TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Suspended Ocala attorney John Ralph Borland has been disbarred following a May 2 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he abandoned his law practice, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Borland abandoned his law practice and failed to maintain adequate client communication, neglected cases and failed to return unearned fees," the state bar said in its May 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "He also failed to return original documentation provided by clients or to respond to the bar's inquiries as required."
In its single-page order, the court approved the uncontested referee's report filed in the matter before disbarring Borland, effective immediately, and ordered him to pay nearly $1,613 in costs.
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 disbarment.
Attorneys disbarred in Florida generally cannot reapply for admission for five years and must pass an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam
Borland was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 22, 1999, according to his profile at the state bar website.
Borland was indefinitely suspended in November following a state Supreme Court order after he fell delinquent in his continuing legal education requirements and his state bar annual membership fee, according to a state bar announcement late the following month.
The state bar also received 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 referee's report.
Although the state bar filed its submission in January, Borland failed to make any appearance in the matter, file anything and "has wholly failed to participate in this disciplinary proceeding," the referee's report said.
The referee recommended Borland be found guilty of professional conduct rules violations, including those regarding competence, diligence, informing client of status of representation and excessive fees and costs. The referee also recommended disbarment.
Borland had no history of discipline prior to his suspension.