LOS ANGELES — William West Seegmiller, a Newport Beach attorney, was recently suspended from practicing law for 90 days by the State Bar Court of California.
The Feb. 4 order was enacted due to Seegmiller’s failure to pay a client’s medical lien that led to his client being sued by the medical company. The suspension ended in early June.
In March 2011, Seegmiller was hired to represent a client in a personal injury matter. During the proceedings, the client’s insurance company, AAA, provided the attorney’s client trust account with five checks for a total of $10,000 to cover medical expenses until a settlement could be reached. The funds were to be reimbursed upon the receipt of a settlement.
Seegmiller informed AAA that he had received a settlement of $268,000 on his client’s behalf, but that the client had incurred $176,394 in specialized medical fees and requested the $10,000 reimbursement be waived. AAA responded by stating it could not waive the reimbursement, but they would reduce the lien to $5,000. Correspondence between the Seegmiller and AAA continued for months with AAA demanding payment and Seegmiller requesting a waiver.
On Aug. 22, 2012, Kenneth Hagemann, an attorney for AAA, contacted Seegmiller for the reimbursement. The attorneys sent letters back and forth until January 2014 when Hagemann contacted the client to request the reimbursement.
AAA filed a lawsuit against the client in September 2014. Seegmiller told the client he would take care of the lawsuit but did not do so. The client entered a default and was ordered to pay more than $12,000 to AAA. He filed a complaint against Seegmiller with the California State Bar, and the subsequent investigation led to the attorney’s suspension.
During his career, Seegmiller had received two previous public reprovals in 2004 and 2008. He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1981 and is a graduate of the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.