Oak View attorney James Andre Boles was placed on suspension Jan. 3 by the State Bar Court of California. The court said the 71-year-old attorney had failed to comply with the terms of a previous disciplinary order from 2013.
Boles’ suspension Nov. 18, , 2015 was reciprocal discipline for misconduct committed in Nevada where he is also licensed to practice. According to the opinion issued by the State Bar Court, Boles failed to provide adequate legal services to two clients in separate matters.
In the first matter, Boles began representing a woman in her lawsuit against a former employer in 2008. While appealing the federal district court judgment, which was ruled in favor of the defendant, Boles allegedly went through a personal matter that caused him to leave Nevada and move to Santa Barbara.
Although Boles did some preparation prior to the 2011 move by distributing cases to other attorneys, the client in this matter did not find out about Boles' medical leave and relocation until late February 2011. It was reported that the client sent “successive” communications trying to contact Boles and was eventually referred to Boles’ brother for further help with her case. Boles withdrew from the case officially in August 2011.
In the second matter, Boles represented a client regarding her termination. Boles was able to get the client reinstated to her job as a registered nurse, and the woman hired him to aid her in a disciplinary proceeding tied to the cause of termination, the bar said. Boles’ employment by the woman coincided with his medical leave, and she was told that it was uncertain if her attorney would attend the May 2011 disciplinary hearing.
The woman requested the return of her fees so she could hire a new lawyer, and Boles allegedly refused. It was not until the day before the hearing when the attorney informed her he would attend, although the client said he was unprepared.
The Office of the Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) in California determined that reciprocal discipline was necessary. However, the office believed his actions had not caused significant harm and, therefore, would not warrant harsh discipline. Boles was suspended 30 days and ordered to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) within a set time. Boles allegedly failed to adhere to this requirement, and was suspended in January until such time as he can provide proof of passage to the State Bar.
The Ventura County attorney, a graduate of the Nevada School of Law, was admitted to the California State Bar in August 1989 and to the Nevada State Bar in 1988. Prior to the charges outlined in the 2015 opinion, Boles has no record of disciplinary history reported on his online bar membership profile in California.