LOS ANGELES — Riverside attorney Daniel Eugene Hibbard was disbarred from practicing law in California after being found culpable in multiple charges of misconduct involving mismanagement and misappropriation of client funds.
The disbarment was effective Dec. 4, 2016, by order of the California Supreme Court, according to the State Bar of California website.
According to court documents, the State Bar sent Hibbard, 62, a notice of disciplinary charges Dec. 9, 2015, after receiving numerous complaints against the attorney. The first matter, in which Hibbard allegedly committed his misconduct, began in May 2013, when the attorney was hired to represent a client in a personal injury suit. The matter was settled for $15,000 and the funds released to Hibbard. The attorney divided the money between himself and the client and left $1.954 in his client trust account for medical providers. The attorney failed to maintain the balance, even allowing the account to drop to zero. Only July 23, 2014, Hibbard issued a check to the medical provider but it was not honored because the account did not have sufficient funds.
According to court documents, the attorney has not made further attempts to reconcile the debt.
A second matter began in July 2010 when Hibbard was hired to represent a couple in another personal injury claim. The attorney received $25,000 in settlement funds on behalf of his clients July 23, 2013. On July 29, 2013, Hibbard issued two checks to the clients totaling less than $8,000 as partial payments.
On Nov. 18, 2013, Hibbard received an additional $52,500 in settlement funds and deposited them into his client trust account. After subtracting his fees and issuing another check to the clients, Hibbard had more than $20,000 in the trust but he failed to maintain that balance. To date, the attorney still owes the clients thousands in funds.
Though the attorney showed remorse at his trial, the threat of significant harm to his clients and his inability to pay the remaining fees owed necessitated disbarment.
Hibbard must comply with the California Rules of Court Rule 9.20 subsections (a) and (c) in regards to his disbarment. The rules require Hibbard to notify all of his clients of the ruling, deliver any papers necessary to clients in regards to their cases, return any fees that remain unearned, and alert opposing counsel in any pending litigation of his disbarment. Hibbard must then file with the clerk of the State Bar Court that he has complied with the disbarment provisions.
Hibbard was admitted to the State Bar in 1988 and has no prior record of discipline, according to his profile page on the State Bar website.
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 can be found online at calbar.ca.gov.