On Thursday, February 15, 2024, the Supreme Court of Kentucky imposed a 60-day suspension on attorney Charlotte Darlene Johnson. 30 days of the suspension will be probated, meaning it will not be actively served if no further violations occur over the next two years.

The case is entitled “Charlotte Darlene Johnson v Kentucky Bar Association,” with case no. 2023-SC-0554-KB.

The suspension stems from Johnson’s representation of clients Jeffrey and Ida Taulbee in a bankruptcy matter between 2015 and 2019. Initially hired to convert Taulbee’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy into a Chapter 7, Johnson failed to file the proper motions on multiple occasions despite assurances to her clients. She also filed a motion to place the Taulbees on probation in their Chapter 13 case in 2018, though she acknowledged they could not make payments under such a plan. This and other failures resulted in the dismissal of the Taulbee’s case.

In July 2019, Johnson agreed to sanctions in a separate bankruptcy case that prevented her from practicing in the Eastern District of Kentucky Bankruptcy Court. However, when contacted by Mrs. Taulbee later in 2019 for further assistance, Johnson agreed to help them find new counsel. She made filings on their behalf and communicated with their new attorney, despite no longer being allowed to represent clients in bankruptcy court. This led to missed deadlines and confusion.

The court’s opinion summarized 10 counts of misconduct that the bar disciplinary authorities lodged against Johnson relating to competence, diligence, client communication, and adherence to court orders. Johnson acknowledged violations on several counts and proposed the 60-day suspension in a motion for consensual discipline.

While finding cause for concern in Johnson’s conduct relating to failure to meet obligations to clients and the court, the justices also took into consideration mitigating factors. Johnson was the sole caretaker for her ill mother during the case period, and her mother passed away while she was representing the Taulbees. The court determined the proposed 60-day suspension, with 30 days probated and a two-year probationary period, achieved consistency with prior precedents and was appropriate given the mitigating circumstances. Johnson will remain eligible to practice law, provided no further issues arise over the next two years during her probationary period.

According to avvo.com, Ms. Johnson is an attorney in Hazard, Kentucky. She acquired her law license in Kentucky in 2003. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.