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July 1, 2011

Disciplinary Actions
Prepared by The Florida Bar’s Public Information and Bar Services Department
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The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 25 attorneys, disbarring five and suspending 13. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One attorney was placed on probation; seven attorneys were publicly reprimanded. Four attorneys were ordered to pay restitution.

The following lawyers have been disciplined:

Rashmi Airan-Pace, 6705 S.W. 57th Ave., Suite 310, Miami, suspended for 45 days, effective 30 days from a May 10 court order. Further, Airan-Pace shall pay restitution totaling more than $13,000 to five clients. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Airan-Pace was the subject of six grievances. In several instances, she improperly shared legal fees with nonlawyer entities with whom she subcontracted work. In another case, Airan-Pace improperly returned $10,000 from a canceled real estate deal to the wrong entity. The Bar’s auditor concluded that this problem resulted from Airan-Pace’s poor record-keeping. (Case No. SC11-613)

Peter James Cannon, 3837 Northdale Blvd., Suite 367, Tampa, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Cannon was found in contempt for repeated failure to respond to official Bar inquiries and failure to show good cause for noncompliance. (Case No. (SC11-130)

Joseph Peter Cinney, 8005 N.W. 155th Street, Suite A, Miami Lakes, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a February 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) In two separate instances, Cinney was retained to represent clients, and then he ceased communication. Cinney subsequently failed to respond to The Florida Bar regarding the clients’ grievances. (Case No. SC10-1702)

David Alan Friedman, 10677 N.W. 17th Court, Coral Springs, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a March 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) In numerous instances, Friedman fabricated court orders, falsified documents, misled clients about their settlement proceeds and failed to file necessary paperwork for litigation. (Case No. SC09-566)

Sekou M. Gary, 221 S.E. Osceola St., Stuart, publicly reprimanded following a February 17 court order. Further, Gary shall pay restitution of $5,000 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Gary accepted a $5,000 retainer fee to represent a client in an employment discrimination matter. He failed to keep the client reasonably informed. The case was subsequently dismissed for lack of prosecution. The client filed a grievance against Gary with The Florida Bar. Gary failed to respond to Bar inquiries regarding the matter. (Case No. SC11-217)

James Eric Hack, P.O. Box 822, Tavernier, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from an April 21 court order. Further, upon reinstatement, Hack is placed on probation for one year. (Admitted to practice: 1987) After taking over the case of a workers’ compensation client who had been represented by another attorney, Hack failed to return calls and failed to assist the client. In another instance, Hack’s office manager in St. Petersburg misappropriated client funds and was subsequently charged with felony grand theft. (Case No. SC10-1249)

Jeffrey Martin Hanly, 1312 3rd St. N., Jacksonville Beach, suspended until further order, following an April 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Hanly appeared to be causing great public harm by abandoning his law practice and misappropriating client trust funds. (Case No. SC11-744)

Shari Nicole Hines, 1800 N.W. 49th St., Suite 120, Ft. Lauderdale, publicly reprimanded following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Hines is further directed to complete ethics school and a trust accounting workshop. Hines entered into a real estate business relationship with a company and its nonlawyer principal, who shared signatory authority over the escrow account. The principal subsequently misappropriated thousands of dollars including a mortgage pay-off in the amount of more than $34,000. (Case No. SC08-2297)

William M. Holland, Jr., 1725 E. 8th Ave., Tampa, publicly reprimanded following an April 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1964) Holland represented a client in a civil suit involving medical negligence and she died during the course of the litigation. Holland was negligent in not disclosing his client’s death to opposing counsel within a reasonable period of time. That resulted in the dismissal of the decedent’s legal claims. (Case No. SC10-719)

Lisa Lovingood Kelly, 14286-19 Beach Blvd., #404, Jacksonville, publicly reprimanded following a March 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Kelly said she was granted permission by a witness to sign a motion on her behalf, but the attorney failed to indicate next to her signature that she was allowed permission to sign in the witness’ place at the times of the grievance and the amended answer. (Case No. SC09-1958)

Petia Dimitrova Knowles, 12550 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 800, Miami, publicly reprimanded following an April 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Knowles emailed communication to opposing counsel threatening to bring criminal charges unless she was paid $20,000 on her client’s behalf. Her email to opposing counsel was conceived solely to obtain an advantage in pending civil litigation. Also, in sworn testimony, Knowles made false and misleading claims that she specializes in family law. (Case No. SC09-403)

George Granville Lewis, 401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Suite 130-501, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended until further order, following an April 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Lewis was found in contempt for failing to respond in writing to an official Bar inquiry. (Case No. SC11-447)

Keith Alan Michael Manson, 8355 Chason Road W., Jacksonville, suspended until further order, following a March 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Manson was found in contempt for noncompliance with the terms or a court order conditionally admitting him to The Florida Bar. He also practiced law while suspended. (Case Nos. SC09-2318 & SC10-1187)

Roderick Lynn McGee, 4631 N.W. 31st. Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from an April 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) McGee was found in contempt for failing to respond in writing to an official Bar inquiry. (Case No. SC11-293)

Allan Michael Migdall, 270 S.W. 31st. St., Ft. Lauderdale, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a March 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Migdall was held in contempt for failing to fully comply with a grievance committee subpoena served on him in September 2010. He also failed to respond to questions posed to him in a Florida Bar letter dated October 19, 2010. (Case No. SC11-37)

Jean Moyer, 399 Reid St., Palatka, disbarred effective immediately, following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) In one instance, Moyer borrowed $5,000 from a client, but did not advise the client to seek independent counsel prior to making the loan. She also failed to satisfy the debt. In two additional cases, Moyer was retained to represent clients, but subsequently failed to communicate with them and diligently represent them. She finally closed her law office without prior notice to clients and without providing a change of address to The Florida Bar. (Case No. SC10-1788)

Gerard Vincent Muriello, 747 S. Ridgewood Ave., Suite 102, Daytona Beach, publicly reprimanded following an April 5 court order. Further, Muriello’s conditional admission to The Florida Bar is extended until May 1, 2012. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Muriello violated the terms of the Supreme Court’s May 2006 order of conditional admission based on substance abuse and psychological issues. (Case No. SC10-682)

Nilesh Magan Patel, 2024 W. Cleveland St., Tampa, disbarred effective immediately, following an April 6 court order. Further, Patel shall pay restitution of $10,500 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Patel represented the seller and the buyer in the proposed sale of a gas station and accepted money from both to be used toward the sale. After a dispute, one party asked to cancel the sale and sought the return of his $58,000. Patel subsequently admitted to both clients that he improperly used the trust account funds. He failed to provide trust accounting records to The Florida Bar as requested. (Case No. SC10-1084)

John Steele Patterson, P.O. Box 130, Wauchula, suspended until further order, effective immediately, following an April 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Patterson was found in contempt for failing to fully comply with the conditions of a November 2009, court order, in which he was diverted to a professionalism enhancement program and directed to contact Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. (Case No. SC11-434)

Donald Ray Peyton, 7317 Little Road, New Port Richey, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a March 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1985) Peyton prepared legal documents for an elderly client who feared her son was stealing from her. Peyton appointed himself and his wife power of attorney and designated themselves as healthcare surrogates and beneficiaries of her estate. In another instance, Peyton accepted a $2,050 retainer from a client to probate her mother’s estate. The client called on multiple occasions, but never spoke to Peyton. Instead, he delegated communication to his nonlawyer assistant. After contacting the court, the client discovered that a petition for administration had not been filed. (Case No. SC10-1783)

Aaron R. Sobel, 2020 N.E. 163rd St., Suite 300, North Miami Beach, permanently disbarred effective retroactive to February 14, following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Sobel is the subject of a Florida Bar disciplinary matter in which he admitted to failing to preserve and apply client trust funds as required by Bar rules regulating trust accounts. (Case No. SC11-357)

James L. Soule, 7515 W. Oakland Park Blvd., #100, Ft. Lauderdale, disbarred effective immediately, following an April 21 court order. Further, Soule shall pay restitution totaling $136,500 to two clients. (Admitted to practice: 1994) In two separate cases, Soule accepted legal fees, but failed to provide adequate legal services. In one instance, Soule claimed he had filed a lawsuit on behalf of a client, when, in fact, he had not. Soule failed to communicate with the clients in both cases and he failed to respond to the Bar’s inquiries regarding the matters. (Case No. SC10-1703)

Gyneth S. Stanley, 114 Turner St., Clearwater, publicly reprimanded following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1979) Stanley served as successor trustee for an elderly friend. The client lived in a facility that provided for her care and Stanley paid the woman’s expenses out of her $100,000 trust account. Without her knowledge, Stanley’s office assistant wrote checks to herself out of the client’s account and forged Stanley’s name. Stanley replaced the missing funds with her own money. (Case No. SC10-1676)

Harry Mark Vieth, 1500 San Remo Ave., Suite 145, Miami, suspended for two years, effective retroactive to June 3, 2010, following an April 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Vieth neglected a client’s employment discrimination case, which resulted in the ultimate dismissal of the case. He also failed to keep the client reasonably informed about the case. (Case No. SC11-248)

Plutarco Miguel Villalobos, 3621 Cleveland Ave., Ft. Myers, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a March 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Villalobos was found in contempt for failing to respond to an official Bar inquiry. (Case No. SC11-242)

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 reapply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, fewer than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

[Revised: 04-23-2014]