Coyote lawyer faces disbarment by default over misconduct stemming from continuing education requirements

By Karen Kidd | Apr 6, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Coyote attorney Elizabeth Ann Mello faces disbarment by default following a March 21 State Bar of California recommendation over a single count of misconduct.

Mello allegedly failed to submit quarterly reports that were due in January, April and July 2017 and failed "to comply with certain conditions" of a prior disciplinary probation, according to the seven-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued by the state bar court.

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.

Mello failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, 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.

Mello's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for March. Mello was admitted to the bar in California on Nov. 22, 2006, according to her profile at the state bar website.

In September 2016, Mello, then 37, was suspended for 60 days and placed on two years' probation after she allegedly failed to fulfill the terms of a prior discipline handed down over minimum continuing legal education requirements, according to information of her state bar profile. Mello allegedly failed to provide proof that she has successfully completed the state bar's ethics school and she failed to file a quarterly report.

This past August the state bar filed and served on Mello a notice of disciplinary charges (NDC) by certified mail, with a return receipt requested, at the address on Mello's state bar membership records, according to the decision and order. The NDC included a notice to Mello that failing to participate in the proceeding would result in a state bar recommendation that she be disbarred. "Neither the return receipt nor the NDC were returned to the state bar by the U.S. Postal Service," the decision and order said.

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