sunEthics 

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


An inmate who filed a mandamus petition suit to compel production of public records may be entitled to costs, despite the fact that the documents were provided shortly after he filed . . . (see more) [Added 7/26/16]


The Second DCA reverses a finding of indirect criminal contempt against 2 lawyers, but urges every lawyer to make “civility and professionalism an integral part of his or her daily life" . . . (see more) [Added 7/25/16]


A prosecutor’s “typification” in closing argument of a defendant lawyer accused of stealing trust money from clients was improper but did not result in reversal of the conviction . . . (see more) [Added 7/15/16]


The Florida Supreme Court disciplines 2 judges, one for improper conduct in court and the other for improper ex parte communication and involvement in a litigant’s case
. . . (see more) [Added 7/14/16]


A trial court had no authority to order a lawyer to “self-report” to the Florida Bar and to put confirmation of reporting in a public court file . . . (see more) [Added 7/13/16]


On its own initiative, a trial court may order a party to pay 57.105(1) fees when a motion is filed by another party but the moving party did not comply with the safe harbor requirements, provided the court is not “simply adopting the moving party’s defective motion” . . . (see more) [Added 7/11/16]


The Florida Supreme Court amends the Code of Judicial Conduct to prohibit any senior judge from serving as a voluntary trial resolution judge or an arbitrator in a circuit in which the senior judge is presiding as a judge . . . (see more) [Added 7/7/16]


The Fifth DCA reverses a fee award, ruling that proposals for settlement served on the 2 defendants were ambiguous as to whether acceptance would resolve the claims against both or only one defendant . . . (see more) [Added 7/7/16]


A county’s “wait and see” attitude toward a public records request results in the imposition of attorney’s fees . . . (see more) [Added 7/7/16]


Although a client can be compelled to disclose when and with what attorneys she consulted, she cannot be required to divulge the reasons why she consulted them . . . (see more) [Added 7/6/16]


A judge is not disqualified from a case, despite having compared a party’s procedures to those of the “Taliban” in a related suit . . . (see more) [Added 7/5/16]


Prevailing party fees under F.S. 57.105(7) may be awarded only when the party seeking fees both prevails and is a party to the contract containing the fee provision . . . (see more) [Added 7/1/16]


The Florida Supreme Court amends Fla.R.App.P. 9.140(g) to address the circumstances when a sentencing error is identified in the course of an Anders proceeding . . . (see more) [Added 6/30/16]


A trial court erred in applying a multiplier to a fee award in insurance litigation, where there was no showing that the clients were unable to find counsel to represent them through trial absent a multiplier . . . (see more) [Added 6/30/16]


The Second DCA adopts and publishes “Practice Preferences” for lawyers engaging in appellate practice in that District . . . (see more) [Added 6/29/16]


The Fourth DCA discusses the standard to be used when a court is asked to award attorney’s fees under F.S. 57.105 for an allegedly frivolous claim . . . (see more) [Added 6/28/16]


The Professional Ethics Committee acts on waiving costs in personal injury cases, finance companies that advance fees in criminal cases, and Florida lawyers working with non-Florida firms that permit non-lawyer ownership . . . (see more) [Added 6/22/16]


A proposal for settlement could not support a motion for attorney's fees because it required the offeree's counsel to extinguish all third-party claims, even though there was no signature block for counsel . . . (see more) [Added 6/15/16]


A complaint alleging defamation against the Florida Bar due to a posting of disciplinary status on the Bar’s website was properly dismissed by the circuit court . . . (see more) [Added 6/8/16]


The failure to immediately produce public records in response to a request from an email that appeared to be spam was not an “unlawful refusal” and thus could not support a fee award to the requestor . . . (see more) [Added 6/6/16]


The First DCA criticizes counsel's lack of candor in a workers’ compensation appeal . . . (see more) [Added 6/5/16]


Per the Second DCA, filing a Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.090 motion to enlarge time to accept a proposal for settlement does not automatically toll the 30-day period for accepting the proposal . . . (see more) [Added 6/4/16]


The Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 3 years instead of the recommended 90 days for violations of Rule 4-8.4(c) (dishonesty, deceit, misrepresentation or fraud) and 5-1.1(b) (trust accounting) . . . (see more) [Added 6/2/16]


The Board of Governors approves changes to Rule 4-1.8 concerning gifts from clients to lawyers and the naming of lawyers as personal representatives or trustees
. . . (see more) [Added 6/2/16]


The Board of Governors approves recommending changes to the rules governing Certified Legal Interns . . . (see more) [Added 5/31/16]


Uniform "Standards of Professional Courtesy and Civility" are adopted by the 11th, 15th, 17th, and 19th Florida circuits
. . . (see more) [Added 5/30/16]


The Bar petitions the Supreme Court to add technology-related provisions to the competence rule and to require additional hours of CLE devoted to technology . . . (see more) [Added 5/30/16]


The Supreme Court adopts amendments to the Rules Relating to Admissions to the Bar . . . (see more) [Added 5/23/16]


An insurer whose policy gave it the right to control the insured’s defense is liable for attorney’s fees imposed after the insurer rejected a proposal for settlement . . . (see more) [Added 5/12/16]


The Third DCA reminds lawyers of their obligation regarding “a fundamental tenant of appellate advocacy” . . . (see more) [Added 5/4/16] 


The Florida Supreme Court holds that workers’ compensation fee statute is unconstitutional . . . (see more) [Added 4/28/16]


An offer of judgment was valid and enforceable where the offeror made claims for both monetary and non-monetary relief, but did not actually pursue non-monetary damages in the litigation . . . (see more) [Added 4/28/16]


A trial court properly awarded fees as a sanction for a party’s misconduct that resulted in a mistrial but erred in including time spent for subsequent trials . . . (see more) [Added 4/27/16]


A defendant who successfully defeated a claim on the ground that she had no contract with the plaintiff cannot claim fees based on that non-existent contract . . . (see more) [Added 4/26/16]


The First DCA declares attorney’s fee provisions in the workers’ compensation law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds . . . (see more) [Added 4/22/16]


University student disciplinary records are protected by federal privacy law (FERPA) and so are not subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act, with limited exceptions . . .  (see more)   [Added 4/19/16]


The Supreme Court denies appellate attorney’s fees to the prevailing parties in the legislative redistricting case . . . (see more) [Added 4/8/16]


The First DCA denies the prevailing parties fees in the legislative redistricting case, applying the “American Rule” and declining to adopt the private attorney general doctrine
. . . (see more) [Added 4/5/16]


The Supreme Court rules that opposing counsel’s time records are relevant and discoverable by a party seeking to recover fees when the fees are contested . . . (see more) [Added 3/31/16]


The Professional Ethics Committee votes to pursue adoption of an advisory opinion regarding a lawyer lobbying the legislature when the lawyer’s partner is an elected legislator . . . (see more) [Added 1/26/16]


A judgment for a lawyer in her suit against a former client for posting defamatory online reviews is affirmed on appeal . . . (see more) [Added 1/8/16]


The Supreme Court rejects proposed changes to the lawyer referral service rules, instead directing the Florida Bar to develop a proposal that requires for-profit referral services to be lawyer owned or operated . . . (see more) [Added 9/27/15]


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]


The Supreme Court amends Rules Regulating The Florida Bar on lawyer discipline, confidentiality, trust accounting, professionalism, and others . . . (see more) [Added 6/12/15]


The Supreme Court approves “housekeeping” changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding duties to prospective clients, misdirected electronic communications, and unauthorized practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 5/21/15]


The Board of Governors adopts “Professionalism Expectations” for Florida lawyers . . . (see more) [Added 2/3/15]


The Florida Bar withdraws its “Guidelines for Advertising Past Results” after a federal court finds them unconstitutional . . . (see more) [Added 12/22/14]


The 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]

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