San Francisco attorney Frank Patrick Sprouls faces a six-month suspension following a California State Bar filing after being found culpable in three counts of misconduct in a single client matter.
Sprouls would receive two years of stayed suspension and placed on probation with six months of actual suspension, according to the 17-page decision issued Sept. 11 by a state bar court hearing department.
Sprouls had been charged with four counts of misconduct in the immigration-related case, two counts of misrepresentation and single counts of failing to perform legal services with competence and seeking to mislead a judge, according to the decision. The state bar court hearing department did not find evidence that Sprouls intentionally attempted to mislead the judge, according to the decision.
"Instead, his misrepresentation was the result of his gross negligence," said the decision, which announced the allegation that Sprouls sought to mislead a judge was dismissed with prejudice.
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 may request further review within the state bar court. Sprouls's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for September.
Sprouls was admitted to the bar in California on Nov. 24, 1993, according to his profile at the state bar website.
In a previous discipline in April 2011, Sprouls, then 55, received a stayed one-year suspension and was placed on two years' probation with 90 days of actual suspension following a state bar court review department finding that he'd "committed extensive misconduct in immigration cases," according to information on his profile.
Sprouls was alleged to have committed 51 acts of misconduct before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to his profile. The alleged misconduct was divided into general categories of petitions for review that were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or summarily denied or were dismissed for failure to prosecute, opening briefs that were filed late and performance that was lacking for other reasons, according to his profile.
The following August, the U.S. Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review Board of Immigration Appeals also suspended Sprouls, according to a Justice Department press release issued at the time.