SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — San Diego attorney Michael John Brown faces possible disbarment by default following a recently announced California State Bar Court recommendation over seven counts of misconduct in two client matters.
The state bar court also had recommended Brown pay costs in the matter, said the eight-page decision issued Nov. 19 by the state bar court. "Because the record contains no clear and convincing evidence as to whom restitution is owed, the court declines to order restitution in this case," the decision said.
The state bar'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 can request further review within the state bar court. Brown's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for November.
The state bar court's recommendation included an involuntary inactive enrollment order that rendered Brown involuntarily enrolled as an inactive member of the State Bar of California. That order was effective three calendar days after service, according to the recommendation.
Brown was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 3, 1984, according to his profile at the state bar website. Brown had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the decision.
In both client matters against him, Brown is alleged to have deposited a client's funds into his trust account and then failed to maintain sufficient client funds in the account to pay the amount he owed the client and third parties, according to the decision. In both matters Brown is alleged to have misappropriated more than $10,000.
Brown and his counsel did appear and participate in proceedings early in the disciplinary matter against him but in July filed a notice of intent to default and indicated he would not appear for trial scheduled that month. The state bar entered the default against Brown that same month and the matter was submitted for decision to the state bar court in late October, according to the decision.
No other disciplinary matters are pending against Brown, and the client security fund has made no payments as a result of his alleged misconduct, according to the decision.