On Thursday, June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court of California ordered the stayed suspension of West Covina attorney Gabriel Castellanos for failure to notify his client and adverse party of his 2019 suspension from the practice of law.
The case is entitled “In the Matter Gabriel Castellanos,” and was brought by the State Bar of California through the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, case no. S279769.
The charges cited Castellanos’ willful violation of the California Rules of Court, rule 9.20(a)(1) and 9.20(a)(4).
The California Rules of Court can be found on the California Courts page.
In a Notice of Disciplinary Charges (NDC) containing three counts of misconduct, Castellanos was alleged to have failed to notify a client whose matter is pending as of the time of the filing of the April 26, 2019 order suspending Castellanos for six months and placed on probation for two years.
According to a Daily Journal report, the 2019 suspension was the Court’s response to Castellanos’ stipulation that he engaged in misconduct – including failure to promptly inform a client of the receipt of her funds, neglecting to promptly disburse the client’s entitled funds, and making misrepresentations to both the client and the disciplinary authorities during their investigation into the alleged misconduct.
The filing states:
“Respondent failed to notify Ms. Flores, a client whom respondent represented in the Flores v. Coleman matter as of the date of the April 26, 2019 Order of the Supreme Court, which respondent received and had actual notice thereof, and at all relevant times herein, of his disqualification to act as an attorney after the effective date of the order of suspension from the practice of law and to seek legal counsel elsewhere within thirty days after the effective date of the Order.”
The filing continues:
“Respondent failed to notify Mr. Coleman, who was unrepresented by counsel, in the
Flores v. Coleman matter, wherein respondent represented Ms. Flores as of the date of the April 26, 2019 Order of the Supreme Court, which respondent received and had actual notice thereof, and at all relevant times herein, of his suspension and consequent disqualification to act as an attorney after the effective date of suspension from the practice of law.”
The filing further alleges:
“Respondent failed to file the notice required by California Rules of Court, rule
9.20(a)(4) with the Los Angeles Superior Court in the Flores v. Coleman matter, wherein respondent represented Ms. Flores as of the date of the April 26, 2019 Order of the Supreme Court, which respondent received and had actual notice thereof.”
Castellanos, in his Answer filed on October 4, 2022, denied all the allegations of misconduct.
Thereafter, Castellanos and the State Bar through its Deputy Trial Counsel, Cindy Chan, submitted to the Court a Stipulation Re Facts, Conclusions of Law, and Disposition agreeing that Castellanos be sanctioned with a three-year stayed suspension and probation for three years.
Upon consideration of the parties’ stipulation, the Supreme Court of Florida ordered the suspension of Castellanos.
The order reads:
“The court orders that Gabriel Castellanos (Respondent), State Bar Number 227702, is suspended from the practice of law in California for three years, execution of that period of suspension is stayed.”
The Order provided that Castellanos is placed on probation for three years and that Castellanos be suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of the first two years of probation and until Castellanos provides proof to the State Bar Court of rehabilitation, fitness to practice, and present learning and ability in the general law.
Castellanos was also ordered to produce to the State Bar’s Office of Probation evidence of taking and passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
Mr. Gabriel Castellanos earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. He maintained a law practice in West Covina and he has been admitted to practice in California in 2003, license no. 227702. Castellanos’ info can be found on the State Bar of California page.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.