SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 11 ATTORNEYS
Summaries of orders issued from September 24 to October 28, 2020
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 license of two, suspending five and reprimanding one. One attorney was also placed on probation and another must pay restitution. Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.
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 108,000 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. 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.
Eric Scott Brumfield, 8724 S.W. 72 St., Suite 91, Miami, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years effective 30 days following an Oct. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Brumfield issued a check representing client settlement funds to a client from his operating account instead of his trust account. The check was returned for insufficient funds. In another matter, Brumfield did not notify his client that an appeal was denied and continued to collect an impermissible monthly fee from the client for two years after the appeal denial. (Case No: SC20-1279)
Johnie Steven Cooper, 119 N. Walnut St., Starke, disciplinary revocation without leave to reapply effective immediately following a Sept. 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Cooper misappropriated $53,097.53 of client funds from his trust account and was subsequently criminally charged with grand theft. (Case No: SC20-1122)
Esmond Jude Lewis, 3244 Royal Gardens Ave., Fort Myers, disbarred effective 30 days following an Oct. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Lewis neglected four separate client matters, failed to deposit retainers and costs deposits into his trust account and failed to promptly return unearned fees and costs to clients. Lewis further failed to maintain the required trust account records and failed to respond in a timely manner to The Florida Bar’s inquiries. (Case Nos: SC18-2115 and SC19-502)
Douglas Alan Lopp, 19420 Sandy Springs Circle, Lutz, suspended for one year effective immediately following a Sept. 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Lopp was held in contempt of a court order dated Nov. 15, 2019, for failing to notify clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension as required. (Case No: SC20-1026)
Kevin Robert Monahan, P.O. Box 2682, Palatka, suspended for 10 days effective 30 days following an Oct. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) After being appointed as counsel for the defendants, Monahan failed to appear for court in two separate criminal matters. . His clients were unable to have their matters heard and as a result, the trial judge removed Monahan in both cases as appointed counsel. (Case No: SC20-533)
Tracy Belinda Newmark, 10360 W. State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale, suspended for 6 months with one-year probation effective 45 days following an Oct. 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Newmark represented the former husband in a family and domestic law matter. She made numerous derogatory remarks on Facebook about opposing counsel and in a client review on AVVO.com. In her posts, Newmark also made misrepresentations regarding the judge’s comments about opposing counsel. In another case, she represented a family in a tenant eviction and cross claim involving black mold. She failed to properly communicate with them, and she did not diligently pursue their case. (Case Nos: SC18-1980 and SC18-1525)
Omer Ors, 8130 Baymeadows Circle West, Suite 303, Jacksonville, disbarred effective immediately following an Oct. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2014) Ors abandoned his practice and his clients. He moved out of the country and failed to respond to official inquiries from The Bar. (Case No: SC20-562)
Giancarlo Ricard, P.O. Box 600621, Saint Johns, public reprimand effective immediately following a Sept. 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2016) Ricard was retained as counsel by two separate clients and then determined that he was unable to complete their civil matters. Ricard also failed to adequately communicate with the clients. He merged his law practice with another law firm, which ultimately took over the representation of these cases.. (Case No. SC20-744)
Paul K. Silverberg, 1290 Weston Road, Suite 218, Weston, suspended for 91 days effective 30 days following a Sept. 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Silverberg made material misrepresentations to the court regarding his availability for hearings and he failed to properly supervise his nonlawyer staff. His actions resulted in undue expense and unnecessary litigation. (Case No: SC18-1216)
Steven Allen Smilack, 3300 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 301, West Palm Beach, suspended for three years effective 30 days following an Oct. 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) In a civil matter, Smilack made misrepresentations under oath regarding his entitlement to legal fees. (Case No: SC18-445)
Jeffrey Robert Thibault, P.O. Box 341434, Tampa, disbarred and must pay restitution of $3,500 effective immediately following an Oct. 8 court order due to an existing emergency suspension. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Thibault misappropriated at least $20,000 of client funds and neglected legal matters of several clients after receiving retainer fees from them. Thibault also failed to respond to Bar inquiries and failed to meaningfully participate in the disciplinary proceedings. (Case No: SC20-70)
About The Florida Bar
Founded in 1949, The Florida Bar serves the legal profession for the protection and benefit of both the public and all Florida lawyers. As one of the nation’s largest mandatory bars, The Florida Bar fosters and upholds a high standard of integrity and competence within Florida’s legal profession as an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court. To learn more, visit FloridaBar.org.