Tennessee attorney practicing in California disbarred over two counts of misconduct

By Karen Kidd | Jul 28, 2017

Tennessee attorney Joseph D. Gumina, practicing in California four years, has been disbarred by the California State Bar over two counts of misconduct involving a single client matter, according to a recent decision.

On the first count, Gumina of Jonesborough, Tennessee, allegedly terminated his employment by failing to take any action on behalf of a client after Dec. 24, 2015 and not letting that client know that he was withdrawing from employment, according to the state bar's decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment. On the second count, Gumina allegedly failed to respond to letters from the state bar and failed to cooperate or participate in the state bar's disciplinary investigation.

"Despite notice and opportunity, respondent failed to participate in this disciplinary proceeding," the decision said.

The state bar handed down its June 5 decision over the two counts of misconduct more than five months after filing a notice of default with the court Dec. 29, saying Gumina had failed to file a written response after being served with a motion for an entry of default. In October, the state bar filed a notice of disciplinary charges against Gumina, outline both counts of misconduct against him.

Gumina 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.

Gumina was admitted to the bar in California Jan. 31, 2013, according to his profile on the state bar's website.

After repeated attempts to reach him, Gumina was involuntarily ruled inactive Jan. 1. When he didn't seek to have his default set aside or vacated, on April 10 the state bar filed a petition for disbarment, which the court took under submission for decision on May 15, according to the decision.

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