sunEthics 

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




NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .

A judicial candidate may attend an event sponsored by a political party but may not pay for a sponsorship or advertisement in the event’s program . . .  (see more[Added 7/26/14]


The First DCA reverses a trial court’s award of costs as a sanction under section 57.105 . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/23/14]


A judge may model in a fashion show where the proceeds primarily benefit a free childcare facility located in the courthouse . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/22/14]


Although a lawyer’s behavior was “not professional,” a trial court abused its discretion in imposing sanctions for creating “an atmosphere of anxiety and hostility” that disrupted a compulsory medical exam . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/21/14]


In a coverage dispute, a trial court erred in ordering production of an insurer’s claim file from a closed claim over the insurer’s work product objection . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/18/14]


The Florida Supreme Court denies a motion to withdraw filed by a lawyer representing a convicted criminal defendant who wants to argue for a death sentence . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/17/14]


An offer that would settle “any” claims for punitive damages does not meet the “particularity” requirement and so will not support a fee award under the offer of judgment statute and rule . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/16/14]


The Florida Supreme Court adopts minimum standards for lead counsel in capital postconviction proceedings and prohibits defendants sentenced to death from representing themselves in postconviction proceedings . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/7/14]


At its June 2014 meeting, the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee approves allowing nonlawyers to affix electronic signatures to documents for lawyers, and tables action on issues relating to lawyers advising clients to “clean up” their social media pages before suit is filed . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/2/14]


A motion to disqualify a judge did not trigger the time limits for ruling on the motion under Fla.R.Jud.Admin. 2.330(j) because it was filed before the court’s jurisdiction had been invoked . . .  (see more)   [Added 7/1/14]


The Florida Supreme Court disciplines a judge for campaign-related violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Florida law . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/30/14]


The First DCA declines to reverse an unauthorized award of fees under section 57.105, concluding that the “fundamental error” doctrine does not apply . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/24/14]


The Florida Supreme Court disbars a lawyer for a “continuing pattern of neglect” in a divorce case . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/23/14]


The Florida Supreme Court rejects constitutional challenges to portions of the “Timely Justice Act of 2013” concerning conflicts of interest and constitutionally deficient representation . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/19/14]


An email request for public records is sufficient to give standing to bring a mandamus action to compel production of the records sought . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/18/14]


A fee award under the offer of judgment statute is reversed because the offer was to settle claims for both damages and equitable relief . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/17/14]


The Florida Bar Board of Governors will not prosecute lawyers who give advice to clients regarding operating a medical marijuana business that is legal under state, but not federal, law . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/16/14]


Strict compliance with e-service of process rules is required in order to obtain sanctions in the form of a fee award under section 57.105 . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/12/14]


The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee concludes that a judge may not appear in a video to discuss a helpful technological development used in the judge’s circuit, where the video may be shown by the product vendor for marketing purposes . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/11/14]


The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee issues an opinion regarding a judicial candidate’s involvement in a website through which campaign contributions are received . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/10/14]


A former judge is disbarred rather than suspended for “dishonest conduct and the harm that her actions have caused to the administration of justice in a capital first-degree murder case” . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/6/14]


Emphasizing the deterrence effect of severe disciplinary sanctions, the Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 3 years rather than 6 months for filing a forged document and failing to promptly return funds to a former client . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/4/14]


The Supreme Court addresses timely filing of attorney’s fees requests in original appellate proceeding under Fla.R.App.P. 9.100 . . .  (see more)   [Added 6/3/14]


The father’s lawyer in a paternity action is ordered to disgorge funds held in his trust account as unearned fees . . .  (see more)   [Added 5/28/14]


The Supreme Court amends the Rules of Criminal Procedure by adopting minimum standards for lawyers in felony cases (including postconviction matters) . . .  (see more)   [Added 5/27/14]


The Supreme Court reprimands a judge for a DUI conviction . . .  (see more)   [Added 5/22/14]


The Second DCA rules that a client’s fee arrangements with her lawyer are protected by the attorney-client privilege . . .  (see more)   [Added 5/21/14]


A trial court lacked jurisdiction to reopen a case 6 years after final judgment to consider a law firm’s charging lien . . .  (see more)   [Added 5/20/14]


A successor personal representative may bring a legal malpractice action against a lawyer hired by the prior personal representative . . .  (see more)   [Added 5/16/14]


Although not charged with or convicted of a crime, a lawyer is suspended by the Supreme Court for 1 year rather than the recommended 89 days for failure to file tax returns . . .  (see more)   [Added 5/14/14]



The Florida Supreme Court approves multiple rule changes requested by the Florida Bar, including revisions to rules governing conflicts and paying witnesses, but rejects a proposal to restrict activities of suspended and disbarred lawyers . . .  (see more) [Added 3/29/14]