On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the Supreme Court of California suspended attorney Gerald Vernon Hollingsworth. Jr. for his misconduct involving his misrepresentation of the actual billing rates to his clients.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Gerald Vernon Hollingsworth. Jr.” with case no. S278321.

On December 2, 2022, a stipulation of facts, conclusions of law, and disposition and order was issued by the State Bar of California Hearing Department. Allegedly, while the respondent is representing a client in a lawsuit involving a purchase of property, the respondent committed misconduct by making a misrepresentation before the trial court about the billing rate that the respondent charged his client.

The Stipulation of Facts states:

“On January 26, 2018, in contrast to the fees and costs that respondent actually billed and collected from Mr. Cheng, respondent filed a motion for an award of attorneys (“attorney fees motion”) in the civil matter, which misstated that the total attorney fees (i.e ., without costs) incurred by Mr. Cheng from February 2013 to January 2018 with respect to respondent’s representation of Newstart in connection with the civil matter was $794,915. In addition, the respondent asked to be compensated for preparing the attorney fees motion in the amount of $5,250. In total, the respondent sought $800,165 solely in attorney fees against 325 Flamingo.”

The Stipulation of Facts continues:

“In respondent’s declaration, which was attached to the attorney fees motion, respondent declared, under penalty of perjury, that he billed Newstart at a billing rate of $350 per hour, as opposed to the actual billing rate that respondent knew he charged Newstart of $250 per hour.”

The Stipulation of Facts further states:

“In addition, r respondent submitted to the court altered invoices with his declaration, which the respondent attested were true and correct copies, to support his false claim for the fictitious $350 per hour billing rate. In fact, the actual invoices that the respondent sent to Mr. Cheng for payment between February 2013 and January 2018 reflected the true $250 per-hour billing rate.”

In relation to these events, on January 11, 2023, the State Bar Court of California transmitted its recommendation of discipline to the Supreme Court of the State of California.

Based on the factual findings and the transmittal of the recommendation of the State Bar Court, the Supreme Court decided to suspend the respondent.

The Disposition states:

“The court orders that Gerald Vernon Hollingsworth, Jr. (Respondent), State Bar Number 145081, is suspended from the practice of law in California for one year, execution of that period of suspension is stayed, and Respondent is placed on probation for one year.”

Mr. Hollingsworth attended the University of Southern California Law School. He practices in San Marino, California. He is licensed in California. His info can be found on lawyer.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.