The Florida Bar
(April 15, 1990)
A lawyer does not violate the ethical rule against communicating with a represented party when the lawyer strictly complies with a statute requiring notice or service of process directly on the adverse party.

Note: The opinion appearing below was approved by the Board of Governors at its March 1990 meeting. Subsequent to the adoption of this opinion, Rule 4-4.2 was amended to include the following provision: "Notwithstanding the foregoing, an attorney may, without such prior consent, communicate with another's client in order to meet the requirements of any statute or contract requiring notice or service of process directly on an adverse party, in which event the communication shall be strictly restricted to that required by statute or contract, and a copy shall be provided to the adverse party's attorney."

RPC: 4-4.2
Opinion: 85-3

Rule 4-4.2 provides:

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.

The rule must be construed to allow compliance with statutes requiring notice or service of process directly on the adverse party. Were it otherwise, attorneys would be constrained from properly representing their clients. As we said in a different context about the statutorily required notice of worthless check, however, the direct contact must be strictly limited to that required by statute. Opinion 85-3. Further, it would be appropriate to provide opposing counsel with a copy of any document served on the adverse party.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]