SAN FRANCISCO – Longtime Glendora attorney Suzanne Flournoy Goulding faces suspension and probation following a July 17 California Supreme Court order over alleged misappropriation and gross negligence, according to a recent State Bar of California announcement and court documents.
The Supreme Court handed down a stayed one-year suspension and a year of conditional probation with the first 90 days spent on suspension. Conditions of Goulding's probation include passing the multistate professional responsibility examination as previously recommended by the California State Bar Court's Hearing Department.
Goulding also was ordered to pay costs.
Goulding's discipline will be effective Aug. 16, according to an announcement recently posted on the state bar's website.
Goulding was admitted to the bar in California on Oct. 5, 1995, according to her profile at the state bar website. Goulding had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to her profile.
Allegations against Goulding stem from her instructions to her office staff between January 2016 and March 2015 to maintain her client trust records, according to the stipulation filed with the state bar court in April.
"However, [Goulding] did not examine these records and did not confirm the accuracy of those records," the stipulation said. "As a result, she did not discover or correct a January 2016 accounting error until July 11, 2018, more than two years after the error and several months after learning of the State Bar’s investigation of this matter."
As a result of failing to catch the error, Goulding failed to maintain an appropriate balance in the client trust account on behalf of a client, failed to maintain client funds in trust and subsequently removed funds without the client's permission, according to the stipulation.
Goulding allegedly misappropriated client funds "with gross negligence," which the state bar considers "an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption," and a violation of professional conduct rules, the stipulation said.
Goulding also allegedly failed to maintain accurate and complete client trust account records and to maintain complete records of all funds of a client coming into the possession of the law firm, according to the stipulation.