sunEthics 

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

Florida - ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP



Third DCA rejects argument that principals of law firm’s former corporate client should not be held liable for the firm’s unpaid fees.  [Added 8/30/17]
          Law Firm represented client Zodiac, Inc., in federal litigation.  Zodiac, through its vice-president Daniel Felger, signed the firm’s engagement letter.  The letter was addressed to Zodiac, Daniel Felger, and David Felger (Zodiac’s president), “and referred consistently to ‘you’ rather than to ‘Zodiac.’”  Zodiac later withdrew from the representation and sued Zodiac and both Felgers in state court for unpaid fees.  The Felgers denied that they were individually responsible for the firm’s fees.  The trial court entered judgment against all 3 defendants for the fees.
The Third DCA affirmed.  “The trial court correctly determined that, when the Felgers filed insurance claims for reimbursement of fees incurred in the federal lawsuit, they maintained that they were individually liable for those fees.”  Further, the Felgers had accepted reimbursement for some of their payments to Law Firm.   Zodiac Group, Inc. v. GrayRobinson, P.A., __ So.3d __ (Fla. 3d DCA, Nos. 3D-16-1766, 3D16-322, 8/9/2017), 2017 WL 3400834.


Court erred in imputing statements of counsel to client and finding fraud on court based on those statements.  [Added 1/18/16]
Birth mother C.B. moved to withdraw consent to adoption of her child.  She was represented by privately retained counsel, Lawyer.  At a case management conference, her privately-retained counsel (“Lawyer”) “orally asserted that C.B. was not permitted to see the child until she signed the consent paperwork.”  Ultimately, the court held an evidentiary hearing.  After the hearing, the court “found that C.B. committed fraud on the court based solely on [Lawyer’s] allegations at the earlier case management conference” and dismissed C.B.’s motion to withdraw consent.
The Second DCA granted C.B.’s petition for certiorari and quashed the order.  “The only basis for the court’s finding that C.B. perpetrated fraud on the court was private counsel's representation that the adoption entity denied C.B. access to her child in order to pressure her into signing the consent form.  . . .  The statements made by private counsel during the case management conference should not have been imputed to C.B. without a proper evidentiary hearing.  See, e.g., Traylor v. State, 596 So.2d 957, 979 (Fla. 1992) (Kogan, J., concurring in part, dissenting in part) (explaining that the acts of an attorney may be imputed to the client except in circumstances involving fraud or violations of professional ethics).  The record does not reflect that there was any evidentiary support for the trial court’s finding that private counsel made the statements in reliance on information she received from C.B.” In re M.W., __ So.3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA, No. 2D15-3073, 12/30/2015), 2015 WL 9487595.



Judgment for lawyer in suit against former client for posting defamatory online reviews affirmed on appeal. [Added 1/8/16]
Lawyer Giustibelli represented Blake in a divorce from her husband, Birzon.  After a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship, Blake and Birzon posted negative online reviews regarding Giustibelli.  The reviews stated that Giustibelli charged Blake 4 times the amount of fees originally quoted, that she lacked integrity, and that she falsified a contract.  Alleging that the reviews were defamatory, Giustibelli sued Blake and Birzon for libel.  The trial court entered a judgment of $350,000 in punitive damages for Giustibelli.  Blake and Birzon appealed.
The Fourth DCA affirmed.  Blake and Birzon contended that “their internet reviews constituted statements of opinion and thus were protected by the First Amendment and not actionable as defamation.”  The appeals court disagreed.  “all the reviews contained allegations that Giustibelli lied to Blake regarding the attorney’s fee. Two of the reviews contained the allegation that Giustibelli falsified a contract. These are factual allegations, and the evidence showed they were false.”  Appellants’ reliance on Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. 418 U.S. 323 (1974), was misplaced.  Giustibelli was not a media defendant, and for non-media defendants libel per se still exists in Florida. Blake v. Giustibelli, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D14-3231, 1/6/2016), 2016 WL _______.


There is a presumption that lawyer is duly authorized to act for client and accept service on client’s behalf. [Added 12/21/15]
In a domestic relations case, the trial court determined that it had personal jurisdiction over him and ordered him to pay money toward Former Wife’s fees.  Former Husband’s then-counsel had filed an Acceptance of Service on his behalf.  Former Husband appealed, asserting inter alia that the court erred in ruling that it had personal jurisdiction over him and that he waived his right to contest the issue.
The First DCA affirmed.  Former Husband argued that there was no evidence in the record to show that his counsel had authority to accept service.  Such a showing was not necessary.  “[T]here exists a presumption that an attorney, as an officer of the court, is duly authorized to act for a client whom he or she professes to represent.  See Chancelor v. BWC Invs., 57 So.3d 969, 971 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).  The Former Husband acknowledges on appeal that his affidavit filed in support of his motion to dismiss did not directly address his relationship with [his counsel] or her authority to accept or waive personal service on his behalf.  Based upon such, the presumption that [counsel] had authority to accept service on the Former Husband’s behalf is conclusive.” Horton v. Horton, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 1st DCA, No. 1D15-1825, 11/16/2015), 2015 WL 7135729.


Lawyer hired to represent trustee does not owe fiduciary duty to trust beneficiaries, per Eleventh Circuit. [Added 3/30/15]
Lawyer was retained to represent Trustee of a trust.  Two beneficiaries of the trust later sued Lawyer for breach of fiduciary duty.  Lawyer moved for summary judgment on the ground, asserting that the lawyer for a trustee owes no duty to the trust beneficiaries.  The trial court granted Lawyer’s summary judgment motion.
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, concluding that Lawyer “owed no fiduciary duty to” the beneficiaries.  The court cited 3 authorities as support for its conclusion.  First, under F.S. 90.5021(2) (2011), regarding attorney-client privilege and communications between a lawyer and a client acting as a fiduciary, “only the person or entity acting as a fiduciary is considered to be a client of the lawyer.”  Second, the Comment to Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.7 states that “[i]n Florida, the personal representative is the client rather than the estate or the beneficiaries.”  Third, the court noted that ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 94-380 states that “[t]he majority of jurisdictions consider that a lawyer who represents a fiduciary does not also represent the beneficiaries.” 
In the instant case, the beneficiaries “have not identified any contrary legal authority in Florida establishing a fiduciary relationship between a lawyer representing a trustee and the beneficiaries of a trust.”  The court rejected the beneficiaries’ reliance on In re Estate of Gory, 570 So.2d 1381 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990), which held that there was no attorney-client relationship between the law firm hired to represent the personal representative of an estate and the estate beneficiaries, even if the law firm owed a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries. Bain v. McIntosh, __ Fed.Appx. __ (11th Cir. 2015), 2015 WL 859481.


Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee publishes Proposed Advisory Opinion 14-1 on duties of lawyers in advising clients to “clean up” their social media pages before litigation is filed.
   [Added 2/4/15]
          At its meeting in Orlando on January 23, 2015, the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee voted to publish Proposed Advisory Opinion (“PAO”) 14-1, which addresses a lawyer’s ethical obligations in advising clients to “clean up” their social media pages before suit is filed in order to remove embarrassing information that the lawyer believes is not material to the likely litigation.
          The essentials of the Committee’s opinion are found in the closing paragraph of PAO 14-1:  “In summary, a lawyer may advise that a client change privacy settings on the client’s social media pages so that they are not publicly accessible.  Provided that there is no violation of the rules or substantive law pertaining to the preservation and/or spoliation of evidence, a lawyer also may advise that a client remove information relevant to the foreseeable proceeding from social media pages as long as an appropriate record of the social media information or data is preserved.”
          PAO 14-1 will be published in the February 15, 2015, issue of the Florida Bar News.  Interested bar members will have 30 days from the date of publication in which to file comments on PAO 14-1.  Timely comments will be considered by the Professional Ethics Committee at its next meeting.
          Watch sunEthics.com for updates.


Second DCA indicates that one party had no standing to challenge authority of lawyer who appeared for opposing party.
[Added 12/26/14]
In the consolidated appeal of cases involving orders purporting to affect parties as well as non-parties, the Second DCA stated the following in a footnote concerning a party’s effort in the trial court to strike a lawyer’s notice of appearance for an opposing party: “In the trial court, the court also struck Attorney Rydberg's notice of appearance based on its conclusion that Attorney Rydberg had no authority to represent THMI. However, the Estate provided no Florida case law in the trial court – nor does it provide any here – that would support the notion that it had standing to challenge the authority of an attorney who appears on behalf of the opposing party. Given that an attorney's time is money, we find it almost inconceivable that an attorney would jump into the fray of complex litigation without the authority of the client whom he or she claims to represent. Further, we note that an attorney's obligation of candor as an officer of the court would generally preclude an attorney from purporting to represent a party without actually having the authority to do so. In light of these financial and ethical restraints, we are unwilling to create precedent that would allow parties to challenge the authority of their opponent's counsel. “ Trans Health Management Inc. v. Nunziata, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA, Nos. 2D12-764, 2D12-809, 2D12-810, 2D12-2102, 12/19/2014).


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.
[Added 11/29/14]
Former Husband was involved in post-dissolution proceedings with Former Wife. Former Husband was represented by attorney Ferrer, who also is Former Husband’s current wife. Former Wife filed a motion to hold Former Husband in contempt. Former Wife also moved to disqualify Ferrer from representing Former Husband at the contempt hearing on the ground that Ferrer would be a material witness for Former Husband. Rule 4-3.7(a) provides that “[a] lawyer shall not act as advocate at a trial in which the lawyer is likely to be a necessary witness on behalf of the client . . .”
The trial court granted the motion to disqualify Lawyer from representing Former Husband in the post-dissolution proceedings. The Fourth DCA ruled that the disqualification order “departs from the essential requirements of law because it is not limited to Ferrer’s participation during the contempt hearing. As is well established by numerous Florida courts, the fact that Ferrer was a potentially necessary witness at the contempt hearing would not prevent her from serving as the former husband’s attorney in other pre-trial, trial, and post-trial proceedings. See KMS Rest. Corp. v. Searcy, Denney, Scarola, Barnhart & Shipley P.A., 107 So.3d 552, 552 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013) (citing Graves v. Lapi, 834 So.2d 359, 360 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), and Cerillo v. Highley, 797 So.2d 1288, 1289 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)).”
The Fourth DCA criticized Former Wife’s counsel, Kaplan, for not citing the court to the controlling cases (KMS, Graves, Cerillo). The court took the “extraordinary but not unprecedented step of awarding appellate attorney’s fees as a sanction.” Kaplan’s actions “transformed this ‘simple’ matter into an unnecessary and protracted controversy by the failure of Kaplan to acknowledge clear and unambiguous controlling law directly adverse to his client’s position.” Furthermore, Kaplan’s failure to confess error at the over-broad disqualification order “was a self-evident violation of counsel’s duty to disclosure legal authority adverse to his client’s legal position and argument” under Rule 4-3.3(a)(3).
Finally, in a footnote the appeals court chastised Ferrer’s conduct, stating that she “does not aid her husband (and client’s) case by lobbing acrimonious grenades in the form of unprofessional comments directed at opposing counsel and the trial court. We are stunned at Ferrer’s disrespectful, offensive, and inflammatory argument directed at the trial judge.” Citing rules regarding competence (Rule 4-1.1) and exercising independent professional judgment in rendering candid advice, the court observed that a lawyer “who is too personally involved with the issues in a litigation should consider withdrawing or risk violating ethical duties owed to the client.” Lieberman v. Lieberman, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 4th DCA, No. 4D14-509, 11/26/2014).

Settlement agreement conditioned on former client’s withdrawal of Bar complaint is unenforceable term that is not severable from purported agreement.
[Added 9/2/14]
Lawyer Carr represented Jaffe in establishing a limited guardianship over Jaffe’s son. This was done in order to bring a probate action against an estate. Jaffe hired Carr to handle the probate case on a contingent fee basis. There was no fee agreement regarding the guardianship work by Carr. After a settlement in the probate case, Jaffe discharged Carr. Carr billed Jaffe for his work in the guardianship case, which prompted Jaffe to file a complaint with the Florida Bar. The parties attempted to negotiate a settlement, “but when Jaffe refused to withdraw the Florida Bar complaint as a condition of the settlement, the negotiations broke down.” The court awarded fees to Carr. Jaffe appealed.
The Third DCA affirmed. Among other things, Jaffe contended that the portion of the purported agreement regarding withdrawal of the Bar complaint was “severable so as to render the remainder an effective agreement.” The court disagreed. The court nnoted that “an agreement conditioned upon withdrawal of a Florida Bar complaint is unenforceable. Fla. Bar v. Frederick, 756 So.2d 79, 86 (Fla. 2000); Fla. Bar v. Fitzgerald, 541 So.2d 602, 605 (Fla. 1989).” (In a footnote, the court pointed out that attempting to negotiate a settlement conditioned on withdrawal of a Bar complaint is improper as conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice in violation of Rule 4-8.4(d)).” The offending provision, however, was not severable “because the illegal term when to the essence of the settlement.” Jaffe v. Guardianship of Michael Ross Jaffe, __ So.3d __ (Fla. 3d DCA, No. 3D13-2052, 8/27/2014).

Supreme Court denies motion to withdraw filed by lawyer representing convicted criminal defendant who wants to argue for death sentence.
[Added 7/17/14]
Lawyer represented a defendant who was convicted of murder. Defendant wanted to argue in favor of imposition of a death sentence. Lawyer moved to withdraw, citing Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.2(a) (lawyer must abide by client’s decisions regarding objective of representation). Lawyer argued that withdrawal was necessary to avoid a violation of his ethical duty to his client, Defendant.
The Supreme Court denied Lawyer’s motion to withdraw. Noting its legal responsibility to ensure that the death penalty is not imposed in an arbitrary or capricious manner, the Court stated that the “only way” to fulfill this duty was to have “meaningful appellate review of each death sentence” – even where a defendant may wish to be executed. See Klokoc v. State, 589 So.2d 219 (Fla. 1991); Ocha v. State, 826 So.2d 956 (Fla. 2002).
The Court concluded: “[W]e discern no ethical violation in requiring current counsel to continue to prosecute this appeal fully for the benefit of the Court in meeting its statutory and constitutional duties. Accordingly, the motion to withdraw is hereby denied. Consistent with this Court’s prior precedent in analogous situations, and as requested in the motion, [Defendant] may seek leave to file a pro se supplemental brief setting forth his personal positions and interests with regard to the subject matter of the appeal.”
Three justices dissented. Robertson v. State, __ So.3d __ (Fla., No. SC13-443, 7/10/2014).

Reversing Third DCA, Supreme Court applies “hot potato rule” in ordering disqualification of lawyers for violating conflict of interest rules -- even though lawyers were not "direct counsel" of some affiants who urged disqualification.
[Added 4/7/14]
See discussion under "Conflicts of Interest" section. Young v. Achenbauch, __ So.3d __ (Fla., No. SC12-988, 3/27/2014).

Rejecting respondent lawyer’s arguments as to client identity, Supreme Court suspends him for 1 year instead of 90 days as recommended by referee.
  [Added 12/11/13]  --  Florida Bar v. Whitney, __ So.3d __, 38 Fla.L.Weekly S878 (Fla., No. SC11-1135, 12/5/2013), 2013 WL 6305609. 

Eleventh Circuit concludes that law firm did not ghostwrite bankruptcy documents in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  [Added 9/18/13]  --  In re Hood, 727 F.3d 1360 (11th Cir. 8/29/2013). 

Supreme Court rules that criminal defendant’s lawyer, not defendant, has final authority to call or not call witnesses at trial.  [Added 4/14/13]  -- Puglisi v. State, 110 So.3d 1196 (Fla. 4/11/2013). 

Fifth DCA indicates that lawyer’s motion to withdraw should be granted where attorney-client relationship has become “adversarial.”  [Added 11/13/12] -- Bowin v. Molyneaux, 100 So.3d 1197 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012). 

Public Defender’s Office representing ward in Baker Act case should not have been discharged on claim that guardian’s lawyer could represent ward.  [Added 4/16/12]  -- Auxier v. Jerome Golden Center for Behavioral Health, 85 So.3d 1164 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). 

Per Third DCA, “traditional conflict model” is inadequate to resolve disqualification motions in class action context.  [Added 3/26/12] -- Broin v. Phillip Morris Companies, Inc., 84 So.3d 1107 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012).

Suspending rather than admonishing lawyer, Supreme Court broadly construes rule against limiting malpractice liability to client.  [Added 3/19/12] -- Florida Bar v. Head, 84 So.3d 292 (Fla. 2012). 

Professional Ethics Committee adopts Florida Ethics Opinion 11-1 regarding representation of Department of Revenue in child support cases.  [Added 9/30/11] --   At its meeting in Orlando on September 21, the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee approved Florida Ethics Opinion 11-1.  This opinion responded to an inquiry from the Eleventh Judicial Circuit State Attorney's Office.  The Department of Revenue ("DOR")  is responsible for administering the Title IV-D child-support program in Florida.  The state attorney's office represents DOR.  The law requires DOR to review child support obligations to determine whether the amounts remain consistent with current support guidelines and to seek adjustments when appropriate.  In carrying out these duties DOR may find itself seeking to enforce a child support obligation against a non-custodial parent and later seeking a reduction of the same support order on that non-custodial parent’s behalf.  F.S. 409.2564(5) provides that "[a]n attorney-client relationship exists only between the department and the legal services providers in all Title IV-D cases."    Former Florida Ethics Opinion 92-2 had concluded that, despite F.S. 409.2564(5), "it would be unethical for an attorney who has received confidential information from one parent to later act adversely to that parent in a matter involving that confidential information "  In response to the inquiry from the State Attorney's Office, the Committee withdrew Opinion 92-2.  Opinion 11-1 was adopted to replace the withdrawn opinion.  Opinion 11-1 references Department of Revenue v. Collingwood, 43 So.3d 952 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010), and concludes:  "Because the parent as a matter of law is not a client of the lawyer representing DOR, that lawyer owes the parent none of the ethical obligations that are premised on the existence of a lawyer-client relationship, including the obligations of loyalty and confidentiality.  Accordingly, there are no ethical limitations on the lawyer’s representing DOR in its (DOR’s) providing services to a parent, regardless of a prior representation in which the services were provided to the other parent."  In PAO 11-1 the Committee acknowledged the existence of Fla.Stat. sec. 90.502(5) but stated that "[a]lthough the Committee believes that this provision does not in itself create a lawyer-client relationship between the lawyer and the recipient of DOR’s services, its impact is a legal question beyond the scope of an ethics opinion."

Court should not have disqualified lawyer despite unusual conflict of interest on the part of person who hired him.  [Added 8/16/11]  --  Razin v. A Milestone, LLC, 67 So.3d 391 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). 

Supreme Court suspends lawyer for providing improper financial assistance to client.  [Added 6/28/11]  --  Florida Bar v. Patrick, 67 So.3d 1009 (Fla. 2011). 

Enforcement of representation agreement clause requiring arbitration of legal malpractice claims is not against public policy, per Second DCA.  [Added 6/20/11]  --  Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLP v. Forier, 67 So.3d 315 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011). 

Court erred in denying motion to compel arbitration in legal malpractice case.  [Added 3/30/11]  -- Mintz & Fraade, P.C. v. Beta Drywall Acquisition, LLC, 59 So.3d 1173 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).

Supreme Court suspends lawyer whose sexual relationships with clients violated conflict rule and other rules.  [Added 3/7/11]  --  Florida Bar v. Roberto, 59 So.3d 1101 (Fla. 2011). 

Fourth DCA construes arbitration clause in attorney-client contingent fee agreement, relying on some familiar principles.  [Added 2/11/11]  --  Feldman v. Davis, 53 So.3d 1132 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).

First DCA clarifies that Department of Revenue lawyers represent Department, not parent, in child support actions.  [Added 7/19/10]  -- Florida Dept. of Revenue v. Collingwood, 43 So.3d 952 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010). 

Court erred in denying motion to withdraw because Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel not subject to appointment for indigent defendants in postconviction case.  [Added 4/26/10]  --  Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, Second District v. Smith, 33 So.3d 105 (Fla. 2d DCA 2010). 

Law firm's representation of an LLC did not create attorney-client relationship with a principal for purposes of disqualification.  [Added 3/11/10]  -- PMG Collins, LLC v. R and G Enterprises, LLC, 30 So.3d 605 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010). 

Court erred by failing to hold evidentiary hearing before concluding that no attorney-client relationship had been established.  [Added 6/12/09]  --  Powell v. Solowsky, 14 So.3d 1064 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009).  

Moving for continuance in criminal case was lawyer's decision and was proper even where client opposed it.  [Added 5/26/09]  --  Laidler v. State, 10 So.3d 1136 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009). 

$250,000 judgment is reversed, partly because one party's lawyer failed to fairly represent it during settlement conference.  [Added 4/13/09]  --  Ashtead Group PLC v. Rentokil Initial PLC, 7 So.3d 606 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009).  

Third DCA reminds lawyers of the high standards that apply when lawyers engage in business dealings with clients.  [Added 3/4/09]  -- Brigham v. Brigham, 11 So.3d 374 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009). 

Third DCA discusses test for establishment of attorney-client relationship in context of summary judgment granted in legal malpractice case.  [Added 11/6/08]  --  Mansur v. Podhurst Orseck, P.A., 994 So.2d 435 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008). 

Order enforcing personal injury settlement reversed because plaintiff's lawyer exceeded settlement authority.  [Added 10/21/08]  --  Johnson v. Skarvan, 992 So.2d 873 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008). 

Order enforcing settlement agreement reversed due to lack of evidence that counsel had "clear and unequivocal" authority to settle  [Added 7/24/08]  --  Architectural Network, Inc. v. Gulf Bay Land Holdings II, Ltd., 989 So.2d 662 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008). 

Claim for contingent fee denied because contract was signed by person without authority and minor  [Added 6/4/08]  --  Charles v. Klemick and Gampel, P.A., 984 So.2d 563 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008).

 "Form" language in retainer agreement is not by itself sufficient to authorize party's lawyer to file proposal for settlement  [Added 4/18/08]  --  Ponce v. U-Haul of Florida, 979 So.2d 380 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) (on rehearing). 

Lawyer is unsuccessful in attempt to set aside client's settlement and continue suit in client's name to pursue lawyer's fee award  [Added 3/26/08]  --  Manzini & Associates, P.A. v. Broward Sheriff's Office, 976 So.2d 688 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008). 

Judgment awarding fees to lawyer is reversed on ground that there was no evidence lawyer had actual or apparent authority to represent purported corporate client.  [Added 12/9/07]  --   Florida State Oriental Medical Ass'n, Inc. v. Slepin, 971 So.2d 141 (Fla. 1st DCA 2007). 

Capital Collateral Regional Counsel not authorized to represent convicted death penalty defendants in collateral attacks on prior convictions used as aggravators in their convictions, per Florida Supreme Court.  [Added 11/27/07]  --  State v. Kilgore, 976 So.2d 1066 (Fla. 2007). 

Lawyer appointed as "special counsel" to present mitigation evidence in capital case does not have attorney-client relationship with defendant.  [Added 10/10/07]  --  Grim v. State, 971So.2d 85 (Fla. 2007). 

Citing Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.14, Fourth DCA affirms trial court's refusal to appoint attorney ad litem for allegedly incompetent father who was represented by counsel in dependency case.  [Added 6/25/07]  --  S.K. v. Dept. of Children and Families, 959 So.2d 1209 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007). 

Workers' compensation claimant considered "represented by counsel" at time claimant executed release even though counsel did not know about or advise claimant regarding release.  [Added 11/29/06]  --  Brewer v. Laborfinders of Tampa, 944 So.2d 1102 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006). 

Corporation's lawyer represents entity under Rule 4-1.13, and under some circumstances may have duty to inquire further below following directives of corporate agent.  [Added 10/23/06]  -- Palafrugell Holdings, Inc. v. Cassel, 940 So.2d 492 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006). 

Public Defender has no authority to represent criminal defendant in non-capital collateral postconviction proceeding, unless appointed.  [Added 9/8/06]  -- Mann v. State, 937 So.2d 722 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006). 

Florida Bar Ethics Committee adopts opinion approving electronic storage of lawyers' files.  [Added 6/26/06]  --  Florida Ethics Opinion 06-1. 

Settlement not enforced where record shows lawyer did not have "clear and unequivocal" authority from client.  [Added 4/14/06]  -- Fivecoat v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 928 So.2d 402 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006). 

Law firm's alleged ethical violation did not support claim for tortious interference with another lawyer's attorney-client relationship.  [Added 4/11/06]  --  Loreen I. Kreizinger, P.A. v. Sheldon J. Schlesinger, P.A., 925 So.2d 431 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006). 

Fraud or similar "bad" acts by defendant needed in order for lawyer to maintain action for tortious interference with attorney-client relationship.  [Added 2/3/2006]  --  Ferris v. South Florida Stadium Corp., 926 So.2d 399 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006). 

Without "clear and unequivocal grant of authority" settlement agreement entered by lawyer for client is unenforceable.  [Added 11/14/04]  -- Sharick v. Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, Inc., 891 So.2d 562 (Fla. 3d DCA 2004). 

Tortious interference claim lies where complaint alleged fraud or collusion to deprive law firm of fee, but law firm cannot forbid client to settle without firm's approval.  [Added 10/29/04]  --  Ellis Rubin, P.A. v. Alarcon, 892 So.2d 501 (Fla. 3d DCA 2004).