sunEthics 

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




A trial 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]


Even though the defendant’s answer to a legal malpractice complaint was struck as a sanction, it was error to grant summary judgment for the plaintiff because damages were not liquidated . . . (see more) [Added 8/7/19]


A public defender’s former client who filed a public records request for materials relating to his case was not required to include in his request an acknowledgment of an obligation to pay copying costs . . . (see more) [Added 8/5/19]


The Fourth DCA applies the “rare exception” and finds ineffective assistance of counsel on the face of the record in a direct appeal . . . (see more) [Added 8/1/19]


An appeals court condemns “trial by ambush” tactics in reversing a plaintiff’s judgment . . . (see more) [Added 7/30/19]


It was error to award fees against the former husband where an equitable distribution had equalized the parties’ financial positions . . . (see more) [Added 7/26/19]


A court erred in not granting a criminal defense lawyer’s motion to withdraw based on a personal interest conflict
. . . (see more) [Added 7/24/19]


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]


A prevailing party was properly awarded “fees on fees” because of a contractual provision allowing recovery of fees “for litigating the issue of the amount of fees to be awarded” . . . (see more)  [Added 7/19/19]


The Fourth DCA affirms denial of a motion for postconviction relief as untimely filed, but certifies a question of great public importance relating to retroactivity of the Weatherspoon decision . . . (see more) [Added 7/18/19]


A court abused its discretion in disqualifying a lawyer in a postjudgment matter following a dissolution of marriage . . . (see more) [Added 7/16/19]


An insurer was negligent in failing to protect a withdrawn law firm’s charging lien of which it had notice . . . (see more) [Added 7/12/19]


Despite being small and made 9 months into the case, offers of judgment were made in good faith and their rejection meant that the trial court should have granted the offeror’s motion for fees . . . (see more) [Added 7/11/19]


A court erred in awarding fees under F.S. 768.79 based on a rejected proposal for settlement by including costs that were not taxable on the date the proposal for settlement was filed . . . (see more) [Added 7/9/19]


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]


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]


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 . . .