Cooper City attorney Melissa A. Heaton has been suspended until further order following an Oct. 25 Florida Supreme Court order after failing to notify the Florida State Bar of her no contest plea to a drug possession charge.
Heaton failed to inform the state bar about felony charges against her and the outcome of the criminal case against her, according to the state bar's Nov. 21 announcement of the discipline and the supreme court's order. Heaton already was serving a previously handed down suspension, so this latest suspension - the fifth since September 2015 - was effective immediately, according to the high court's single-page order.
In Florida, court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Heaton's suspension.
Heaton was admitted to the bar in Florida on July 6, 2007, according to her profile at the state bar website.
Heaton's five suspensions began in September 2015 following a state supreme court order that month. The high court found Heaton in contempt for allegedly failing to respond to a show cause order and suspended her pending her respond to an official state bar inquiry, according to the order. The state bar was looking into an August 2014 grievance filed by a former client who retained Heaton in October the previous year and alleged Heaton failed to communicate with her, despite multiple requests, and not producing a promised opinion letter, according to information included in a state bar petition for contempt. The client filed a grievance with the state bar in August 2014, according to a complaint filed by the state bar.
Heaton was again suspended, this time for 91 days, following an October 2016 state court order, which again found her in contempt in reference to the 2015 suspension.
Heaton was suspended this past March for a third time, following a state high court order that month, that time for a year, and also was again found in contempt in reference to the 2015 suspension.
This past July, Heaton was suspended for a fourth time following a state supreme court order that month, again finding her in contempt, in reference to the 2015 suspension.