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California Judicial Arbitration Award Upheld

Wednesday, June, 29, 2011

Judicial arbitration in California has produced a result that will come as welcome news to anyone who has ever felt mistreated by an attorney.  The Fourth District Court of Appeals issued a ruling in favor of Stephen Kite and his parents, Reid and Norma Lalonde, who had retained Beverly Hills attorney Henry James Koehler IV to represent them in a custody matter. 


Koehler allegedly neglected to return a client file when asked.  The case went to arbitration at his request, but Koehler later tried to exit the arbitration procedure, claiming that he could not afford it.  According to the court, Koehler's financial problems did not constitute a reason for stopping the process of arbitration. 


Neither was it to be a basis for rejecting the legal arbitration award; Koehler's clients won an award of $98,000 on the specific complaint that Koehler retained the client file despite requests that he relinquish it.  Kite and the Lalondes also complained about Koehler to the State Bar of California, maintaining that he had been ineffective as counsel because he was grossly unprepared to argue their case.


The Supreme Court of California initially suspended Koehler from practicing law for a period of 60 days.  Later, the attorney was disbarred based on the complaints in this case along with a history of other misconduct.


Learn more about Arbitration or find an Arbitration Attorney in the National Arbitration Directory.