Jacksonville Legal Malpractice Law Blog

How Florida's attorney discipline process works - II

Last week, we began discussing how aggrieved clients who have suffered some manner of harm owing to the conduct of their attorney have two options: pursuing a civil lawsuit and/or filing a complaint with the Florida Bar Association.

We also discussed how many people believe that the second option is something of a waste of time and energy given that it seldom results in meaningful punishment. Having established that is far from the reality, we'll continue examining how the attorney discipline process works here in the Sunshine State.

Florida: Medical malpractice caps unconstitutionally arbitrary

The Florida Supreme Court has struck down the caps on non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. The caps were passed into law in 2003 in the hopes that lowering total damage awards would deter excessive medical malpractice claims and reduce the cost of medical malpractice insurance. Instead, the justices found that the cap unfairly limits crucial compensation for those who need it most.

The law, which was considered a major achievement of the Jeb Bush administration, limited the amount in damages plaintiffs could be given for non-economic losses. Under Florida law, non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases are defined as "nonfinancial losses that would not have occurred but for the injury" that gave rise to the lawsuit, including:

How Florida's attorney discipline process works

When a person is fairly confident that their attorney has engaged in some manner of malfeasance, they have several options at their disposal. These include pursuing a civil lawsuit if they've suffered some type of financial harm, and/or filing a complaint against the attorney.

While most people are willing to consider the former option, they may be more reluctant to pursue the latter. Indeed, some of this likely stems from the belief that unscrupulous attorneys are seldom held accountable and, even if they are, the punishment is rarely serious. 

Efforts to repeal and replace new fiduciary rule already underway

While most people might not realize it, the U.S. Labor Department's new fiduciary rule covering financial advisors tasked with managing retirement accounts officially took effect last Friday.

To recap, the controversial measure calls for advisors on retirement accounts -- from 401(k) plans to IRAs -- to be subject to a universal fiduciary standard, which requires them to work solely in the best interests of clients -- regardless of fees or commissions.

Famed attorney hit with legal malpractice lawsuit

Thanks to the proliferation of everything from smartphones and wireless internet to social media and 24-hour cable news networks, we now receive more in-depth coverage of certain events than we ever thought possible. While this phenomenon has served to keep us more informed and more involved, it's also made certain individuals household names.

While this certainly the case for politicians, pundits, authors, actors and athletes, it's also true for attorneys. By way of example, consider celebrated civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who has become well known for her handling of high-profile and controversial employment discrimination cases.

A closer look at attorney sanctions in Florida - III

In a series of ongoing posts, we've been exploring more about the disciplinary process for attorneys accused of some manner of ethical misconduct. To recap, they will likely be called before the Florida Supreme Court or another agency, which may elect to impose sanctions pursuant to the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions.

Having discussed some of the more lenient forms of discipline -- admonishment and public reprimand -- we'll shift gears in today's post by focusing on one of the more serious punishments for ethical transgressions: suspension.

Secretary of Labor: New fiduciary rule will go forward

Whenever a new president is elected, there is a multitude of questions as to the degree to which the newly installed commander in chief will follow the lead of their predecessor. Indeed, this past January was no different when President Donald Trump took the oath of office.

While it's perhaps a bit of an understatement to say there have since been major departures from the policies pursued by President Barack Obama's administration, there has been at least one issue on which the path to be taken by the Trump administration remained unclear: a new fiduciary rule for financial advisers tasked with managing retirement accounts.

Attorney sanctioned for making over 600 objections during deposition

Earlier this month, our blog spent some time discussing the legal process known as discovery, which involves both sides to a lawsuit exchanging information about the evidence and the witnesses they plan to present in order to prevent a "trial by ambush."  

We also discussed how one of the more common methods of discovery is the deposition, which, to recap, is a recorded out-of-court statement made under oath by individuals involved in the case used to prepare for trial. Interestingly enough, one New York attorney is now making headlines across the nation for her conduct during an otherwise routine deposition.

A closer look at attorney sanctions in Florida - II

In a post last week, our blog began discussing how licensed attorneys accused of ethical misconduct will likely have to stand before the Florida Supreme Court or another disciplinary agency, which will impose sanctions if the alleged misconduct is proven by clear and convincing evidence.

We also discussed how the high court or agency will use Florida's Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions as a model when weighing the appropriateness of disciplinary measures. We'll continue these efforts in today's post by starting to explore some of the sanctions that can be imposed against attorneys.

Legal malpractice case coming to Florida

When a lawyer is hired, he or she is subject to a particular set of expectations. Just because a person or business hires a lawyer doesn't mean they will win a case, but care is needed to provide the best representation possible. In civil matters, such as a business dispute, a lawyer is hired by a wronged party, known in court as the plaintiff, to seek a judgment. But, what happens when a lawyer takes the dispute from bad to worse?

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