Beverly Hills lawyer disbarred for misappropriating funds

By Olivia Olsen | Jan 28, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Beverly Hills attorney Roger William Shpall has been disbarred after a California Supreme Court order, according to the State Bar of California website.

LOS ANGELES — Beverly Hills attorney Roger William Shpall has been disbarred after a California Supreme Court order, according to the State Bar of California website.

The disbarment went into effect Nov. 25.

The decision stemmed from a determination that Shpall had mismanaged client funds and failed to pay medical liens from a personal-injury case. In total, five charges were placed against Shpall from one client matter.

According to court documents, the five counts against Shpall include failure to maintain funds in a client trust account, failure to maintain account records, misappropriation of funds, paying personal expenses from a client trust account, and depositing personal funds into a client trust account. Upon review, the first and part of the second counts were dismissed and the fourth and fifth were combined. Shpall was found culpable of the remaining charges.

The State Bar Court also found Shpall culpable in proved misconduct, though the count was uncharged.

On June 30, 2006, Shpall was hired to represent a client in a personal injury case against The Home Depot. In July 2006, two liens were executed for Sobol Orthopedic Medical Group and Southern California Sports Rehabilitation for a combined charge of around $11,000. The case was settled in December 2007 for $80,000. The previously agreed upon service fee of $32,000 was paid to Shpall as well as the court fees of more than $1,000. The client received his portion of the settlement, but the medical liens went unpaid.

An amount of $8,850.70 was to remain in Shpall’s Wells Fargo client trust account. However, in January 2011, the balance in the client trust account was $35.59. Shpall confirmed that he had used the funds to pay for personal items and expenses.

Over the next five years, Shpall made 77 deposits into the account and made 1,400 payments for personal expenses from the account. After completing ethics school — a part of which delves into proper maintenance of client trusts — in 2014 for another infraction, Shpall continued to misappropriate funds.

The decision to disbar Shpall was the result of a investigation into the misconduct charges with consideration for his prior disciplinary matter. The determination proved that his actions had caused serious harm to the medical providers. At the time of disbarment, the liens had not been paid.

Shpall must comply with the California Rules of Court Rule 9.20 subsections (a) and (c). According to the rule on, he will be required to notify all of his clients of the ruling, provide any papers important to his clients concerning their cases, return any fees that remain unearned, and notify opposing counsel in any pending litigation of his disbarment. Shpall must then file the clerk of the State Bar Court that he has complied with his disbarment provisions.

According to his profile page on the California bar website, Shpall was admitted to the state bar in 1970.

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