sunEthics 

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



The Florida Supreme Court reprimands a judge for behavior that was “inappropriate, intemperate, and violated the Canons” of judicial ethics . . . (see more) [Added 11/18/19]


The Supreme Court rejects a referee’s not guilty recommendation and concludes that a lawyer violated rules against misrepresentation by using altered photo lineups in a pretrial deposition in a criminal case . . . (see more) [Added 11/8/19]


A trial court erred in denying fees in a dissolution case on the ground that the claim had not been properly pleaded . . . (see more) [Added 11/5/19]


The Code of Judicial Conduct requires a judge to report a lawyer to the Florida Bar for making false representations to the court . . . (see more) [Added 11/1/19]


A defendant’s otherwise-clear written request to represent himself was not rendered equivocal just because his request did not also ask to dismiss his counsel . . . (see more) [Added 10/25/19]


Defense counsel may not ask a plaintiff to disclose a referral relationship between her lawyer and a treating physician due to attorney-client privilege, but may ask the physician about the percentage of practice and income obtained through referrals from plaintiff’s counsel . . . (see more) [Added 10/22/19]


A lawyer is disqualified due to a prior representation in a substantially related matter, per the Third DCA . . . (see more) [Added 10/17/19]


A law firm is entitled to only quantum meruit rather than a full contingent fee following departure from the firm of a lawyer who was titled “profit partner” but was not an equity partner in the firm . . . (see more) [Added 10/10/19]


A trial court properly ordered redaction of mediation communications from a “shade meeting” transcript before it is released as a public record . . . (see more) [Added 10/7/19]


In affirming a fee award in a dissolution case, the appeals court rejected the argument that use of the term “frivolous and vexatious litigation” in the fee order meant that the fees had been awarded as a sanction . . . (see more) [Added 10/4/19]


A judge who did not disclose that he had been represented in his own divorce 3 years ago by a party’s lawyer is disqualified from a divorce case . . . (see more) [Added 10/2/19]


Trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to research, advise him, and pursue a dispositive motion to suppress . . . (see more) [Added 9/30/19]


The Fourth DCA quashes an order denying a motion to abate a legal malpractice action until the underlying litigation is resolved . . . (see more) [Added 9/27/19]


The Supreme Court amends the Registered Paralegal Program rules to allow lawyers from any state other than Florida to become registered paralegals . . . (see more) [Added 9/25/19]


An order requiring production of materials presumptively covered by attorney-client privilege is quashed because it was issued without an in camera inspection . . . (see more) [Added 9/23/19]


Florida International tops the state in the July 2019 general bar examination . . . (see more) [Added 9/16/19]


A borrower was not entitled to prevailing party fees after he successfully defended a foreclosure action on the ground that the plaintiff bank was never a party to the loan contract . . . (see more) [Added 9/13/19]


A hospital’s bid to protect employee statements under the attorney-client privilege is rejected under the heightened level of scrutiny given to privilege claims in the corporate context . . . (see more) [Added 9/11/19]


The Supreme Court rejects a suspension recommendation and instead disbars a lawyer who took improper loans from elderly clients, commingled trust funds, and misused trust funds . . . (see more) [Added 9/9/19]


A judge who recused himself from a case due to a “family relationship” with the defendant is disqualified from another case brought by a different plaintiff against the same defendant . . . (see more) [Added 9/5/19]


A trial court erred in ordering a non-party attorney to appear for deposition and produce documents over an attorney-client privilege objection without first conducting an in camera hearing to address the privilege claim . . . (see more) [Added 9/3/19]


The Fifth DCA reverses a criminal conviction on direct appeal for ineffective assistance of counsel on the face of the record . . . (see more) [Added 8/28/19]


A trial court departed from the essential requirements of law in ordering production of documents in an insurer’s underwriting and claims files before the issues of coverage and damages had been determined
. . . (see more) [Added 8/26/19]


A judge is disqualified for announcing how he would rule on a motion to stay if a party filed it . . . (see more) [Added 8/23/19]


The names of mental health experts who visit a high-profile criminal defendant in jail are not exempt from disclosure under the public records law . . . (see more) [Added 8/20/19]


An indemnification provision in proposals for settlement served on co-parties was invalid because it did not state the amounts attributable to each party with particularity and did not allow each offeree to independently evaluate the offer . . . (see more) [Added 8/16/19]


A circuit court sitting in appellate capacity erred in denying fees to a litigant that prevailed on its offer of judgment fee claim statute in the trial court . . . (see more) [Added 8/14/19]


A petition for habeas corpus is granted in part because the trial judge who found the petitioner guilty of indirect criminal contempt should have disqualified herself . . . (see more) [Added 8/14/19]


Defense counsel’s failure to object to the State’s closing argument that the jury should consider the negative reaction of a witness sitting in the courtroom audience constituted ineffective assistance of counsel . . . (see more) [Added 8/12/19]


Offers of judgment must be evaluated as of the time of the offer, and so punitive damages that were not part of the case when the offer was made could not be considered in calculating the judgment obtained . . . (see more) [Added 8/9/19]


A court erred in imposing a charging lien that extended beyond the proceeds that the former client recovered through the lawyer’s efforts in her dissolution case . . . (see more) [Added 7/22/19]


The Supreme Court approves amendments to Rule 4-7.14 to permit non-certified lawyers, and law firms, to advertise that they specialize or have expertise in areas of practice . . . (see more) [Added 7/1/19]


The Supreme Court dissolves its Commission on Professionalism and Civility . . . (see more) [Added 6/5/19]


The Board of Governors approves a rule change proposal that would prohibit advertising lawyers from using the names of other lawyers or law firms in a misleading way that states or implies that the other lawyer is part of the advertising lawyer’s firm . . . (see more) [Added 6/3/19]


The Supreme Court withdraws its prior opinion (which ruled that prevailing party fees are recoverable under the reciprocal provisions of F.S. 57.105 by a borrower who succeeded in having plaintiff’s mortgage foreclosure suit dismissed on grounds including lack of standing), concluding that it had improvidently granted review . . . (see more) [Added 4/18/19]


The Supreme Court declines to adopt a proposed rule that would bar lawyers from accepting referrals from any entity that refers to more than one type of professional for the same incident or transaction
. . . (see more) [Added 4/15/19]


The question of an insurer’s standing to bring a malpractice claim against counsel hired to represent an insured is certified to the Supreme Court . . . (see more) [Added 3/22/2019]


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 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]


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]


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]


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]


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]

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