Marco Island attorney faces suspension over mishandling divorce, other charges

By Karen Kidd | May 31, 2019

TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Marco Island attorney Susan M. Bodden faces suspension following a May 3 Florida Supreme Court order after allegedly mishandling a client's divorce and other charges, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar. 

"Bodden failed to diligently represent and communicate with a client in his dissolution of marriage proceeding; failed to include the mandatory arbitration clause in her fee agreement; and failed to deposit costs collected into her trust account," the state bar said in its May 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "In that, and other cases, she also improperly charged and collected credit card processing fees."

In its two-page order, the state high court approved the amended referee's report filed in the matter before suspending Bodden for one year and ordered her to pay almost $4,426 in costs.

Bodden's suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the court's order to allow her time to close her practice and protect her existing clients' interests, according to the order.

Bodden also will be required to attend the Florida Bar’s trust accounting workshop before petitioning for reinstatement, as well as fulfill the terms and conditions in the referee's report.

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 Bodden's suspension.

Bodden was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 21, 2006, according to her profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Bodden's state bar profile.

Part of the charges against Bodden stemmed from her handling of a marriage dissolution case, for which she was hired in late 2015 and when she charged the client's credit card, improperly charging and collecting credit card fees, contrary to state bar rules, according to the referee's report.

Bodden "testified she was unaware of this prohibition and indicated she was not abreast of the changes in the bar rules since her admission to the bar," the referee's report said. "Before the final hearing began, [Bodden] refunded the improper credit card processing fees she [had] collected to all of her clients over the last six years."

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