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SACRAMENTO — Three lawyers accused of abusing California’s unfair competition law resigned from the State Bar on Thursday, abruptly ending their prosecution on numerous charges of professional misconduct. The attorneys, Allan Hendrickson, 39; Shane Han, 32; and Damian Trevor, 29, were members of the Trevor Law Group in Beverly Hills. Bar prosecutors alleged the lawyers violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and the State Bar Act by committing repeated acts of moral turpitude, fraud and malicious prosecution. At issue were the firm’s suits against hundreds of small businesses, mostly in Southern California, over minor regulatory violations. The suits were filed under the unfair competition statute, Business & Professions Code § 17200. The Bar began looking into the firm’s practices late last year, after complaints from defendants that included allegations that the Trevor attorneys used harshly worded letters to threaten people into settling cases. Eventually, the Bar’s investigation became the largest in its history. Bar Judge Richard Honn suspended the three lawyers in May, and their case was progressing toward trial. The Trevor attorneys denied the charges and said they were just caught up in the larger political fight over whether to reform 17200. They justified their cases as legitimate consumer protection and even after they were suspended said they’d find another lawyer to continue litigating while they fought the Bar. Attorney General Bill Lockyer also sued the Trevor attorneys in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and there were indications that federal authorities were looking for evidence of criminal misconduct. Last month, the firm’s lawyer, Kevin Gerry, also of Beverly Hills, said he hoped for a “global” settlement that would end all the actions against his clients. But on Thursday, AG spokesman Tom Dresslar said Lockyer’s civil case would continue. It makes no difference to AG prosecutors whether the trio is still licensed to practice law, Dresslar added. “They’re fairly young guys so they can get other jobs that will provide a source for any civil penalties,” Dresslar said. Federal authorities have refused to discuss any investigation they might be conducting into the firm’s activities. Gerry did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday. None of the attorneys could be reached, either. An outgoing message at their firm’s phone number said, “You’ve reached the former office of Trevor Law Group.” Besides the Bar prosecution and the AG’s suit, the state Legislature was also interested in Trevor. For years, business interests have been trying to change 17200. But attempts to modify the law didn’t gain momentum until the beginning of the current legislative session when Democrats in the Assembly starting hearing complaints from constituents. Lawmakers proposed several bills, but only a two-bill package written by the Consumer Attorneys of California survived the committee process. Although opposed to dramatically changing the law, the plaintiffs bar came up with its own proposal in an attempt to modify the statute without lessening its value as a litigation tool. The Consumer Attorneys have been criticized, though, for using the measure to try to win back restitution through disgorgement in 17200 cases, something the state Supreme Court has limited in recent years. The Trevor lawyers can apply for reinstatement with the Bar in five years, when they will be required to prove that they’ve been rehabilitated. All the evidence gathered in the Bar investigation will be preserved, and the case could still be used against them if they reapply.

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