Northern California Record

Monday, December 16, 2019

San Diego attorney disbarred following allegations in 3 client matters


By Karen Kidd | Apr 12, 2019

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SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — San Diego attorney Matthew Bartley Butler has been disbarred following a California Supreme Court decision and allegations of misconduct in three separate client matters, according to a notification recently issued by the State Bar of California.

The high court issued its disbarment order Jan. 4 and Butler's effective disbarment date was Feb. 3, according to a notification provided to the Northern California Record earlier this week.

The state high court also ordered Butler to pay costs.

Butler was admitted to the bar in California on June 10, 1999, according to his profile at the state bar website. Butler had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the California State Bar Court's decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued in September.

Butler told the office of chief trial counsel earlier last year that he had moved to Burlingame, according to the decision and order.

In its 10-page decision and order, the state bar court recommended Butler be disbarred by default after he participated in an initial status conference in February 2018 but otherwise failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default.

"Even though [Butler] had actual knowledge of this proceeding and even though [Butler] participated in the initial status conference in this matter, [Butler]'s default was properly entered after he stopped participating and failed to file a response to the notice of disciplinary charges," the decision and order said.

In such cases, in which an attorney fails to participate in a 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.

In one client matter, Butler allegedly failed to account for $36,950 in advanced fees his client paid.

Other allegations against Butler included abandoning clients, not giving his clients' notice he was terminating his employment, failing to perform legal services with competence, failure to communicate and failing to respond to reasonable status inquiries.

The state bar court's recommendation included an involuntary inactive enrollment order that rendered Butler 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.

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