This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/09/2019 at 00:04:54 (UTC).

IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT YOUSEFIAN

Case Summary

On 11/08/2017 IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT YOUSEFIAN was filed as an Other lawsuit. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is DONNA FIELDS GOLDSTEIN. The case status is Other.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1981

  • Filing Date:

    11/08/2017

  • Case Status:

    Other

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

DONNA FIELDS GOLDSTEIN

 

Party Details

Petitioner

MOAWAD STEVEN J.

Respondent

YOUSEFIAN ROBERT

Interested Parties

HARUTOUNIAN ARMINE

HARUTOUNIAN ALFRED

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner Attorney

STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA

 

Court Documents

Unknown

11/8/2017: Unknown

Unknown

11/8/2017: Unknown

Unknown

11/8/2017: Unknown

Minute Order

11/8/2017: Minute Order

Unknown

11/9/2017: Unknown

Minute Order

1/5/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

3/23/2018: Unknown

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

4/5/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Minute Order

6/18/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

7/6/2018: Unknown

Response

7/20/2018: Response

Minute Order

8/17/2018: Minute Order

Order

8/17/2018: Order

Notice of Motion

8/24/2018: Notice of Motion

Unknown

9/28/2018: Unknown

Motion for Order

9/28/2018: Motion for Order

Minute Order

9/28/2018: Minute Order

Motion for Order

12/20/2018: Motion for Order

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/18/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion - Other (for order terminating jurisdiction) - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 01/18/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 2F; Hearing on Motion - Other - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 01/18/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion - Other for order terminating jurisdiction)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/20/2018
  • Motion for Order (terminating jurisdiction over law practice and authorizing disposition of undistributed client files and other property; memorandum of points and authorities; supporting declarations of Stacia L. Johns and Rosemary Almaguer); Filed by Steven J. Moawad (Petitioner)

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  • 09/28/2018
  • at 08:32 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion for Order - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 09/28/2018
  • Order; Filed by Court

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  • 09/28/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-09-28 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/28/2018
  • Motion for Order

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  • 08/24/2018
  • Motion for an Order; Filed by Court

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  • 08/24/2018
  • Notice of Motion

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16 More Docket Entries
  • 01/05/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B; (Petition - Other; Petition Granted) -

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  • 01/05/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-01-05 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/09/2017
  • Declaration; Filed by Steven J. Moawad (Petitioner)

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  • 11/08/2017
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B; Ex-Parte Proceedings - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 11/08/2017
  • Minute order entered: 2017-11-08 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/08/2017
  • Petition; Filed by Steven J. Moawad (Petitioner)

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  • 11/08/2017
  • Declaration; Filed by Steven J. Moawad (Petitioner)

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  • 11/08/2017
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Steven J. Moawad (Petitioner)

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  • 11/08/2017
  • Ex-Parte Application; Filed by Steven J. Moawad (Petitioner)

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  • 11/08/2017
  • Order; Filed by Petitioner

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ES021981    Hearing Date: January 10, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

IN THE MATTER OF THE ASSUMPTION OF JURISDICTION OVER THE LAW PRACTICE OF

ROBERT YOUSEFIAN

A MEMBER OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA, BAR NO. 166396

Case No.: ES021981

Hearing Date: January 10, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motion for order terminating jurisdiction over law practive and authorizing disposition of undistributed client files and other property

BACKGROUND

This action was commenced on November 8, 2017, when Petitioner State Bar of California filed a petition to assume jurisdiction over the legal practice of Robert Yousefian. On the same date, the Court issued interim orders upon the ex parte application of the State Bar and the State Bar’s showing that delay in making the orders would result in substantial injury to clients or others. These orders permitted the State Bar to obtain case files and records, to notify clients and other interested parties of Mr. Yousefian’s incapacity, to apply for extensions pending employment of new counsel, to file notices or motions if needed, to take possession of client trust and law practice accounts, to apply for a receiver for the law practice, and to do all acts necessary to enforce the order, e.g., endorsing checks payable to Robert Yousefian, changing telephone numbers and mailing address information, and opening mail. This situation arose because Mr. Yousefian abandoned his law practice.

On January 5, 2018, the Court granted the State Bar’s petition and assumed jurisdiction over Mr. Yousefian’s law practice in order to ensure that his clients receive legal representation.

On January 11, 2018, the Court signed the Permanent Order Assuming Jurisdiction over the Abandoned Client Files of Robert Yousefian. The Court appointed Steven Moawad, Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar, and designees, to, among other things: place all files and records of Mr. Yousefian’s law practice in a protected area; notify persons and entities that appear to be his clients; apply for extensions of time, as necessary; arrange for the appointment of a receiver; and undertake any acts necessary to carry out Business & Professions Code, §6190 et seq., including freezing any and all bank accounts of Mr. Yousefian and his law office, and endorsing any check received by the State Bar that is made payable to Mr. Yousefian, his law office, or any and all law-office-related bank accounts.

On September 28, 2018, the Court granted the State Bar’s motion for order disbursing the remaining funds frozen in Yousefian’s client trust account ending in -9033. The prior ruling order the Bank of America to issue checks to Yousefian’s clients, Romik Abedian, Tigran Gharibyan, Hamo Hagobian, Armine Hartounian, and Edmond Khodaverdian in certain proportional amounts, with any remainder to be payable to the Client Security Fund of the State Bar of California in an amount sufficient to zero the balance in the client trust account ending in -9033.

On December 20, 2018, the State Bar filed its first motion for order terminating jurisdiction over law practice and authorizing disposition of undistributed client files and other property. On January 18, 2019, the Court held a hearing on the matter and was informed by the State Bar’s counsel that Mr. Yousefian suffers from a mental illness and is homeless. Thus, the Court advised counsel that she must provide a reasonable provision to store the legal files of Mr. Yousefian for 1 year. The Court then denied the first motion without prejudice.

The motion currently before the Court is the State Bar’s second motion for order terminating jurisdiction over the law practice of Mr. Yousefian, and for disposition of undistributed client files and other property. The motion was filed on December 3, 2019. The Court is not in receipt of an opposition to this instant motion.

LEGAL STANDARD

Under Business & Professions Code, §6190: “The courts of the state shall have the jurisdiction as provided in this article when an attorney engaged in the practice of law in this state has, for any reason, including but not limited to excessive use of alcohol or drugs, physical or mental illness, or other infirmity or other cause, become incapable of devoting the time and attention to, and providing the quality of service for, his or her law practice which is necessary to protect the interest of a client if there is an unfinished client matter for which no other active member of the State Bar, with the consent of the client, has agreed to assume responsibility.”

DISCUSSION

The State Bar seeks an order: (1) authorizing the State Bar to destroy immediately any client files and other property from Yousefian’s law practice wherein a written authorization for destruction has been obtained by the client; (2) directing the State Bar to store any undistributed client files and other client property from Mr. Yousefian’s alleged unauthorized law practice wherein no client authorization to destroy has been obtained until January 31, 2020; (3) authorizing the State Bar to destroy any and all client files in non-criminal matters and other property from Mr. Yousefian’s law practice which remain in its possession and undistributed after January 31, 2020; and (4) terminating this Court’s jurisdiction over Mr. Yousefian’s law practice. (See McNamara Decl., ¶17.)

The State Bar states that following Judge Donna Fields Goldstein’s order on November 8, 2017 for the Court to assume jurisdiction over Mr. Yousefian’s law practice, the State Bar retrieved, removed, and secured in a protected area all files and records of Mr. Yousefian’s law practice. (McNamara Decl., ¶5.) The State Bar also undertook steps to disburse any remaining funds in Mr. Yousefian’s client trust accounts and transmitted the remainder of $1.89 to the State Bar of California Client Security Fund which depleted Mr. Yousefian’s client trust account. (Id., ¶¶6-9.)

A designee of the State Bar conducted an inventory of all client files at Mr. Yousefian’s law office, revealing 1,927 files received on behalf of 1,788 clients—of which 248 were open files, 1,021 files had unknown status, and 658 files were designated as closed. (McNamara Decl., ¶10.) The State Bar looked for updated addresses and sent letters out to the clients with determinable addresses. (Id., ¶11.) After mailing, 280 letters returned marked, “Return to Sender.” (Id., ¶12.) The State Bar received 78 responses from clients, who confirmed they had received and took possession of their respective files. Of the 248 open files, 29 were returned to clients. Of the 658 closed files, 22 were returned to clients. Of the 1,021 unknown-status files, 27 were returned to clients. (Id., ¶13.) On February 20, 2019, a second mailing was conducted, which caused 47 clients to request and take possession of their files. (Id., ¶47.) To date, the State Bar retains over 1,700 files in 109 boxes; of these boxes, 13 have been identified as containing files for criminal matters will not be destroyed and that the State Bar will retain indefinitely. (Id., ¶16.)

The State Bar now seeks authorization to immediately destroy any other client files and property from Mr. Yousefian’s law practice which still remain in the State Bar’s possession, and that the Court’s jurisdiction over Mr. Yousefian’s law practice be terminated. Based on the efforts made by the State Bar, it appears that it has made diligent efforts to inform Mr. Yousefian’s former clients regarding their case and to return client files. Further, in compliance with the Court’s January 18, 2019 order on the first motion, the State Bar has undertaken reasonable provisions to store Mr. Yousefian’s legal files for approximately 1 year.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

The Court grants the motion as requested by the State Bar:

a. The State Bar is authorized to destroy any client files and other client property from the law practice of Robert Yousefian wherein a written authorization for destruction has been obtained by the client.

b. The State Bar is directed to store any undistributed client files and other client property from the law practice of Robert Yousefian wherein no authorization to destroy has been obtained until January 31, 2020.

c. The State Bar is directed to destroy any and all client files not identified as criminal matters, and other client property, from the law practices of Robert Yousefian which remain in its possession and undistributed after January 31, 2020.

d. The Court’s jurisdiction over Mr. Yousefian’s law practice shall be hereinafter terminated.

The State Bar of California shall provide notice of this order.