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Disbarments
  1. SEAN LYMUS ANDREWS
  2. JERROLD ARTHUR BLOCH
  3. JAMES BRIAN MARKUM
  4. BRIAN SAUNDERS
  5. PATRICK DAYTON McNEAL

 

SEAN LYMUS ANDREWS [#171711], 51, of Santa Clarita was disbarred Feb. 7, 2010, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Andrews failed to comply with a rule 9.20 order that was part of a 2008 discipline. He did not submit to the bar court an affidavit stating that he notified his clients, courts, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension. Failure to comply with rule 9.20 is grounds for disbarment.

Andrews was suspended in 2008 for failing to comply with conditions attached to a 2006 public reproval that was imposed for not performing legal services competently.

JERROLD ARTHUR BLOCH [#34909], 73, of Irvine was disbarred Feb. 11, 2010, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

The State Bar Court found that Bloch committed 22 counts of misconduct in seven client matters, including misappropriation, misrepresentation, concealment, trust fund violations and failures to perform legal services competently, communicate, promptly release a client file, return an unearned fee or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In a medical malpractice matter, for example, Bloch did not tell his client that a trial was scheduled, nor that the case was dismissed or that he did not appeal the summary judgment. He also did not tell the client that he agreed to allow the dismissal of the case in an exchange for a waiver of costs totaling more than $11,000. He represented the same client in a personal injury case that settled for $250,000. He should have kept almost $30,000 in his client trust account after disbursing the funds, but allowed the balance to drop to a negative amount. The court found he misappropriated $28,212 in client funds.

Bloch received a $3,000 settlement check for another personal injury client, but he did not notify her, endorsed the check with the client’s name and misappropriated the funds. He misappropriated $6,500 of entrusted funds from another client and $25,000 from a couple. He did not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expired and that client lost his right to collect damages for his personal injuries.

Although Bloch practiced for 37 years without any discipline, the court gave his record minimal mitigation because of the serious nature of the misconduct. In recommending his disbarment, Judge Pat McElroy said Bloch’s misappropriation “weighs heavily” in assessing the appropriate discipline, and she found his other misconduct “deeply troubling.”

JAMES BRIAN MARKUM [#170326], 44, of Palm Springs was disbarred Feb. 21, 2010, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Markum failed to comply with a rule 9.20 order attached to a 2008 probation. He did not submit to the bar court an affidavit stating that he notified his clients, courts, opposing counsel and other interested parties of his suspension. Failure to comply with rule 9.20 is grounds for disbarment.

The underlying discipline was imposed because Markum failed to comply with probation conditions of a 2006 suspension. In that matter, he failed to perform competent legal services or refund unearned fees to six clients.

BRIAN SAUNDERS [#176100], 54, of Corona was summarily disbarred Feb. 21, 2010, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In 2008, Saunders pleaded guilty to forgery. Because the crime is a felony that involves moral turpitude, it meets the criteria for summary disbarment.

PATRICK DAYTON McNEAL [#62102], 61, of Santa Ana was disbarred Feb. 26, 2010, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding that followed six prior disciplinary orders in 20 years, the State Bar Court found that McNeal committed 39 counts of misconduct in five matters. The court found that he failed to return unearned fees, perform legal services, account for client funds, communicate with his client and cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He also committed acts of moral turpitude, commingled personal and client funds in his trust account and abandoned clients.

In recommending McNeal’s disbarment, Judge Donald F. Miles said McNeal has “repeatedly committed misconduct during 21 of the 35 years of his practice. This is (his) seventh disciplinary proceeding. Probation and suspension have proven inadequate to prevent continued misconduct. And, no compelling mitigation has been shown.”

In all five cases, McNeal represented criminal defendants but did little or no work. When the clients sought refunds of their fees, he either issued a check against insufficient funds or ignored the requests.

He deposited personal and client funds in his trust account and either wrote bad checks or tried to make electronic transfers of funds.

. 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.