Hayward attorney Portia Bettis has been disbarred by the California State Bar over alleged violations of business and professional codes and the state bar's rules of professional conduct, according to a recent decision.
The bar also recommended Bettis pay restitution of $3,000 plus interest to the client, whose case triggered the allegations against Bettisand led to her disbarment, according to the decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued May 3.
Bettis failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In cases such as this, when an attorney fails to participate in a California State Bar disciplinary proceeding despite adequate notice and opportunity, the bar invokes Rule 5.85, which provides the procedure for the State Bar to recommend an attorney’s disbarment.
The bar's decision is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the bar's Review Department or expiration of time in which parties to may request further review within the State Bar Court.
Bettis' law office address is in Hayward, according to her profile at the state bar's website. She was admitted to the bar in California March 12, 2010.
Bettis was charged with five counts stemming from the case of a single client, according to the decision and order. Those counts were failures to perform legal services with competence, maintain records or maintain appropriate accounts of client property, return unearned fees, communicate with the client and respond to correspondence from the state bar requesting she respond to allegations of misconduct then being investigated.
Bettis did not respond to at least six telephone requests the client placed for status inquiries between November 2014 and August 2015. The client terminated Bettis’ representation Aug. 12, 2015, according to the decision. After that date, Bettis did not return any of the $3,000 advanced fee she had received from the client Sept. 10, 2014, "none of which she earned", the decision said.
No previous disciplinary action against Bettis is listed on her profile page at the state bar's website.