SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 12 ATTORNEYS Summaries of orders issued March 1 – 22, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2018
CONTACT: Public Information; [email protected],
The Florida Bar
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 12 attorneys – disbarring four, suspending four, and publicly reprimanding four. Three attorneys received more than one form of discipline. All three were placed on probation, and one was also ordered to pay restitution to clients.
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 105,947 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 rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam. Historically, less than five percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.
Cary G. Blake, 4770 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1430, Miami, disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective immediately, following a March 8, court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) Blake, an immigration attorney, is a member of the New Jersey Bar, not The Florida Bar. He is subject to the jurisdiction and disciplinary rules of the Supreme Court of Florida, however, having practiced law in the state at all times relevant to the complaint. In one case, Blake misrepresented his level of experience in filing certain immigration petitions. He subsequently abandoned the case and failed to refund any of the $20,000 fee he was paid. In another matter, Blake was retained to obtain a visa for a married couple. He was paid in full for his legal representation, however he failed to communicate and finally abandoned the clients and his law practice. (Case No. SC17-1686)
Richard Duane Cserep, P.O. Box 10160, Pensacola, to be publicly reprimanded by the referee, following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Cserep was appointed to two appeals at the First District Court of Appeal but failed to timely comply with First DCA orders and appellate rules of court. He also failed to timely file briefs, and at one point stopped communicating with the court. (Case No. SC17-1834)
Jason Steven Dalley, P.O. Box 880225, Boca Raton, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a March 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Dalley pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and health care fraud, all felonies. (Case No. SC18-350)
Randall Lawrence Gilbert, 1720 Harrison St. Penthouse B, Hollywood, disbarred effective immediately following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Gilbert failed to properly supervise the firm’s trust account, and a non-lawyer employee who had a criminal past. Over a four-year period, the employee stole $4.8 million from the trust account. The 190 thefts averaged $100,000 per month, and went unquestioned by Gilbert. (SC15-2004)
Mercedes Gonzalez Hale, 2418 Cypress Glen Drive, Wesley Chapel, to be publicly reprimanded following a March 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Hale was found in contempt for failing to timely respond to Bar inquiries. A grievance committee found that Hale failed to show good cause for failing to respond, and the noncompliance was willful. Letters were sent to Hale by the Bar from June 20 until Nov. 22, 2017. (SC17-2269)
Andrew Michael Kassier, 4500 S. Le Juene Road, Coral Gables, suspended for 10 days, effective 30 days from a March 1 court order. (Admitted to practice, 1981) Kassier was retained to handle an adoption case, but he failed to complete the work. The client subsequently retained new counsel, and Kassier refunded the legal fees after a grievance was filed with the Bar. (SC18-183)
Brandon Lee Kolb, 4437 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) Further, upon reinstatement, Kolb is placed on probation for one year and he shall attend ethics school. He shall also pay restitution of $750 to his clients. Kolb failed to competently represent a client by pursuing a frivolous claim in defense of an eviction while continuing to occupy the property as permitted by his client to the detriment of the owners. Kolb also failed to diligently handle a tenant eviction, failed to adequately communicate with his clients, charged an excessive fee, and refused to refund the clients’ retainer. (Case No. SC17-1667)
Joseph John Mancini, 101 N. U.S. Highway 1, Suite 200, Fort Pierce, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following a March 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Further, Mancini shall be placed on probation for three years, and sign a rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance. Mancini did not diligently handle two cases. In one instance he failed to adequately communicate with the client, causing the client to receive an order to pay the opposing party’s attorney fees. After being retained in another matter, Mancini did little work. He failed to return the client’s phone calls and emails, and he failed to timely respond to a Bar inquiry. (Case No. SC18-171)
Adam Paul Philpott, 6320 Raleigh St., Apt. 612, Orlando, suspended for six months, effective immediately, following a March 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Further, upon reinstatement, Philpott shall be placed on probation for five years, and sign a rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance. In October 2017, Philpott pleaded no contest to a first-degree misdemeanor. After being stopped by police, Philpott refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. He had a prior conviction for driving under the influence. (Case No. SC18-169)
Vana Renejuste, P.O. Box 669, Lehigh Acres, disbarred effective 30 days from a March 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Renejuste failed to diligently and competently represent clients. She often failed to communicate with clients, charged excessive fees, and failed to take minimal steps to protect her clients’ interests. (Case Nos. SC17-914 & SC17-1541)
Abraham Mohammad Shakfeh, 400 N. Ashley Drive, Suite 1900, Tampa, to be publicly reprimanded following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Shakfeh represented a client on approximately two dozen public records cases. The contingency fee agreement constituted an improper fee sharing with a non-lawyer. In addition, he made settlement demands which were unrelated to the actual damages at issue in the cases. (Case No. SC17-540)
James Patrick Stanton, Jr., 3152 Little Road, Suite 203, Trinity, permanently disbarred effective 30 days from a March 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) In 2014, Stanton was charged in court with 123 misdemeanor counts of voyeurism, allegedly for placing video equipment in company bathrooms. Is was alleged that a computer technician discovered 142 video files while repairing Stanton’s computer depicting at least five female employees in different stages of undress in the employee bathroom, and Stanton is depicted in one of the videos removing what appear to be the covert cameras. The charges were later dismissed because of the statute of limitations. (Case No. SC16-1791)
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