Thomas M. Witte - #107542
Current Status: Disbarred
This member is prohibited from practicing law in California by order of the California Supreme Court.
See below for more details.
The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.
9152 Shady Hollow Way
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
|Phone Number:||Not Available|
|Fax Number:||(916) 988-2230|
||Undergraduate School:||Ohio Univ; Athens OH|
|Sections:||None||Law School:||McGeorge SOL Univ of the Pacific; CA|
|Effective Date||Status Change|
|11/5/2006||Not Eligible To Practice Law|
|1/12/1983||Admitted to The State Bar of California|
Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law
State Bar Court Cases
NOTE: The State Bar Court began posting public discipline documents online in 2005. The format and pagination of documents posted on this site may vary from the originals in the case file as a result of their translation from the original format into Word and PDF. Copies of additional related documents in a case are available upon request. Only Opinions designated for publication in the State Bar Court Reporter may be cited or relied on as precedent in State Bar Court proceedings. For further information about a case that is displayed here, please refer to the State Bar Court's online docket, which can be found at: http://apps.statebarcourt.ca.gov/dockets/dockets.aspx
DISCLAIMER: Any posted Notice of Disciplinary Charges, Conviction Transmittal or other initiating document, contains only allegations of professional misconduct. The attorney is presumed to be innocent of any misconduct warranting discipline until the charges have been proven.
|Effective Date||Case Number||Description|
|10/19/2012||08-O-11755||Opinion [PDF] [WORD]|
|11/5/2006||04-O-10287||Stipulation [PDF] [HTML]|
California Bar Journal Discipline Summaries
Summaries from the California Bar Journal are based on discipline orders but are not the official records. Not all discipline actions have associated CBJ summaries. Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.
December 30, 2007
THOMAS M. WITTE [#107542], 53, of Fair Oaks was suspended for one year, stayed, and placed on probation for one year. The order took effect Dec. 30, 2007.Witte represented the plaintiff in a suit filed against her for breach of contract; he was also retained to file a counter claim for elder abuse. He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently because he did not respond to discovery on time, appear at a mandatory settlement conference, file an adequate MSC statement or provide the name of an expert witness. He also filed a complaint in violation of the code of civil procedure. As a result of Witte’s conduct, sanctions were imposed against him and his client.
November 5, 2006
THOMAS M. WITTE [#107542], 52, of Fair Oaks was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on four years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE, comply with rule 955 and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Nov. 5, 2006.Witte stipulated to misconduct in three matters.He represented a client in a wrongful death action arising from the fatal shooting of her son. Witte was to receive 40 percent of all amounts recovered. Two liens were filed against any recovery, for money paid to the client through the victims assistance fund and for child support she owed.The matter settled for $22,500. Witte disbursed $3,000 to the client and resolved one lien but could not negotiate a reduction of the child support. He agreed to hold $8,000 in his trust account prior to resolving the liens.Over a two-year period, Witte made payments totaling $983.25 for the child support. Although the client says she provided a copy of a wage and earnings withholding order from her employer and that she instructed Witte to satisfy the family support lien, he claims he received neither the order nor her instructions. Instead, he made five payments to the client totaling $900.The client paid off the child support lien but later received a notice from the bankruptcy court that Witte declared bankruptcy, listed her as a creditor and characterized his $8,000 debt as a personal loan. After the client complained to the bar, Witte sent her a check for $8,000 that she did not cash. He ultimately paid her $8,694.16, which represented $6,116.75 in principal and $2,577.41 in interest.Witte stipulated that he failed to promptly pay or maintain client funds, he sought to mislead a judge and he misappropriated client funds, committing an act of moral turpitude.In a second matter, Witte substituted in to a case his client had filed against his brother involving a dissolution of a partnership and partition of real property. The first law firm had sued the client for attorney’s fees amounting to more than $51,000 and a court had given the firm the right to attach the client’s property.Witte was hired to handle both matters. He was to be paid $10,000 for the case against the client’s brother, to be paid upon sale of the property, and he agreed to accept half of any amount by which the client was able to reduce his bill from the first lawyer.The night before trial was to begin in the brothers’ matter, Witte demanded $15,000 instead of $10,000 because he had spent so much time on the case. The judge ordered that the partnership properties be sold and the proceeds divided between the brothers.A few months later, an arbitrator in the attorney fees matter awarded more than $39,000 to the lawyers. The client instructed Witte to work to remove the lawyers’ lien on the partnership property so he could pay them.The client fired Witte because he was dissatisfied with the way he handled the trial and because he increased his fee on short notice. Witte refused to substitute out of either case, asked to be allowed to negotiate with the other law firm to reduce the award and indicated he was entitled to more money. He then filed a notice of lien against the client on real estate proceeds, claiming the client owed him $25,000 in attorney fees. He filed a second lien later for his fee in the attorney fee case. Witte also rejected the arbitrator award of attorneys’ fees without the client’s authorization.He eventually sued his client and the other law firm for fees and argued at a hearing that he remained attorney of record for the client because he never signed a substitution form.When one of the defendants served a deposition subpoena on Witte, he tried to have the motion quashed and sought sanctions. The court denied his motion and ordered him to appear, but he failed to do so.The court found him guilty of contempt and sanctioned him $1,000.Witte stipulated that he failed to promptly release a client file, violated a court order, failed to support the law and appeared for a party without authority.In the final matter, Witte represented an administrator of an estate and in filing a document on his client’s behalf, made unfounded personal attacks on two women because they were women.He stipulated that he failed to maintain respect to the courts and judicial officers.In mitigation, Witte faced financial and family problems and he suffered emotional or physical difficulties.