LOS ANGELES — Attorney Dennis Earl Braun of Los Angeles was placed on probation by the State Bar Court of California on Nov. 18, 2016, according to State Bar's website.
According to court documents, Braun was charged with four acts of misconduct stemming from a case from which he failed to properly withdraw.
In June 2010, Braun was hired by a client to represent him in a divorce and restraining order proceeding against the client’s wife. However, in July 2011, a Los Angeles County Court found that the motion for dissolution was thrown out as the marriage was deemed invalid. The restraining order was also dismissed. After the ruling, both parties filed civil suits against each other. In August 2011, Braun was hired by the same client to represent him in the civil matter.
In June 2014, the court ruled against Braun’s client, although, initially, the client did not blame the attorney’s efforts. Braun and his client continued to communicate on a personal level between June and August 2014.
In August 2014, the client began to blame Braun for the failure of his civil case and was also unable to pay the growing court fees. The attorney suggested that they file substitution of attorney forms so that Braun could be excused from the case. The client received the forms to sign but failed to complete the process.
Braun assumed that the paperwork had been filed, and removed himself from the case. However, Braun was still listed on the docket and had received information from opposing counsel but did not appear in court. During the inquiry into the matter by the State Bar, Braun admitted that he should not have assumed the substitution had been completed and took responsibility.
When determining fair discipline, the State Bar took into consideration mitigating factors. Braun, who has been registered with the State Bar of California since 1991 after graduating from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, was able to provide 15 character witnesses to testify on his behalf.
The official ruling places Braun on two years' probation. During that time, he will be required to submit quarterly updates to the State Bar and report any changes in his status within 10 days under the penalty of perjury.
In addition to the probation, Braun must pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. Failure to pass the exam or to follow any other conditions of his probation will result in a one-year suspension without hearing.
Braun will be required to pay all court costs and membership fees for three billing cycles following the effective date of the Supreme Court order.
The State Bar of California was established in 1927 by the state’s 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 and more on the bar itself can be found online at calbar.ca.gov.