sunEthics 

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

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The Florida 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]


An adjudication of delinquency is reversed after the trial court committed fundamental error by not conducting a adequate inquiry into the juvenile’s waiver of counsel . . . (see more) [Added 12/26/18]


Stating that the referee’s report was “inadequate” and “incomplete,” the Florida 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]


The Third DCA criticizes that conduct of counsel who willfully violated a pretrial order excluding evidence . . . (see more) [Added 12/21/18]


A defendant who prevailed at trial is denied fees under F.S. 768.79 because its proposal for settlement was conditioned on the plaintiff releasing all claims, including a non-monetary claim for specific performance . . . (see more) [Added 12/19/18]


The Second DCA orders a county court judge disqualified based on the petitioners’ “well-founded fear that they would not receive a fair proceeding" . . . (see more) [Added 12/14/18]


The Third DCA sanctions and criticizes a lawyer for impugning the integrity of the judiciary and filing a frivolous motion . . . (see more) [Added 12/10/18]


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]


A malpractice suit against a lawyer who served as personal representative to an estate was properly dismissed based on the court’s order of discharge pursuant to F.S. 733.901(2) . . . (see more) [Added 12/4/18]


A judge who provided a character reference to a criminal defendant awaiting sentencing in federal court is publicly reprimanded by the Supreme Court . . .  (see more[Added 11/26/18]


Resolving a conflict between DCAs, the Florida 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]


The Supreme Court again cautions lower courts about “nitpicking” proposals for settlement to find ambiguities . . . (see more) [Added 11/1/18]


The Professional Ethics Committee adopts a proposed advisory opinion regarding whether personal injury lawyers ethically may charge interest on cost advances in contingent fee cases . . . (see more) [Added 10/23/18]


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 Supreme Court amends the Evidence Code, recognizing that communications between a lawyer and a client acting as a fiduciary are protected by the attorney-client privilege . . . (see more) [Added 2/20/18]


The Board of Governors approves a proposed rule change to increase the CLE requirements in “professionalism” . . . (see more) [Added 2/14/18]


The Board of Governors decides that it is permissible for a lawyer to ask a client to pay the premium on a “litigation cost protection” insurance policy in the event of a recovery for the client in a contingent fee case . . .  (see more[Added 2/12/18]


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]


The Supreme Court approves a rule defining retainers, flat fees, and advance fees and specifying how they should be handled for trust accounting purposes . . . (see more) [Added 9/19/15]

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