Case Number(s): 12-O-12237
In the Matter of: Glenn Ward Calsada, Bar #134589, A Member of the State Bar of California, (Respondent).
Counsel For The State Bar: Lee Ann Kern, Deputy Trial Counsel
1149 South Hill Street
Los Angeles, California 90015
Counsel for Respondent: In Pro Per Respondent
Glenn Ward Calsada
P.O. Box 8222
4774 Park Granada, Suite 10
Calabasas, California 91302
Submitted to: Assigned Judge State Bar Court Clerk’s Office Los Angeles.
Filed: September 20, 2012
<<not>> checked. PREVIOUS STIPULATION REJECTED
Note: All information required by this form and any additional information which cannot be provided in the space provided, must be set forth in an attachment to this stipulation under specific headings, e.g., "Facts," "Dismissals," "Conclusions of Law," "Supporting Authority," etc.
1. Respondent is a member of the State Bar of California, admitted June 14, 1988.
2. The parties agree to be bound by the factual stipulations contained herein even if conclusions of law or disposition are rejected or changed by the Supreme Court.
3. All investigations or proceedings listed by case number in the caption of this stipulation are entirely resolved by this stipulation and are deemed consolidated. Dismissed charge(s)/count(s) are listed under "Dismissals." The stipulation consists of 11 pages, not including the order.
4. A statement of acts or omissions acknowledged by Respondent as cause or causes for discipline is included under "Facts."
5. Conclusions of law, drawn from and specifically referring to the facts are also included under "Conclusions of Law".
6. The parties must include supporting authority for the recommended level of discipline under the heading "Supporting Authority."
7. No more than 30 days prior to the filing of this stipulation, Respondent has been advised in writing of any pending investigation/proceeding not resolved by this stipulation, except for criminal investigations.
8. Payment of Disciplinary Costs-Respondent acknowledges the provisions of Bus. & Prof. Code §§6086.10 & 6140.7. (Check one option only):
checked. Costs are added to membership fee for calendar year following effective date of discipline.
<<not>> checked. Costs are to be paid in equal amounts prior to February 1 for the following membership years: . (Hardship, special circumstances or other good cause per rule 5.132, Rules of Procedure.) If Respondent fails to pay any installment as described above, or as may be modified by the State Bar Court, the remaining balance is due and payable immediately.
<<not>> checked. Costs are waived in part as set forth in a separate attachment entitled "Partial Waiver of Costs".
<<not>> checked. Costs are entirely waived.
IN THE MATTER OF: Glenn Ward Calsada
CASE NUMBER(S): 12-0-12237
FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW.
Respondent admits that the following facts are true and that he is culpable of violations of the specified statutes and/or Rules of Professional Conduct.
Case No. 12-0-12237 (Complainant: Eileen Brandon)
1. On March 11, 2010, Eileen Brandon ("Brandon"), who resides in Spain, hired Respondent to represent her in a dispute with the Department of Justice ("DOJ") regarding outstanding student loans Brandon owed to the Department of Education ("DOE"). In March 2010, Respondent and Brandon agreed via email that Brandon would pay Respondent $350 per hour. Brandon further agreed to pay Respondent $3,500, based on Respondent’s hourly rate and his request that she provide him with advance fees for 10 hours of legal services.
2. On June 14, 2010, Brandon was served with a lawsuit entitled USA vs. Eileen Brandon, United States District Court Case No. 2:10-CV-02257-GAF-JC, in which the DOE sought collection of the student loans. In June 2010, Brandon sent Respondent $300 to prepare a homestead declaration for her. Respondent did not provide Brandon with a billing statement; instead, on June 14, 2010, Respondent sent Brandon an email and requested that she pay him a lump sum of $3,200 to cover litigation fees and costs. In June 2010, Brandon paid Respondent $3,200.
3. On November 1, 2010, Respondent sent an email to Brandon in which he informed her that the case had been set for trial in May 2011. Respondent did not provide Brandon with a billing statement; instead, Respondent asked that she pay him a lump sum of $2,500. On November 3, 2010, Brandon paid Respondent $2,500. As of November 2010, Brandon had paid Respondent $9,500.
4. In early April 2011, Brandon gave Respondent authority to resolve her debt to the DOE for $30,000. On April 23,2011, Respondent sent Brandon an email in which he suggested that Brandon wire at least $45,000 into his account to settle her debt to the DOE on the basis that $45,000 was the DOE’s last settlement demand.
5. On April 28, 2011, Respondent and Brandon had a telephone conversation in which they discussed settlement of Brandon’s debt to the DOE. On April 28; 2011, following their telephone conversation, Brandon caused a check in the amount of $45,000 to be issued to Respondent via electronic payment from Bank of America. Respondent received the funds.
6. On May 2, 2011, the DOE accepted Brandon’s $30,000 settlement offer. On that date, Respondent notified Brandon of the settlement.
7. On May 28, 2011, Brandon sent Respondent an email in which she provided him with her Bank of America account number in order for Respondent to disburse to Brandon the remaining $15,000; the difference between the $45,000 she had sent to Respondent and the $30,000 for which the matter had settled. On that same date, Respondent replied to Brandon’s email and informed her that "unearned fees are paid out of my trust account. It is sent by check to you as the client." 8. In his May 28, 2011 email to Brandon, Respondent did not inform Brandon she would be receiving less than the full $15,000 back from Respondent or that Brandon owed Respondent additional legal fees,
9. On June 10, 2011, Respondent caused Brandon’s case file to be delivered to her, along with an accounting and a check payable to Brandon in the amount of $5,720.18. The check represented the difference between $9,279.82 in additional legal fees that Respondent charged Brandon and the $15,000 that remained from the $45,000 Brandon provided Respondent to settle her debt. Brandon negotiated the $5,720.18 check.
10. On June 23,2011, Brandon sent Respondent an email objecting to the additional charges as set forth in the accounting and again asked Respondent to return the full $15,000 to her. On September 6, 201 l, Brandon sent Respondent another email in which she asked him to return her money. Respondent received the emails, but did not return any portion of the $9,279.82 to Brandon. Instead, Respondent maintained the funds in his client trust account and treated the dispute over the funds as a fee dispute.
CONCLUSION OF LAW:
11. By failing to promptly disburse $9,279.82 to Brandon as she requested, Respondent, failed to pay promptly, as requested by a client, any funds in Respondent’s possession which the client is entitled to receive.
OTHER MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES.
Respondent has no prior record of discipline in 24 years of practice. Although the misconduct in the instant matter is serious, the Supreme Court has nonetheless considered the absence of a prior record of discipline in mitigation. (See Edwards vs. State Bar (1990) 52 Cal.3d 28, 31-32, 36, 39, where mitigative credit was given for almost 12 years of discipline-free practice despite intentional misappropriation and commingling.)
On August 14, 2012, Respondent disbursed a total of $10,439.82 to Brandon. The amount distributed to Brandon represents $9,279.82 of Brandon’s funds that Respondent held in trust from May 2011 through August 2012, in addition to 10% interest for 15 months in the amount of $1,160.
Respondent stipulated to facts, conclusions of law, and disposition in order to resolve his disciplinary proceedings as efficiently as possible. (See Silva-Vidor v. State Bar 0989) 49 Cal. 3d 1071, 1079, where mitigative credit was accorded to the attomey for admitting facts and culpability in order to simply the disciplinary proceedings against her.)
AUTHORITIES SUPPORTING DISCIPLINE.
The Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct provide a "process of fixing discipline" pursuant to a set of written principles to "better discharge the purposes of attorney discipline as announced by the Supreme Court." (Rules Proc. of State Bar, tit. IV, Stds. for Atty. Sanctions for Prof. Misconduct, Introduction (all further references to standards are to this source).) The primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings and of the sanctions imposed are "the protection of the public, the courts and the legal profession; the maintenance of high professional standards by attorneys and the preservation of public confidence in the legal profession." (In re Morse (1995) 11 Cal.4th 184, 205; std 1.3.)
Although not binding, the standards are entitled to "great weight" and should be followed "whenever possible" in determining level of discipline. (In re Silverton (2005) 36 Cal.4th 81, 92, quoting In re Brown (1995) 12 Cal.4th 205,220 and In re Young (1989) 49 Cal.3d 257, 267, fn. 11.) Adherence to the standards in the great majority of cases serves the valuable purpose of eliminating disparity and assuring consistency, that is, the imposition of similar attorney discipline for instances of similar attorney misconduct. (In re Naney (1990) 51 Cal.3d 186, 190.) Any discipline recommendation different from that set forth in the applicable standards should clearly explain the reasons for the deviation. (Blair v. State Bar (1989) 49 Cal.3d 762, 776, fn. 5.)
Standard 2.2(b) provides that culpability of a member of violating rule 4-100, Rules of Professional Conduct, shall result in at least a three month actual suspension from the practice of law, irrespective of mitigating circumstances.
Although the standard requires a minimum three-month actual suspension, the mitigation in this case warrants a lesser sanction. Respondent has 24 years of discipline-free practice, maintained the disputed funds in trust, and eventually corrected the misconduct by paying interest when he disbursed the client’s funds. These facts show that his misconduct aberrational and unlikely to recur.
The Supreme Court has deviated from standard 2.2(b) where the misconduct was aberrational and unlikely to recur. (Dudugjian v. State Bar (1991) 52 Cal.3d 1092 [public reproval imposed where attorneys deposited clients’ settlement check into their general account instead of a trust account and refused to pay the funds over on request].)
In the instant matter, deviation from standard 2.2(b) is supported by the mitigating circumstances and comparable Supreme Court case law. One year stayed suspension and two years probation is the appropriate sanction for Respondent’s misconduct. The recommended discipline is adequate to protect the public, the courts, and the legal profession.
The disclosure date referred to, on page 2, paragraph A (7), was August 31, 2012.
COSTS OF DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS.
Respondent acknowledges that the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel has informed respondent that as of August 31, 2012, the prosecution costs in this matter are $2,865. Respondent further acknowledges that should this stipulation be rejected or should relief from the stipulation be granted, the costs in this matter may increase due to the cost of further proceedings.
Case Number(s): 12-O-12237
In the Matter of: Glenn Ward Calsada
By their signatures below, the parties and their counsel, as applicable, signify their agreement with each of the recitation and each of the terms and conditions of this Stipulation Re Facts, Conclusions of Law and Disposition.
Respondent: Glenn Ward Calsada
Deputy Trial Counsel: Lee Ann Kern
Case Number(s): 12-O-12237
In the Matter of: Glenn Ward Calsada
Finding the stipulation to be fair to the parties and that it adequately protects the public, IT IS ORDERED that the requested dismissal of counts/charges, if any, is GRANTED without prejudice, and:
<<not>> checked. The stipulated facts and disposition are APPROVED and the DISCIPLINE RECOMMENDED to the Supreme Court.
checked. The stipulated facts and disposition are APPROVED AS MODIFIED as set forth below, and the DISCIPLINE IS RECOMMENDED to the Supreme Court.
<<not>> checked. All Hearing dates are vacated.
On page 8 of the stipulation, paragraph 11, "which the client is entitled to receive" is deleted, and in its place is inserted "which the client is entitled to receive,-in willful violation of rule 4-100(B)(4) of the Califomia Rules of Professional Conduct."
The parties are bound by the stipulation as approved unless: 1) a motion to withdraw or modify the stipulation, filed within 15 days after service of this order, is granted; or 2) this court modifies or further modifies the approved stipulation. (See rule 5.58 (E) & (F), Rules of Procedure.) The effective date of this disposition is the effective date of the Supreme Court order herein, normally 30 days after the file date. (See rule 9.18(a), California Rules of Court.)
Judge of the State Bar Court: Donald F. Miles
[Rules Proc. of State Bar; Rule 5.27(B); Code Civ. Proc., § 1013a(4)]
I am a Case Administrator of the State Bar Court of California. I am over the age of eighteen and not a party to the within proceeding. Pursuant to standard court practice, in the City and County of Los Angeles on September 20, 2012, I deposited a true copy of the following document(s):
STIPULATION RE FACTS, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DISPOSITION AND ORDER
APPROVING STAYED SUSPENSION; NO ACTUAL SUSPENSION
in a sealed envelope for collection and mailing on that date as follows:
checked. by first-class mail, with postage thereon fully prepaid, through the United States Postal Service at Los Angeles, California, addressed as follows:
GLENN W. CALSADA
LAW OFFICE OF GLENN WARD CALSADA, PC
PO BOX 8222
4774 PARK GRANADA STE 10
CALABASAS, CA 91302
checked. by interoffice mail through a facility regularly maintained by the State Bar of California addressed as follows:
LEE ANN KERN, Enforcement, Los Angeles
I hereby certify that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed in Los Angeles, California, on September 20, 2012.
State Bar Court