On Wednesday, July 5, 2023, the Supreme Court of Georgia passed a decision, granting the petition for voluntary surrender of license filed by attorney Richard H. Middleton, Jr.

The case is entitled, ‘In the Matter of Richard H. Middleton, Jr.’ with case number S23Y022.

This petition was filed before the issuance of a formal complaint against the petitioner. The charges would have been a violation of  1.15 (I)(c) and 1.15 (II) (b) of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct(GRPC) found in Bar Rule 4-102 (d) which were admitted by Middleton in his petition.  The maximum sanction for violating both of these rules would have been disbarment.

The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

The complaint stemmed from an incident where Middleton represented a client who was injured in a vehicular accident. The petitioner was able to settle the lawsuit with the primary insurance carrier for the policy limit of $100,000 in May 2020. The fund was deposited in Middleton’s IOLTA account, pending the client’s worker’s compensation case.  When the latter case was resolved and when the settlement funds should have been disbursed to the rightful owner, Middleton could no longer pay out and admitted that he had incrementally withdrawn money from the settlement proceeds for his personal use.

The State Bar, after reviewing the matter, recommended that the Court grants the petition based on the admissions of the petitioner.

The disposition reads:

“We have reviewed the record and agree to accept Middleton’spetition for voluntary surrender of his license, which is tantamount to disbarment. See GRPC 1.0 (s). Accordingly, it is ordered that the name of Richard H. Middleton, Jr., be removed from the rolls of persons authorized to practice law in the State of Georgia. Middleton is reminded of his duties pursuant to Bar Rule 4-219 (b). Voluntary surrender of license accepted. All the Justices concur.”

Richard H. Middleton acquired his law degree from Washinton & Lee University, graduating in 1976. He was admitted to the bar in 1977.  More of Mr. Middleton’s bio can be found here.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.