Paul Everett Carreras
State Bar #171417, Roseville (October 28, 2022)
Carreras was summarily disbarred after being convicted of going to meet a minor to commit lewd conduct (Cal. Penal Code § 288.4(b)). The offense is a felony involving moral turpitude as a matter of law.
At his change of plea hearing, Carreras admitted that he was communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a lascivious act, that he had an abnormal sexual interest in the minor, and that he arranged and appeared at a meeting place for the purpose of exposing his genitals there.
Chad D. Morgan
State Bar #291282, Big Bear Lake (October 29, 2022)
Morgan was suspended from practicing law for 30 days and placed on probation for one year after he stipulated to committing four acts of professional misconduct related to a single client case.
His wrongdoing included: failing to perform legal services with competence, failing to inform his client of a significant case development, violating a court order, and failing to report court-ordered sanctions to the State Bar as required.
As he stipulated, Morgan was retained to represent a client in an employment dispute. In the related litigation process, the court granted a motion to compel further responses to written discovery; he failed to do so on three due dates and was sanctioned $1,282.50. He also failed to inform his client of the threat of terminating sanctions. In addition, Morgan failed to file a response to an order to show cause, failed to inform his client of that order, failed to oppose a motion for terminating sanctions--which dismissed the case, and failed to appear at a hearing in the case. He was sanctioned an additional $1,675.
Morgan did not report the sanctions orders to the State Bar within 30 days of receiving them--and paid the amounts due only after it began its investigation in the matter.
In aggravation, Morgan committed multiple acts of wrongdoing.
In mitigation, he entered into a pretrial stipulation and was allotted a little mitigating weight for having practiced law for six years without a record of discipline.
Vincent Andrew Gorski
State Bar #263487, Sacramento (October 29, 2022)
Gorski was placed on probation for one year after he successfully completed the State Bar Court's Alternative Discipline Program (ADP). He also successfully participated in the Lawyer Assistance Program.
Gorski had earlier requested a referral to the ADP after his conviction of the misdemeanor of brandishing a firearm (Cal. Penal Code § 417(a)(2)) became final. He was accepted into the program after the declaration and additional evidence he submitted established a nexus between his mental health and substance abuse issues and the misconduct in the case. In the underlying matter, Gorski drove to his law office one evening and found an individual standing on the grass outside of it. The two argued--and when the man refused to leave, Gorski went inside his office, retrieved a pistol and fired a round into the air. The man summoned police, who questioned Gorski--though he denied brandishing or discharging a firearm and alleged, without supporting facts, that the man had tried to break into his office. The officers noted Gorski had been drinking.
Gorski subsequently stipulated to the State Bar that the facts and circumstances surrounding his misconduct involved moral turpitude.
In mitigation, Gorski was allotted a little weight for having practiced law discipline-free for six years and given added weight for having completed the ADP--warranting the lower level of discipline that could be imposed.
State Bar #223955, Pomona (October 16, 2022)
Munoz was placed on probation for two years after he stipulated to an earlier conviction: one count of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse resulting in a traumatic condition. The offense is a misdemeanor.
The State Bar's Review Department referred the conviction to the Hearing Department, for both a hearing and determination as to whether the facts and circumstances surrounding the conviction involved moral turpitude or other misconduct warranting professional discipline.
In the underlying incident, Munoz and his wife of 21 years argued after visiting a casino and consuming alcohol; a physical altercation ensued. A few days later, at the urging of an examining physician, the wife reported the incident to law enforcement, and Munoz was charged.
The State Bar Court determined that the violation did not involve moral turpitude, but did merit discipline.
In mitigation, Munoz entered into a pretrial stipulation, had practiced law discipline-free for 20 years, presented letters from 10 individuals taken from a range in the legal and general communities--all of whom vouched for his good character, and showed remorse and recognition of his wrongdoing by entering into marital and alcohol abuse counseling.
Brian David Witzer
State Bar #123277, Los Angeles (October 16, 2022)
Witzer was placed on probation for one year after he stipulated to making two statements he knew to be false during a sworn deposition--misconduct involving moral turpitude.
In the underlying matter, Witzer was initially among a number of attorneys representing several plaintiffs in a products liability action. There was eventually a verdict for the defense, and an appeal was denied after Witzer was no longer involved in representing the clients in the matter. After the denial, he referred the former plaintiffs to two other attorneys to handle a malpractice case against the remaining attorneys in the product liability matter.
The malpractice case settled, and as part of the settlement, Witzer alleged he was entitled to a $1.9 million referral fee. When the representing attorneys refused payment, he sued to recover it--and also filed a second lawsuit on behalf of the original plaintiffs asserting malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, charging excessive fees.
While those two cases were pending one of the plaintiffs died, and Witzer served as a keynote speaker at her memorial service. A few days later, while deposing an individual in one of the pending cases, Witzer postulated what she was likely to say in a future deposition, though he clearly knew at the time that she was deceased.
He informed the defendants of the death about a month later.
In aggravation, Witzer had a prior record of discipline,
In mitigation, he entered into a prefiling stipulation, provided good character reference letters from 20 individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, submitted evidence of performing pro bono and community service, and expressed remorse for his wrongdoing.
-Barbara Kate Repa