San Diego attorney disbarred over six alleged ethical violations

By Karen Kidd | Aug 26, 2017

San Diego attorney Mary Frances Prevost has been disbarred by the California State Bar following allegations of six ethical violations in two client matters, according to a recent decision.

The charges against Prevost included allegations she violated rules of professional conduct by failing to deposit client funds in trust, according to the state bar’s nine-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment, disbarring Prevost. Other counts against Prevost included failing to promptly pay her client any portion of advance costs held on her client’s behalf and to provide her client with an accounting of advance costs she had received from her client, according to the decision.

The state bar handed down the decision July 28.

The state bar's office of chief trial counsel filed its notice of disciplinary charges against Prevost in May 2016, which Prevost answered the following month and she attended a status conference in December, according to the decision. Prevost did not appear at trial Feb. 15, and the court entered a default order the same day, according to the decision.

In such cases, in which 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 bar to recommend an attorney’s disbarment.

The state bar's decision is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the state bar's Review Department or expiration of time in which parties to may request further review within the State Bar Court.

Prevost was admitted to the bar in California on March 23, 1992, according to her profile at the state bar website.

In March, Prevost was suspended for six months and placed on three years' probation after she failed to timely pay her state bar membership fees and report her required minimum continuing legal education requirements, according to her state bar website profile. Prevost failed to timely file court papers in a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Chula Vista over allegations of false arrest, according to her profile.

Her prior record of misconduct was considered an aggravation.

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