sunEthics 

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

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A trial court abused its discretion in dismissing a case after refusing to recognize the appearance of new counsel because prior counsel had not withdrawn . . . (see more) [Added 2/19/19]


The Fourth DCA rules that a F.S. 57.105(1) fee motion can be brought solely against a lawyer and that the motion can properly seek an award where a single cause of action asserts more than one factual scenario for liability, and the fee motion attacks only one of those factual scenarios as unsupported by law . . . (see more) [Added 2/18/19]


A trial court properly denied fees to the wife in a dissolution case where her fees were paid by family members and there was no evidence that the wife had an obligation to repay them . . . (see more) [Added 2/15/19]


While not condoning closing argument of plaintiffs’ counsel in a tobacco case, the Third DCA affirms the judgment for plaintiffs and acknowledges that the arguments must be viewed in the context of this 3-week, high-stakes trial . . . (see more) [Added 2/13/19]


An insurance company does not have standing to bring a legal malpractice case against a law firm it hired to defend its insured . . . (see more) [Added 2/12/19]


The Supreme Court resolves a conflict and decides that proposals for settlement made under F.S. 768.79 need not comply with the email service provisions of Fla.R.Jud.Admin. 2.516 . . . (see more) [Added 2/11/19]


A court erred in not awarding fees under F.S. 57.105 to a party who was forced to litigate a frivolous interpleader action . . . (see more) [Added 2/5/19]


A lawyer is denied authorization to represent a ward in a guardianship proceeding who contacted the lawyer directly to retain him . . . (see more) [Added 2/4/19]


The claims of a lawyer and law firm to a $500,000 “participation fee” in a contingent fee case are denied because the rules governing division of fees were not followed . . . (see more) [Added 1/31/19]


“Technically admitted” admission does not equate to determination on merits for purposes of awarding prevailing party fees under F.S. 57.105(7) . . . (see more) [Added 1/30/19]


A court did not err in denying fees following unaccepted nominal proposals for settlement, where the proposals were not made in good faith . . . (see more) [Added 1/28/19]


The Supreme Court rules that a court-appointed lawyer is entitled to have the Justice Administrative Commission determine his qualifications and request for fees under the statute in effect at the time of his appointment rather than under the current statute . . . (see more) [Added 1/24/19]


A party is unable to obtain certiorari relief from an order compelling production of work product photos because it failed to preserve its claim of error for appellate review . . . (see more) [Added 1/23/19]


A divided Supreme Court increases a recommended suspension from 10 days to 3 years for a new lawyer who stole money from her department store employer . . . (see more) [Added 1/22/19]


A defendant borrower was entitled to prevailing party fees in a mortgage foreclosure case despite his successful defense that the plaintiff lacked standing at the time it filed suit . . . (see more) [Added 1/20/19]


The Supreme Court rules that prevailing party fees are recoverable under the reciprocal provisions of F.S. 57.105 by a borrower who succeeded in having a plaintiff’s mortgage foreclosure suit dismissed on grounds that included lack of standing . . . (see more) [Added 1/16/19]


The Supreme Court acts on the Bar’s biennial rules proposals, including proposed amendments relating to self-reporting criminal charges and convictions to the Bar, the Bar’s duty to notify the Court of a lawyer’s felony adjudication, client payments by credit card, imputed disqualification, collaborative law, CLE “professionalism” requirements, and electronic meetings . . . (see more) [Added 1/14/19]


In a legal malpractice case, adoptive parents sufficiently alleged that they were intended third-party beneficiaries of a legal services agreement between the adoption agency and the defendant lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 1/11/19]


The Board of Governors approves an advisory opinion addressing what fees lawyers may pay, or not pay, to receive referrals from qualifying providers . . . (see more) [Added 1/10/19]


Per the Supreme Court, Rule 4-3.(b) permits payment to a fact witness for assistance with case and discovery preparation only if that assistance is “directly related to” the witness preparing for, attending, or testifying at proceedings . . . (see more) [Added 1/8/19]


A lawyer suing a former client for unpaid fees in a breach of contract action is not required to present expert testimony as to the reasonableness of the fees, per the Fourth DCA . . . (see more) [Added 1/7/19]


The Supreme Court certifies to the Legislature the need for additional circuit and county court judges . . . (see more) [Added 1/4/19]


Because the Florida Commission on Ethics is the only entity with constitutional authority to investigate financial disclosure complaints against public officials, the First DCA dismisses a circuit court suit against the governor . . . (see more) [Added 1/3/19]


The First DCA rules that an action for account stated will not support an award of reciprocal fees based on the underlying credit card contract, and certifies conflict with the Second DCA . . . (see more) [Added 1/2/19]


A “notice of intention” to file a charging lien that was filed by a discharged lawyer after the final judgment was entered was untimely and thus not enforceable . . . (see more) [Added 12/31/18]


A court erred in imposing fees as a sanction under F.S. 57.105(1) because the amount of the sanction was determined by argument of counsel, with no billing records admitted into evidence . . . (see more) [Added 12/27/18]


Stating that the referee’s report was “inadequate” and “incomplete,” the Supreme Court finds additional rules violations and disbars the lawyer rather than imposing no further discipline, as the referee recommended
. . . (see more) [Added 12/24/18]


A party that prevails in having a mortgage foreclosure dismissed because the lender is not entitled to enforce the contract cannot recover fees based on a provision in that contract . . . (see more) [Added 12/7/18]


Resolving a conflict between DCAs, the Supreme Court rules that an allegation that the trial judge is a Facebook “friend” of a lawyer in the case is not sufficient of itself to constitute a ground for the judge’s disqualification . . . (see more) [Added 11/17/18]


Florida International leads the state in first-time-taker pass rate for the July 2018 general bar examination . . .  (see more[Added 9/17/18]


The Supreme Court approves rules allowing temporary authorization for spouses of active duty military personnel to practice law in Florida . . . (see more) [Added 7/20/18]


Following the Supreme Court’s directive, the Florida Bar petitions for a rule change that would prohibit lawyers from accepting referrals from “qualifying providers” that refer to more than one profession for the same incident . . . (see more) [Added 6/5/18]


The Supreme Court amends rules regulating referral services to expressly recognize their applicability to all client-lawyer matching services, and further orders the Bar to prepare rules restricting services that refer to more than one professional service . . . (see more) [Added 3/9/18]


The Board of Governors determines that the “Avvo Advisor” program is considered a “lawyer referral service” under Bar rules . . . (see more) [Added 1/2/18]


The Supreme Court approves rule amendments regarding soliciting gifts or fiduciary appointments from clients, notifying clients when leaving a law firm, contacting prospective clients, settling malpractice claims with unrepresented clients, holding trust funds in credit unions, protecting trust funds when third parties claim an interest, emeritus attorneys, authorized house counsel, and foreign legal consultants; the Court rejects proposed change to rules on using “specialist” or “expert” in advertising . . . (see more) [Added 11/21/17]


Hoping to increase access to justice, the Supreme Court approves relaxed conflict of interest rules to apply in short-term, limited representation carried out through non-profit organization programs . . . (see more) [Added 10/23/17]


The Supreme Court rejects proposed changes to rules that would recognize 3 types of representation (lead counsel, additional counsel, and limited representation counsel), without prejudice to submission of “more individualized and refined proposals”  . . . (see more) [Added 9/15/17]


The Supreme rejects proposed amendments to the rules regarding character and fitness evaluations of students who apply for the Law School Practice Program . . . (see more) [Added 4/14/17]


The Supreme Court rejects a third Florida Bar proposal to authorize lawyers to handle “extraordinary” lien resolution services on a referral from a personal injury lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 10/7/16]

NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .