Doraville lawyer who won’t quit gets 3-year suspension
By JIM WALLS
The Georgia Supreme Court today ordered a 3-year suspension for an attorney who refused to stop appealing a client’s conviction and his own disciplinary action.
A special master, the court said, found that the actions of Arthur F. Millard
“revealed a basic disrespect of the core elements of the attorney-client relationship as well as blind adherence to his own objectives — including avoiding both his own mistakes and his personal liability for the sanctions awarded against him — seemingly without considering, and certainly without advising his client about the weakness of the positions he was taking and the dangerous consequences to which his actions exposed her or of the fact that he may be operating under a conflict of interest.”
The court’s order lays out a 10-year chain of events, beginning with a municipal court fining Millard’s client $400 and sentencing her to three days in jail for violating a city ordinance. Millard then took the following steps, all unsuccessful:
- Moved for a new trial;
- Appealed to Superior Court;
- Asked the Superior Court for reconsideration;
- Appealed the court’s order to the Georgia Court of Appeals, which transferred the matter to the Georgia Supreme Court;
- Told his client to stop bothering him about why the city was suing her for legal fees;
- Asked the Superior Court again for reconsideration;
- Neglected to tell his client that a judge had ordered her to pay the city $9,500 in legal fees;
- Filed a habeas petition with the Superior Court;
- Appealed yet again to the Court of Appeals, which again transferred the matter to the Supreme Court;
- Attempted to withdraw from the case because his client had not paid him;
- Attempted to withdraw his motion to withdraw, which his client said she opposed because she didn’t know what else to do;
- Ignored his client’s instruction to stop filing appeals;
- Appealed to higher courts over the award of more attorney’s fees;
- Tried to talk his client into dropping a complaint she had filed against him with the State Bar;
- Continued to represent the client after tried to drop him because she just wanted the case to be over;
- Agreed to abide by a court’s award of sanctions against him for refusing to respond to discovery;
- Moved for reconsideration of the court sanctions;
- Agreed to a settlement with the city in a court-approved consent order; and
- Objected to the consent order in court filings and an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Millard’s responses to the State Bar’s investigation followed a similar pattern, the court said. The special master ultimately recommended a 2-year license suspension, which a State Bar review panel extended to 3 years after he filed “a multitude of motions” challenging the proceedings.
The court today upheld that recommendation:
“Although we could specify the manner in which each rule was violated, suffice it to say that the record contains a plethora of evidence supporting the special master’s findings and conclusions and that in his filings in this matter, Millard ignores the very large part that his own errors played in the progress of his client’s case. We further agree that, although Millard has had no prior discipline, he has failed to cooperate in these disciplinary proceedings; he has refused to acknowledge the wrongful nature of his conduct; he has displayed a basic disrespect of the attorney-client relationship and the authority of the judicial system; and he has needlessly subjected his client to liability, after she made clear that she no longer desired his services.”
There was no word this morning on whether Millard plans to appeal.