SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Vacaville attorney David Allen Hughes faces disbarment by default following a March 12 State Bar of California recommendation after he was accused of professional conduct rules violations in a single client matter.
Hughes allegedly failed to promptly refund any part of an unearned fee paid him by his clients after they terminated his employment and he failed to notify the state bar of his change in address within 30 days, according to the seven-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued by the state bar court.
The state bar also recommended Hughes be ordered to pay $10,000 plus interest in restitution to his clients.
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 can request further review within the state bar court.
Hughes failed to participate in person or via counsel, and the state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. 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 state bar to recommend an attorney’s disbarment.
Hughes' recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for March. Hughes was admitted to the bar in California on June 7, 1999, according to his profile at the state bar website.
This past October, Hughes was placed on inactive enrollment status and default was entered against him after he failed to timely respond to the notice of disciplinary charges filed. With the default entered, the charges against him were deemed admitted, according to that order.
In a prior discipline, in June 2003 Hughes received a stayed two-year suspension and five years' probation after his 2001 no contest plea to to driving under the influence with two priors, according to information on his state bar profile. That he cooperated with the state bar's investigation and received chemical dependency treatment was taken in mitigation.