TALLAHASSEE — Donald Richard Kerner Jr., an attorney practicing in Homestead, Florida, has been suspended for three years from practicing law 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 claimed 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.