SAN FRANCISCO – Beverly Hills attorney David Samuel Schneider was disbarred by the State Bar Court of California on Nov. 18, acting on three separate complaints made by former clients.

Schneider was admitted to the State Bar of California in late 1987 and ran his own practice at the time of disbarment. According to court documents, Schneider’s discipline stems from multiple acts of misconduct and causing harm to his clients.

On Feb. 9, 2014, Schneider was hired to represent a minor in a personal injury case. The attorney received settlement amounts from Geico of $30,000, $20,000, and $50,000 on June 13, 2014. However, Schneider reported that he had received settlements of $25,000, $45,000, and $30,000, court document say. Several days later, the attorney allegedly deposited the checks into his Bank of America client trust account, which was in the negative by $4,706.54, then allegedly misappropriated funds to the client, shorting the client by a total of $40,268.03. Schneider eventually paid the full amount due on June 29, 2014, and a complaint and subsequent investigation into the matter occurred in January 2015, according to court documents.

The second complaint originated from an incident in late 2012. Schneider received funds from Farmers Insurance Exchange in the amount of $6,999, in a check made payable to Schneider, his client and the client’s medical provider, court documents say. The attorney allegedly failed to pay the client and medical provider, resulting in the client terminating Schneider’s employment. In February 2014, the attorney paid both the client and medical provider in full, the court files shows.

The final complaint arose from an alleged misappropriation of funds around late April 2013. Schneider reportedly received $10,000 in a settlement from Farmers Insurance Exchange on behalf of his client, in funds that were to be distributed to the attorney, the client and the medical provider from the previous complaint. Before appropriating the funds, Schneider’s client trust account was negative $3,868.67 despite him having deposited the $10,000 check a month earlier, documents show. The client allegedly terminated Schneider’s employment prior to receiving the full payout owed to her. The medical provider reportedly reduced the amount requested from the insurance and accepted $1,500 in December 2013.

After the investigation by the California State Bar, Schneider was charged with “Significant Harm to Client, Public, or Administration of Justice” and “Multiple Acts of Wrongdoing.” Though the attorney had no prior disciplinary record, disbarment was recommended due to the provisions outlined by the Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct.

Schneider’s disbarment was implemented immediately following the ruling, and the court costs of $6,000 are to be paid by him.

The California State Bar was established in 1927 by the California Legislature and is governed by 19 trustees. The State Bar Court added appointed full-time judges in 1989. Court documents for all State Bar Court of California cases can be located online at calbar.ca.gov. 

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