SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 13 ATTORNEYS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2018
CONTACT: Public Information Department,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE: (850) 561-5666; [email protected]
Summaries of orders issued Jan. 11 - Jan. 25, 2018
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 13 attorneys – disbarring four, revoking the license of one, suspending five, and publicly reprimanding three. Two attorneys were also placed on 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 106,051 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.
Mordechai L. Breier, 633 N.E. 167th St., Suite 725, North Miami Beach, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from a Jan. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Further, upon reinstatement, Breier is placed on probation for one year. In two separate instances, Breier represented homeowners in insurance claims. Both clients were dissatisfied with services provided by Breier’s firm, and filed grievances. A Bar audit found that Breier shared fees with a non-lawyer consulting firm he had hired, and his closing statements to clients often did not reflect the actual amount of fees paid to the adjuster. (Case No. SC17-2249)
Jeffrey William Butcher, 308 N. Tioga St., Ithaca, New York, disbarred effective immediately, following a Jan. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) This is a reciprocal discipline. Butcher was also a member of the New York State Bar Association. He was convicted in court, in New York, of attempted perjury, a felony. He planted drugs in the car of an elected official, called the police to report it and then lied about his role in the matter. (Case No. SC17-1287)
Terra Neshonda Carroll, 11161 E. State Road 70, Unit 110-136, Lakewood Ranch, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Jan. 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) Carroll was found guilty in court of fleeing and eluding a police officer, a felony, and resisting an officer without violence, a misdemeanor. (Case No. SC18-120)
Ian James Christensen, 4446 Hendricks Ave., Suite 139, Jacksonville, disbarred effective immediately, following a Jan. 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Christensen gave clients improper legal advice concerning their use and cultivation of medical marijuana. While working with a non-lawyer who ran a medical marijuana website, Christensen brought in clients through the non-legal website and referred them to a medical professional for a medical opinion justifying the use of the drug. (SC16-1081)
Kevin Matthew Conner, 5206 N.W. 16th Place, Gainesville, suspended for 60 days, effective Jan. 31, following a Jan. 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2015) Conner pleaded no contest to a first and second DUI, and was found guilty of both. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, to be served on weekends. (SC17-1360)
Luis Fernandez, 2250 S.W. 3rd Ave., Suite 303, Miami, to be publicly reprimanded following a Jan. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1979) Further, Fernandez shall undergo an office procedures and record-keeping analysis under the direction of The Florida Bar. Fernandez failed to adequately supervise a former lawyer who worked as a paralegal in his office. In a sworn statement, an attorney from the Dominican Republic said he believed the paralegal was a lawyer, and he communicated with him about a probate matter from 2010 until the end of 2011. (SC17-2253)
Barry Robert Gainsburg, 607 Sea Turtle Way, Plantation, suspended for 90 days, effective retroactive to Jan. 22, following a Jan. 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Further, Gainsburg is placed on probation for three years. Gainsburg filed multiple frivolous lawsuits in multiple jurisdictions against his former employer, and its attorneys. He used the legal system to divulge confidential client information regarding his former client corporation and sent the civil complaint to the media. Gainsburg also engaged in unethical litigation tactics to disqualify judges. (Case No. SC17-1414)
Kenneth A. Jenkins, 3367 Classic Oak Court, Orange Park, to be publicly reprimanded following a Jan. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) After being retained by a client, Jenkins failed to adequately communicate. He did not return calls, was absent from his office or provided vague statements such as, “I’m looking into things.” It took four years for Jenkins to file a suit in court on the client’s behalf. (Case No. SC17-1962)
Natalie K. Khawam, 400 N. Tampa St., Suite 950, Tampa, to be publicly reprimanded following a Jan. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Khawam charged a client excessive fees for representation. After preparing and filing an initial brief and related documents with the trial court, she billed the client for $95,000 and collected $65,000. The client terminated Khawam’s services after the initial filing. She had charged an hourly rate of $400 for herself and for law clerks at her firm, who had completed law school but had not yet been admitted to the Bar. (Case No. SC17-1184)
Brian Christopher Morris, P.O. Box 137, Port Jefferson Station, New York, disbarred effective immediately, following a Jan. 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Morris commingled and misappropriated client trust funds for his own benefit. During every month of a Bar audit period, there were shortages in Morris’ trust account ranging from $2,000 to more than $9,000. Morris admitted that the shortages were caused by numerous online transfers to his operating and personal accounts unrelated to client matters. Morris was not entitled to take the funds as his fees or costs. (Case No. SC17-795)
M. Lynn Pope, P.O. Box 320103, Tampa, suspended for six months, effective 30 days from a Jan. 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) Further, Pope must submit to a mental health evaluation prior to reinstatement. A judge’s order cited 49 frivolous filings by Pope, and she required Pope to pay more than $18,000 in attorney’s fees to the other side of the litigation. Pope blamed the judges, attorneys, CPAs and The Florida Bar for issues she had; the Court found that Pope filed non-meritorious and unintelligible motions with voluminous, unnecessary attachments. She also filed emergency motions that lacked urgency. (Case No. SC16-1319)
David Campbell Sutton, 1823 Twinberry Ave., Clovis, Calif., disbarred effective 30 days from a Jan. 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Sutton is also a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, where he is currently suspended. Sutton demonstrated a pattern of uncivil and indecent behavior toward the Court, opposing counsel and parties, third parties and the general public. He repeatedly used intimidation and offensive words to achieve his or his clients’ goals. He demonstrated on several occasions a failure to ensure that facts provided to the Court are true and accurate. (Case No. SC15-499)
Lawrence B. Wrenn Jr., 6105 Ivy Drive, Lisle, Ill. The court granted Wrenn’s petition for a disciplinary revocation, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective immediately, following a Jan. 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1978) Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment. Disciplinary matters pending against Wrenn involved judicial findings of contempt and false representations under oath, and failure to appear at hearings. (Case No. SC17-2041)
EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."