(Updated Aug 15, 2003)
This article concerns two attorneys, Angela Gilmartin (California Bar No. 192595) and John Noland (California Bar No. 190121) of the law firm Gilmartin & Noland. These attorneys have represented both clients and regional centers in a number of fair hearings. Most frequently however, they have represented the ELARC in actions against families seeking services for their children (see our related article Judge Scathes ELARC). If you are a parent seeking legal representation in a regional center matter, we feel that you should avoid using the services of this law firm; we'll explain why. If you are a regional center seeking legal representation in a matter involving client services, we feel that you should avoid using the services of this law firm; we'll explain why.
Angela Gilmartin, a former regional center employee turned law student, apparently decided that she could combine her regional center experience with her law degree to practice in this very specialized area of the law. Eventually Ms. Gilmartin recruited her classmate from Ventura College of Law, John Noland, to join her practice. Together Gilmartin and Noland have represented both clients and regional centers in a total of twenty-two published decisions (see "Gilmartin and Noland OAH Decisions as of 8/6/2003").
A review of the Gilmartin & Noland published decisions reveals that these attorneys have outright won only eight out of twenty-two cases; that's a 36% success rate!
Aside from Gilmartin & Noland's less than stellar success rate, we believe that these attorneys have utilized unethical practices in their representation of the ELARC versus our webmaster (see Judge Scathes ELARC). A complaint was filed with the California Bar Association against both Ms. Gilmartin and Mr. Noland regarding their representation in this matter. That complaint alleged that both Ms. Gilmartin and Mr. Noland had violated Penal Code §134, Preparing False Evidence: "Every person guilty of preparing any false or ante-dated book, paper, record, instrument in writing, or other matter or thing, with intent to produce it, or allow it to be produced for any fraudulent or deceitful purpose, as genuine or true, upon any trial, proceeding, or inquiry whatever, authorized by law, is guilty of felony."
The California Bar Association ruled that Ms. Gilmartin and Mr. Noland had merely represented the ELARC in providing allegedly inaccurate information, and that "the [regional] center is the culprit," in the words of the California Bar investigator.Unrelated to their regional center practice, this web site was contacted by an investigator for the "State of California, State Compensation Insurance Fund." It seems that Ms. Gilmartin had applied for disability benefits (Claim No. SL172502) while apparently actively engaged in her law practice. We don't know what was the disposition of this investigation, and we certainly are not alleging any wrongdoing on the part of Ms. Gilmartin, however it does make one wonder.
If you are a parent seeking legal representation in a regional center matter, we feel that you should avoid using the services of Gilmartin & Noland. Aside from the fact that you might have less than a fifty-fifty chance of winning your case, we believe that in their representation of regional centers against families, they have done harm to our children. We don't believe that anyone who has done harm to our children should be rewarded with more business.
If you are a regional center seeking legal representation in a matter involving client services, we feel that you should avoid using the services of Gilmartin & Noland. Aside from the fact that you might have less than a fifty-fifty chance of winning your case, you might get a black eye, as did the ELARC, in the case cited earlier (Judge Scathes ELARC). Insiders at the ELARC tell us that the services of Gilmartin & Noland are no longer used.
We reviewed the Office of Administrative Hearings public calendar, as well as published decisions, and found no cases for which Gilmartin & Noland were currently representing any party. Perhaps Ms. Gilmartin and Mr. Noland have found another area of the law to exploit; hopefully one that doesn't involve children.
Your experiences and opinions may differ from ours. We encourage you to post your comments on the elarc.net Message Board.