TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Coconut Creek attorney Natalie Michelle Hutchinson faces suspension and probation following an Aug. 22 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations arising from two client matters, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Hutchinson represented a client in a medical malpractice case and a personal injury case," the state bar said in its Aug. 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "She allowed the statute of limitations to run out on the medical malpractice case, withdrawing from representation days before it expired and not responding to the client's e-mails or phone calls. Responding to the bar, Hutchinson falsely stated that the statute of limitations was four years, instead of two years."
In its two-page order, the court approved the uncontested referee's report filed in the matter before suspending Hutchinson for 90 days, to be followed by three years' probation. The court also ordered her to pay almost $4,627 in costs.
Hutchinson'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 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 Hutchinson's suspension.
Hutchinson was admitted to the bar in Florida on May 6, 2013, according to her profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Hutchinson's profile.
A grievance committee found probable cause in the allegations against Hutchinson and a formal complaint had been filed with the state bar, according to the consent judgment filed reached between Hutchinson and the state bar. The judgment also includes Hutchinson's conditional guilty plea.
In one client matter, Hutchinson allegedly accepted a medical malpractice case, according to the consent judgment.
"When the statute of limitations was about to expire, [Hutchinson] withdrew from representation and blocked her client's e-mail address," the judgment said. "The client attempted to contact [Hutchinson] by e-mail but was unsuccessful."