SAN FRANCISCO – San Luis Obispo attorney Stephen Christopher Ronca has been disbarred following a July 10 California Supreme Court order after he allegedly failed to comply with probation conditions, according to a recent report issued by the State Bar of California and court documents.
The Supreme Court also ordered Ronca to pay costs.
Ronca's disbarment was effective Aug. 9, according to an announcement on the state bar's website.
Ronca allegedly failed to timely submit proof he attended a session of the state bar's ethics and client trust accounting school and failed to submit his final quarterly report, according to the state bar court's six-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment.
Ronca allegedly failed to participate in person or via counsel and state bar's decision and 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.
Ronca was admitted to the bar in California on July 1, 1996, according to his profile at the state bar website.
In March 2017, Ronca, then 55, was suspended for 30 days and placed on a year of probation after he stipulated to gross negligence in mishandling his client trust account, according to information on his state bar profile and in the decision and order. Ronca allegedly failed to maintain sufficient funds in the account, which the state bar considered an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption.
Ronca previously had 18 years of discipline-free practice in California, according to his profile.
Conditions for Ronca's probation included completing the state bar's ethics and client trust accounting schools and passing the multistate professional responsibility exam.
Ronca was placed on interim suspension in September and default was entered against him the same month. Ronca has other disciplinary matters pending and the client security fund has made no payments as a result of his alleged misconduct. The case was submitted for decision in January.