Two Lawyers Hit With Default Judgment in Suits by Clients
Greg Land, Daily Report
Original Story @ The Daily Report Online, See it here: http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202678915236/Two-Lawyers-Hit-With-Default-Judgment-in-Suits-by-Clients?mcode=1202615518654&curindex=2
December 12, 2014
Two Georgia attorneys—both under suspension by the State Bar of Georgia—have defaulted on a 2013 suit filed by a Douglas County couple who say they paid the lawyers thousands of dollars to forestall foreclosure proceedings only to lose their home when neither lawyer performed any services.
One of the defendants is attorney Robert Thompson Jr., who was suspended earlier this year after failing to respond to an ongoing investigation by the bar’s disciplinary committee. Thompson also was arrested in February and charged with misappropriating $37,440 of a client’s funds; his then-attorney told the Daily Report he had paid back more than $30,000 of the money.
A criminal charge of theft by conversion is pending against Thompson in Fulton County Superior Court. The phone number for his firm, the Thompson Law Group, has been disconnected.
The other attorney, Rodd Walton, has no disciplinary record with the bar but is under suspension for nonpayment of dues. Walton was arrested in 2009 when he attempted to enter the Cobb County Courthouse with a loaded handgun on the day he was to attend a hearing concerning a motion for reconsideration after being ordered to pay a former client $43,000 in restitution and attorney fees.
When his 2009 arrest was reported in this newspaper, a website for Walton’s Legacy Law Group said he was a former deputy counsel for Glock Inc., the maker of the gun he was carrying when he was arrested. On Thursday there was no immediate response to a message left on Legacy’s phone system, and no email is listed for Walton with the bar.
In the Fulton County suit, Michael and Cindy Bentley’s pro se complaint said they fell behind on their mortgage and in October 2011 paid Walton $3,000 to fight foreclosure proceedings. Walton “did absolutely nothing” on their behalf, it said, and when they requested information on their case he demanded another $3,500.
The Bentleys refused and demanded their $3,000 back. Walton first agreed, then told them he would refund nothing, it said.
In March 2012, they retained Thompson for $5,750. He “did nothing for a full year,” then demanded $500 to file a complaint. Thompson filed the complaint but failed to respond to the mortgage bank’s motion to dismiss or to inform the Bentleys that it had been filed, according to their complaint.
The bank’s motion went unanswered, and the court granted it by default. The Bentleys’ house was foreclosed.
Neither lawyer responded to the Bentleys’ suit, and they too moved for a default judgment. According to an order entered Thursday by State Court Judge Patsy Porter, Thompson appeared at an Oct. 15 hearing on the default motion and said that he had filed an answer with the clerk but that it had not been uploaded to the court’s e-filing system.
Porter instructed Thompson to upload a copy of his answer, but he failed to do so, she wrote.