Editors Choice

There’s No Bars for Thievin’ Lawyers Says Texas Bar. Y’all Rogue Texas Lawyers Keep Stealin’ Time and Time Again with Impunity

Or should the title say…with Immunity… That’s Texas Law for Bandit Texas Lawyers. See the Proof in LIT’s analysis of March 2021’s Texas Bar List of ‘Disciplined’ Texas Lawyers.

14 Texas Lawyers Disciplined on March List & 5 Texas Attorneys Privately Disciplined – p.s. You’ll Never Ever Know Their Names (Unlike Fl. Bar).

LIT’s mortified at the repeat theft by rogue Texas lawyers and which is met with impunity and/or immunity by the Texas Bar  – combined with the Bar’s gamesmanship. By that we mean the intentional delay and obfuscation of the sanctions and penalties applied to these rogue Texas lawyer(s).

The State Bar of Texas may well issue orders and list the sanctions, but that’s not the whole story as you’ll see when you read the following article.  We are not aware of any journalists or citizens who analyze the Texas Bar’s disciplinary sanctions – as applied to their members – like we do at LIT. Our analysis is granular and when you do so, the audited results are truly appalling. #DEFUNDTHEBAR

MARCH 2021

Disciplinary Actions — March 2021 from the State Bar of Texas.

General questions regarding attorney discipline should be directed to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office, toll-free (877) 953-5535 or (512) 453-5535. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals may be reached at (512) 475-1578.

Information and copies of actual orders are available at www.txboda.org. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct may be contacted toll-free, (877) 228-5750 or (512) 463-5533.

Please note that persons disciplined by the Commission on Judicial Conduct are not necessarily licensed attorneys.

HOUSTON

SUSPENSIONS

Hammond made it onto LIT’s February 2021 list, so this is a continuation of the partial sentence as issued by the regulatory body for this thievin’ Texas Lawyer.

In February he has an order of $12,400 restitution and here he has $26,500 and $40,100 – a total of $79,000 excluding legal fees.

He should be in jail but the Texas Bar wants him to pay the money back on an interest free loan and he’ll escape any criminal conviction. It’s appalling.

On January 8, 2021, Charles E. Hammond III [#00793128], 57, of Houston, accepted a three-year partially probated suspension (six months active and 30 months probated) effective February 1, 2021. In two of the cases, an evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Hammond neglected a legal matter entrusted to him. In all of the cases, the committee found that Hammond failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of the clients’ legal matters and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Hammond also upon termination of representation failed to surrender papers and property to which his clients were justly entitled and refund any advance payments of fees that had not been earned. Lastly, Hammond failed to timely respond to the grievances filed against him without asserting a privilege or other legal ground for his failure to do so. Hammond violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $26,500 in restitution and $2,750 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 8, 2021, Charles E. Hammond III [#00793128], 57, of Houston, accepted a three-year partially probated suspension (six months active and 30 months probated) effective February 1, 2021. In all of the cases, an evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Hammond neglected a legal matter entrusted to him, failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of the clients’ legal matters, and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Hammond also upon termination of representation failed to surrender papers and property to which his clients were justly entitled and refund any advance payments of fees that had not been earned. Lastly, Hammond failed to timely respond to the grievances filed against him without asserting a privilege or other legal ground for his failure to do so. Hammond violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $40,100 in restitution and $2,750 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 8, 2021, John Victor Mastriani [#13184375], 61, of Houston, accepted a 24-month judgment of partially probated suspension effective February 15, 2021, with the first three months actively suspended and the remainder probated.

An investigatory panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that while representing four clients, Mastriani neglected the legal matters entrusted to him, failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of their matters and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned, and failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Mastriani violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $5,750 in restitution and $2,987.68 in attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Mastriani also made it onto LIT’s February 2021 list, so this is a continuation of the partial sentence weakly issued by this thievin’ Texas Lawyer.

In February he has an order of $6,250 restitution and here he has $5,750 and $4,160 – a total of $16,160 excluding legal fees.

He should be disbarred and reported to the prosecutor, but the Texas Bar wants him to pay the money back on an interest free loan and he’ll escape any criminal conviction. It’s another unacceptable ‘partially probated’ suspension.

On January 8, 2021, John Victor Mastriani [#13184375], 61, of Houston, accepted a 24-month judgment of partially probated suspension effective February 15, 2021, with the first three months actively suspended and the remainder probated.

An investigatory panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that while representing four clients, Mastriani neglected the legal matters entrusted to him, failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of their matters and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned to three clients, and failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Mastriani violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $4,160.14 in restitution and $2,042.14 in attorneys’ fees and expenses.

PUBLIC REPRIMANDS

On December 29, 2020, Jeffrey Mark Anapolsky [#24038742], 49, of Bellaire, received a public reprimand.

An investigatory panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Anapolsky brought or defended a proceeding, or asserted or controverted an issue therein, where there was no basis for doing so that was not frivolous.

Anapolsky also accepted employment as an advocate before a tribunal in a pending adjudicatory proceeding when he knew or believed that he was or would be a witness necessary to establish an essential fact on behalf of his client.

In representing his client, Anapolsky communicated about the subject of the representation with a person he knew to be represented by another lawyer regarding that subject.

Anapolsky did not have the consent of the other lawyer to make the communication and was not authorized by law to make the communication.

Lastly, Anapolsky used means that had no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or used methods of obtaining evidence that violated the legal rights of such a person.

Anapolsky violated Rules 3.01, 3.08(a), 4.02(a), and 4.04(a).

REST OF TEXAS

REINSTATEMENTS

Steven L. Woolard [#21983900], 66, of San Angelo, has filed a petition in the 391st District Court of Tom Green County for reinstatement as a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Alonzo Ramos [#00797279], 50, of Laredo, has filed a petition in the 341st District Court of Webb County for reinstatement as a member of the State Bar of Texas.

BODA

On January 5, 2021, the Board of Disciplinary Appeals signed an agreed judgment of probated suspension for Mesa, Arizona, attorney Shasta Marie Nolte [#24071455], 43.

On or about August 4, 2020, the State Bar of Arizona entered an agreement for discipline by consent in a matter styled In the Matter of a Member of the State Bar of Arizona, Shasta Marie Nolte, Bar No. 030368, in Case No. PDJ 2020 9064, and suspended Nolte from the practice of law for two years (FULLY PROBATED) for her violation of Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 42, specifically ER 1.2 (scope of representation and allocation of authority between client and lawyer), ER 1.3 (diligence), ER 1.4 (communication), ER 1.5(b) (fees), ER 3.1 (meritorious claims and contentions), ER 5.1 (responsibilities of lawyers with ownership interests or who are managers or supervisors), and ER 8.4(d) (misconduct). BODA Cause No. 65078.

SUSPENSIONS

Fergurson also made it onto LIT’s October 2019 list, so this is a continuation of the partial sentence and he’s misbehavin’ again. Here’s what happened in 2019…

SUSPENSIONS
On June 28, 2019, Roland M. Fergurson Jr. [#00786425], 64, of Sulphur Springs, received a four-year partially probated suspension effective July 15, 2019, with the first two years actively suspended and the remainder probated.

An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that Fergurson neglected the legal matter entrusted to him by failing to file a petition in a family law matter, failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of their family law matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from his clients, failed to hold funds belonging to his clients separate from his own property, and failed to keep said funds in a separate trust account. Upon termination of representation, Fergurson failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned. Fergurson violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.14(a), and 1.15(d).

He was ordered to pay $2,400 in restitution and $2,145.50 in attorneys’ fees.

So what you have is theft of $2,400 which had him suspended from July 2019 to July 2021 (24 months). Well, this is March 2021, so he hasn’t even made it out of the first suspension and he’s in trouble again?

How is that – when he’s suspended? As suspected, he was practicing as a lawyer while suspended and helped himself to another $15,500 of client funds.

Surely he’s going to be reported to the District Attorney? Surely he’ s also facing a recommendation of disbarment? Heck no, this is Texas Law!

RON's LIST of TEXAS BAR SLAPS

On December 7, 2020, Roland M. Fergurson Jr. [#00786425], 65, of Sulphur Springs, received a 24-month partially probated suspension effective July 15, 2023, with the first 18 months actively served and the remainder probated.

An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that starting in June 2013, the complainant retained Fergurson for various representations of herself, her son, and her son’s common-law wife. In representing the son, Fergurson neglected the legal matters entrusted to him by failing to file a petition for divorce or for modification of custody and by failing to enter appearances in criminal matters.

Fergurson also failed to communicate with the complainant. Fergurson represented the complainant and her son in a substantially related matter adverse to his former client. Fergurson failed to hold funds belonging to the complainant that were in Fergurson’s possession in connection with the representation separate from his own property. Fergurson also failed to keep funds in a separate trust account. Upon termination of representation, Fergurson failed to surrender papers and property to which the complainant was entitled. Upon termination of representation, Fergurson failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned.

Fergurson also engaged in the practice of law when his right to practice had been suspended.

Fergurson violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.09(a)(3), 1.14(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(11).

He was ordered to pay $15,500 in restitution and $3,193.50 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On December 29, 2020, Byron William Hatchett [#00785948], 65, of Abilene, agreed to a six-month fully probated suspension effective January 15, 2021.

An investigatory panel of the District 14 Grievance Committee found that on or about October 12, 2018, Hatchett was appointed to represent the complainant in a criminal case. In representing the complainant, Hatchett neglected the legal matter entrusted to him by failing to complete any work on the case. Hatchett failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of his case and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the complainant. Hatchett violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $250 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Complaint by City of Mercedes against Texas Lawyer Juan R. Molina, in part:

1. Respondent is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

2. Respondent’s Professional Misconduct occurred, in whole or in part, in Hidalgo County, Texas.

3. Respondent failed to fully explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary for the City of Mercedes to make an informed decision.

4. Respondent failed to keep money owed to the City of Mercedes in trust account separate from the Respondent’s property.

5. Upon receiving funds for the City of Mercedes, Respondent failed to timely disburse money to the City of Mercedes.

6. Upon receiving a request, Respondent failed to promptly provide a full accounting to the City of Mercedes.

7. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas has incurred reasonable attorneys’ fees and direct expenses associated with this Disciplinary Proceeding in the amount of $1,300.00.

On January 8, 2021, Juan R. Molina [#14256550], 58, of Weslaco, accepted a three-year fully probated suspension effective February 7, 2021.

An investigatory panel of the District 12 Grievance Committee found that Molina failed to communicate with a client, failed to hold a client’s funds in a trust account separate from his own property, failed to provide accounting of a client’s funds, and failed to timely disburse funds. Molina violated Rules 1.03(a), 1.14(a), and 1.14(b).

He agreed to pay $1,300 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

JEROME's LIST of TEXAS BAR SLAPS

Stein’s another rogue lawyer who’s also made it onto LIT’s July 2019 list and he’s now back again…with another slap for the unauthorized practice of law while suspended.

On January 4, 2021, Jerome Neal Stein [#19128290], 62, of Dallas, received an 18-month partially probated suspension effective May 1, 2021, with the first six months actively served and the remainder probated.

An investigatory panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that starting in August 2015, the complainant hired Stein to represent him in a divorce case. Stein failed to hold funds belonging in whole or in part to the complainant that were in Stein’s possession in connection with the representation separate from his own property.

During Stein’s representation of the complainant, Stein became actively suspended from the practice of law. Stein failed to notify the complainant of his suspension as required.

Stein also failed to respond to the grievance. Stein violated Rules 1.03(b), 1.14(a), 8.04(a)(7), 8.04(a)(8), and 8.04(a)(10). He was ordered to pay $1,125 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Teeter also made it onto LIT’s January 2020 list.   He’s in Corpus Christi and fell out with his former employer, Superbowl advertiser, PPP Loan Borrower to the tune of $5.7M, and personal injury lawyer Thomas Henry.

Now he’s self employed, it’s obvious Teeter’s finding it hard to shake old habits which allowed him to end up on LIT’s list the first time.

In the first complaint, he was hit with a 5 year partially probated sentence with 30 months active, from Nov. 2019 – April 2022. Now over a year later he’s received another 4 month active suspension from May 2022- 31 Aug. 2022 for violating the first order. Although not stated in the order, it would appear the inference is he was practicing law while suspended.

The second order pertains to another lengthy but fully probated 4 year suspension which is not added onto the end of his existing 5 year suspension but will run concurrently – meaning it’s ending a month later than his first suspension in Nov. 2024 – assuming he behaves in the interim. The second order indicates these are ‘carry over’ complaints from the first complaint as they concern legal representation matters prior to his Nov. 2019 suspension.

In short, it’s another sanction without any real penalty.

On January 8, 2021, Greggory Allen Teeter [#24033264], 51, of Corpus Christi, agreed to a 47-month fully probated suspension effective January 21, 2021.

An investigatory panel of the District 11 Grievance Committee found that Teeter failed to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions, failed to hold funds in trust, failed to promptly notify and deliver funds to the client and to the health care provider, failed to render candid advice to the client, and represented a client where the representation reasonably appeared to be or became adversely limited by the interests of Teeter and/or Teeter’s law firm.

Teeter also agreed to a four-month active suspension effective May 1, 2022.

An investigatory panel of the District 11 Grievance Committee found that Teeter violated the terms of a prior disciplinary judgment. Teeter violated Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(b), 1.06(b)(2), 1.03(b), 2.01, and 8.04(a)(7).

PUBLIC REPRIMANDS

On January 5, 2021, Glenn Deutsch Levy [#12264925], 56, of San Antonio, accepted a public reprimand.

An investigatory panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Levy neglected clients’ matters and failed to keep clients reasonably informed.

Levy violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 1.03(b). He agreed to pay $1,200 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 4, 2021, Ivan Trifonov Nalbantov [#24085491], 32, of Dallas, agreed to a public reprimand. An investigatory panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that on January 6, 2020,

Nalbantov entered a plea for the complainant in a misdemeanor criminal case without the complainant’s knowledge or approval. The plea was entered into the court record in the complainant’s criminal case.

Nalbantov failed to explain the criminal matters to the complainant to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the complainant to make informed decisions regarding the representation. Nalbantov violated Rules 1.02(a)(3) and 1.03(b).

He was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On January 15, 2021, John William Stickels [#19225300], 63, of Arlington, received a public reprimand.

An investigatory panel of the District 7 Grievance Committee found that in April 2016, Stickels was hired to represent the complainant in a criminal appeal. Stickels neglected the legal matter entrusted to him by failing to correct and resubmit a writ of certiorari petition that the Supreme Court rejected for inadequacies. Additionally, Stickels failed to explain the legal matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the complainant to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

Further, Stickels failed to hold funds in connection with the representation belonging in whole or in part to the complainant separate from Stickels own property.

Stickels violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(b), and 1.14(a).

He was ordered to pay $2,500 in restitution and $500 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

LIT wrote extensively about Thering  in LIT’s January 2021 list.  It’s another laundry list of misconduct and theft by this rogue Texas attorney who’s still allowed to keep his bar license.

We note below there’s two later sanctions, the first a 48 month suspension;

“Accordingly, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that Respondent shall be actively suspended from the practice of law for a period of forty-eight (48) months, beginning March 15, 2020, and ending March 14, 2024.”

and;

The next order has a partially active suspension from period 15 Jan 2023 – 14 September 2024, so effectively it’s only adding 6 months active suspension and not the 20 months as claimed

It’s a peculiar date which raises eyebrows  –  as it’s clear the Texas Bar are manipulating orders of suspension to the rogue lawyers benefit and for those not reviewing all the list of sanctions, it appears as though it’s a 20 month active suspension, not six.

On January 8, 2021, Daniel Robert Thering [#24042023], 44, of Austin, accepted a public reprimand.

(LIT Notes; There’s a couple of judgments dated after the public reprimand in January 2021 – maybe they will make April’s TBJ publication)

An investigatory panel of the District 9 Grievance Committee found that in April 2017, the complainant hired Thering to represent her in a personal injury and workers’ compensation claim, resulting from a March 2017 vehicular accident that the complainant was involved in while working.

In July 2018, the complainant endorsed a $50,001 settlement check at Thering’s request. After which, Thering ceased to provide the complainant any meaningful updates on her case.

The panel found that Thering neglected the legal matter entrusted to him by failing to promptly settle the complainant’s case. Additionally, the panel found that Thering failed to adequately communicate with the complainant and deliver to the complainant her portion of the settlement funds.

Further, the panel found that Thering failed to notify the complainant that his license to practice law had been suspended, during his representation of the complainant,

as required by Rule 13.01 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Conduct.

Thering violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.14(b), and 8.04(a)(10) of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Article X, Section 9, State Bar Rules.

On December 21, 2020, John David West Jr. [#24029898], 46, of Beaumont, received a public reprimand.

An investigatory panel of the District 3 Grievance Committee found that West failed to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of the matter, failed to comply with reasonable requests for information, failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned, and failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure.

West did not, in good faith, timely assert a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so. West violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8).

He was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

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There’s 15 Publicly Texas Lawyers & Judges Disciplined on May 2020 Rogues List and then there’s the 8 Texas Attorney’s that You’ll Never Know About, It’s a Secret.

Thievin’ Lyin’ Texas Lawyers in June 2020 Smash ‘n’ Grab Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars of Clients Funds. But No Jail Time.

A dozen publicly disciplined lawyers, and in total millions of dollars stolen. Zero jail time as lawyers in Texas continue to be Above the Law. Then there’s the three amigos, the Texas attorney’s who were caught misbehavin’ but it warrants a secret slap.

There’s No Bars for Thievin’ Lawyers Says Texas Bar. Y’all Rogue Texas Lawyers Keep Stealin’ Time and Time Again with Impunity
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