Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, October 4, 2017


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Ninth Circuit Affirms Sanction Imposed On Lawyer Facing State Disbarment


By a MetNews Staff Writer



Suspended lawyer

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal yesterday affirmed a $7,701 discovery sanction imposed on a Sacramento lawyer whose disbarment has been called for by the State Bar Court for misappropriation of funds and other alleged misconduct.

The sanction imposed on Aldon L. Bolanos by Magistrate Judge. Nathanael M. Cousins of the Northern District of California was upheld in a memorandum opinion by a three-judge panel. The opinion declares:

“The district court did not abuse its discretion by sanctioning Bolanos in the amount of attorney’s fees and costs associated with cancelled depositions because Bolanos scheduled the depositions for dates when he knew he would be suspended from the practice of law and failed to disclose his suspension to the district court and opposing counsel in a timely manner.”

The case is Diamos v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, 16-15591

Blames Deceased Lawyer

Bolanos has sought to shift blame for anything he’s accused of to Walter Dauterman, who died Dec. 21, 2015. It was Deuterman who took over Bolanos’s practice upon a 90-day suspension from practice going into effect.

The suspension was imposed on Bolanos in 2015 by the California Supreme Court for mishandling client trust funds.

In seeking reconsideration of the sanction in the district court, Bolanos declared:

“So my request is that this court sanction Mr. Dauterman for all the money expended, and 1 will personally deliver the order to his grave and demand his compliance.”

Ninth Circuit Brief

In his July 7, 2016 brief in the Ninth Circuit, Bolanos contended:

“An attorney who complies to the letter with a California Supreme Court order regarding his suspension cannot be sanctioned for conduct in compliance with that order.

“Bolanos complied with the order and turned his practice over to another attorney. The new attorney badly bungled discovery obligations and subsequently committed suicide.

“Bolanos cannot be sanctioned for the events during this occurrence.”

Bolanos—who has been placed by the State Bar on involuntary inactive status and suspended from practice in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California—is presently facing a variety of allegations by the State Bar, including practicing law while under his 90-day suspension. The instances cited include contacting opposing counsel in the federal court matter in which he was sanctioned.

Response to Charges

He has responded to the current State Bar charges by asserting:

“Everything in these charges stems from my turning my practice over to Walter Dauterman during my three month suspension. When Mr. Dauterman unexpectedly took his own life in the middle of the suspension, the bar concocted two categories of alleged offenses which taken together display a fair amount of irony and farce: it accuses me, alternatively and in the same pleadings, of both acting to protect the court and the clients when 1 learned of Walt’s death by notifying them of same and asking for time for the client to find new counsel (the ‘you acted’ offenses), and of doing nothing during my suspension to try and mitigate the fallout from his death (the ‘you didn’t act’ offenses).

“The sum of these parts is an agency chomping at the bit to find some way to deprive me of my livelihood out of sheer spite and revenge at having badly lost the bulk of the first case it brought against me.”

He went on to charge:

“So the moral disingenuousness is laid bare: if I do something, they try to prosecute me. If I do nothing, they try to prosecute me. The inescapable conclusion is it didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do—they want to prosecute me as a witch-hunt or schoolyard bully might—purely for the pleasure and pursuit of revenge from having lost the bulk of their first case against me.”


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