TALLAHASSEE — George Joseph Charnota, an attorney practicing in Coral Gables, was suspended from the practice of law by the Florida Supreme Court for failure to diligently represent his clients.
The 18-month suspension began Jan. 19, according to an order by the Supreme Court.
The decision stemmed from two client matters.
In one client case, Charnota’s inability to file motions and appeals in a timely manner led to the client’s case being dismissed. According to the Supreme Court consent judgment, Charnota was hired by the first client in May 2013 to appeal the client’s DUI manslaughter conviction for a flat fee of $12,000. Charnota claims that the client failed to pay the full amount. Charnota filed a notice of appeal in August 2013. The Supreme Court responded with an order saying that the attorney would need to pay a $300 fee by Sept. 13. Charnota failed to do so, and the case was thrown out. The client made a complaint for his brother against the attorney, and the Florida Bar began an investigation. The attorney allegedly did not respond to any outreach by the Bar.
The second charge of misconduct began in May 2014, when Charnota was hired to file a motion to vacate and change a plea agreement, but allegedly did not perform any work for the client. A complaint was filed against the attorney, and he again failed to respond to Bar investigators.
The Supreme Court sentenced Charnota to the suspension, during which time the attorney will need to pay a total of $8,500 in restitutions to the two clients.
According to his profile page on FloridaBar.org, Charnota was admitted to the Bar in 2001.
The Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee was established in 1846. It is presided over by seven justices: Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, Barbara J. Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, Peggy A. Quince, Charles T. Canady, Ricky Polston, and C. Alan Lawson. For more information, go to FloridaSupremeCourt.org.