SAN FRANCISCO — Attorney Nicole Ellan Foster, admitted to the California bar more than seven years ago, faces disbarment by default following a California State Bar Court recommendation.
The California State Bar Court issued its decision July 18 over concerns of her disbarment in another state, North Dakota.
According to the North Dakota Supreme Court order, Foster was voluntarily disbarred in May 2017. Foster failed to communicate with clients and did not make the required appearances, the order stated.
"She alleged that she experienced personal issues stemming from the death of her mother, including depression, alcohol abuse, and financial difficulty," the North Dakota order stated. "She also stated she was in an abusive romantic relationship."
The California State Bar Court's recommendation is pending final action by the California Supreme Court
In California, Foster did not participate in her hearing and the order for disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, in which an attorney fails to participate in a State Bar of California 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.
The California State Bar Court's recommendation 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.
Foster's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for July.
Foster was admitted to the bar in California on May 9, 2011, according to her profile at the State Bar of California website. Foster has other disciplinary matters pending but had no prior record of discipline in California, according to the decision and order.