients’ file after his employment ended.

Manning was publicly reproved in 2010 for failing to comply with the requirements of a 2009 Agreement in Lieu of Discipline. In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

CRAIG EUGENE MUNSON [#143833], 54, of Alhambra was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on two years of probation. The order took effect Jan. 12, 2012.

Munson stipulated to three counts of misconduct in three cases. In two matters, he failed to perform legal services competently and he disobeyed court orders in the third. He also did not respond to his client’s reasonable status inquiries.

After substituting in to a civil matter, Munson did not file the substitution with the court. He also didn’t file a second substitution. In addition, he didn’t serve discovery responses, respond to a motion for terminating sanctions and failed to appear at a hearing on the motion.

Munson substituted in to another matter but again failed to serve discovery responses, respond to discovery motions or a motion for terminating sanctions and he did not tell his client his case was dismissed. He cooperated with a new lawyer’s efforts to restore the complaint. An appellate court found that Munson had taken on too many clients to handle successfully, lost track of cases, and failed to respond to case-related requests or inform his client of significant matters. The court concluded that Munson’s acts were inexcusable neglect.

In a federal case in which he represented the plaintiff, Munson was sanctioned $500 for failing to comply with local rules. When he didn’t pay, he was sanctioned an additional $1,000. He stipulated that he failed to pay court-ordered sanctions.

Munson was suspended in 2008 for failing to deposit client funds in trust. In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, demonstrated remorse, and had emotional and family problems.

The probation of IVAN PEDRO C. PORTO [#129629], 57, of San Diego was revoked, he was suspended for one year and placed on two years of probation and he was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. He receives credit for a period of involuntary inactive enrollment that began Oct. 6, 2011. The order took effect Jan 12, 2012.

Porto failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a 2010 disciplinary order. He failed to call the probation office to schedule a required meeting, file his first quarterly probation report or notify the probation office of changes to his address and phone number.

In the underlying discipline, Porto stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently in two matters.

THEODORE ARTHUR PINNOCK [153434], 49, of Carmona, Phillipines, was  suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and he was ordered to  take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan. 27, 2012.

Pinnock stipulated that he committed an act of moral turpitude by misappropriating money held on behalf of a trust and he tried to mislead a judge.

He was hired by a couple to administer a trust on behalf of their child, who was confined to a wheelchair due to injuries sustained at birth. The child was the trust’s sole beneficiary. Pinnock was appointed trustee and as such was a fiduciary to the funds it held. He stipulated that he was grossly negligent withdrawing $4,000 from the trust and spending it on himself.

When the child turned 18, Pinnock was ordered to account for the funds in the trust but he falsely stated that the $4,000 was spent on “attendant care and expenses.” When the beneficiary objected, Pinnock returned the money, although he falsely stated it had been erroneously deposited in his account by a bank employee.

In mitigation, Pinnock had no prior discipline record, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, demonstrated remorse and had serious physical disabilities.

CORECIA JOY WOO [#214544], 42, of Auburn was suspended for five years, stayed, and until she proves her rehabilitation, placed on five years of probation and she was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. She receives credit for a period of inactive enrollment that began Oct. 16, 2008. The order took effect Jan. 27, 2012.

Woo stipulated to 12 counts of misconduct in five cases, including failures to perform legal services competently, account for client funds or respond to reasonable status inquiries, and she withdrew from representation without protecting her clients’ interests and disobeyed a court order by failing to pay sanctions.

In a divorce case in which Woo represented the husband, she did not respond to the opposing party’s interrogatories and told her client she would no longer represent him. She refunded $1,000. However, she did not refund his full fee and costs or return his file for several months.

Woo filed a personal injury case but then did not contact the insurance company or appear at a case management conference or an order to show cause hearing and the case was dismissed. She did not inform her client. She withdrew from another family law matter for which the client advanced a $2,500 fee, but did not properly substitute out, account for fees or refund unearned fees. Woo took no action in another personal injury case for more than a year and allowed the statute of limitations to run.

Woo also was disciplined in 2007 for making misrepresentations to a client and failing to refund unearned fees. In mitigation, she cooperated with the bar’s investigation, demonstrated remorse and had severe family problems. In recognition of her misconduct, she tried to resign from the bar, but the Supreme Court rejected the resignation.

MICHAEL JUDE O’BRIEN [#147414], 49, of Upland was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual six-month suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect Jan.12, 2012.

State Bar Court Judge Richard A. Platel found that O’Brien committed misconduct in his divorce proceedings and said his testimony during a four-day trial was unbelievable. O’Brien was declared a vexatious litigant by a superior court judge eight years after the divorce proceedings began, and Platel said that his actions caused his ex-wife to spend an additional $100,000 to defend her side of the action.

Although O’Brien stipulated to the appointment of a special master in the divorce case, he claimed he had not done so after the special master issued a report that was unfavorable to him. He also filed an appeal from court order that he claimed had been issued before any orders were entered. Platel said O’Brien thus intentionally made false statements and sought to mislead judges “for the corrupt purpose of avoiding unfavorable rulings and staying the superior court proceeding in order to deprive that court of jurisdiction.”

The special master had found that O’Brien failed to comply with his ex-wife’s discovery requests. The court ordered O’Brien to pay sanctions of $41,000, later reducing that amount by $500. He had not produced tax returns for his real estate business or had provided documents that were disorganized and copied over other documents.

During a lunch break in the family law action, O’Brien appealed all pending orders so that he could then “take the position that the Superior Court had lost jurisdiction to conclude the hearing and that further trial court proceedings should be stayed.” The court continued the hearing anyway. 

O’Brien unsuccessfully appealed the trial court’s rulings. The court of appeal found the appeal frivolous, called his lunch break appeal a “sophomoric stunt” and ordered O’Brien to pay his former wife sanctions of $23,712. The court ordered that its opinion be forwarded to the State Bar for discipline. O’Brien sought review of the appellate court’s findings with the Supreme Court, which denied his request.

As part of a custody case, the family court also ordered O’Brien to pay retroactive child support ranging from $1,118 a month to $1,285 a month. O’Brien, however, continued to pay $738 per month and his ex-wife was forced to file motions for contempt. O’Brien settled with her before any hearings were held.

In the State Bar proceedings, O’Brien claimed the trial court’s orders did not require him to pay anything, but only set forth amounts owed. He calculated a different, lower figure that he said represented the “just” amount of child support and that he was “finding the truth” regarding his child support obligations. “In sum,” Platel wrote, O’Brien “argues that he did not have to comply with the court’s child support order, because his version of the circumstances was the ‘truth’ and his method of calculating child support is ‘just.’ Such assertions are without rational basis and, thus, are rejected by this court.”

Platel found that O’Brien failed to obey a court order and made false statements to the court “for corrupt motives.”

“Throughout this disciplinary proceeding,” Platel wrote, O’Brien’s “testimony has changed and his version of the ‘truth’ becomes whatever best supports his claim at the moment, irrespective of any facts with which he is confronted.” He said O’Brien significantly harmed both his ex-wife and the courts by filing frivolous appeals and motions. O’Brien also “showed absolutely no remorse for his actions, other than perhaps a lack of judgment for filing his ‘lunch break appeal,’” Platel wrote.

Platel found that O’Brien had no prior discipline record and he cooperated during the State Bar Court proceedings.

. Caution!  More than 200,000 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Read the Discipline Key for an explanation of the different levels of disciplinary action. Use Attorney Search to check an attorney's official bar membership record.