sunEthics 

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




The Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimands a judge for election violations . . . (see more) [Added 5/18/21]


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]


A medical provider that obtained payment from an insurer for PIP benefit payments, but not the statutory penalty or postage, within 30 days of giving written notice is not entitled to attorney’s fees . . . (see more) [Added 5/13/21]


An insurer’s claim file materials are protected by work product privilege where the insurer paid on a loss but the amount of coverage remains in dispute . . . (see more) [Added 5/11/21]


A trial court erred in awarding fees to insureds under F.S. 627.428 where their suit against the insurer “was not a necessary catalyst to resolve the dispute" . . . (see more) [Added 5/7/21]


A trial court erred in assessing expert witness fees as part of a sanction under F.S. 57.105 . . . (see more) [Added 5/5/21]


A trial court that conducted an adequate Faretta inquiry when a defendant waived his right to counsel at a hearing did not err by not conducting another Faretta inquiry 3 weeks later before allowing the defendant to represent himself at trial . . . (see more) [Added 5/3/21]


Summary judgment for defendants in a legal malpractice case is reversed because the trial court erred in prohibiting the plaintiff from deposing a defendant lawyer and in entering judgment before completion of discovery . . . (see more) [Added 4/29/21]


A judge who filed a bar complaint against a party’s counsel is disqualified from presiding over the party’s case . . . (see more) [Added 4/27/21]


Failure to have a contingent fee agreement signed by the client is fatal to a law firm’s breach of contract and tortious interference claims . . . (see more) [Added 4/23/21]


An order awarding fees based on a proposal for settlement is reversed because the proposal was premature in violation of Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.442 . . . (see more) [Added 4/22/21]


A convicted criminal defendant who was serving his sentence and was not afforded counsel when called to testify against his accomplice was not deprived of counsel under the Sixth Amendment . . . (see more) [Added 4/19/21]


The July 2021 Florida bar examination will be administered online . . . (see more) [Added 4/16/21]


The trial court correctly disqualified a lawyer and his law firm on the basis of the movant’s subjective belief that the firm represented her when it advised her regarding an issue that became relevant when the firm later sued her . . . (see more) [Added 4/15/21]


Florida State leads the state in pass rate for the February 2021 general bar examination administered online . . . (see more) [Added 4/12/2021]


Although an inadvertent cut-and-paste of an incorrect citation may have occurred, the Fourth DCA reverses the denial of a plaintiff’s motion for fees because under the facts of the case the defendant had sufficient notice of the basis of plaintiff’s claim . . . (see more) [Added 4/11/2021]


A substantial fee award based on counsels’ current billing rates is affirmed in a case filed in 2010, but an award of prejudgment interest is reversed . . . (see more) [Added 4/9/21]


Acceptance of an intervening proposal for settlement rendered a subsequent attempt to accept the initial proposal invalid . . . (see more) [Added 4/8/21]


The federal court has concurrent but not exclusive jurisdiction over a cause of action for legal malpractice allegedly committed during the course of a federal bankruptcy proceeding . . . (see more) [Added 4/6/21]


Fee- and cost-shifting provisions in a representation agreement’s arbitration clause violate the public policy expressed in Rule 4-1.8(h) and thus are unenforceable, per the Third DCA . . . (see more) [Added 4/1/21]


A trial court erred in denying a motion for fees on the ground that the proposal for settlement was ambiguous . . . (see more) [Added 3/30/21]


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]


A trial court’s order denying all discovery into an asserted defense of settlement is quashed by the Fifth DCA because it departed from the essential requirements of law as to waiver of attorney-client privilege and application of judicial estoppel . . . (see more) [Added 3/24/21]


The Second DCA determines that the lodestar approach of Florida Patient’s Compensation Fund v. Rowe does not apply to fees ordered as part of criminal restitution . . . (see more) [Added 3/22/21]


The Third DCA finds fundamental error in closing argument and reverses a verdict for the plaintiff in an insurance case . . . (see more) [Added 3/19/21]


A trial court erred in ordering disclosure of an insurance adjuster’s report and photos over work product objections
. . . (see more) [Added 3/17/21]


In denying a writ of prohibition, the Third DCA reiterates that adverse rulings do not constitute legally sufficient grounds for a judge’s disqualification . . . (see more) [Added 3/15/21]


A third party beneficiary suing for legal malpractice is not bound by an arbitration provision in the retainer agreement because he did not sign it . . . (see more) [Added 3/1/21]


The Second DCA concludes that an insured’s public adjuster cannot be a “disinterested appraiser” under the insurance policy’s appraisal process , , , (see more) [Added 2/22/21]


The Third DCA denies certiorari relief relating to whether an assignment for the benefit of creditors transferred the attorney-client privilege under Florida law . . . (see more) [Added 2/19/21]


Acknowledging the Supreme Court’s “flexible approach” to determining who was the prevailing party, the Fourth DCA addresses dicta in its prior cases stating that breach of contract cases “can never be ties” . . . (see more) [Added 2/15/21]


The Supreme Court suspends a lawyer for 2 years rather than the recommended 90 days for involvement in a client’s Ponzi scheme as admitted in a non-prosecution agreement . . . (see more) [Added 2/11/21]


Despite affirming a plaintiff’s judgment in a tobacco case, the Fourth DCA strongly condemned “inflammatory improper” plaintiff’s arguments implicitly comparing defendants to the Nazis . . . (see more) [Added 2/5/21]


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 Fifth DCA denies a certiorari petition by defendants in a medical malpractice action who were ordered to provide discovery disclosing how much money their counsel’s law firm paid to trial experts over the past 3 years . . . (see more) [Added 12/18/20]


Florida International University law school posts the top passage rate for the October 2020 general bar exam . . . (see more) [Added 11/20/20]


The Supreme Court publicly reprimands a judge who threatened a courthouse employee with contempt in an effort to quiet a disturbance outside his courtroom . . . (see more) [Added 11/19/20]


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 amends the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar to remove “conditional admission” as a separate category of Bar membership, effectively replacing it with admission pursuant to a consent agreement under the bar admission rules . . . (see more) [Added 9/20/20]


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 tightens the rules that apply when lawyers or law firms employ lawyers who have been suspended or disbarred . . . (see more) [Added 6/3/20]


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]


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 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 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]

NEW in Florida Legal Ethics . . .