NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .

In a dissolution case, the trial court erred in not awarding fees to the husband based on the wife’s unsuccessful challenge of a prenuptial agreement that provided for fees if a party sought to have the agreement voided . . . (see more) [Added 9/4/15]


The Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee issues an opinion addressing whether a judge may accept a referral fee for a case the judge referred before going on the bench . . . (see more) [Added 9/4/15]


Following 3 show-cause proceedings, the Second DCA publishes an order referring a lawyer to the Florida Bar for conduct including apparent lack of candor to the court . . . (see more) [Added 8/31/15]


An offer of judgment is not ambiguous because the mutual releases contain the names of individual lawyers who are members of the law firms that are parties to the action . . . (see more) [Added 8/22/15]


At least some of the information in a Facebook post that sparked a criminal investigation is public record and should be disclosed, notwithstanding the ongoing investigation . . . (see more) [Added 8/21/15]


Certifying conflict, the First DCA rules that an offer of judgment was ambiguous because it failed to state whether it included attorneys’ fees, even though attorney’s fees were not sought in the complaint . . . (see more) [Added 8/20/15]


The Florida Bar Board of Governors concludes that text messaging to prospective clients is permitted as advertising rather than a type of prohibited solicitation . . . (see more) [Added 8/13/15]


A trial judge’s comments reflecting personal knowledge about storm damage affecting the local area were not grounds for his disqualification . . . (see more) [Added 8/12/15]


The Fifth DCA imposes attorney’s fees and fines on 2 lawyers as sanctions for filing a frivolous notice of lis pendens and baseless motion for extension of lis pendens . . . (see more) [Added 8/7/15]


A trial court departed from the essential requirements of law in ordering a law firm to give a former client immediate access to the firm’s files, despite the firm’s assertion of a retaining lien on the files . . . (see more) [Added 8/6/15]


The First DCA upholds the constitutionality and validity of the medical malpractice presuit notice sections of F.S. 766.106 and 766.1065, which allow for ex parte interviews between potential defendants and the claimant’s health care providers . . . (see more) [Added 8/5/15]


A trial court erred in dismissing tort claims against a law firm on the basis of the economic loss rule . . . (see more) [Added 8/5/15]


A court abused its discretion in ordering the former husband to pay the former wife’s fees after equitably distributing the parties’ property and equalizing their income through an alimony award . . . (see more) [Added 8/5/15]


The Fifth DCA cautions a lawyer about her duty to the court to properly describe the status of the law being argued . . . (see more) [Added 8/4/15]


The Florida Bar Board of Governors votes to add technology-related amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct and to adopt CLE requirements in technology . . . (see more) [Added 7/30/15]


Because the Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel is offense-specific, a lawyer did not provide ineffective assistance by allowing his client to confess an uncharged murder on which the lawyer did not represent him . . . (see more) [Added 7/29/15]


The Third DCA sanctions a lawyer and her client under F.S. 57.105 and Fla.R.App.P. 9.140 for making baseless assertions in a brief . . . (see more) [Added 7/28/15]


A motion for extension of time to accept a settlement proposal that was never set for hearing did not toll the time for acceptance of the proposal . . . (see more) [Added 7/27/15]


Per the Fourth DCA, the litigation privilege cannot be used to bar a claim of malicious prosecution that is otherwise viable
. . . (see more) [Added 7/23/15]


The Fourth DCA rejects a law firm’s contention that a $100,000 fee limitation in a $10 million claims bill for its client was an unconstitutional impairment of the attorney-client contract . . . (see more) [Added 7/22/15]


A trial court erred in granting prevailing party attorney’s fees to a party who secured a voluntary dismissal of the complaint against them by paying the amount in dispute
. . . (see more) [Added 7/21/15]

 
A judge’s hostility toward a lawyer arising from the lawyer’s opposition to the judge’s appointment to the federal bench warrants disqualification of the judge in post-trial proceedings
. . . (see more) [Added 7/19/15]


A proposal for settlement under F.S. 768.79 was not deficient because it failed to address loss of consortium claim maintained by the offeree’s spouse or failed to apportion the amount attributable to a party who was solely vicariously liable . . . (see more) [Added 7/17/15]


Amendment 7 does not require production of external peer review reports of a hospital’s adverse medical incidents that are otherwise privileged . . . (see more) [Added 7/17/15]


In a concurring opinion, a Third DCA judge criticizes the conduct of a lawyer who prosecuted a “frivolous appeal" . . . (see more) [Added 7/17/15]


A public hospital violated the Public Records Act by placing unreasonable restrictions on a requester’s access to records . . . (see more) [Added 7/16/15]


Payment of attorney’s fees alone does not extend the statute of limitations applicable to workers’ compensation claims . . . (see more) [Added 7/15/15]


An order imposing a charging lien is reversed and remanded because the court failed to make the necessary findings as to amount and reasonableness of fees . . . (see more) [Added 7/14/15]


A trial court erred in ordering production of those portions of an expert’s written opinion that were not relevant to claims at issue in that suit
. . . (see more) [Added 7/14/15]


The Florida Supreme Court holds that the right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases includes the right to effective assistance of counsel . . . (see more) [Added 7/13/15]


Per the Fourth DCA, a trial court erred in holding that, as a matter of law, a lawyer representing a ward’s court-appointed emergency temporary guardian owed the ward no duty under a third-party beneficiary theory . . . (see more) [Added 7/12/15]


The Florida Supreme Court holds that a trial court is not required to obtain a conflict of interest waiver when criminal codefendants are represented by the same lawyer but there is no actual conflict of interest between them
. . . (see more) [Added 7/11/15]


The Florida Supreme Court denies a petition to authorize the Florida Bar to raise membership fees by up to $100 per year to be used for legal aid to the poor
. . . (see more) [Added 7/9/15]


Per the Florida Supreme Court, a postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in denying a motion to disqualify the State Attorney’s Office based on an appearance of impropriety . . . (see more) [Added 7/3/15]


Statements made in an affidavit filed in a pending judicial proceeding were protected by absolute privilege from a defamation claim . . . (see more) [Added 7/1/15]


The Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee affirms Proposed Advisory Opinion 14-1 regarding the duties of lawyers in advising clients to "clean up" their social media pages before litigation is filed
. . . (see more) [Added 6/30/15]


The Fifth DCA criticizes the professionalism of a lawyer who based her appellate argument on the testimony of her client, which the trial court found to be less credible than the state’s witness
. . . (see more) [Added 6/24/15]


The requirement that a court make express findings of bad faith when awarding fees as a sanction under its inherent authority applies regardless of whether the award is against the party or the party’s lawyer . . . (see more) [Added 6/23/15]


The Florida Supreme Court removes a judge from the bench due to her misconduct as a lawyer before being elected to judicial office . . . (see more) [Added 6/20/15]


A lawyer need not research a particular issue in order to successfully defend a legal malpractice case on the ground of judgmental immunity . . . (see more) [Added 6/19/15]


A Judge of Compensation Claims erred in denying a motion to disqualify him due to “improper allegations” against the movant’s lawyer in an unrelated case . . . (see more) [Added 6/18/15]


A trial court erred in ordering a party’s lawyer, who was not counsel of record, to be deposed
. . .  (see more[Added 6/18/15]


A lawyer’s charging lien cannot include expenses incurred in prosecuting the lien, and may not enforced against an alimony award if doing so would deprive the former spouse of daily sustenance or minimal necessities of life
. . . (see more) [Added 6/17/15]


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


The Florida Supreme Court amends the Code of Judicial Conduct to permit coordinated campaigns and pooled resources in appellate judge retention elections . . . (see more) [Added 6/11/15]


A law firm’s charging lien does not take priority over an attorney’s fee indemnification provision in a spousal agreement entered into before the law firm was hired . . . (see more) [Added 6/8/15]


The Florida Supreme Court suspends a judge for 30 days for using social media for her husband’s judicial campaign . . . (see more) [Added 6/5/15]


A lawyer’s “abuse of the rehearing process” prompts the Fifth DCA to refer the lawyer to the Florida Bar and issue an order to show cause why he should not be monetarily sanctioned for filing the “meritless and insulting” motion . . . (see more) [Added 6/2/15]


The Florida 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]


A trial court abused its discretion in denying a motion for post-trial juror interview . . . (see more) [Added 5/20/15]


The Supreme Court issues a UPL advisory opinion concerning activities of community association managers . . . (see more) [Added 5/20/15]


The attorney-client privilege may not protect the client from being compelled to disclose whether her lawyer referred her to her treating doctors . . . (see more) [Added 5/20/15]


Jump-start your ethics research using the 2014 Florida Legal Ethics Review by Tim Chinaris . . .  (see more[Added 5/22/15]


The Second DCA imposes sanctions on a lawyer, refers her to the Bar, and orders her to self-report to the local Circuit Professionalism Panel for failure to follow proper appellate procedures
. . . (see more) [Added 5/13/15]


A party’s “foolish” and “astounding negligence” regarding a missing promissory note might warrant sanctions, but does not rise to the level of fraud upon the court . . . (see more) [Added 5/12/15]


A judge who made “acerbic comments” and showed “overall hostility” to defendants and their counsel is disqualified . . . (see more) [Added 5/12/15]


A law firm is disqualified for opposing a former client in a substantially related matter despite the passage of 10 years . . . (see more) [Added 4/30/15]


A legal malpractice action should be stayed or abated while the underlying litigation on which it is based is still pending . . . (see more) [Added 4/19/15]


The statutory worker’s comp sliding scale fee formula applies separately to each attorney involved in the case . . . (see more) [Added 4/18/15]


The Florida Board of Bar Examiners releases the results for the February 2015 general bar exam; Ave Maria tops the list . . . (see more[Added 4/13/15]


A law firm is hit with section 57.105 sanctions for trying to collect its fee against the homestead property of a client’s former spouse
. . . (see more) [Added 4/13/15]


The Third DCA affirms that enforcement of a charging lien in a contingent fee case should take place in the court where the underlying action is pending, but not until the contingency has occurred . . . (see more) [Added 4/12/15]


A joint defense agreement does not have to be in writing in order for a particular communication to be protected by the attorney-client privilege . . . (see more) [Added 4/4/15]


The attorney-client privilege might not be waived when a person within the ambit of the privilege uses an outside person in order to receive an emailed communication . . . (see more[Added 4/4/15]


A lawyer hired to represent a trustee does not owe a fiduciary duty to the trust beneficiaries, per the Eleventh Circuit . . . (see more) [Added 3/30/15]


The Second DCA reverses a verdict for defendants in a personal injury case and remands for a new trial, refusing to reward defense counsel’s “’gotcha’ tactics” . . . (see more) [Added 2/11/15]


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


The Supreme Court amends the Code for Resolving Professionalism Complaints to grant immunity from civil liability to persons on Local Professionalism Panels and Circuit Committees on Professionalism . . . (see more) [Added 2/2/15]


The Florida Supreme Court concludes that most “Medicaid planning” activities conducted by nonlawyers are the unlicensed practice of law . . . (see more) [Added 1/25/15]


The Fifth DCA criticizes improper prosecutorial argument, urging lawyers to avoid devolving into a “‘win at all costs’ mentality” . . . (see more) [Added 1/14/15]


In a “textbook case of why the legislature authorized an award of fees against obstinate public entities such as Appellant,” the Fifth DCA sanctions a county for filing a frivolous appeal . . . (see more) [Added 12/30/14]


A judge’s apparent attempts at "wit or erudition" fall flat, leading to his disqualification . . . (see more) [Added 12/23/14]


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


Rejecting the recommendation of the Board of Bar Examiners, the Supreme Court permanently denies admission to an applicant who “has demonstrated a lifetime of dealing in falsehoods” . . . (see more) [Added 12/3/14]


A lawyer who is “too personally involved with the issues” in a client’s case may violate ethics rules regarding competence and independence of professional judgment . . . (see more) [Added 11/29/14]


The Fourth DCA chastises a lawyer for “lobbing acrimonious grenades in the form of unprofessional comments directed at opposing counsel and the trial court” . . . (see more) [Added 11/29/14]


The Florida Bar asks the Supreme Court to approve proposed rules on diversion in discipline cases, attorney’s fees, confidentiality obligations and exceptions, duties to prospective clients, supervision of nonlawyer assistants, unauthorized practice of law, lawyer referral services, and others . . .  (see more[Added 11/18/14]


The Third DCA upholds an order requiring production of a law firm’s trust account wire receipt records over attorney-client privilege objections . . .  (see more[Added 11/5/14]


A settlement agreement conditioned upon a former client’s withdrawal of a Bar complaint is an unenforceable term that is not severable from the purported agreement . . .  (see more[Added 9/2/14]


A court erred in ordering production of a law firm’s file to its former client despite the firm’s assertion of a retaining lien . . .  (see more[Added 8/19/14]


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]





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