January 20, 2010
Terms Of Art
A disciplinary summary from the January 2010 web page of the California Bar Journal:
[An attorney] was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect July 10, 2009.
[The attorney] stipulated that she failed to promptly return client property to a client who is an artist.
She had both a legal services agreement and an artist management agreement with the client and kept several pieces of his art, both for safekeeping and because the client had a gambling problem. At one point, the client asked that his paintings be returned but [the attorney] did not do so because of her previous agreements with him and because the paintings were waiting to be sold.
The client “began acting like someone else and he was erratic, angry and untruthfully accusing [the attorney] of never doing work for him,” according to the stipulation. [The attorney] wrote to the client, outlining a number of issues, and he contacted an artist arbitration service to facilitate the return of his art.
[The attorney] did not participate in the mediation because she believed the service acted as an advocate for the artist. She said she did not receive a letter from the client and does not recall receiving a letter from the mediation service.
At an early settlement conference, a bar court judge recommended that she return the artwork to her client and she did so.
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