Rancho Cucamonga Law Firms is not Authorized to Practice Law, Judge Finds. Orders Return of All Fees Paid


A client came to me following his attempt to seek justice in Small Claims Court against a “law firm” and lawyer who had allegedly failed to perform proper work for the client.  The client had paid over $10,000 to the “law firm” for the legal services he was supposed to receive.  He wanted just half of his money back because of alleged overcharging and shoddy work.  His initial efforts in the Small Claims Court only resulted in a recovery of slightly more than $1,400.00.  Following the award by the Court, the “law firm” and lawyer appealed the decision because they did not want to pay the $1,400. 

That is where I come in.  The client transferred the original file to my office to handle it for him and to correct that which had been done wrong.  Additionally, I was now asked to come in and assist with the Small Claims Appeal as well.  (In Small Claims Court, no lawyers may represent any party, unless the lawyer is a party to the claim.  However, on appeal, lawyers may represent the parties in the appeal, which is really just another trial of the same matter in front of another judge.)

This “law firm” is named Equity Law Group, LLP in Rancho Cucamonga.  This company is run by attorney, Lofty Mrich.  So a few weeks prior to the appeal, I started my research for this matter.  I knew the California State Bar, which is the agency that governs the attorneys in California, had very specific rules and guidelines associated operating a law practice under an limited liability partnership (LLP) or corporation.  Some of the rules include that the entity must be active with the California Secretary of State, it must be registered with the State Bar, the entity must have insurance coverage at a minimum of $1,000,000 for professional liability, and if it is an LLP, then there must be at least two partners in the company.  If these, or several other rules are not followed, the entity may not conduct the business of law and be paid for legal services, even if a lawyer does the work.

On the morning of the appeal hearing, we showed up for court.  I noticed the attorney handed a business card to the clerk, with the name “Equity Law Group, LLP” prominently displayed.  Shortly after checking in, the lawyer and his “law firm” attempted to dismiss the appeal.  I objected, and the lawyer changed his mind and wanted to go ahead and proceed with his appeal.  The judge moved our hearing to the afternoon and we commenced the trial.  While I already knew the answers to my questions, I began my inquiry of the attorney.  You may have noticed that I put “law firm” in quotes, here is why.  With each question, the evidence revealed that the LLP was cancelled by the Secretary of State and it had been that way for some time.  The Equity Law Group, LLP was never registered with the State Bar.  There was no professional liability insurance available.  Finally, there were no partners in this company other than this attorney.  Based upon the card provided to the Court earlier, it was clear that Mr. Mrich was still using the company name, knowing full well that he had not complied with any of the State Bar requirements to allow him to make a representation that the company was authorized to engage in the practice of law.

By the end of the trial, the Court determined the Equity Law Group, LLP to not be an authorized entity to practice law, that the contract with my client was voidable and ordered the lawyer and his company to disgorge all fees received from the client to the tune of $10,000.00, the maximum allowed under the Small Claims limits.  My client was successful and obtained the justice he so needed and deserved.  Now the next step is securing payment of that judgment.

Would you have stood up to a law firm who you thought did something wrong?  Share your experiences.


Routine Vehicle Maintenance and Safety Inspections Can Prevent Serious Injuries | Ontario Auto Accident Attorney

The failure of conducting proper safety inspections can be shown by a recent tragic accident on the 210 Freeway in San Dimas, California. While traveling eastbound through San Dimas, California, on the 210 Freeway, a 62-year-old San Bernardino man was struck and killed by an errant tire that came off of a small pick up truck traveling in the opposite direction on the freeway. After separating from the read of the ruck, the tire began to bounce and cleared the center divider K-rail then ended up going through the windshield of a 2008 Toyota Camry. After causing this fatal blow to the driver of the Camry the tire continued down the road striking as may as six other cars before finally stopping its path of destruction.

Tragically, the early morning accident resulted in the death of David Ballejos of San Bernardino.

This accident was completely avoidable with a routine safety check of the truck. Routine maintenance and inspection of your vehicle is so important before setting out for any long trip. Failure to perform such an inspection can directly lead to injuries to you or others. While this accident was very odd, it was not unprecedented. I handled a case nearly identical to this case, but fortunately, my client was only injured and not killed. The key in that case was identifying all responsible parties, such as the driver and owner of the car and the employer of the driver. Only by finding all the sources of insurance to cover the losses, way my client able to receive sufficient compensation for the injuries he suffered.

If you are looking for an attorney to handle an injury claim as a result of a vehicle failure or traffic accident, I encourage you to look io the Inland Empire Law Group for legal help in recovering all that you deserve. 909-481-0100.

The Public Needs to Preserve Its Access to Justice

The battle to keep civil and family law courts in Rancho Cucamonga must be taken up by the public who will be most affected.  The entire West Valley of the Inland Empire will lose its access to a local court with the new restructuring of the courts.  Why should you care about the courts if you are not a lawyer or an employee in the courts?  Because it will affect you in some manner, either directly or financially indirectly.  If you need the court, it will not be found locally.  You will have to travel to San Bernardino to find access to the court.  The cost goes up the further away a court is from the location of the event that triggered the need to use the court.  Lawyers, witnesses, parties, jurors and others have to travel greater distances, thereby incurring more costs and more inconvenience.  Police officers will have to travel greater distances thereby costing cities and counties more money.

Look at the financial impact to Rancho Cucamonga.  As lawyers leave the Rancho Cucamonga city limits, tax revenues to the city decrease.  The funds used in Rancho Cucamonga for food, gas, shopping, etc., are diverted to other cities leaving Rancho Cucamonga with a void.  Taking the place of the void are those accompanying convicts and criminals.  It is not a good trade for the City of Rancho Cucamonga.

Alone I cannot fight this battle.  Everyone must make their voice heard.  Send letters and e-mails to politicians, local and state leaders, to the presiding judge, to your newspaper and to others with influence.

Read more about the changes to the courts in Rancho Cucamonga.

Stop the Closure of the Rancho Cucamonga Civil and Family Law Courts!

The attorneys of the West Valley of the Inland Empire are fighting hard to protect the rights of the citizens of the Inland Empire.  It was announced by the San Bernardino County Presiding Judge that the Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga will no longer provide civil and family law services as of May 2014.  This move will deprive so many people of their access to local courts, protections from domestic abuse through easy access to the courts, lower cost legal services, etc.  It is so important that anyone affected by this move, speak up and demand an alternative solution to the problem.  Those who will be affected include everyone in the Inland Empire.  We have already seen Victorville lose its civil division, as well as the closure of courts throughout the County of San Bernardino.  Many citizens now have to drive hundreds of miles to reach a court for the simpliest matters.  Read the Daily Bulletin article for more information on the issue.  If you have a position on the court closures, raise it here.  Let your voice be heard to stop the deprivation of your legal rights.   Then share this with your friends and neighbors.  Unless we voice our concerns our rights will be lost.

October 21, 2013 – Serious Fontana Intersection Accident (Foothill Blvd. & Citrus Avenue)

A horrific accident occurred at the intersection of Foothill Blvd. and Citrus Avenue in Fontana, California. This massive collision resulted in at least three deaths and several others suffering very serious injuries. About twenty minutes before 9:00 p.m., on October 21, 2013, it is believed a vehicle drove through a red light striking another car in that intersection, with ultimately three cars involved in the accident. The negligent driver, cost a child, a woman and a man their lives.

Fontana police officers are investigating the cause of the accident. Some of the important aides in determining the cause of this accident will be information from the occupants of the cars in the accident, independent witnesses, skid marks, if available, and the damage to the vehicles. If one driver admits he or she ran the red light, then the investigation is made much easier.

Sometimes, victims of these type of major accidents, while grieving and struggling emotionally and physically, are bombarded by unethical lawyers and their “runners” and “cappers” trying to get these victims to sign up their cases. This conduct is unethical and illegal. Beware and don’t get trapped by these ambulance chasers. Only use lawyers that comply with the law and are looking out solely for your best interest for your personal injury and auto accident claims.

David H. Ricks is an attorney with the Inland Empire Law Group in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He handles personal injury and auto accident cases and has done so in the Inland Empire since 1987. If you have questions, or need legal counsel, call (909) 481-0100 or contact him at http://www.davidrickslaw.com.

Another Tragic Death From a Pit Bull Attack in The Inland Empire – Sept. 24, 2013

Dog Bite - Inland Empire Law Group

Sept. 24, 2013 – I woke up this morning to read a tragic story of a 2 year old boy from Colton, California, who was mauled and killed by five pit bull dogs while in the backyard of his uncle’s home. The tragedy of this death extends beyond compare to any grief one could experience. I can only hope the family, in time, can find peace.

This tragic dog attack in the Inland Empire is only one of many which have occurred to children and adults throughout the years as a result of attacks by pit bull dogs. These dogs were originally bred to be vicious fighting dogs. Unfortunately, that trait has not left them. Injuries from these dogs can arise whether the injured victim knew the dog previously or was a complete stranger to the dog. In a moment, the dog can turn on a person and cause serious injuries and damages. Often times, the attack is directed to the face and upper body, thereby causing the worse injuries.

To make matters worse for the victims of these pit bull bite or mauling injuries, many insurance companies are excluding liability insurance coverage for these and other types of dogs which have been known to be aggressive. If you are a homeowner, and you have a dog which might be listed as an aggressive dog, such as a pit bull, rottweiler, German Shepard, Alaska Huskies, etc., you need to make sure your insurance coverage protects you from dog bite claims. More importantly, you need to make sure that your insurance is available to help compensate a victim of your dog’s conduct. In 2009, the average cost for a dog bite injury was nearly $25,000.00. That means that there are many claims that can significantly exceed the average settlement cost. If you do not have insurance coverage, then you can be held personally liable for these losses. If your insurance company will not provide coverage for your dog, then you need to find special insurance coverage for your dog. Talk to your insurance agent and find out where you can get proper insurance coverage.

For a victim of a dog bite or attack, you should seek immediate medical attention to minimize the physical and emotional impact and scarring which follows a dog attack. Also, seek immediately legal representation to help you deal with the legal issues that arise and to secure the best financial recovery possible following the injury.

David H. Ricks, Esq. – Inland Empire Law Group, 8600 Utica Avenue, Suite 200, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 – Tele: 909-481-0100. Go to http://www.davidrickslaw.com/practice_areas/dog-bite-and-animal-attacks.cfm for more information and video on dog bit injuries.


This past week, on August 27, 2013, a horrible accident occurred in Rancho Cucamonga, California on Sixth Street, between a motorcycle and a semi-truck.  The reports seem to indicate that this accident occurred when the semi-truck was trying to make a U-turn in front of the motorcycle.  This accident ended the life of a 4 year old girl who was on the back of the motorcycle at the time of the collision.  The shock and horror the family and friends must have felt when they heard about the accident is unimaginable.  Our thoughts and concern go out to the family and friends suffering from this tragic accident.

After I read the report of this accident, I was appalled at some of the comments written in response to the article reporting on the accident.  As I read those comments, I saw uncaring and/or uneducated comments solely because this accident involved a motorcycle.  In my experience as a personal injury attorney, I have learned that there is so much bias against motorcyclists that even when an accident results in the death of the small child, the bias cannot be tempered.  This is why most motorcycle accidents need serious legal representation to overcome the bias that exists at every stage of the process.  The bias often starts with the accident report.  So many reports assess liability on the motorcyclist even when there is almost no contributing responsibility attributable to the motorcyclist.  Other areas of bias come from witnesses, the insurance adjuster, a judge or the jurors.  Overcoming these biases and establishing liability on the responsible party for the accident is critical to the success in a motorcycle accident case.

Finding the best personal injury lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga is a critical part of overcoming motorcycle bias when dealing with such an accident.  The Inland Empire Law Group is a well established Rancho Cucamonga law firm capable of turning back the bias against safe motorcyclists using our roads and highways.  For proper legal representation call now, 909-481-0100.