News and Information
August 03, 2020

Clients’ Protection Fund Board Pays $24,905.00 to Former Clients

The Virginia State Bar Clients’ Protection Fund Board authorized payments totaling $24,905.00 in reimbursement to former clients of six Virginia attorneys at its most recent meeting on June 9, 2020.

In the largest award of the meetings, one petitioner, a client of George Ernest Marzloff of Culpeper, was awarded $10,500 as reimbursement for fees that the attorney collected for an unlawful detainer/damages case against a former daycare that had been a tenant. The investigator found insufficient work on the attorney’s part. A second former client of Marzloff was granted $2,000 for failure to do sufficient work to earn a fee for a bankruptcy case.

Marzloff’s license was revoked in August 2019 after being suspended for three years effective December 7, 2018 for misconduct related to the petitioner’s and additional cases.

Two petitioners recovered $4,000 and $2,000, respectively, for fees paid to Jahangir Ghobadi of Sterling regarding their individual cases. In the former, Ghobadi failed to provide sufficient services in a request to file a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a man convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy. The investigator found that he has performed some of the services he was retained for but failed to complete the work. The requestor was granted half the requested recompense.

In the latter investigation against Ghobadi, he was found to have not followed the client’s explicit prohibition against requesting financial support in an uncontested divorce proceeding. He also requested an ore tenus hearing despite knowing the parties involved did not satisfy the one-year separation requirement. Ghobadi had his license revoked in June 2019 for this and one additional misconduct case.

The board approved a $2,000 payment to a petitioner to reimburse for a real estate case in which Marc Ericson Darnell of Newport News did not resolve the clients’ case due to his suspension. The investigator found that Darnell had completed significant work against the case and granted half the requested $4,000 should be awarded.  Darnell’s license was suspended for three years beginning September 18, 2019.

A petitioner received $3,000 as reimbursement for funds that the attorney Kathryn Suzanne Pennington of Virginia Beach received for a reformation of a trust to provide for her special-needs brother.  The attorney was found to engage in dishonest conduct including failure to file any of the documents she claimed to have submitted on the client’s behalf. Pennington’s license was revoked by consent on May 11, 2020, for numerous infractions after a suspension was ordered on March 13, 2020.

A former client of Vincent Mark Amberly of Leesburg was awarded $800 by the board for failing to act on a trademark application in a timely manner or forwarding the USPTO Office Action notice to the client, thereby losing the application to the trademark office. A six-month suspension was issued on January 5, 2020, for Amberly.

The board approved the payment of $605 to a petitioner against Stephen John Weisbrod of Hampton for failing to file a request for a no-fault divorce for 15 months and then refusing to refund the fee despite a clear obligation to do so. Weisbrod transferred to permanent disabled/retired status effective November 27, 2019.

A chart of the amounts paid as a result of the two meetings follows. The board delays the release of the final chart, as the awards given to new petitioners are subject to a 30-day appeal period.

Docket Number

Lawyer’s Name

City of Record Amount Paid Type of Case

19-555-003215

George Ernest Marzloff

Culpeper, VA

$10,500.00

Unearned fees/Landlord/Tenant

20-555-003222

Jahangir Ghobadi Sterling, VA $2,000.00 Unearned fees/Immigration
20-555-003239

George Ernest Marzloff

Culpeper, VA

$2,000.00

Unearned fees/Bankruptcy

20-555-003245

Marc Ericson Darnell

Newport News, VA

$2,000.00

Unearned fees/Real Estate

20-555-003246

Jahangir Ghobadi

Sterling, VA

$4,000.00

Unearned fees/Immigration

20-555-003254

Kathryn Suzanne Pennington

Virginia Beach, VA

$3,000.00

Unearned fees/Trusts

20-555-003257

Vincent Mark Amberly

Leesburg, VA

$800.00

Unearned fees/Patents, Trademark & Copyrights

20-555-003270

Stephen John Weisbrod

Hampton, VA

$605.00

Unearned fees/Family Law

The Clients’ Protection Fund was created by the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1976 to reimburse persons who suffer a quantifiable financial loss because of dishonest conduct by a Virginia lawyer whose law license has been suspended or revoked for disciplinary reasons, or who has died and did not properly maintain client funds. The fund is not taxpayer funded but is supported by Virginia lawyers who pay an annual fee of up to $25. The Supreme Court of Virginia has set the current annual fee at $10 per Virginia lawyer with an active license status. Payments from the Clients’ Protection Fund are discretionary and are not a matter of right.

If you have any questions, you may contact Vivian R. Byrd, administrator to Clients’ Protection Fund by email at (804) 775-0572.

Updated: Jan 07, 2021