The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
The Florida Bar News
click to print this page  click to e-mail the address for this page 
June 15, 2013

Disciplinary Actions
Prepared by The Florida Bar’s Public Information and Bar Services Department
__________________________________________________________________________

The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 29 attorneys, disbarring 10, suspending 14, and publicly reprimanding five. Six attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Three were placed on probation and three were ordered to pay restitution.

The following lawyers have been disciplined:

J. Reeve Bright, 135 S.E. 5th Ave., Suite 200, Delray Beach, permanently disbarred, effective immediately, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1981) After being suspended for three years in August 2010, Bright continued to hold himself out as a lawyer and practiced law. (Case Nos. SC10-1743 & SC10-2349)

David Gordon Cornell, 6510 Brava Way, Boca Raton, suspended for two years, effective retroactive to July 31, 2011, following a March 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Cornell applied for and was employed as a lawyer while suspended. Cornell did not disclose that he was suspended, but was fired after one week when the law firm learned of it. (Case No. SC12-420)

Ronald Clyde Denis, 801 Spencer Drive, West Palm Beach, suspended for 60 days, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Between 2009 and 2010, Denis was associated with a loan modification company that was run by nonlawyers. He accepted clients from the company, although it was not an approved lawyer referral service. The nonlawyer company had clients sign a special power of attorney stating that it was their attorney in fact. (Case No. SC12-2177)

Rosalyn Dunlap, P.O. Box 616705, Orlando, disbarred effective immediately, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Dunlap admitted to intentionally misappropriating more than $40,000 from a trust account belonging to an estate. She did not maintain the required trust account records, did not regularly perform mandatory trust accounting procedures, and entered into a business transaction with a client with interests adverse to the client. Dunlap failed to communicate the status of a client’s case, failed to show reasonable diligence, and failed to provide adequate and timely representation. (Case No. SC12-145)

Paul Lawrence Erickson, 604 Vista View Drive, Asheville, N.C., suspended for three years, effective retroactive to July 5, 2012, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Erickson was found guilty of violating rules of professional conduct of the North Carolina Bar, of which he is also a member. He committed wrongdoing by representing two or more clients and making an aggregate settlement of the claims for or against the clients without all parties’ consent. He also counseled and assisted clients in engaging in conduct that he knew was criminal and fraudulent. (Case No. SC12-1485)

Lawrence Michael Flaster, 304 Windel Drive, Raleigh, N.C., disbarred effective retroactive to May 16, 2011, following an April 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1977) Flaster pleaded guilty in court to attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, a felony. He also failed to notify the Bar of a DUI conviction. (Case Nos. SC11-738 & SC11-2261)

Albert Elsworth Ford II, P.O. Box 520269, Longwood, suspended for three years, effective retroactive to September 2, 2010, following an April 16 court order. Upon reinstatement, Ford is placed on probation for two years. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Ford was arrested at his home and charged with the felonious acts of grand theft, burglary of a dwelling or structure while armed, and criminal mischief. The offenses were a result of a complaint filed with The Florida Bar by a client, stating that Ford lacked ethical conduct. Although the Bar determined that the claim lacked sufficient evidence, Ford responded to his accusation by sending threatening text messages, trespassing on the client’s home and place of business, and vandalizing the client’s property. Ford’s actions were caught on surveillance cameras. (Case No. SC10-1661)

David A. Hoines, 3081 E. Commercial Blvd., Suite 200, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1975) Hoines shall also return $25,000 in equal shares to three clients. Hoines entered into a contingent fee agreement with out-of-state clients in a probate matter involving assets of an indeterminable value. Hoines’ use of the contingent fee contract was improper because it caused him to obtain a pecuniary interest in the matter and receive a larger than normal fee. (Case No. SC12-229)

Daniel Nathan Hoskins, 1154 Adair Park Place, Orlando, disbarred for five years, effective immediately, following an April 16 court order. Hoskins pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud both felonies. In and between March 2006 and October 2008, Hoskins, along with another attorney, conspired with individuals involved in the development of three condominium conversion projects to artificially inflate their sales prices through the use of straw buyers and nominee purchasers. Hoskins failed to disclose to lenders the existence of the kickbacks or disguised payments made to straw buyers and Realtors. (Admitted to practice: 1996) (Case No. SC12-2171)

Josiah Ewing Hutton, Jr., P.O. Box 283, Winter Haven, publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, and placed on probation for five years, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Hutton was arrested and convicted of driving under the influence. He also bumped into a motorcycle that was located in front of his car. Hutton will enter into a five-year rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. (Case No. SC12-2166)

Christopher James Jones, 251 N. Ridgewood Ave., Floor 3, Daytona Beach, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. Upon reinstatement, Jones shall be placed on probation for five years. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Jones was arrested in Volusia County in March 2012 on charges of possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He is required to actively participate in a rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. (Case No. SC12-2172)

James Crenshaw Kelley, 12651 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 201, Pinecrest, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following an April 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1977) Kelley was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of his July 2012 disbarment. He failed to provide to the Bar within 30 days of his disbarment a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his disbarment order. (Case No. SC12-2263)

C. Michael Magruder, 203 S. Clyde Ave., Kissimmee, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Magruder was hired by a client to handle business related to an estate and a pending lawsuit. He delegated the estate matter to a paralegal firm and failed to take adequate steps to ensure that the client understood his legal matter. Magruder also failed to timely account to the client regarding the settlement proceeds of the lawsuit, all of which went to pay the hospital lien for services rendered prior to the death of the testator. Magruder also failed to maintain minimum trust accounting records, and he failed to follow minimum trust accounting procedures. (Case No. SC12-519)

Jeffrey Bryan Mallory, 13788 Harbor Road, Henderson Harbor, N. Y., suspended for two years, effective immediately, following an April 16 court order. Mallory shall pay restitution of $3,000 to three clients. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Mallory knowingly possessed a controlled substance, and he was placed on probation for 36 months with drug offender conditions, resulting in a felony suspension. In three instances, Mallory was retained to represent clients and failed to appear. Mallory also pleaded no contest to a DUI alcohol charge. He violated his probation and was arrested and jailed for more than a month. (Case Nos. SC12-803 & SC12-829)

Robert Kenneth Miller, P.O. Box 500983, Marathon, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following an April 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Miller and the complainant were opposing counsel in contentious litigation, when the court rendered a ruling favorable to the complainant and awarded the complainant attorneys’ fees. Convinced that the complainant presented fraudulent information concerning his fees to the court, Miller contacted the complainant in writing on several occasions and threatened to present criminal and disciplinary charges against him for the alleged fraudulent statements. (Case No. SC-12-1679)

Richard William Reno, P.O. Box 368, Crawfordville, suspended from the practice of law for 180 days, effective immediately, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Reno failed to appear without notice at a mandatory court hearing for the client. In a letter to the judge handling the case, Reno made disparaging remarks about his qualifications. (Case No. SC12-513

Scott Elliott Rovenger, 8 Port Side Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following an April 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1978) Rovenger was disbarred for trust accounting violations in May 2012. In September 2012, Rovenger gave a sworn statement to the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, as a result of a criminal investigation. He admitted to misappropriating more than $1 million in client funds over a period of several years. He also admitted to settling clients’ matters without their knowledge or consent and forging client signatures on settlement checks. (Case No. SC12-1819)

Guy Bennett Rubin, 1649 Atlantic Blvd., Jacksonville, to be publicly reprimanded by the Board of Governors at a date and time to be determined by the board, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) Rubin filed a suit against a former client alleging breach of contract. A court later ruled that Rubin was not entitled to recover any fees because the agreement violated Bar rules. (Case No. SC12-2059)

Lance John Ruffe, 2332 Galiano St., Suite 264, Coral Gables, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Ruffe notified the Bar of pending criminal charges in Miami-Dade County following his arrest for possession of cocaine and DUI. The felony charge will be dropped upon successful completion of the court-ordered program. (Case No. SC12-2208)

Silvia Rodriguez Sanders, P.O. Box 974, Orlando, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Sanders and her husband practice law together. She failed to exercise reasonable diligence to ensure that her firm’s trust account was in compliance. Her husband had managerial authority over the trust account and her mother was the firm’s bookkeeper in the two-attorney law firm. (Case No. SC12-2174)

Tristan Wilson Sanders, P.O. Box 974, Orlando, suspended for two years, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Sanders and his wife practiced law together. Funds that should have been held in trust on behalf of the firm’s personal injury clients were transferred to the law firm operating account and used for other purposes. Sanders had primary responsibility for the law firm’s trust account at the time the violations took place. His violation of misconduct is based on the grossly negligent supervision of his bookkeeper in the administration of his firm’s trust account. (Case No. SC12-2173)

Kelly Earlise Speer, P.O. Box 172067, Tampa, suspended for 91 days, effective immediately, following an April 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Speer was found in contempt for noncompliance with a June 18, 2012, court order. She was required to submit a sworn affidavit listing the persons and entities to which she gave notice of her suspension. Previously, Speer was found in contempt for failing to respond to official Bar inquiries, including a failure to appear and respond to subpoenas served on her in two disciplinary matters. (Case No. SC12-2181)

Joseph Dan Turner, 13317 Lake George Lane, Tampa, disbarred effective immediately, following an April 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Turner was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of an October 2, 2012, court order. He failed to provide to the Bar within 30 days of his suspension a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC12-2517)

Harold George Uhrig, 370 Lake Seminary Circle, Maitland, suspended for 60 days, effective May 1, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1975) Uhrig created another law firm, outside of his criminal law practice, to assist his nonlawyer son’s company, which assisted timeshare owners who felt they’d been scammed by timeshare resale companies and wanted refunds. The new firm provided form letters to customers that were misleading and implied that the law firm was available to litigate against timeshare resale companies, if necessary. (Case No. SC12-2175)

Plutarco Miguel Villalobos, 1705 Colonial Blvd., Suite C4, Ft. Myers, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Villalobos failed to provide adequate representation to clients. In one instance, he moved his office without informing the court or opposing counsel; he missed discovery deadlines; and failed to attend hearings. He also failed to communicate with a client and caused sanctions to be imposed upon his client for failure to perform discovery in a timely manner. He failed to respond initially to the grievance committee, and had been suspended for contempt for a period of four months. (Case No. SC12-827)

Harold Milton Windlan III, 6334 Madison St., New Port Richey, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. Windlan shall pay restitution totaling $2,040 to three clients. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Windlan failed to provide adequate representation to clients. In several instances, he accepted attorneys’ fees and subsequently failed to communicate. He did not take action on cases but led clients to believe he had. Windlan also failed to refund fees he did not earn. (Case No. SC12-666)

Jack Wolf, 2028 Shepherd Road, No. 350, Mulberry, disbarred for a period of not less than five years, effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) In December 2011, after a jury trial, Wolf was found guilty of grand theft of more than $300 but less than $5,000, and one count of money laundering of more than $300, both felonies. The theft involved client funds. He was sentenced to 21.9 months in prison with time served. (Case No. SC12-2165)

Lawrence Philip Zolot, 3864 Sheridan St., Hollywood, disbarred effective retroactive to January 12, 2011, following an April 22 court order. Zolot shall pay restitution totaling $1,089 to two clients and shall deposit more than $130,000 into the court registry for the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Instead of disbursing the funds to his clients, in two separate matters, Zolot misappropriated trust funds and used them to pay his personal expenses. (Case No. SC11-267)

Alexander Zouzoulas, 1270 Miller Ave., Winter Park, disbarred effective 30 days from an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) In August 2012, Zouzoulas pleaded guilty in court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Between 2006 and 2008, Zouzoulas and another attorney conspired with persons involved in the development of three condominium conversion projects, to artificially inflate the sales prices of the condominium units. He also made several misrepresentations regarding the condominiums and failed to disclose to lenders the existence of kickbacks or disguised payments. (Case No. SC12-2167)

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 rejects many who apply. Historically, less than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

[Revised: 07-29-2014]