St. Denis & Davey, P.A.

Legal Malpractice Issues

A dozen rule violations cost Florida-based attorney his license

| Oct 26, 2018 | Legal Malpractice Law |

Everyone makes mistakes, even attorneys in Florida, and a legal mistake does not necessarily amount to malpractice. However, it is legal malpractice when an attorney’s negligent, incompetent or dishonest professional conduct causes harm to one or more clients, and the attorney can face severe penalties, such as law license revocation and disbarment.

An attorney with a previous practice in Indiana but who relocated to Florida has lost his Indiana law license, effective immediately, on the basis of 12 violations of Indiana’s professional conduct rules for lawyers. Filed in March 2017, the three-count complaint against the attorney by the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission alleges that he engaged in unethical and negligent behaviors that caused harm to his clients, including failure to appear in court, failure to respond to client inquiries, failing to file on a client’s behalf, deceiving clients and acting on a client’s behalf without the client’s knowledge. The attorney allegedly relocated to Florida in the midst of a pending malpractice suit against him and has allegedly failed to make payments toward a $353,000 judgment entered against him in that case.

A county auditor in Indiana moved to disqualify the attorney from representing a land trust which held a parcel of land he used to own and of which the sole beneficiary was his girlfriend. In 2014, both the attorney and his girlfriend, who was also a legal secretary in his office, received subpoenas to appear for a sanctions hearing. The attorney allegedly placed his girlfriend in legal peril by falsely claiming that she did not need to honor the subpoena because the hearing would not happen. The secretary heeded his advice, and both the attorney and the secretary initially disobeyed the subpoena, though they complied with it later after the secretary spoke with a magistrate who called the law office.

Clients place their trust in the knowledge and expertise of a legal professional when engaging the services of an attorney. Legal malpractice, in addition to potentially costing clients financially, also involves a breach of that trust. Those who feel they have been victims of legal malpractice may wish to consult an attorney negligence lawyer.