sunEthics 

Covering legal ethics, judicial ethics, bar admissions in Florida, Tennessee, and nationally.  See our Subject Index to past postings.




NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .

The Third DCA imposes 57.105 sanctions in equal shares against a party and his lawyer for pursuing a meritless appeal . . .  (see more[Added 10/22/14]


A party who moved for a judge’s disqualification is not entitled to take the judge’s deposition in order to provide support for the motion . . . (see more[Added 10/21/14]


A judge is reprimanded for demeaning those who appeared before her in certain cases and for appearing at a first appearance criminal hearing for her sister . . .  (see more[Added 10/20/14]


The First DCA urges the Supreme Court to adopt a procedure for raising ineffective assistance of counsel claims in parental rights termination proceedings where ineffectiveness is not apparent on the face of the record . . .  (see more[Added 10/19/14]


Once the appeals court remanded and directed the trial court to fix the amount of fees due under the offer of judgment statute, it was too late for the opposing party to claim the proposal was not made in good faith . . .  (see more[Added 10/15/14]


A lawyer is hit with a sanction of appellate attorney’s fees and referred to the Florida Bar for pursuing a frivolous appeal . . .  (see more[Added 10/10/14]


More than filing suit and obtaining payment of an insurance claim is needed to support an award of fees under the "confession of judgment" doctrine . . .  (see more[Added 10/9/14]


A law firm’s defamation suit against a former partner was dismissed as barred under the absolute litigation privilege, notwithstanding a non-disparagement agreement . . .  (see more[Added 10/8/14]


The Fifth DCA criticizes the state’s counsel in a criminal appeal for ignoring relevant case law relied on by the opposing party rather than trying to distinguish it . . .  (see more[Added 10/2/14]


A partner of the lawyer representing a party may not serve as a “disinterested” appraiser under an insurance policy . . .  (see more[Added 9/29/14]


The Florida Bar results for the July 2014 exam are released; the University of Florida tops the list with 90.6% passing . . .  (see more)  [Added 9/22/14]


The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee addresses whether a candidate may accept endorsements from the state attorney, the sheriff, and the police chief . . .  (see more[Added 9/19/14]


A proposal for settlement made earlier than 90 after a party was added as a defendant will not support an award of attorney’s fees to that party under the offer of judgment statute and rule . . .  (see more[Added 9/15/14]


In a third-party bad faith suit, the attorney-client privilege may apply to protect communications between the insurer and its counsel, per the Fifth DCA . . .  (see more[Added 9/12/14]


A trial court erred in awarding appellate attorney’s fees as a discovery sanction authorization from the appellate court . . .  (see more[Added 9/9/14]


It was error to award attorney’s fees to a former wife who had ample means to obtain counsel . . .  (see more[Added 9/3/14]


The Fifth DCA reverses a criminal conviction for fundamental error in closing argument, calling the prosecutor’s conduct “unprofessional” . . .  (see more[Added 9/3/14]


An agency violated the Public Records Act by delaying disclosure of non-exempt records to a litigation opponent . . . (see more[Added 9/2/14]


A settlement agreement conditioned upon a former client’s withdrawal of a Bar complaint is an unenforceable term that is not severable from the purported agreement . . .  (see more[Added 9/2/14]


A “shade meeting” transcript becomes public record on conclusion of the underlying lawsuit, notwithstanding the later filing of a related suit . . .  (see more [Added 9/1/14]


The Fourth DCA allows financial discovery as to the relationship between a plaintiff’s law firm and treating physician regardless of whether the firm referred the plaintiff to the doctor . . .  (see more[Added 8/28/14]


Appellate attorney’s fees are awarded under section 57.105 for the filing of an appeal that the appellant (a law firm) “knew or should have known” was frivolous . . .  (see more[Added 8/26/14]


A trial court erred by applying the wrong test to determine whether a criminal defendant would be allowed to represent himself . . .  (see more[Added 8/24/14]


A trial court abused its discretion in ordering a divorcing wife to pay attorney’s fees that would result in an “inequitable diminution” of her equitable distribution award . . .  (see more[Added 8/23/14]


A court erred in ordering production of a law firm’s file to its former client despite the firm’s assertion of a retaining lien . . .  (see more[Added 8/19/14]


Criminal defendant’s lawyer did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel by refusing to call witness who would testify falsely . . .  (see more[Added 8/16/14]


After reaffirming that there is no right to appointment of appellate counsel in postconviction proceedings, the Second DCA adopts a new procedure for handling postconviction appeals when appointed counsel find no arguable issues to brief . . .  (see more)   [Added 8/15/14]


Strict compliance with the service of process rules is required for motions to disqualify judges . . .  (see more[Added 8/13/14]


A judge running for re-election may not use a photo taken at the judge’s investiture of the judge being sworn in by a now-deceased judge . . .  (see more[Added 8/12/14]


The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee affirms its prior position regarding disclosure and disqualification relating to lawyers on a judge’s campaign committee . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/31/14]


A judicial candidate may attend an event sponsored by a political party but may not pay for a sponsorship or advertisement in the event’s program . . .  (see more[Added 7/26/14]


A judge may model in a fashion show where the proceeds primarily benefit a free childcare facility located in the courthouse . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/22/14]


Although a lawyer’s behavior was “not professional,” a trial court abused its discretion in imposing sanctions for creating “an atmosphere of anxiety and hostility” that disrupted a compulsory medical exam . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/21/14]


The Florida Supreme Court adopts minimum standards for lead counsel in capital postconviction proceedings and prohibits defendants sentenced to death from representing themselves in postconviction proceedings . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/7/14]


At its June 2014 meeting, the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee approves allowing nonlawyers to affix electronic signatures to documents for lawyers, and tables action on issues relating to lawyers advising clients to “clean up” their social media pages before suit is filed . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/2/14]


The Florida Supreme Court disbars a lawyer for a “continuing pattern of neglect” in a divorce case . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/23/14]


The Florida Supreme Court rejects constitutional challenges to portions of the “Timely Justice Act of 2013” concerning conflicts of interest and constitutionally deficient representation . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/19/14]


An email request for public records is sufficient to give standing to bring a mandamus action to compel production of the records sought . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/18/14]



The Florida Supreme Court approves multiple rule changes requested by the Florida Bar, including revisions to rules governing conflicts and paying witnesses, but rejects a proposal to restrict activities of suspended and disbarred lawyers . . .  (see more) [Added 3/29/14]