Attorney Discipline, 1021 GABJ, GSB Vol. 27, No. 2, Pg. 51

PositionVol. 27 2 Pg. 51

Attorney Discipline

No. Vol. 27 No. 2 Pg. 51

Georgia Bar Journal

October, 2021

June 23, 2021 through August 10, 2021

Attorney Discipline Summaries



Joel S. Wadsworth

2625 Piedmont Road, Suite 56-304

Atlanta, GA 30324

Admitted to the Bar 1972

On July 7, 2021, the Supreme Court of Georgia disbarred attorney Joel S. Wadsworth (State Bar No. 730000) from the practice of law in Georgia. The disciplinary matter came before the Court on the report and recommendation of the special master recommending that Wadsworth be disbarred for his violations of multiple Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct in conjunction with his representation of various clients in a civil action in which they were plaintiffs. Despite having been properly served with the Formal Complaint, Wadsworth did not answer or otherwise respond, and the special master found him to be in default.

The facts, as deemed admitted by Wadsworth's default, show that in September 2016, Wadsworth began representing several plaintiffs in a Fulton County Superior Court case. Certain defendants filed motions to dismiss and then motions for summary judgment, but Wadsworth failed to file responses on behalf of his clients for any of these motions, failed to respond to reasonable discovery requests, and stopped performing work on the case. On Sept. 1, 2017, Wadsworth became ineligible to practice law for failure to pay his State Bar of Georgia dues; however, he did not notify his clients he was ineligible to practice and did not withdraw from representing them, remaining counsel of record. On May 24, 2018, the trial court granted certain defendants' motions of summary judgment and scheduled the case for trial. On June 18, 2018, one of the clients filed a pro se request for a continuance and extension of time for the pre-trial order and trial, stating that Wadsworth had not responded to her and failed to provide her with documents and information to prepare for trial. Wadsworth's other clients also filed pro se motions and represented themselves in the case because of his failure to communicate with them.

The special master found that Wadsworth violated Rules 1.2 (a), 1.3, 1.4 (a) (3) and (4), 1.16 (d) and 3.2 of the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct. The maximum punishment for a violation of Rules 1.2 (a) or 1.3 is disbarment, while the maximum punishment for a violation of Rules 1.4 (a) (3) and (4), 1.16 (d) or 3.2 is a public reprimand. The special master found no factors in mitigation of discipline but found in aggravation that Wadsworth had a history of prior discipline (four formal letters of admonition), had a dishonest or selfish motive, had committed multiple offenses and...

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