Monday, September 30, 2002
Supreme Court Suspends Los Angeles Lawyer for Failing to Pass MPRE
By ALLISON LOMAs, Staff Writer
A Los Angeles attorney, suspended from practice last year for lying to a client about having lost her case by not filing it on time, has been suspended again, this time for failing to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
Kooros James Khavarian, 37, drew two years probation, including 30 days of actual suspension, in July of last year. The Supreme Court stayed Khavarian’s 12-month suspension on the condition that he pass the MPRE within one year.
The court’s Sept. 19 order suspends Khavarian until he passes the MPRE.
The disciplinary action arose out of Khavarian’s treatment of Pamela Burns-Johnson, who brought a claim against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for back injuries caused by a fall at Union Station.
In a stipulation of facts, Khavarian acknowledged that Burns hired him in August 1995, one year after he was admitted to the bar. Khavarian submitted an unsuccessful claim with the MTA in late December, and then filed the case in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 21, 1996, 10 days after the six-month statute of limitations had run.
He admitted that he never informed his client that the statute of limitations had run.
He also acknowledged that he failed to keep Burns informed of major developments in the case, including the MTA’s motions to compel discovery and seeking summary judgment in July 1996. The MTA moved to compel discovery after Khavarian neglected to communicate Burns’ responses to interrogatories, despite his understanding of the importance of doing so in a timely manner.
The court finally dismissed the case in August 1996 after Khavarian contacted the MTA and agreed to dismiss the action, then signed a request for dismissal with prejudice without Burn’s consent.
Following the dismissal of the case Khavarian sought, according to the stipulated facts, to cease representing Burns without informing her of that fact.
From August 1996 to January 1998, Burns attempted to reach Khavarian who was slow to return her calls, but assured her that the action was still pending. After he ceased to respond to her phone calls completely, Burns inquired at the MTA into the status of her case in mid-1998 and was informed it had been dismissed in 1996.
Khavarian conceded that his attempt to conceal his incompetent legal work and escape a potential malpractice claim by misrepresenting the status of the case constituted an “act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption.”
Khavarian had not been disciplined by the State Bar prior to his suspension in July 2001. He was represented by JoAnne Earls Robbins of the Los Angeles-based firm Karpman & Associates.
Deputy Chief Trial Counsel Brooke A. Schafer prosecuted the case for the State Bar during the 2001 proceeding.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company