sunEthics 

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




A fee award is reversed based on an exception to the general rule that the defendant is the prevailing party fees when the plaintiff voluntarily dismisses the suit . . . (see more) [Added 6/17/19]


A court erred in awarding fees under F.S. 736.1004 for time spent litigating entitlement to fees unsuccessfully on an alternative ground . . . (see more) [Added 6/14/19]


A trial court does not have inherent authority to award fees as a sanction for bad faith conduct on its own initiative after a voluntary dismissal . . . (see more) [Added 6/11/2019]


The Fourth DCA affirms an order allocating attorney’s fees to the prevailing parties in the “oldest active case in Palm Beach County" . . . (see more) [Added 6/10/19]


Mandamus lies to compel entry of an order ruling on a lawyer’s motion to withdraw from a guardianship case . . . (see more) [Added 6/7/19]


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 Fourth DCA holds that post-offer prejudgment interest may not be included in calculating the threshold for a fee award under the offer of judgment statute, but certifies the question to the Supreme Court . . . (see more)[Added 5/30/19]


A motion to disqualify a trial judge in a tobacco case should have been granted where the movants alleged that the judge had “recent and extensive involvement” in similar cases against the movants or related parties . . . (see more) [Added 5/29/19]


A trial court erred in denying a motion to substitute private counsel for appointed counsel where private counsel was willing to proceed with the trial as scheduled and there was no finding of bad faith . . . (see more) [Added 5/28/19]


A judge of compensation claims did not err in allocating fees between original and successor counsel on a quantum meruit basis and not considering a contractual agreement between the lawyers . . . (see more) [Added 5/22/19]


A trial judge erred in relying on informal, post-trial, ex parte discussion with some jurors to set aside the jury’s verdict and enter an amended verdict and final judgment . . . (see more) [Added 5/17/19]


Failure to advise a defendant of “virtually certain deportation” as a result of a no contest plea constituted ineffective assistance, even where there was only a slight possibility of acquittal if he went to trial . . . (see more) [Added 5/15/19]


Attorney-client privileged was not waived when a law firm’s legal assistant contacted the client’s insurance company to report the client’s claim . . . (see more) [Added 5/13/19]


A trial court erred by including an attorney’s fee provision in a final judgment that failed to account for the parties’ need and ability to pay as required in F.S. 61.16 . . . (see more) [Added 5/10/19]


Receding from its prior decision, the Second DCA rules that fees may not be awarded under a state fee-shifting statute in an admiralty case . . . (see more) [Added 5/6/19]


A discovery order requiring production of privileged documents is quashed because the court did not conduct an in camera review and did not delineate the scope of a purported privilege waiver . . . (see more) [Added 5/3/19]


Receding from prior cases, the First DCA en banc rules that a trial judge does not violate a criminal defendant’s due process rights by considering the defendant’s lack of remorse or refusal to accept responsibility in sentencing
. . . (see more) [Added 5/2/19]


The statutory protection for psychologist-patient confidentiality prevails over the common law litigation privilege, leaving a court-appointed therapist who violates the privilege subject to a breach of fiduciary duty claim . . . (see more) [Added 4/29/19]


An order imposing a charging lien is reversed due to the lawyer’s failure to give timely notice of the claimed lien and the trial court’s failure to hold an evidentiary hearing . . . (see more) [Added 4/26/19]


There is no “accident report privilege” to prevent disclosure of statements made by persons involved in an accident for the purpose of completing a crash report . . . (see more) [Added 4/24/19]


The Supreme Court publicly reprimands a judge for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct relating to campaign practices . . . (see more) [Added 4/23/19]


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]


Florida International leads the state in first-time-taker pass rate for the February 2019 general bar examination . . .  (see more[Added 4/15/19]


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]


A judgment in a personal injury case is reversed because the trial court erred in admitting financial records that were attorney-client privileged under Worley v. YMCA and requiring plaintiff’s counsel to testify to such matters . . . (see more) [Added 3/12/19]


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]


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]


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 . . .