SAN FRANCISCO – Windsor attorney Steven Pabros faces two years' probation following a May 2 California Supreme Court order after he allegedly kept the death of his client a secret, according to a recent report issued by the State Bar of California and court documents.
The Supreme Court handed down a one-year stayed suspension and placed Pabros on two years of conditional probation with the first 30 days to be spent on suspension. One condition of Pabros' suspension is that he pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
The high court also ordered Pabros to pay all costs in the matter.
Pabros' discipline will be effective Saturday, June 1, according to an announcement recently posted on the state bar's website.
Pabros was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 10, 1985, according to his profile at the state bar website. Pabros had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to his profile.
Allegations against Pabros stem from his representation of a couple who were defendants in a civil case involving commercial property destroyed in a 2011 fire, according to the stipulation filed with the California State Bar Court in February.
One of Pabros' clients died in January 2016 while a judgment in the case was being appealed.
The following June, the appeals court found in favor of Pabros' clients and further trial proceedings where scheduled for April 2017.
Pabros found out about his client's death shortly after the appeals court remanded the case but allegedly didn’t inform the court or opposing counsel as required by Sonoma County Superior Court local rules.
Early the following spring, Pabros opposed a plaintiffs motion for summary judgment, knowing that his deceased client "was the only person who could have testified,” the stipulation said.
The court, unaware of the client's death, denied the plaintiffs' motion.
At the first day of trial, opposing counsel asked why Pabros' deceased client was not on the witness list but Pabros "did not respond to the question," the stipulation states.
Opposing counsel found out during the lunch break on the third day of trial about the client's death after finding information on the internet.
In June 2017, the Superior Court ordered Pabros to pay more than $31,000 in to the opposing litigants in the case.