The Washington State Supreme Court issued an order on December 6, 2023, imposing a two-year suspension on attorney Colleen A. Hartl for misconduct that occurred while representing a client in a dissolution matter.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Colleen A. Hartl,” with case no. 202156-5.

According to records from the case, Hartl represented Chance Roland in a dissolution matter involving children against an opposing party beginning in August 2021. In February 2022, Hartl was served with discovery requests from the opposing counsel but failed to provide a timely response. Hartl did not notify Roland of the discovery requests for over a month.

When the deadline passed in March 2022 without a response from Hartl, she began making unmet promises to the opposing counsel about when answers would be provided. She also did not properly update her client about the missed deadlines and obligations. The opposing counsel eventually filed a motion to compel responses in late April after Hartl continually stalled.

Records show Hartl did not file a response to the motion or adequately inform Roland about it. She provided answers to the discovery requests on May 9th, just before the hearing on the motion to compel, but the answers were evasive and non-substantive. The court granted the motion to compel on May 11th and ordered complete responses.

Hartl admitted to the misconduct and entered into a stipulation for a two-year suspension that was approved by the Washington State Bar Disciplinary Board. In the stipulation from November 2023, Hartl acknowledged failing to meet discovery obligations and improperly asserting objections without merit in the incomplete responses. She chose to resolve the disciplinary matter through stipulation rather than proceeding to a full hearing.

As a result of the stipulation and under the December 2023 court order, Hartl will be suspended from practicing law for two years. She will also be on probation for two years upon reinstatement and must comply with specified probation terms. The suspension and probation demonstrate the seriousness of Hartl’s actions in neglecting her duties and misleading the court regarding the discovery issues in the family law case.

The Disposition states:

“Colleen A. Hartl is suspended from the practice of law for two years. Pursuant to ELC 13.2, the effective date of suspension is seven days from the date of this order. Reinstatement to the practice of law is subject to the conditions specified in the stipulation. The lawyer shall be subject to two years of probation beginning on the date of reinstatement and shall comply with all of the terms of probation as specified in the stipulation.”

According to avvo.com, Ms. Hartl is a criminal defense attorney in Kent, Washington. She attended the Seattle University, graduating in 1987. She acquired her law license in Washington in 1988.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.