State Supreme Court reprimands state Democratic Party chair Michael Berlon
5:35 pm, May 20th, 2013
The Supreme Court of Georgia reprimanded Michael Berlon, chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, over a complaint from a client.
On the recommendation of special master Steven Hathorn, the high court accepted Berlon’s petition for voluntary discipline, choosing a reprimand over the harshest possible penalty of disbarment. Berlon has been temporarily suspended while the matter was pending.
The court’s decision, issued Monday, was “based on admissions contained in Berlon’s petition.” The decision said that Berlon represented a client for several years in child support issues. The client asked Berlon to file an action for change of custody, “but Berlon failed to do so.” The decision said the client, who filed the complaint, only learned the change had not been filed upon appearing at a hearing for child support contempt. “The client confronted Berlon, who then filed the change of custody action.”
The court’s decision said the penalty was mitigated by the fact that Berlon returned $2,500 to the client, and that Berlon had no prior disciplinary sanctions. “Berlon and the client ultimately decided to terminate the attorney-client relationship, and the client later voluntarily dismissed the custody action,” the decision said.
The Daily Report could not reach Berlon. He told the Associated Press that he takes responsibility for the miscommunication with the client on legal strategy.