Michael James Moriarty was admitted to the California Bar 5th January 1972, but has since been disbarred. Michael graduated from UC Hastings COL.

Lawyer Information

NameMichael James Moriarty
First Admitted5 January 1972 (50 years, 4 months ago)
StatusDisbarred
Bar Number51185

Contact

Phone Number415-299-0193

Schools

Law SchoolUC Hastings COL (San Francisco CA)
Undergraduate SchoolUniversity of Iowa (Iowa City IA)

Address

Current AddressPO Box 150552
San Rafael, CA 94915
Map

History

26 November 1999Disbarred (22 years, 6 months ago)
Disbarment 92-O-10612
10 November 1997Not eligible to practice law in CA (24 years, 6 months ago)
Ordered inactive 92-O-10612
21 October 1996Disciplinary charges filed in State Bar Court 94-O-15604 (25 years, 7 months ago)
26 October 1994Disciplinary charges filed in State Bar Court 93-O-10686 (27 years, 7 months ago)
17 October 1994Disciplinary charges filed in State Bar Court 92-O-10612 (27 years, 7 months ago)
5 January 1972Admitted to the State Bar of California (50 years, 4 months ago)

Discipline Summaries

November 26, 1999

MICHAEL J. MORIARTY [#51185], 56, of Corte Madera was disbarred Nov. 26, 1999, and ordered to comply with rule 955.

In three consolidated cases, the State Bar Court found that between 1988 and 1994, Moriarty committed multiple acts of wrongdoing involving six clients and demonstrated a pattern of dishonesty.

He failed to perform legal services competently, failed to promptly pay settlement funds, violated court orders, filed a frivolous lawsuit and was disrespectful to the court. In addition, he commingled funds, mismanaged his trust account, forged signatures, made misrepresentations to the court and committed acts of moral turpitude.

In one matter, Moriarty represented the plaintiff in a products liability case. The court declared two mistrials because of Moriarty’s conduct, which included misleading the jury, making references the court specifically told him to avoid, and continued argumentative statements. Moriarty was sanctioned more than $43,000 and was found in contempt twice.

The bar court found that Moriarty violated court orders, engaged in trial misconduct, failed to maintain respect for the courts and misled the jury.

In a legal malpractice action, Moriarty made a false declaration to the court and made a false accusation against the opposing party. He did not promptly pay a medical provider in a personal injury case, and failed to maintain settlement funds in trust or supervise his trust account. His gross mismanagement of his trust account amounted to moral turpitude.

At his clients’ insistence, he continued to pursue a medical malpractice case which had been dismissed because of his misconduct. Nevertheless, he failed to appear at a hearing.

He forged six proofs of service in that matter, was sanctioned by the court and never paid the sanctions, and falsely told the court a list of experts had been served on opposing counsel.

Although Moriarty had a 33 percent contingency fee agreement with his clients in an insurance fraud matter, he unilaterally kept the entire $9,000 he received in settlement. He deposited the fund in his general account instead of his trust account and did not notify his clients that he’d received the money.

In mitigation, Moriarty had no record of discipline in 16 years of practice. Although he presented three character witnesses, they were unfamiliar with the extent of Moriarty’s misconduct, so the weight given their testimony was somewhat lessened. In addition, two judges and two attorneys presented evidence of Moriarty’s bad character.

Moriarty told the bar court he needed a continuance of the disciplinary trial dates because he had a trial scheduled in Placer County. However, the opposing counsel testified that there was no conflict on one of the days.

Furthermore, during the Placer trial, Moriarty allowed his expert witness to testify that he had no relationship with Moriarty other than as a professional consultant. In fact, Moriarty represented the expert in a lawsuit. The bar court found that Moriarty intentionally suborned perjury, which it called “moral turpitude of the most extreme nature.”

In recommending Moriarty’s disbarment, bar court Judge Nancy Roberts Lonsdale wrote that his “conduct long ago entered the realm of intentional, deceitful actions. . . . This type of egregious dishonesty simply cannot be countenanced in an attorney of (his) experience and years. . . . He cannot be trusted to remain as a member of the State Bar without public endangerment.”