TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Bar filed a petition to the Florida Supreme Court for contempt and order to show cause requesting a one-year suspension against attorney George Joseph Charnota, who practices law in Coral Gables, for alleged noncompliance to past Bar and court inquiries and orders.
In the Florida Supreme Court Case order dated July 27, 2015, Charnota was suspended from practicing law until he fully responded in writing to Bar inquires and until further order of the court, effective Aug. 26, 2015.
In the order of suspension, Charnota was supposed to notify his clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension and provide the Florida Bar within 30 days of his suspension a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his suspension order.
“The Florida Bar notified (Charnota) of the conditions associated with his suspension by letter dated July 31, 2015, to his record Bar address, specifically the requirement that he submit the sworn affidavit,” the petition said. “On Oct. 27, 2015, The Florida Bar notified (Charnota) of his noncompliance with the conditions of his suspension.”
The petition explained that Charnota did not submit the required affidavit containing a list of persons and entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provide a copy of his order of suspension.
Because of his alleged lack of correspondence, the Florida Bar was unaware of whether Charnota notified any clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension. Due to his alleged noncompliance with the court’s order, the Florida Bar was obligated to file this petition for contempt for noncompliance.
The Bar also took issue with the time and costs spent in trying to contact Charnota.
“The other members of the Florida Bar should not have to pay for (Charnota’s) noncompliance with this court’s order and the instant proceeding,” the petition said. “Therefore, the Bar is requesting administrative costs of $1,250 against (him).”
The Florida Supreme Court concurred with the Florida Bar, and asked Charnota to show cause why he should not be held in contempt, suspended for one year, and assessed the requested $1,250 because he did not comply with the terms of the court’s prior order.
Because of Charnota’s lack of response, the Supreme Court granted the requests of the Florida Bar's petition.
“(Charnota) is held in contempt of this court's order,” the Supreme Court official April 12, document, said. “As a sanction, (Charnota) is suspended from the practice of law for one year. (He) is currently suspended; therefore, this suspension is effective immediately.”
The court further stressed that Charnota must fully comply with Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 3-5.1(h). He was also directed to comply with the terms of the court's order in SC15-1151 prior to petitioning for reinstatement. Charnota must also pay the Bar $1,250, for time spent on the case.