COLUMBUS (WTVG) - A Toledo attorney was suspended for two years by the Ohio Supreme Court for violations for mishandling cases from 2013-19.
The press release said Mark D. Berling engaged "in a patter of neglecting client matters, soliciting sex from a client, and failing to return fees for work he did not do."
Berling was suspended and given 90 days to pay approximately $30,000 in restitution to seven former clients, including $16,500 to one client.
That client is a Michigan woman who paid Berling a $5,000 retainer to represent her in a divorce that was pending in Monroe County, Michigan. Berling was not licensed to practice in Michigan but said he would seek temporary admission and affiliate with a Michigan-licensed attorney.
Berling never filed for admission in Michigan and never informed his client of a fee the Michigan-licensed lawyer had requested, resulting in him declining to represent her. The client was forced to find a new lawyer one week before her scheduled trial.
During his representation, Berling sent the client sexual text messages, including ones where he solicited sexual activity from her.
The Court adopted the board’s recommendation that Berling pay his client $16,500 in restitution, which includes returning her $5,000 retainer and compensating her for the $11,500 she had to pay to her new attorney.