sunEthics 

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



A water management district properly awarded fees against a party who filed an administrative petition challenging the issuance of an environmental resource permit . . . (see more) [Added 2/2/23]


A trial court’s denials of prevailing party fees under FDUTPA and fees under F.S. 768.79 are affirmed . . . (see more) [Added 1/31/23]


On appeal, the Fourth DCA determines that a law firm’s fee agreement is not ambiguous, resulting in a partial reversal of a judgment in the firm’s suit for fees . . . (see more) [Added 1/27/23]


A fee award to an insured is reversed because the suit was not necessary to resolve the dispute with the insurer and there was no breakdown in the claims adjusting process . . . (see more) [Added 1/24/23]


A court award of fees directly to a claimant’s counsel in an insurance case is reversed, because the statute requires fees to be paid to an insured or beneficiary as party to the litigation . . . (see more) [Added 1/19/23]


The Fourth DCA quashes an order denying a motion to disqualify a trial judge . . . (see more) [Added 1/17/23]


The First DCA denies a public defender’s motions to withdraw from a case due to an “irreconcilable conflict of interest” because  the motions did not specify what the conflict was . . . (see more) [Added 1/12/23]


Dismissal of a case against a corporate entity is reversed because the court permitted the entity’s counsel to withdraw and then proceeded with a scheduled case management conference without granting a continuance to allow the entity to obtain new counsel . . . (see more) [Added 1/10/23]


Dismissal of a lawsuit against Florida Bar employees is affirmed based on immunity from suit for actions in their official capacities . . . (see more) [Added 1/6/23]


​The Supreme Court disbars, rather than suspends, a lawyer for mismanagement of his law firm, as well as violating fee and conflict of interest rules . . . (see more) [Added 1/2/23]


A court erred in rejecting a lawyer’s claim to a charging lien against funds held in the trust account of her co-counsel, who refused to release the funds after the client signed the closing statement because of an alleged fee the lawyer owed to co-counsel from an unrelated case . . . (see more) [Added 12/29/22]


Pursuant to its constitutional duty, the Florida Supreme Court makes its annual certification of judgeship need to the Florida Legislature . . . (see more) [Added 12/26/22]


An order denying a motion for sanctions under F.S. 57.105 is reversed and remanded due to the trial court’s failure to make any findings, oral or written, supporting its order . . . (see more) [Added 12/22/22]


An offer of judgment is invalid because it included a demand for a retraction of and apology regarding an alleged defamatory statement . . . (see more) [Added 12/19/22]


In a detailed opinion the Fourth DCA quashes orders requiring production of documents over attorney-client privilege objections and confirms that a privilege waiver must be made by one with authority to do so . . . (see more) [Added 12/15/22]


The Fifth DCA quashes the portion of a trial court order compelling production of work product that is not limited to the underlying facts . . . (see more) [Added 12/12/22]


The First DCA reverses an order dismissing a legal malpractice claim on limitations grounds, rejecting an argument that the Supreme Court has receded from the bright-line rule set in Silvestrone v. Edell . . . (see more) [Added 12/9/22]


A trial court erred when it imposed a charging lien on all of a party’s assets, including homestead property, in a divorce case . . . (see more) [Added 12/7/22]


A summary judgment for defendant law firms in a legal malpractice case is reversed due to disputed issues of fact regarding defendants’ ability to rectify mistakes made by prior counsel . . . (see more) [Added 12/5/22]


An arbitration award in favor of the law firm in an attorney-client dispute is upheld because the arbitrator did not exceed his authority or modify the parties’ agreement . . . (see more) [Added 12/1/22]


The Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 91 days, rather than the recommended 60 days, for “dishonest” conduct related to a non-party subpoena . . . (see more) [Added 11/21/22]



The Second DCA quashes a discovery order obtained by a law firm that was pursuing a charging lien in a case in which it did not appear . . . (see more) [Added 11/1/22]


The Florida Bar files 4 petitions to amend various Rules Regulating The Florida Bar with the Supreme Court, inviting comments from interested members . . . (see more) [Added 10/17/22]


Florida International sets the pace for first-time bar passage results for the July 2022 general bar examination . . . (see more) [Added 9/19/22]


Reversing an attorney’s fee sanction order, the Fourth DCA concludes that the trial court’s application of F.S. 57.105(8) would take the statute down “Swearing Match Lane" . . . (see more) [Added 9/18/22]


Responding to a petition from the Bar, the Supreme Court amends bar rules various subjects including lawyer advertising, dealing with clients with diminished capacity, inventory attorneys, and confidentiality in the disciplinary system . . . (see more) [Added 3/4/22]


The Supreme Court amends Rule 4-5.5 to conform to the UPL advisory opinion permitting lawyers licensed in other states to work remotely from Florida for extended time periods on matters not involving Florida . . . (see more) [Added 2/18/22]


The Supreme Court finalizes its amendment to rule 6-10.3 to preclude the granting of CLE credit for any courses that use “quotas based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation in the selection of course faculty or participants” . . . (see more) [Added 12/17/21]


The Board of Governors approves an advisory ethics opinion addressing the ethical obligations of lawyers in responding to negative online reviews posted by someone who is not a client or former client . . . (see more) [Added 12/15/21]


The Supreme Court amends rules regarding pro hac vice admission in Florida . . . (see more) [Added 12/14/21]


Rejecting a lesser sanction, the Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 2 years for making unfounded accusations of racial bias and failing to properly handle a misdelivered fax . . . (see more) [Added 12/10/21]


The Board of Governors votes to reject recommendations made by the Special Committee to Improve Delivery of Legal Services concerning non-lawyer ownership of law firms, fee sharing, and changes to advertising rules . . . (see more) [Added 11/8/21]


​​The Supreme Court rejects a referee’s recommendation for reinstatement of a suspended lawyer and asks the Bar to study whether civil mediation should be prohibited in Bar case . . . (see more) [Added 10/27/21]


The Supreme Court approves a unique rule creating a special disciplinary process for complaints against lawyers that were instigated by a judge’s complaint or comment . . . (see more) [Added 10/25/21]


The Supreme Court clarifies the scope of Worley and declines to apply it to permit discovery regarding the financial relationship between a defendant’s nonparty insurer and a defense expert witness . . . (see more) [Added 10/19/21]


A narrow Supreme Court majority rules that a company connecting drivers who get traffic tickets with lawyers who will defend the tickets engaged in the unauthorized practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 10/15/21]


The Supreme Court denies a claim of ineffective assistance based on alleged “disarray and division” among the defense team . . . (see more) [Added 8/30/21]


The Supreme Court amends the IOTA rules, adopting proposals of the Task Force on the Distribution of IOTA Funds with modifications
. . . (see more) [Added 6/21/21]


The Professional Ethics Committee approves for publication a proposed advisory opinion addressing the ethical obligations of a lawyer in responding to negative online reviews posted by someone who is not the lawyer's client or former client . . . (see more) [Added 6/11/21]


A unanimous Florida Supreme Court rules that an insurer has standing to bring a legal malpractice action against counsel it hired to represent its insured, based on the policy’s subrogation provision . . . (see more) [Added 6/4/21]


The Supreme Court approves an advisory opinion concluding that it is not the unlicensed practice of law for a lawyer licensed in other states but not in Florida to work remotely from his home in Florida on federal intellectual property matters . . . (see more) [Added 5/21/21]


The Supreme Court approves rule changes regarding appointments to Bar ethics and advertising committees, and expands electronic signatures to more aspects of Bar functions . . . (see more) [Added 5/14/21]


The Professional Ethics Committee approves a proposed confidentiality rule amendment to authorize limited responses to negative online reviews, adopts new proposed advisory opinions on using web-based payment processing services and the obligations of a lawyer appointed to represent an alleged incapacitated person in an emergency guardianship proceeding, and modifies a long-standing opinion on providing case file materials to clients and former clients . . . (see more) [Added 3/26/21]


The Supreme Court amends and renames the Rules of Judicial Administration, addressing judicial disqualification, creating disqualification through adding counsel, and appearance of “stand-in counsel” . . . (see more) [Added 1/27/21]


The Supreme Court rules that a unilateral attorney’s fee provision in a credit card contract is made reciprocal when the debtor prevails in an account stated action to collect unpaid debt . . . (see more) [Added 1/18/21]


The Florida Bar files its biennial rule change petition with the Supreme Court, seeking rule amendments relating to fees, clients with diminished capacity, client files, advertising, solicitation, and other topics . . . (more) [Added 10/8/20]


The Supreme Court remands a disciplinary case for further proceedings after clarifying that an “advice of counsel” defense may be available in limited circumstances . . . (see more) [Added 6/26/20]


The Supreme Court approves a rule permitting spouses of military service members to practice as certified legal interns while undergoing the character and fitness review pending authorization to practice in Florida . . . (see more) [Added 5/26/20]


The Florida Bar petitions the Supreme Court for approval of new rules creating a “Registered Online Service Provider” program . . . (see more) [Added 1/3/20]


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]

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