Ex-ATL city attorney gives up law license for 6 months
Former Atlanta City Attorney Clifford Hardwick IV will give up his license for six months for failing to represent a client accused of illegally downloading music.
Today’s announcement marked the latest round of intrigue for Hardwick, who had been disciplined twice previously by the State Bar and who was shot and critically injured in a Cascade Road Starbuck’s in 2008.
The Georgia Supreme Court, in an order released today, said Hardwick accepted a $5,000 retainer in June 2005 from the parents of a boy accused of copyright infringement. But he did not enter an order of appearance in the case until five months later and did not respond properly to discovery requests or other motions.
A federal judge ultimately entered an $18,000 default judgment against Hardwick’s client as a consequence. He admitted that he never informed his clients of the judgment and told investigators for the State Bar of Georgia that the claims were settled without a judgment.
Hardwick refunded the $5,000 fee, but only after a complaint had been filed against him. Hardwick blamed his inattention on various serious personal problems, but bar officials argued that did not excuse his behavior and noted that he met only once with a representative of the bar’s Lawyer’s Assistance Program to disvcuss his personal issues.
Hardwick received confidential letters of admonition for the bar in 1994, when he was city attorney, and 2008. Circumstances of those earlier disciplinary actions remain confidential.
Mayor Bill Campbell in 1994 appointed Hardwick to be city attorney. He served until his resignation in 1998.