Case Number(s): 11-O-13310
In the Matter of: Peter Suk Park, Bar # 152619, A Member of the State Bar of California, (Respondent).
Counsel For The State Bar: Adriana M. Burger
Deputy Trial Counsel
1149 S. Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Counsel for Respondent: In Pro Per Respondent
Peter Suk Park
4675 MacArthur Court, #550
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Submitted to: Assigned Judge – State Bar Court Clerk’s Office Los Angeles.
Filed: March 2, 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
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: PETER S. PARK, State Bar No. 152619
STATE BAR COURT CASE NUMBER: 11-O-13310
Peter S. Park ("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.
1. On or about May 2, 2008, Marina Rivas ("Rivas") was driving her automobile when a truck owned by J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. ("J.B. Hunt") and operated by Jeffrey Gaines ("Gaines") ran a red light and struck her automobile. Rivas was diagnosed with a brain injury as a result of the accident and has been unable to work or care for herself since the accident.
2. On or about May 5, 2008, Rivas hired attorney John Wongoo Rhee ("Rhee") to represent her in a lawsuit against Gaines and J.B. Hunt.
3. On or about April 29, 2010, the Supreme Court of California issued an Order ("Disciplinary Order") in In re John Wongoo Rhee, Supreme Court Case No. S 180459 (State Bar Court Nos. 07-N-14065, 07-0-14294) ("In re Rhee"), that suspended Rhee from the practice of law for two years stayed and placed Rhee on probation for three years on conditions including an actual suspension from the practice of law for the first year of probation.
4. On or about April 30, 2010, Rhee filed a form complaint in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles ("Superior Court"), on behalf of Rivas titled Marina Rivas v. Jeffrey Gaines, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. et al, Case No. BC436965 ("Rivas v. J.B. Hunt"). The Complaint listed Respondent and Rhee as the attorneys of record for Rivas.
5. On or about May 27, 2010, Rhee signed a Substitution of Attorney substituting Respondent as attorney of record in place of Rhee in Rivas v. J.B. Hunt. Rhee caused the Substitution of Attorney to bear the simulated signature of Rivas and Respondent dated May 27, 2010; however, Rivas did not sign nor authorize her signature to be affixed to it. Respondent did not sign the substitution nor authorize Rhee to sign for him. On or about June 25, 2010, the Substitution of Attorney was filed in Rivas v. J.B. Hunt.
6. Beginning on or about May 29, 2010, Rhee was suspended from the practice of law pursuant to the Disciplinary Order.
7. Between in or about May 2010 and in or about March 2011, Respondent continued to work in Rhee’s law office. Respondent hired Rhee to work as a law clerk for Respondent, including working on Rivas v. J.B. Hunt.
8. Between on or about May 2010 and in or about March 2011, Rhee was the primary contact with Rivas and/or her cousin’s husband - Nelson Cordova (("Cordova") who was authorized by Rivas to act on her behalf) - concerning Rivas v. J.B. Hunt.
9. Between on or about May 2010 and in or about March 2011, Rhee did not inform Rivas and/or Cordova that: (a) he had been suspended from the practice of law effective on or about May 29, 2010; (b) a substitution of attorney had been filed on or about June 25,2011, substituting Respondent as attorney of record in place of Rhee; or (c) Respondent was the attorney of record representing Rivas in Rivas v. J.B. Hunt. Rhee advised Respondent that it was his case and that Rhee would resume the case after Rhee’s suspension was concluded. Respondent failed to supervise Rhee to ensure that Rhee informed Rivas of the above.
10. Between on or about May 2010 and in or about March 2011, Respondent did not: (a) conduct the necessary discovery, including but not limited to deposing Gaines; and/or (b) retain or designate the necessary expert witnesses, including but not limited to treating physicians, neurologists, orthopedists, economists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, etc. to prepare Rivas v. J.B. Hunt for trial.
11. Between in or about May 2010 and in or about March 2011, Respondent did not notify the State Bar, Rivas or Cordova in orally or writing that he had employed Rhee to work on, inter alia, Rivas v. J.B. Hunt.
12. On or about October 28, 2010, the Superior Court set Rivas v. J.B. Hunt for a five day jury trial to begin on May 9, 2011.
13. In or about March 2011, Cordova discovered during a conversation with Rhee that Rhee’s license to practice law had been suspended and that Respondent was Rivas’ attorney of record in Rivas v. J.B. Hunt. Cordova told Rhee that: (a) Rivas had not authorized Respondent to represent her; (b) Rivas would not authorize Respondent to represent her; (c) Rivas would find for another attorney to represent Rivas; and (d) Rivas was terminating Respondent.
14. On or about April 4, 2011, Rivas signed a Substitution of Attorney substituting attorney Fredrick A. Romero ("Romero") as attorney of record in place of Respondent in Rivas v. J.B. Hunt. On or about April 5 and 6, 2011, Romero and Respondent, respectively, signed the Substitution of Attorney, which was filed on April 6, 2011.
15. On or about April 12, 2011, Romero filed an Ex Parte Application to Continue Rivas v. J.B. Hunt, in part, to conduct the necessary discovery and retain the necessary expert witnesses to prepare Rivas v. J.B. Hunt for trial. The Ex Parte Application was denied, but subsequently granted after it was re-filed by new counsel.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
16. By failing to: (a) supervise Rhee to ensure that Rhee informed Rivas and/or Cordova that he had been suspended from the practice of law, a substitution of attorney had been filed substituting Respondent as attorney of record in place of Rhee, and Respondent was the attorney of record representing Rivas; and (b) conduct the necessary discovery and retain the necessary expert witnesses to prepare Rivas v. J.B. Hunt for trial, Respondent by intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly failed to perform legal services with competence in violation of rule 3-110(A) of the Rules of Professional Conduct ("rules").
17. By failing to: serve written notice on the State Bar of Respondent’s employment of Rhee, including a full description of Rhee’s status and list of prohibited activities; and serving similar written notice on Rivas, Respondent violated rule 1-311 (D).
The disclosure date referred to, on page 2, paragraph A(7), was January 25, 2012.
AUTHORITIES SUPPORTING DISCIPLINE.
Standard 1.3 of the Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct ("Standards") provides that the primary purpose of discipline is the protection of the public, the courts and legal profession; maintenance of high professional standards; and the preservation of public confidence in the legal profession.
Standard 2.4 addresses offenses involving wilful failure to communicate or to perform services and, in the case of failure to perform in an individual matter or matters not demonstrating a pattern of misconduct, provides for reproval or suspension upon the extent of the misconduct and the degree of harm to the client.
In In re Morse (1995) 11 Cal .4th 184, 206, the Supreme Court stated the purpose of disciplinary proceedings 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.
Respondent’s misconduct involves a client matter and does not establish a pattern. Given the extent of the misconduct and the degree of harm to the clients, a stayed suspension with a probation is an appropriate level of discipline under the standards and the caselaw.
COSTS OF DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS.
Respondent acknowledges that the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel has informed respondent that as of January 25, 2012, the prosecution costs in this matter are $2,797. 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.
SIGNATURE OF THE PARTIES
Case Number(s): 11-O-13310
In the Matter of: Peter Suk Park, State Bat No.: 152619
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: Peter Suk Park
Date: February 13, 2012
Deputy Trial Counsel: Adriana M. Burger
Date: February 15, 2012
Case Number(s): 11-O-13310
In the Matter of: Peter Suk Park
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.
1) At p.1, item A.(1), add the admission date: June 6, 1991.
2) At p.5, item D.(2), place an “X” in the box regarding Probation.
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: Richard A. Honn
Date: March 1, 2012
[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 March 2, 2012, I deposited a true copy of the following document(s):
STIPULATION RE FACTS, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND DISPOSITION AND ORDER APPROVING
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:
PETER S. PARK
PARK & ASSOCIATES
4675 MACARTHUR CT #550
NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92660
<<not>> checked. by certified mail, No., with return receipt requested, through the United States Postal Service at, California, addressed as follows:
<<not>> checked. by overnight mail at, California, addressed as follows:
<<not>> checked. by fax transmission, at fax number. No error was reported by the fax machine that I used.
<<not>> checked. By personal service by leaving the documents in a sealed envelope or package clearly labeled to identify the attorney being served with a receptionist or a person having charge of the attorney’s office, addressed as follows:
checked. by interoffice mail through a facility regularly maintained by the State Bar of California addressed as follows:
Adriana Margaret Burger, Enforcement, Los Angeles
I hereby certify that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed in Los Angeles, California, on March 2, 2012.
State Bar Court