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Saturday, 31 May 2003 17:00

State Bar shuts down Beverly Hills law group

The Beverly Hills attorneys who filed over 2,000 lawsuits against auto repair shops and other small businesses in California, making headlines throughout the state and leading to calls for action against them by state legislators and an investigation by The State Attorney General, were placed on involuntary inactive status by the State Bar Court in late May. In other words, their licenses to practice law have been suspended as disciplinary proceedings toward possible disbarment continue. In its ruling, the State Bar Court agreed with its prosecutors that the lawyers had filed thousands of frivolous lawsuits with the intent of forcing quick settlements. 

Starting in 2002, the three attorneys in the Trevor Law Group - Damian Trevor, 29; Allan Hendrickson, 38; and Shane Chang Han, 32 - filed lawsuits on behalf of a consumer group against mechanical and body repair shops that were listed on the BAR website as having received Notices of Violations (The state has since discontinued the issuance and posting of NOVs).

The State Bar prosecutor called the consumer group on behalf of which the lawsuits were filed a "shell corporation, " alleging it was set up just for the purpose of filing the lawsuits and shared offices with the law firm. The attorneys would file a lawsuit naming hundreds of shops at a time, and then contact the shops to suggest a quick settlement. Many did settle, for as much as $2,500.

"The purpose of this litigation is to make money," State Bar counsel Jane Kim told the Court at the April 17 hearing. "Their interests are all about the money and how much money they can obtain."

"The notion that my clients are doing something wrong with trying to settle is frankly absurd," said Kevin Gerry, counsel for the three lawyers in their hearing before the State Bar Court.

The State Attorney General's office said its criminal investigation into the matter would continue. "We're looking for restitution for their victims and civil penalties," a spokesman told the Los Angeles Daily Journal.


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