Can you trust an attorney that is dishonest to gain hire to be honest in handling your case?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt Attorney John Balent willfully, blatantly and negligently false advertises.
When you first visit Family Law Attorney John Balent's Website, the very first words you are greeted with in the upper right hand corner are:
"Dedicated Exclusively To Family Law Since 1976."
UPDATE: March 3, 2016: After a Bar Complaint, John Balent has changed his website to read "Dedicated Primarly to Family Law Since 1976"
However, that statement about being exclusive to Family Law was untrue and John Balent was fully aware that it was untrue as he has been involved in Non-Family Law Cases, such as Personal Injury Cases, dating back to at least 1983 and as recently as 2013(Examples shown below). John Balent uses this term in
his advertising to knowingly deceive the public for the purposes of gaining employment. This untrue statement creates a false sense of value to the public under a
false representation. Of course it's a no brainer that an attorney who is exclusive to a certain practice is perceived as having a greater value and expertise than someone who is a Jack of All Trades. John Balent takes it even a step
further by also stating that he has been exclusive to Family Law since 1976, giving a potential client not only the perception that he is "Exclusive" in Family Law, but that exclusivity dates back almost 40 years. Furthermore it should be noted that as of the last update to this website John Balent also falsely advertises his practice as 100% Family Law on his Avvo page. Therefore this is not an isolated incident of false advertising.
UPDATE: OCTOBER 2015. Turns out that Prior to being "Dedicated Exclusively to Family Law since 1976" John Balent was a "BANKRUPTCY SPECIALIST" according to his online advertising while using the office address and phone number of disbarred attorney Andrew Prendiville. Here are some example of that advertising.
2. It's Grounds To Dispute Your Credit Card Charges: False advertising are strong grounds to dispute
your credit card charges for services not as advertised under your consumer Credit Card Chargeback Rights and this website strongly urges any client who feels they have been taken advantage of by John Balent to dispute their credit card fees based on John Balent's willful, blatant and negligent false advertising. Consumers have up to one year to dispute such charges, so don't allow your credit card company to convince you that it's only 60 or 180 days. (Please see our "Getting Your Money Back" link for important info regarding how to file your credit card dispute)
3. It's Evidence in Mandatory Fee Arbitrations: False Advertising is a serious piece of evidence if you decide to take Mr. Balent to Mandatory Fee Arbitration. As this unethical misconduct may be grounds to disgorge ALL fees John Balent has collected from you as it generally is held in such cases that an attorney who commits a violation of ethical standards has not "earned" any fee for the services which were performed after the conflict arose, or which were tainted by the misconduct. In such cases, the attorney will not be entitled to recover any fee, whether or not the conflict or misconduct caused any damage. [See, Anderson v. Eaton (1930) 211 Cal. 113, 116; Goldstein v. Lees (1975) 46 Cal.App.3d 614; Jeffry v. Pounds (1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 6].
4. It's Evidence in Civil Proceedings: False advertising is also evidence in any court and given most clients may have been victims of Mr. Balent's false advertising resulting in loses under $10,000, small claims court is an option. However, given Mr. Balent is familiar with the courts, this may not be advisable for that reason. However, small claims court is rather inexpensive and far more quicker than Mandatory Fee Arbitration. If a client chooses to use small claims court against Mr. Balent this website would be very interested in the results. It might also be suggested that while in court to ask the Judge to report John Balent's false advertising to the State Bar as that would carry a lot of weight if a Judge reports him.
Need some proof for your credit card company, Mandatory Fee Arbitration hearing or Civil suit that John Balent is lying when he states he has been "Dedicated Exclusively to Family Law Since 1976"?...Congratulations! You've come to the right place.
This website maintains records of John Balent's false advertising on his website through the date of our most recent update on our homepage. We are also willing to file a declaration on your behalf that John Balent's website read "Dedicated Exclusively to Family Law Since 1976" as of our last update or provide testimony for your Bar Complaint or Mandatory Fee Arbitration to help you recover every last dime you lost due to John Balent's false advertising. We also encourage other clients to come forward and create a network to help serve any and all clients that may have been wronged by John Balent.
Here is Some Hard Evidence:
Below is a screen capture of a Public Records search of the Orange County Superior Court website which clearly shows that Attorney John Balent who touts being "Dedicated Exclusively to Family Law Since 1976" has been involved in several non-family law
cases over the years. There are what appear to be a lot auto accident related suits (Often referred to as Ambulance Chasing) filed by Mr. Balent and various other types of non-family law cases.
Here are screen captured images of cases that come up when you perform a Civil Case search of the Orange County Superior Court website using some of the cases shown below.
You may notice that Mr. Balent's name also comes up as a defendant in legal malpractice, negligence and collection actions, which you can read about in the Malpractice and
Civil Suits sections of this website.
Incidentally the Orange County Superior Court website was the only website that was searched for such records. Mr. Balent has also been known to Practice in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and this website suspects there are a lot more non family law cases that have been filed by Mr. Balent in those Counties as well.
More Recently, here is one example where a Substitution of Attorney was filed on a Civil Collections filing where John Balent not only takes over one of disbarred attorney Andrew Prendiville's cases, but also continues to file under Mr. Prendiville's address and phone number.(Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)
John Balent also filed non Family Law cases using Mr. Prendiville's address and phone number after Mr. Prendiville was disbarred. You can search these cases through the Orange County Superior Court Website, but here is one example of an auto accident injury cased filed by John Balent using Mr. Prendiville's address & phone number after Mr. Prendiville was disbarred. (Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)
How about some trademark work?
Public Records & Internet searches reveal that John Balent was listed as the Registered Agent for several corporations and was the correspondent regarding several Registered Trademarks using disbarred attorney Andrew Prendiville's address and phone number both before and after Mr. Prendiville was disbarred.
Here are some web link examples that show John Balent as the correspondent using Mr. Prendiville's address for the following Trademarks:
How About Some More Recent Evidence That John Balent Does Personal Injury Cases?
Below you will find a letter John Balent used to delay a client's fee arbitration dated September 25, 2013. His reason for the delay? He had another arbitration scheduled over a Personal Injury case scheduled on the same day. We have redacted the names and addresses for this website, but will make this letter available to you for your credit card dispute or court or arbitration case on request.
Does this guy really look 51?
We looked up John Balent's old Yellow Page advertising and found this advertisement from the early 2000's where John Balent touts that he has served Orange County for more than 25 years. Given John Balent entered the Bar in December of 1976 at the age of about 26 he would have to be at least 51 by the time he could make this claim. It's not that we doubt the content of the ad, but that he sure doesn't look 51 in the photo shown in the ad. It's not exactly false advertising, as the ad doesn't state it's a current photo, but nevertheless, it's a tad deceptive.
It may also interest you to know that before John Balent became "Dedicated Exclusively to Family Law Since 1976" he was merely "Specializing" in Family Law according to a 1990's Yellow Page ad, and of course, specializing doesn't exactly mean exclusive does it?
Laws and regulations have been enacted to punish those who use false, deceptive, or misleading information to entice consumers to buy a particular product or service. Both state laws and federal laws, namely the Lanham Act, create liability for those who profit from false advertising. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive commercial acts. Additionally it is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1-400(D)(1) & (D)(2) to make any advertisement that Contains any untrue statement or Contains any matter, or present or arrange any matter in a manner or format which is false, deceptive, or which tends to confuse, deceive, or mislead the public.....In Short, when it comes to Mr. Balent's blatant false advertising the technical legal term here might be........LIAR! LIAR! PANTS ON FIRE!
You may also want to review our Association with Disbarred Attorneys section where you can read about Mr. Balent's further shenanigans where he uses the address and phone number of a Disbarred Fountain Valley attorney to file cases, do trademark work and other such non-family law work that falls far short of Family Law Attorney John Balent's entirely self-serving claim that he has been "Dedicated Exclusively to Family Law Since 1976."
Any Former, current or potential client should consider if they were falsley mislead by Mr. Balent and take appropriate actions if they were, by filing complaints with the California Bar Association and the Federal Trade Commission and recommend EVERYONE should do the same.