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January 1, 2024 Disciplinary Actions

January 1, 2024 Disciplinary Actions

January 1, 2024 Disciplinary Actions

January 1, 2024 Disciplinary Actions

Scales Books GavelThe Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 21 attorneys, revoking the license of four, suspending 12, and reprimanding five.

Shawn Michael Berry, 218 S. Summerlin Ave., Orlando, disciplinary revocation with leave to apply for readmission after five years, effective 30 days following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Barry filed a Petition for Disciplinary Revocation as The Bar was investigating allegations against Berry that included failure to timely record security instruments in connection with his provision of loan closing services, misappropriation of real estate escrow funds, the unlicensed practice of law, and arrests for felony offenses. (Case No. SC23-1506)

Hector M. Acosta Carrillo, Jr., 2150 N. Bayshore Drive, Apt. 2303, Miami, suspended from the practice of law until further order of the court, effective immediately following a November 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2019) Carrillo misappropriated funds from the trust account by making improper withdrawals and transfers from the client’s trust account to his personal checking account. Carrillo did not keep and maintain proper accounting records. (Case No. SC23-1570)

Gregorio Dickson-Ventura, 1538 Tallahassee Blvd., Unit 829, Intercession City, suspended for three years effective 30 days following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) The Florida Bar opened an investigation after receiving notice of insufficient funds in Dickson-Ventura’s trust account. The Bar initiated a compliance audit and found that Dickson-Ventura did not maintain trust account records as required. The Bar also found numerous instances of commingling and that Dickson-Ventura should have been holding $2,000 of client funds in the trust account to cover medical bills for the client. There was no evidence of intentional misuse of client funds. (Case No. SC23-1663)

Theodore R. Doran, P.O. Box 15110, Daytona Beach, public reprimand and ordered to attend ethics school and a professionalism workshop, effective immediately following a November 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) Doran represented the wife in a contentious dissolution of marriage case where the husband filed a joint tax return, allegedly with his estranged wife’s oral consent, which the wife strenuously denied as being true. In his communication with opposing counsel, Doran threatened to initiate a fraud investigation with the IRS and/or pursue criminal charges to obtain an advantage for the wife in the divorce case if the husband did not sign the partial settlement agreement proposed by Doran, without alteration. (Case No. SC23-0870)

Jose Pete Font, 200 S. Andrews Ave., Suite 501, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended for three years effective 30 days from October 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) In his capacity as managing partner, Font authored motions to withdraw as counsel containing disparaging information about other attorneys, and subsequently authorized the filing of hundreds of those motions in various courts. (Case No. SC20-0693)

Pedro Alejandro Gonzalez, 1200 Brickell Ave., Suite 950, Miami, suspended from the practice of law until further order of the court, effective 30 days following a December 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Gonzalez was held in contempt for failing to respond to official Bar inquiries and for failure to respond to the court’s Order to Show Cause. (Case No. SC23-1443)

Mark Edwin Heimendinger, 1034 Long Branch Lane, Oviedo, suspended for two years effective immediately following December 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2016) On or about August 25, 2023, Heimendinger entered a plea of no contest to Aggravated Assault and Carrying Concealed Firearm, both third degree felonies, and Improper Exhibition of a Dangerous Weapon and Battery, both first degree misdemeanors. The trial court sentenced Heimendinger on the two felony counts to five years of probation and on the misdemeanor counts to two days of imprisonment with credit for two days time served. (Case No. SC23-1224)

Nazmul Islam, 2740 S.W. Martin Downs Blvd., Palm City, suspended for one year effective 30 days following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) While handling a client’s immigration matter, Islam failed to provide competent representation, failed to adequately communicate with the client, failed to diligently handle the matter, and engaged in dishonest conduct. Islam’s client was facing deportation, and Islam told the client not to appear in court. When the judge asked Islam where his client was, Islam misrepresented to the judge that he did not know. Because the client failed to appear in court, the judge entered an order of removal. Islam failed to advise his client of the order of removal. (Case No. SC23-1670)

James Michael Janousek II, 1000 Pine Ave. S.W., Live Oak, public reprimand by publication and ordered to participate in the FLorida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., program, effective 30 days following a Nov. 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Janousek did not contest a referee’s report with regard to a three-count complaint. In Count I, Janousek was court-appointed to represent client in a criminal case. After one year of no contact, the court ultimately appointed new counsel in the matter. In Count II, Janousek filed a notice of appeal on behalf of his client. The court directed Janousek to file an amended notice of appeal with an appropriate certificate of service. He failed to do so, and he was removed from the case. In Count III, Janousek failed to timely file an initial brief in his client’s appeal, and the court removed him from the case. (Case No. SC23-1201)

Brandon Lee Kolb, 4437 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, suspended effective 30 days following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) Kolb failed to respond to an official Bar inquiry. The Florida Bar filed a Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause on October 25, 2023, and the Florida Supreme Court ordered Kolb to show cause by November 14, 2023. Kolb failed to file a response to the court’s Order to Show Cause. Kolb is suspended until he fully responds in writing to the official Bar inquiry and until further order of the court. (Case No. SC23-1475)

James Edward Leano, P.O. Box 557718, Miami, suspended until further order of the court effective immediately following a November 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) On behalf of his client, Leano settled an insurance claim for which $40,000 was paid by Geico and deposited into Leano’s trust account. According to the staff audit and court records, Leano misappropriated at least $26,577.88 of client funds from his trust account. (Case No. SC23-1590)

William Power McCaughan, Jr., 55 Merrick Way, Suite 402, Coral Gables, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) The court granted McCaughan’s petition for disciplinary revocation, which McCaughan tendered following his indictment on federal criminal charges. (Case No. SC23-1541)

Bert Edward Moore, P.O. Box 1622, Crestview, disciplinary revocation for five years with leave to apply for readmission, effective immediately following a December 21 order as he is already suspended. (Admitted to practice: 1981) Moore filed a Petition for Disciplinary Revocation based on two cases that were pending at The Florida Bar. The first case, in which there was a probable cause finding, was a judicial referral from the First District Court of Appeal for failure to respond to several orders relating to an appeal and failure to timely respond to The Florida Bar. The second case was pending at staff level and was based on neglect of a client’s criminal case. (Case No. SC23-1561)

Brittany D. O’Diam, 8039 Washington Village Drive, Suite 110, Centerville, OH, public reprimand and ordered to attend a professionalism workshop and ethics school effective January 14, 2024. (Admitted to practice: 2011)  This is a reciprocal discipline. O’Diam was hired to represent the executrix in a probate matter. One of the beneficiaries to the estate expressed concerns about the judge assigned to the case at a public commissioner meeting. In response, O’Diam berated the beneficiary in open court. The judge assigned to the case was O’Diam’s father. (Case No. SC23-1300)

Peter J. Parlow, 212 Central St., Lowell, MA, public reprimand effective 30 days following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) This is a reciprocal case based on discipline imposed against Parlow in Massachusetts. Parlow received a public reprimand for communicating with the co-defendant of his client and obtaining a signed affidavit that exonerated his client, without informing the co-defendant’s counsel. Parlow was found to be in violation of Mass. R. Prof. C. 4.2: In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized to do so by law or a court order. (Case No. SC23-1202)

Henry Neil Portner, 5256 S. Mission Road, Suite 203, Bonsall, CA, permanent disciplinary revocation effective 30 days following a December 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Portner was affiliated with different entities representing consumers seeking to end their timeshare contracts. Fees were taken for services that proved to be unsuccessful on a large-scale basis. These attempts were also challenged by the timeshare entities, which brought litigation in various courts throughout the country, as well as investigations done by government agencies into the practices of the entities. Portner and the entities entered into various stipulations to cease their practices in the pending litigations. Portner did not comply with the stipulations. (Case No. SC23-1227)

John James Rogers, 1228 E. 7th Ave., Suite 200, Tampa, public reprimand, attendance at The Florida Bar’s Professionalism Workshop, and payment of disciplinary costs effective following a Dec. 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Rogers failed to respond to several appellate court orders and failed to appear at the first order to show cause hearing in a matter where he represented a defendant regarding an appeal of a denial of a motion to suppress. Rogers was ordered to contact and meet with the 13th Judicial Circuit Local Professionalism Panel and comply with all outstanding orders. His attempts at compliance were unsuccessful and his attempt to contact the Professionalism Panel too late as the DCA had already entered an order noting respondent’s delays and failures to comply and had referred the matter to The Florida Bar. (Case No. SC23-1682)

William Glenn Roy, Jr., 411 West Central Pkwy., Altamonte Springs, suspended for 30 days effective 30 days following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) A trial court issued a Judgment on Order to Show Cause finding that Roy violated Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 4-4.2 by communicating with a represented party. The trial court disqualified Roy from representing the plaintiffs and referred the matter to The Florida Bar. In his written response to the Bar, Roy made unprofessional comments toward the trial court. (Case No. SC23-0745)

Paul K. Silverberg, 2455 E. Sunrise Blvd., Suite 1204, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended for 91 days effective immediately following a December 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Silverberg was required to hold $23,000in escrow due to a dispute between a seller and a purchaser. In April 2018, the dispute was resolved, but for a period in 2017, the trust account did not have the full $23,000 deposited therein. Additionally, Silverberg had some communications with a former client while suspended from the practice of law. (Case No. SC23-1658)

Tanner Robert Whitmill, 3119 Donington Castle Lane, Land O Lakes, suspended effective 30 days from a December 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2016) Whitmill was held in contempt by the court and suspended effective 30 days from a December 18 court order for his failure to respond to inquiries from The Florida Bar. The Bar filed its Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause on October 17, 2023, and the Florida Supreme Court ordered Whitmill to respond by November 2, 2023. Whitmill failed to file a response. Whitmill is to remain suspended until he has fully responded in writing to the official Bar inquiries, and until further order of the Court. (Case No. SC23-1436)

David Luther Woodward, 1415 Lemhurst Road, Pensacola, suspended for 91 days effective immediately following a December 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1969) Woodward failed to comply with all terms and conditions set forth in the consent judgment, including failing to enter into the recommended rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. (Case No. SC23-1406)

The Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Division of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the more than 111,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.

Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam. Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.

Originally published at https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-news/january-1-2024-disciplinary-actions/

The post January 1, 2024 Disciplinary Actions first appeared on City News Miami.

Law - City News Miami originally published at Law - City News Miami