TALLAHASSEE — Donald Richard Kerner Jr., an attorney
practicing in Homestead, Florida, has been suspended for three years
from practicing law in the state.
The Florida Supreme Court signed the suspension order
on Jan. 19, with the order going into effect 30 days later. The
suspension length is the maximum
allowed for such a penalty in the state.
Kerner was found culpable in three separate client matters in
which he failed to adequately represent his clients.
According to the Consent Judgment filed by the Florida State Bar,
Kerner was hired to represent a man seeking litigation in a
personal-injury matter that resulted in the death of his wife. A
$25,000 settlement was paid out by the defendant in October 2012, but
the funds were not immediately given to the client as the attorney
the client “failed to initiate a probate proceeding.” While the
money was in the attorney’s client trust account, the balance
allegedly fell beneath the $25,000 level on more than one occasion.
In a second matter, Kerner and another attorney were hired to
assist a client in obtaining due medical fees. Kerner received funds
on behalf of the client, but allegedly failed to maintain the account
or account reconciliations. In addition, the statements showed that
several transfers were made between accounts without explanation, and
Kerner failed to keep his client informed of the status of his case.
The final matter Kerner was charged with was failure to comply
with the Florida State Bar’s investigation into the two stated
instances of misconduct.
According to court documents,
Kerner will not be able to accept new clients. He is responsible for
all costs associated with the disciplinary proceedings, which at the
time of the order equated $9,045.25. The attorney had 30 days to take
care of current clients and bring his practice to a close.
Kerner was admitted
to the Florida Bar on May 8, 2000.