sunEthics 

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


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The Florida Bar Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics are changed to permit out-of-state lawyers who are authorized to practice in Florida to obtain Bar advisory ethics opinions . . . (see more) [Added 1/21/20]


A person whose request for a public record was denied until the conclusion of an active investigation was properly denied attorney’s fees . . . (see more) [Added 1/17/20]


The Fourth DCA concludes that a trial judge should not be disqualified based on the judge’s Socratic questioning, testing hypotheticals, and comments about his rulings in other cases . . . (see more) [Added 1/15/20]


A court erred in compelling a county employee to testify even though he had not been retained as an expert witness and had no personal knowledge that would make him a fact witness . . . (see more) [Added 1/13/20]


Although the prosecution made an improper argument in closing, defense counsel did not move for mistrial after objection was sustained and the comment did not rise to the level of fundamental error
. . . (see more) [Added 1/10/20]


Admonishing defense counsel in front of the jury does not result in the judge’s disqualification . . . (see more) [Added 1/7/20]


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 determines that during a Faretta inquiry a trial judge need not ask specifically ask about the defendant’s age, experience, and understanding of criminal procedure . . . (see more) [Added 12/30/19]


The Supreme Court adopts new Rule of Judicial Administration 2.570 providing for parental leave continuances in cases except criminal, juvenile, and involuntary civil commitment of sexually violent predator matters . . . (see more) [Added 12/19/19]


A defendant in an action for unpaid condo association assessments is entitled to prevailing party fees even though he sold his unit during the pendency of the litigation . . . (see more) [Added 12/17/19]


The Supreme Court rules that a public defender’s office did not provide ineffective assistance by representing the defendant despite one of its lawyers being precluded from the case due to an acquaintance with the victim and her family . . . (see more) [Added 12/11/19]


A trial court erred in denying fees to a party that prevailed on a “separate and distinct” claim in a lawsuit, even though the party did not prevail on the “significant issue” in the case . . . (see more) [Added 12/9/19]


The Fourth DCA reverses a conviction because the prosecutor commented on the defendant’s post-arrest silence . . . (see more) [Added 12/4/19]


The Second DCA criticizes a prosecutor’s closing argument but affirms the conviction because the unobjected-to argument did not constitute fundamental error . . . (see more) [Added 12/2/19]


A proposal for settlement accepted by one co-defendant after a proposal was made to the other co-defendant is a “postoffer settlement” that is added to the net judgment in determining entitlement to attorney’s fees under F.S. 768.79 . . . (see more) [Added 11/27/19]


A petition for writ of mandamus is the proper vehicle for challenging the denial of a public records request that was based on an alleged exemption . . . (see more) [Added 11/25/19]


A judge who recently issued a lengthy sanctions order against a law firm in one case is disqualified from 3 other pending cases in which the law firm is involved . . . (see more) [Added 11/21/19]


The Supreme Court reprimands a judge for behavior that was “inappropriate, intemperate, and violated the Canons” of judicial ethics . . . (see more) [Added 11/18/19]


The Supreme Court rejects a referee’s not guilty recommendation and concludes that a lawyer violated rules against misrepresentation by using altered photo lineups in a pretrial deposition in a criminal case . . . (see more) [Added 11/8/19]


A trial court erred in denying fees in a dissolution case on the ground that the claim had not been properly pleaded . . . (see more) [Added 11/5/19]


The Code of Judicial Conduct requires a judge to report a lawyer to the Florida Bar for making false representations to the court . . . (see more) [Added 11/1/19]


A defendant’s otherwise-clear written request to represent himself was not rendered equivocal just because his request did not also ask to dismiss his counsel . . . (see more) [Added 10/25/19]


Defense counsel may not ask a plaintiff to disclose a referral relationship between her lawyer and a treating physician due to attorney-client privilege, but may ask the physician about the percentage of practice and income obtained through referrals from plaintiff’s counsel . . . (see more) [Added 10/22/19]


A lawyer is disqualified due to a prior representation in a substantially related matter, per the Third DCA . . . (see more) [Added 10/17/19]


A law firm is entitled to only quantum meruit rather than a full contingent fee following departure from the firm of a lawyer who was titled “profit partner” but was not an equity partner in the firm . . . (see more) [Added 10/10/19]


A trial court properly ordered redaction of mediation communications from a “shade meeting” transcript before it is released as a public record . . . (see more) [Added 10/7/19]


In affirming a fee award in a dissolution case, the appeals court rejected the argument that use of the term “frivolous and vexatious litigation” in the fee order meant that the fees had been awarded as a sanction . . . (see more) [Added 10/4/19]


The Supreme Court amends the Registered Paralegal Program rules to allow lawyers from any state other than Florida to become registered paralegals . . . (see more) [Added 9/25/19]


An order requiring production of materials presumptively covered by attorney-client privilege is quashed because it was issued without an in camera inspection . . . (see more) [Added 9/23/19]


Florida International tops the state in the July 2019 general bar examination . . . (see more) [Added 9/16/19]


The Supreme Court rejects a suspension recommendation and instead disbars a lawyer who took improper loans from elderly clients, commingled trust funds, and misused trust funds . . . (see more) [Added 9/9/19]


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 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]


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]


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]


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]


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]

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