Prominent Newport Beach Lawyer Accused of Dodging $10 Million Malpractice Debt

Orange County’s Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse (Photo by R. Scott Moxley)

If you believe Phillip Greer, he could be California’s most poverty-stricken, veteran lawyer famous for representing embattled Orange County Republican politicians from Congressman Ed Royce to state Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen to Supervisor Shawn Nelson.

Greer has lived for decades in an expansive $2.1 million Newport Coast home close to the Pacific Ocean but, after losing a $10 million professional negligence verdict last year, is claiming under oath in 2018 bankruptcy reports that he owns no property, vehicles, collectibles of value, appliances, furniture, china, televisions, computers, cell phones, cameras, jewelry or electronics. 

In fact, this lawyer, who was admitted to the California Bar in 1981, is asserting he possesses no cash or savings or investments and is allegedly surviving on a measly $1,052 a month.

But Chriss Street, a former Orange County Treasurer and Tax Collector who won the judgment against Greer for fraud and misrepresentation after a heated jury trial, isn’t buying the pitch.

In court filings inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, Street says his former lawyer is unlawfully hoping to dodge financial accountability after transferring title to his upscale residence entirely to his wife, Arlene C. Greer, who has served on the Newport Beach Arts Commission.

The couple purchased the home together in 1994, according to real estate records.

Greer, who unsuccessfully ran for the Newport Beach City Council in 2016, has not yet responded in court to Streets’ accusation that he’s a victim of “wrongful and malicious conduct.”

A June hearing is scheduled to begin tackling the issues.

CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; featured in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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