SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 11 ATTORNEYS
Summaries of orders issued Feb. 7 – Feb. 25, 2019
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 11 attorneys – disbarring three, revoking the licenses of two, suspending four, and publicly reprimanding two. One attorney received additional sanctions of suspension and probation.
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 more than 106,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Additional information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.
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 includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam.
William Ronald Alexander, Jr., 138 W. New York Ave., Suite 1, Deland, to be publicly reprimanded following a Feb. 7 court Order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Further, Alexander shall attend a trust accounting workshop. A Florida Bar audit found that Alexander commingled personal funds with client funds in his trust account. The audit also determined that Alexander’s trust account was not in substantial compliance with Bar rules. (Case No. SC18-1378)
Richard Edward Benton, 1415 Piedmont Drive E., Suite 4, Tallahassee, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Feb. 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Benton failed to respond to official Bar inquiries and a subpoena. (Case No. SC18-2122)
John Christopher Carver, P.O. Box 1298, St. Petersburg, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Carver repeatedly failed to respond to notices from the appellate court, requiring him to submit a filing fee or paperwork for a client’s appeal in a criminal case. He was subsequently found in contempt for violating a prior Supreme Court order. (Case Nos. SC18-255 & SC18-481)
John Chiarenza, 13020 S.W. 92nd Ave., Apt. A311, Miami, suspended for three years, effective immediately, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Chiarenza was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault by possession of a firearm and was sentenced to three years in prison. (Case No. SC16-741)
Timothy John Chuilli, 3015 Coconut Grove Drive, Coral Gables, disbarred effective immediately, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) After receiving notice from The Florida Bar, Chuilli failed to appear at a final disciplinary hearing and did not participate throughout the proceedings. In addition, he failed to provide competent representation, failed to communicate, and failed to expedite litigation in a civil matter. (Case No. SC18-600)
Mark Wilfred Ciaravella, P.O. Box 1107, Tampa, to be publicly reprimanded following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Further, Ciaravella is suspended for 15 days, and upon reinstatement, he shall be placed on probation for one year. After completing duties as standby counsel in a state court criminal proceeding, Ciaravella filed a notice of appeal on behalf of the pro se defendant, without the filing fee or certificate of indigency status. Ciaravella ignored numerous orders from the Second District Court of Appeal to follow protocol. He was subsequently removed as counsel by the Second DCA. (SC18-625)
Laura Healan Coggin, 76347 Veterans Way, Yulee, suspended from the practice of law for 30 days, to run concurrent with an ongoing suspension, effective immediately, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) Further, Coggin shall pay restitution of $1,700 to one client. Coggin was retained to represent a client in 2015, but in 2018, the client learned that she had never filed anything on his behalf. (SC18-1733)
Arthur P. Cohen, 3105 Fowler St., Fort Myers, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Cohen pleaded no contest to misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia; he also was charged with felony drug possession. In a criminal matter, Cohen represented a client, but failed to properly inform the client that his appearance was necessary for a court hearing. Finally, Cohen was alleged to have failed to timely file a notice of appeal in a client’s criminal matter while working for another attorney and failing to communicate with the client. (SC18-1616)
Mark Fisher, Address unknown. The court granted Fisher’s petition for a disciplinary revocation effective immediately, without leave to seek readmission, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Fisher pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, a felony. He will be sentenced on March 25. (Case No: SC18-2005)
Dale James Morgado, 85 Wall St., Suite 1100, New York, N. Y., disbarred effective immediately, following a Feb. 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) In several instances, Morgado settled client cases and misappropriated the settlement proceeds. He also failed to adequately communicate with some clients and subsequently abandoned them. (SC18-1084)
David Philips, 100 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1607, Miami. The court granted Philips’ petition for a disciplinary revocation effective immediately, with leave to seek readmission after five years, following a Feb. 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Charges pending against Philips involved the misappropriation of client trust funds. (Case No: SC18-1976)