TALLAHASSEE — Melissa A. Heaton, an attorney in Cooper City, has been suspended after the Florida Supreme Court determined the attorney had not complied with the terms of a suspension order issued in October.
According to the formal complaint filed with the Florida Bar last year, the attorney was hired by a woman in October 2013 to draft an opinion letter for her website. Heaton allegedly did not provide the client with the letter, nor did she make an effort to communicate even though the client tried to contact her mutliple times.
Heaton was charged with failing to promptly and diligently represent a client. In aggravation, the attorney did not respond to the Florida Bar after eight attempts were made during its investigation into the matter. For these charges, Heaton was suspended from practice for 91 days and ordered to pay $1,882.51 in court fees.
The 37-page petition for contempt states that part of the attorney’s suspension order required her to notify all of her clients and opposing counsel of her current standing. Afterward, a signed affidavit detailing the people notified was to be sent to the Bar. When Heaton had not done so by the required date, the Florida Bar attempted to remind her of the conditions via mail to her bar membership address. It received no response from the attorney, and made two other attempts before it told her that she had violated her suspension order, according to court records.
Heaton was suspended for one year effective immediately after the order was given as a result.
The Broward County attorney incurred her first suspension in September 2015 following three complaints made to the Florida Bar.
Heaton was admitted to the bar in 2007 after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2005.