IN RE: Carol CHANDLER.
-- March 04, 2013
Paula J. Frederick, Gen. Counsel, Jenny K. Mittelman, Atlanta, State Bar of Georgia, for appellant.Carol Chandler, Princeton, for appellee.Jonathan C. Peters, Peters & Monyak, LLP, Anthony B. Askew, Chair, Review Panel, Atlanta, for other party.
This disciplinary matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the special master, Jonathan C. Peters, who recommends that Respondent Carol Chandler (State Bar No. 120525) be suspended for a period of 18 months for her violations of Rules 1.3, 1.4, 1.16(d), and 3.2 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, see Bar Rule 4–102(d). A violation of Rule 1.3 may be punished by disbarment and the maximum punishment for the remainder of the rules is a public reprimand.
The State Bar filed a Formal Complaint against Chandler and served her by publication in accordance with Bar Rule 4–203.1(b)(3)(ii). Chandler failed to answer the complaint and the special master thus found her in default. Accordingly, the facts alleged and violations charged in the complaint are deemed admitted, see Bar Rule 4–212(a).
As deemed admitted, the facts show that a client hired Chandler to represent him in an immigration matter, and he paid Chandler $1,710.00. Chandler did not return the client's calls or otherwise communicate with him. Chandler did not file the documents as she agreed to do and has not returned the fee paid by the client. In aggravation of discipline the special master noted that Chandler currently is under suspension in Pennsylvania1 and cited three recent cases in which the Court imposed an 18–month suspension on lawyers who abandoned their clients and defaulted in disciplinary matters, see In re Jones, 289 Ga. 835, 716 S.E.2d 222 (2011); In re Anthony, 289 Ga. 834, 716 S.E.2d 221 (2011); and In re McFall, 289 Ga. 829, 716 S.E.2d 221 (2011).
Having reviewed the record, we conclude that the appropriate sanction in this matter is an 18–month suspension. Accordingly, we hereby order that Chandler be suspended from the practice of law in the State of Georgia for a period of 18 months, effective as of the date of this opinion, with her reinstatement contingent upon giving a full refund of $1,710.00 to her client and until further order of this Court. She is reminded of her duties under Bar Rule
All the Justices concur.