Monday, June 20, 2016

Butler v. LeBouef (Cal. Ct. App. - June 20, 2016)

In a non-trivial number of cases, an appeal is not only unsuccessful, but also results in a published opinion that makes the appellant look bad.

This one may take the cake.

There are so many findings in here that West Hollywood attorney John F. LeBouef would not want publicized.  You can get the slightest glimmer of them from the first paragraph of the published opinion from the Court of Appeal:

"An ethical estate planning attorney will plan for his client, not for himself. (See Estate of Moore (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 1101, 1103.) A license to practice law is not a license to take advantage of an elderly and mentally infirm client. As we shall explain, the factual findings of the trial court compel the conclusion that appellant used his license to take advantage of an elderly and mentally infirm person to enrich himself. The trial court factual findings are disturbing, fatal to appellant's contentions, and suggest criminal culpability."

The remainder of the opinion contains the disturbing details.  Go ahead and take a gander if you'd like.  Suffice it to say that it's not a story that Mr. LeBouef would probably like circulating around for all to see.  Yet there you have it.

Justice Yegan ends the opinion by not only awarding costs and attorney's fees against LeBouef, but also enters the following:  "The clerk is directed to forward a copy of this opinion to the California State Bar (Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6103.6) and the district attorney for the County of Santa Barbara."

We'll see where things go from here.  Regardless, I think we can confidently say that the appeal did not go as Mr. LeBouef hoped it would.