Walnut Creek attorney gets stayed suspension for failing to maintain required trust account balance

By Karen Kidd | Aug 26, 2017

Walnut Creek attorney Steven Lewis Weiner faces a stayed suspension of two years for multiple counts of misconduct for failing to maintain a required balance in his client trust account, according to a recent California State Bar filing.

Weiner was charged with three counts of professional misconduct in one client matter, according to the 18-page decision issued July 13 by the state bar. Allegations against Weiner included misappropriating client funds, failing to maintain client funds in a trust account and commingling personal funds in a client trust account, according to the decision.

The state bar court noted the nature of Weiner's alleged misconduct and "compelling mitigation" in recommending a stayed suspension of two years with three years’ probation and one year of actual suspension, according to the decision.

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.

Weiner was admitted to the bar in California on Oct. 29, 1979, according to his profile at the state bar website.

Allegations against Weiner stemmed from a 2010 personal injury case. The case was settled about two years later and the settlement amount was deposited in Weiner's client trust account. Weiner stipulated the account's balance dipped below the amount he was required to maintain, according to the decision.

"But he argued this was not due to any nefarious motive on his part," the decision said. "Basically, he had miscalculated the amount of costs advanced and outstanding liens."

Weiner was found to have suffered extreme emotional and physical difficulties at the time, which was considered a mitigating factor, according to the decision. Other mitigating factors were Weiner's candor and cooperation, good character and remorse, according to the decision.

Weiner’s previous record of discipline before the state bar was listed as an aggravating factor, according to the decision. In late November 2007, Weiner received a stayed suspension after he admitted that he failed to maintain client funds in trust and commingled client and non-client funds, according to his state bar profile. Weiner was privately reproved in 1997 for mishandling his client trust account, according to his profile.

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