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In the Matter of Naderi

426 S.C. 476, 827 S.E.2d 582 (2019)

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In the Matter of Naderi

South Carolina Supreme Court

426 S.C. 476, 827 S.E.2d 582 (2019)

Facts

California-licensed attorney Farzad Naderi practiced law without permission in at least three states. Operating as the “Pacific National Law Center,” (PNLC) Naderi represented homeowners seeking to renegotiate their mortgages without being admitted where the borrowers lived. In 2013, South Carolina resident J.H. hired Naderi to modify his loan. One form described Naderi as a “paralegal,” but the retainer agreement said J.H. retained PNLC to provide “legal services” including “representation” and specifically listed Naderi as the contact person who could discuss J.H.’s loan with his lender. The agreement excluded litigation and required arbitration in California for refunds more than five days after signing. J.H. paid the $2995 retainer fee and provided necessary paperwork, but PNLC never obtained a loan modification. PNLC stopped returning any calls, and J.H.’s lender initiated foreclosure. J.H. had to appear unrepresented at the foreclosure hearing, then hire another attorney to file bankruptcy to save his home. J.H. testified he had struggled with his payments before hiring Naderi, but never faced foreclosure. J.H. did not know if PNLC ever even contacted his lender, and said he had been scammed and that someone should go to jail or lose their license. Meanwhile, Naderi performed similar work for residents of two more states. In 2016, Naderi stipulated to suspension of his California license with two years’ probation after Florida and Washington residents retained him to modify their loans. Again, Naderi evidently did not obtain modifications for either client. Naderi did not cooperate with South Carolina’s disciplinary investigation, did not answer charges, and was found in default. Therefore, the court deemed him to have admitted all allegations against him when entering its ruling.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam.)

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