TALLAHASSEE — Ocala attorney John Ralph Borland has been indefinitely suspended following an Nov. 28 Florida Supreme Court order after he allegedly abandoned his practice, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
Borland's suspension until further court order became effective 30 days from the date of the court's order to allow him time to close out his practice and protect his existing clients' interests, according to the high court's four-page order.
"Borland is delinquent in his Continuing Legal Education Requirements and his Florida Bar annual membership fee, and therefore ineligible to practice law," the state bar said in its Dec. 27 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. The state bar's announcement cited its petition for emergency suspension filed with the court against Borland.
"He also abandoned his law practice and client files, and he failed to respond to the bar's investigative inquiries," the state bar's announcement said.
Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Borland's suspension
Borland was admitted to the bar in Florida on April 20, 2006, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Borland's state bar profile but he "is currently the subject of several bar disciplinary matters," the state bar's petition for emergency suspension said.
The current matter against him arose out of four sworn complaints against Borland alleging he failed to maintain adequate client communication, neglected cases, failed to earn his fees and failed to return his clients' original documentation, according to the petition.
Borland's former legal assistant held onto "100 to 150" client files, with 80 percent of them involving active cases, according to the petition. Borland told his former legal assistant "that he was going to collect the client files" in October but he never turned up and the legal assistant has had no further contact with Borland, the petition said.
In early November, Florida Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Chief Judge S. Sue Robbins appointed an inventory attorney with regard to Borland's abandoned client files.