The Florida Bar

April 12, 1963

It is improper for a lawyer to represent both an employer and a workmen's compensation claimant in a proceeding for a “washout” settlement without the claimant's knowledge of or consent to the representation of him.

Canons: 6, 9, 32, 35
Opinion: ABA 245

Chairman Holcomb stated the opinion of the committee:

In response to an inquiry from a member of The Florida Bar to the Professional Ethics Committee concerning the propriety of an attorney, [representing] both employer and workmen's compensation claimant in order that the claimant be represented in a proceeding for a “wash-out” settlement, under FS 440.20(10) (1961), without advising the claimant thereof and where the claimant has not agreed to and has no knowledge of the existence or identity of the counsel selected for that purpose, we desire to advise you as follows:

We consider such an action to be a very serious violation of the Canons of Ethics, particularly Canon 6 concerning adverse interest, with possible violations of Canons 9, 32, and 35. In ABA Opinion 245, it was held improper for plaintiff's lawyer in a divorce proceeding to even recommend local counsel for the defendant.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]