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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2011
CONTACT:
Karen Y. Kirksey; kkirksey@flabar.org,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE:
(850) 561-5766


The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 26 attorneys, disbarring four and suspending 20. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One attorney was placed on probation; two attorneys were publicly reprimanded. Two attorneys were ordered to pay restitution.

As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the 90,000-plus lawyers admitted to practice law in Florida. Since Aug. 1, 2007, case files have been posted to attorneys' individual Florida Bar profiles and may be reviewed at and/or downloaded from The Florida Bar's website, www.floridabar.org.

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. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, fewer than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

Peter Stephen Baranowicz, 1797 San Silvestro Drive, Venice, suspended for one year, retroactive to Nov. 3, 2010, following a Feb. 9, 2011, court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) In one case, a client paid Baranowicz $8,300 toward representation for an appeal, wherein he failed to respond to numerous court orders and keep the client adequately informed about the case status. He failed to respond to the Bar's inquiry in this matter as well as other inquiries, one alleging his failure to pay for process services, and another alleging lack of diligence and communication in handling a criminal matter. (Case No. SC10-1232)

Jacqueline Jeannette Bird, 254 E. 6th Ave., Tallahassee, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a March 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Bird appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating funds and/or diverting funds entrusted to her. Bird's offenses include writing herself checks on numerous occasions from clients' settlements, delaying delivery of client settlements, refusal to fully pay client medical liens and commingling personal and trust funds. (Case No. SC11-339)

Mark Irwin Blumstein, 4581 Weston Road #203, Weston, permanently disbarred effective immediately following a Feb. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) In August 2007, Blumstein was disbarred for five years. Nevertheless, he continued to practice law and subsequently mishandled and/or misappropriated thousands of dollars in client funds. (Case No. SC09-1572)

Richard Timothy Cotter, 6100 Estero Blvd., P.O. Box 6868, Fort Myers, disbarred effective 30 days from a Jan. 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Cotter abandoned his representation of a client in a probate case without notice and without leaving a forwarding address. The client's new counsel wrote Cotter requesting a final accounting and reimbursement for the client. Cotter failed to respond. He also failed to respond to the Bar's inquiries (Case No. SC10-945)

Todd Corey Deratany, 503 Fifth Avenue, Suite 102, Indialantic, suspended until further order, following a March 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Deratany appeared to be causing great public harm by abandoning his clients, failing to appear for court hearings and stating that he was unable to continue with the representation of his clients. (Case No. SC11-457)

Ryan Thomas Dosen, 108 Twin Creek Lane, Kennett Square, Pa., permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a Feb. 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Dosen pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He acted as a settlement agent in two illegal real estate transactions in South Florida. His actions resulted in losses in excess of $2.5 million. (Case Nos. SC09-1613 & SC10-615)

Robert W. Frazier, Jr., 507 S.E. 11th Court, Fort Lauderdale, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a March 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1977) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Frazier appeared to be causing great public harm by diverting trust funds as evidenced by a Certified Public Accountant and a Bar auditor. (Case No. SC11-324)

Penny E. Grades, 6346-65 Lantana Road, #103, Lake Worth, suspended until further order, following a Feb. 21 court order. Grades is currently retired, therefore the suspension is effective immediately. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Grades failed to comply with a report of minor misconduct issued by a grievance committee in June 2009. It required her to pay restitution of $1,000 to a client within 30 days of the report. She also failed to respond to the Bar's inquiry regarding the matter. (Case No. SC10-2436)

Leo Greenfield, 1680 N.E. 135th Street, Suite 200w, North Miami, disbarred effective retroactive to Aug. 27, 2008, following a Jan. 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1948)
In 1994, the Supreme Court granted Greenfield's disciplinary resignation (tantamount to disbarment) from The Florida Bar. In 2004, the Court entered an order extending Greenfield's disciplinary resignation for an additional three years. Despite being ineligible, Greenfield continued to practice law. (Case No. SC10-69

Willie Jones, 1300 N.W. 17th Ave., Suite 261, Delray Beach, suspended until further order, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Jones neglected his clients and failed to respond to Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC10-1950)

Alan Kelman, 6439 N.W. 43rd Terrace, Boca Raton, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Feb. 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Kelman repeatedly failed to respond to Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC10-1733)

Bryan Alexander Kutchins, 3974 Tampa Road, Suite A, Oldsmar, publicly reprimanded following a Feb. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1973) A husband and wife were involved in a divorce in Tennessee. Kutchins was hired in Florida by the woman's brother, solely to help him purchase a Florida business owned jointly by the couple. The wife obtained some of her husband's emails and forwarded them to her brother, who then forwarded them to Kutchins. Kutchins said he received the emails but returned them and did not use the contents to his client's advantage. The business was never purchased by his client. Kutchins also wrote a letter to the judge in Tennessee, stating his client's position in regard to the business and he attended a hearing in Tennessee, but he did not speak. It was alleged that the letter constituted the practice of law in another state. (Case No. SC10-1675)

Jeffrey Andrew Luhrsen, 7430 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, suspended for 30 days, effective April 10, following a Feb. 9 court order. Luhrsen is further ordered to attend ethics school. (Admitted to practice: 1993) In one instance, Luhrsen represented a client in a personal injury suit. The client needed money to pay his basic living expenses, so he accepted a $4,000 loan from one of Luhrsen's employees who owned a company that contracted to perform office work for Luhrsen. The loan was later forgiven at Luhrsen's instruction. In another instance, Luhrsen disseminated a misleading advertisement that he failed to timely file with the Bar for review. (Case No. SC10-634)

Cecilia Carolina Maluje, 7850 N.W. 146th St., Suite 416, Miami Lakes, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Feb. 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Maluje repeatedly failed to respond to Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC10-2284)

Matthew Kimball McDowell, 13180 N. Cleveland Ave., Suite 111, N. Fort Myers, suspended for 10 days, effective 30 days from a Feb. 9 court order, and ordered to pay restitution of $1,725 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 1996) McDowell engaged in solicitation by supplying his business cards to the owners of a bail bonds company and by knowingly accepting employment as a result of their referrals. In a related matter, McDowell was retained by a client as a result of a referral, and he failed to adequately communicate regarding the status of her case. (Case No. SC10-2259)

Alan Martin Medof, 4355 N.W. 4th Ave., Pompano Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Jan. 26 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1969) Medof was found in contempt for failure to respond to official Bar inquiries and failure to show good cause for non-compliance. (Case No. SC10-2165)

Shawn Louis Michaelson, 7274 Bedlington Road, Miami Lakes, suspended for three years, effective 30 days from a Feb. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Michaelson made several misrepresentations to his clients and the court: in one instance, he fabricated a court order by cutting and pasting a copy of the presiding judge's signature from a different order. He then gave the order to his clients but later denied having much knowledge about the order. Michaelson also billed clients for work that had not been formed. In another instance, he failed to properly communicate and neglected to explain the true status of a lawsuit to his clients. (Case No. SC10-1496)

Gregory Ernest Monaldi, 200 S.E. 9th St., Fort Lauderdale, suspended until further order, following a Feb. 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Monaldi is currently suspended, therefore the suspension is effective immediately. In August 2010, Monaldi failed to acknowledge investigative inquiries from the Bar requesting a mandatory response to the sworn complaint of a former client. In November 2010, a grievance committee found Monaldi in contempt. (Case No. SC10-2348)

Matthew Glenn Palentchar, 16 Caton Ave., Colonia, N.J., suspended for 91 days until further order, following a Feb. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Palentchar is currently suspended, therefore the suspension is effective immediately. Further, Palentchar shall pay restitution of $750 to one client. In several instances, Palentchar was retained to represent clients but he failed to communicate regarding the status of cases. Palentchar failed to properly maintain his trust accounting records, he practiced law while ineligible, due to delinquent Bar fees and he failed to respond to the Bar disciplinary inquiries. (Case No. SC10-1401)

Douglas Randolph Peacock, Jr., 111 2nd Ave. N.E., Suite 900, Saint Petersburg, publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for one year, following a Jan. 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000). One case involved Peacock's neglect of his client's legal matter and his failure to respond to discovery requests and court orders, for which he admitted to the court that he neglected the case. In another instance, Peacock failed to inform his client of an adverse court ruling and he failed to respond in a timely manner to the Bar's disciplinary inquiry. (Case No. SC10-1432)

Pablo Perez, 6251 S.W. 58th Street, South Miami, suspended until further order, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Perez appeared to be causing great public harm. The Bar received 11 different complaints against Perez from former clients. They alleged they retained Perez to represent them in various legal matters including foreclosure and loan modification for which they paid legal fees, but he failed to provide services and eventually abandoned their cases. Perez subsequently informed the Bar that due to economic problems, he was forced to close his practice, but he planned to reopen in the near future. Perez then failed to have any further communication with the Bar or respond to any Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC11-201)

Jaime Roberto, 16877 E. Colonial Drive PMB #192, Orlando, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a March 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Roberto created a conflict of interest by engaging in sexual relations with two clients while representing them in separate, unrelated criminal cases. He provided both with financial assistance on several occasions and he asked one of the women to refer prospective criminal clients to him for representation. He never entered into a fee agreement with either client and he never received monetary fees from them. (Case No. SC09-1929)

James L. Soule, 7515 W. Oakland Park Blvd. #100, Fort Lauderdale, suspended for 91 days following a Feb. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Soule is currently suspended, therefore the suspension is effective immediately. In April 2010, Soule was suspended. Among the terms of the consent judgment, Soule was required to notify his clients, opposing counsel and the courts of his status and provide a sworn affidavit to the Bar listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that received a copy of his suspension order. Soule did not submit the required affidavit. (Case No. SC09-2226)

Eric Jefferson Tinsley, 2000 N. Dixie Highway Suite 4, Lake Worth, suspended until further order, following a March 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Tinsley appeared to be causing great public harm. An audit revealed that Tinsley misappropriated nearly $11,000 from his trust account. (Case No. SC11-394)

John David Todd, P.O. Box 551563, Jacksonville, suspended for 91 days, following a Feb. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Todd is currently suspended, therefore the suspension is effective immediately. Todd failed to comply with the terms of the 90-day suspension he received in February 2010. He was required to complete a trust accounting workshop and earn five Continuing Legal Education credits in probate law within a year of the court order. He was also required to notify his clients, opposing counsel and the courts of his status and provide a sworn affidavit to the Bar listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that received a copy of his suspension order. Todd failed to respond to the Bar's inquiries regarding the matter. (Case No. Sc10-2167)

Sheila D. Turner, PMB 49043, Atlanta, Ga., suspended for one year, following a Feb. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Turner is currently suspended, therefore the suspension is effective immediately. Turner was the subject of several Bar disciplinary matters involving client neglect, to which she pleaded guilty. In 2008, her conduct resulted in a six-month suspension. (Case No. SC10-1433)


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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 03-31-2011]