TALLAHASSEE — A public reprimand was ordered for Pembroke Pines attorney Stefan E. McHardy on April 20.
The Florida Supreme Court issued the reprimand through publication in the Southern Reporter and ordered McHardy to pay $4,200 in restitution after the attorney allegedly failed to provide adequate services or properly withdraw from a case in which his dissatisfied client had terminated his employment.
A woman hired McHardy in June 2013 for a $1,000 retainer to “defend a foreclosure action” and obtain a loan modification, according to the Formal Complaint released by the courts. The nonrefundable retainer would then be accompanied by a monthly payment of $600. McHardy filed a Motion to Dismiss for the foreclosure matter but allegedly did not provide any further services for the client.
Due to the attorney’s alleged failure to complete the loan-modification services detailed in the retainer agreement, the client ceased payments and terminated the attorney’s employment. In email correspondence with the client, McHardy allegedly told her “you informing me that I am terminated is the only process needed.” The client also terminated services by phone. However, the complaint states McHardy did not submit to withdraw from the foreclosure case and remained the counsel of record in the matter.
McHardy did not attend a hearing that was scheduled for the Motion to Dismiss that he had filed, according to court records. As a result, the judge denied the motion and granted the client 20 days to respond, a deadline which she claims she was never informed of. The client then requested the return of the $4,200 in fees she had paid him.
The Supreme Court determined that the attorney should be publicly reprimanded and pay restitution. McHardy is still eligible to practice in the state.
The attorney, whose practice areas are civil litigation and immigration, was admitted to the Florida State Bar in 2011, according to his Florida Bar profile. He is a graduate of the Florida Coastal School of Law and has no prior record of public discipline.