SAN FRANCISCO – Beverly Hills attorney Dmitri N. Chtyrev faces suspension and probation following an April 26 California Supreme Court order for allegedly negligently not knowing his client had died before reaching a settlement, according to a recent report issued by the State Bar of California and court documents.
The Supreme Court handed down a stayed one-year suspension and two years of conditional probation with the first 30 days spent on suspension. Conditions of Chtyrev's probation include passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination as previously recommended by the California State Bar Court's Hearing Department.
Chtyrev also was ordered to pay costs.
Chtyrev's discipline will be effective Sunday, May 26, according to an announcement recently posted on the state bar's website.
Chtyrev was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 1, 2009, according to his profile at the state bar website. Chtyrev had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to his profile.
Allegations against Chtyrev stem from a personal injury case for which Chtyrev was hired in May 2016 to represent a passenger injured in an automobile accident about a week earlier, according to the stipulation filed with the state bar court in January.
A clause in Chtyrev's fee agreement provided him with special power of attorney that allowed Chtyrev to sign documents on his client's behalf in the personal injury claim, the stipulation states.
Chtyrev's client died in December 2016 but Chtyrev did not know about his client's death until the following April.
Under California court rules, the legal representative of the client's estate could recover medical expenses but not an award for pain and suffering in the personal injury claim.
In January 2017, Chtyrev and the insurance company agreed to a settlement in the personal injury claim and the insurance company sent a check that included pain and suffering funds.
Chtyrev was "grossly negligent" in failing to make sure his client was still alive when he consummated the settlement with the insurance company and in not informing the insurance company about his client's death, the stipulation said.
This past October, after disciplinary proceedings against him commenced, Chtyrev paid the insurance company $886, the amount of his client's settlement that had exceeded medical expenses.