TALLAHASSEE — Atlantic Beach attorney Brett Allen Mearkle faces a 90-day suspension following a Dec. 20 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he did very little or no work on three client cases, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Further, he shall pay restitution of $2,500 to three separate clients," the state bar said in its Dec. 27 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "After being retained Mearkle did very little work on one case, and nothing on the other two cases. He also failed to respond to The Florida Bar regarding the complaint."
In its two-page order, the high court approved the uncontested referee's report filed before suspending Mearkle and ordered him to pay about $1,751 in costs. Mearkle's suspension will be effective 30 days from the date of the court's order to allow him time to close his practice and protect his existing clients' interests, according to the high court's order.
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 Mearkle's suspension
Mearkle was admitted to the bar in Florida on June 18, 2003, according to his profile at the state bar website.
Mearkle admitted to violating professional conduct rules regarding competence, objectives and scope of representation, diligence, communication, declining or terminating representation, fees and costs for legal services and failure to respond, according to the consent judgment filed with the court. The consent judgment also includes Mearkle's conditional guilty plea.
Mearkle agreed to pay $2,500 in restitution to each of the three clients within six months of the high court's order, according to the consent judgment. Mearkle also agreed to enter a rehabilitation contract with the state's attorney assistance program and to pay $350 in registration and probation monitoring fees.