SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian Lee Corber, an attorney who practiced in Valley Village, was disbarred May 29 and ordered to comply with the California Rules of Court to make restitution for not complying with a notice of disciplinary charges (NDC) after he failed to respond to telephone and written messages from a client, refund unearned advanced fees or release the client’s file.
Corber also was ordered to pay $2,025, plus 10 percent interest per year from the original filing three years earlier. The court also said that Corber must pay for the State Bar’s time spent on his case.
“Corber was charged with four counts of misconduct,” the official court document said. “He failed to participate either in person or through counsel, and his default was entered. Thereafter, the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel (State Bar) filed a petition for disbarment under rule 5.85 of the rules of procedure of the State Bar. Rule 5.85 provides the procedure to follow when an attorney fails to participate in a disciplinary proceeding after receiving adequate notice and opportunity.”
The court document explained that the rules stipulate if an attorney refuses to respond to the NDC or requests a stay, the recommendation will be disbarment.
“In the instant case, the court concludes that the requirements of rule 5.85 have been satisfied and, therefore, grants the petition and recommends that (Corber) be disbarred from the practice of law,” the court said.
The Deputy Trial Counsel (DTC) assigned to the case called Corber and left a voicemail message on Jan. 21, 2014. They also sent a letter to his membership records address, as well as a documented email.
On Feb. 19, 2014, the DTC called Corber at an alternate telephone number and someone answered "Four Seasons Health Care" and transferred the call to Corber. During the conversation, he said he had not received the NDC and then ended the call.
On Jan. 27, 2015, the DTC called Corber again at both numbers. At the Four Seasons Health Care number, a nurse named "April" said Corber did not want to speak to anyone at the State Bar.
After multiple attempts with no response from Corber, the DTC notified him that if he did not respond to set aside his default, the court would recommend his disbarment.
The court document explained that Corber willfully failed to respond to multiple phone calls, emails and postal letters.
The court also said that Corber failed to refund unearned fees after performing no legal services of value. He did not earn any of the $2,025 in advanced fees paid by his client, Robert Olvera, and failed to refund his client’s unearned advanced fees upon termination of his employment, which is why he was being contacted by the Bar.
Corber also failed to release Olvera’s file after he had been terminated from representing Olvera.
“The court concludes that the requirements of rule 5.85(F) have been satisfied and (Corber’s) disbarment is recommended,” the court said. “In particular: (1) the NDC was properly served on (Corber) under rule 5.25; (2) reasonable diligence was used to notify (Corber) of the proceedings prior to the entry of his default; (3) the default was properly entered under rule 5.80; and (4) the factual allegations in the NDC deemed admitted by the entry of the default support a finding that (Corber) violated a statute, rule or court order that would warrant the imposition of discipline.”