LOS ANGELES — Byron Talbot Ball, an attorney in Los Angeles, was recently placed on a one-year suspension by the State Bar Court of California.
The 52-year-old attorney, who was admitted to the California State Bar in 1990, was charged with filing a lawsuit without authority and the court rendered a punishment on January 6.
In December 2013, Ball contacted a woman who was named in a Los Angeles Times article about a breach of privacy in medical patient information. Although Ball allegedly spoke with the woman about filing a lawsuit, he never received her express consent to do so.
Ball filed a class action lawsuit against the defendant, Kaiser Permanente, with the woman as the main plaintiff. A signed retainer agreement was never provided to the attorney, a fact the woman pointed out to him in February 2014 after learning of the lawsuit.
Ball was asked to dismiss the lawsuit, and he did Feb. 19, 2014. However, the attorney failed to follow through with providing opposing counsel and all other parties with documentation stating the case was dismissed. Ball allegedly did not attend a hearing on the matter that was scheduled for April 2014.
The attorney had no prior record of discipline, a mitigating factor in the decision to place Ball on probation. In addition, Ball was able to provide 16 witnesses to attest to his good character.
As part of Ball’s probation, he will need to submit quarterly reports to the state bar and notify it of any changes to his information within 10 days. Ball must also take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).
Failure to pass the MPRE or adhere to any of the terms of his probation will result in a one-year suspension without hearing. The attorney will be responsible for covering all court costs, which at the time of sentencing totaled $3,139. The costs are subject to increase.