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FLORIDA NEWS ARCHIVE - LAWYER ETHICS, Withdrawal

Supreme Court adds new Rule of Juvenile Procedure governing withdrawal in dependency and termination of parental rights cases.  [Added 5/31/13]  --  In re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure, 115 So.3d 286 (Fla. 5/23/2013).

 

Per Supreme Court, trial courts may consider “excessive caseload conflict” issue in deciding motions to withdraw on systemic rather than case-by-case basis.  [Added 5/28/13]  --  Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida v. State, 115 So.3d 261 (Fla. 5/23/2013).

 

Court erred in dismissing case where party was not notified that his lawyers had withdrawn and was not provided copy of withdrawal order.  [Added 3/7/13]  --  Brunoehler v. Burger, 108 So.3d 733 (Fla. 5th DCA 3/1/2013).

 

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).

 

Criminal conviction reversed because court abused its discretion in denying motion to substitute counsel and for short continuance.  [Added 12/20/11]  --  Alvarez v. State, 75 So.3d 420 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).

 

Florida Supreme Court amends Rules of Judicial Administration regarding withdrawal motions, pro hac vice admissions, electronic filing, and electronic testimony.  [Added 10/4/11]

    The Florida Supreme Court amended the Rules of Judicial Administration effective January 1, 2012.  A sunEthics.com summary of the changes appears below.

    Motions to withdraw.  Amended Rule 2.505(f) requires that a motion to withdraw filed by a party's counsel include the client's last known telephone number and email address.  The Court stated in its opinion that the amendment would "make it easier for the court [in which the withdrawal motion was filed] to maintain contact with a party who may have to proceed pro se after withdrawal of the attorney."

    Pro hac vice admission.  Amended Rule 2.510(a) requires an attorney licensed in another state seeking pro hac vice admission in a Florida court "must make application in each court in which a case is filed even if a lower tribunal granted a motion to appear in the same case."  However, the amended rule goes on to specify that "[a]ppearances at different levels of the court system in the same case shall be deemed 1 appearance for the purposes of determining whether a foreign attorney has made more than 3 appearances within a 365-day period."

    Electronic filing.  New Rule 2.525(g) requires that "[a]ll documents transmitted in any electronic form under this rule must comply with the accessibility requirements of Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.526."  In turn, new Rule 2.526 requires that electronically-filed documents that become judicial branch records must be formatted in a manner that is accessible to persons with disabilities.

    Electronic testimony.  Looking toward the wider use of electronically-transmitted testimony, the Court amended Rule 2.530(d) to provide:  "A county or circuit court judge, general magistrate, special magistrate, or hearing officer may allow testimony to be taken through communication equipment if all parties consent or if permitted by another applicable rule of procedure."  In explaining this change, the Court stated that the amendment "will allow the various Florida Bar rules committees to consider whether their bodies of rules should be amended to allow for the use of communication equipment without the parties consent."  In re: Amendments to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, 73 So.3d 210 (Fla. 2011).

 

Fifth DCA denies motion to withdraw from appellate proceeding on ground of "irreconcilable differences."  [Added 9/26/11]  --  Benenati v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, 70 So.3d 600 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011).

 

Law firm may be liable in legal malpractice action for harm to former client occurring after firm withdrew from representation.  [Added 4/17/11]  --  Golden Gate Homes, LC v. Levey, 59 So.3d 275 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).

 

Court erred in denying motion to withdraw filed by lawyer who wasn't being paid.  [Added 3/4/11]  --  Roth v. Cortina, 59 So.2d 163 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).

 

Court erred in denying continuance where party was unemployed and her counsel  withdrew on eve of trial.  [Added 12/3/10]  --  Quintero v. Kenyon, 48 So.3d 808 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010).

 

Court erred in granting Public Defender's motion to withdraw based on alleged "excessive caseload" conflict.  [Added 7/8/10]  --  State v. Bowens, 39 So.3d 479 (Fla. 3d 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).

 

Lawyer appointed from "Involuntary Appointment List" to represent defendant in complex RICO prosecution should have been permitted to withdraw.  [Added 8/18/09]  --  Hagopian v. Justice Administrative Commission, 18 So.3d 625 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009).

 

Third DCA reverses circuit order permitting Public Defender's Office to decline representation in all future 3rd-degree felony cases.  [Added 5/15/09]  --  State v. Public Defender, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, 12 So.3d 798 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009).

 

Law firm's effort to withdraw from case in response to motion to disqualify may not remedy problem.  [Added 4/2/09]  --  Lewis v. Nical of Palm Beach, Inc., 10 So.3d 159 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009).

 

Regional Conflict Counsel has no standing to object to Public Defender's motion to withdraw from a case on conflict grounds.  [Added 3/20/09]  --  Johnson v. State, 6 So.3d 1262 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009).

 

Lawyer who withdrew from contingent fee case for health reasons may not have forfeited his right to fee.  [Added 11/1/07]  --  Collier v. Bohnet, 966 So.2d 1033 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007).

 

Defense counsel's "nodding acquaintance" with key state witness was not conflict of interest requiring counsel's withdrawal; defense counsel did not err in failing to withdraw; RPC 4-3.5(d)(4) constitutional.  [Added 10/17/07]  --  Kormondy v. State, 983 So.2d 418 (Fla. 2007).

 

Second DCA outlines procedure for lawyers to follow when withdrawing from or appearing in cases already on appeal.  In re P.G., 944 So.2d 443 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006).  NOTE:  See also S.H. v. Department of Children and Family Services, 955 So.2d 610 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007).

 

Client's absence from defense counsel's ex parte disclosure to court of counsel's concerns about his ability to be effective (due to anticipated bar complaint and client perjury) violated client's due process rights.  Frett v. State, 864 So.2d 577 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004).

 

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