April 1, 2023 Disciplinary Actions
The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined five attorneys, emergency suspending one, suspending three, and revoking one without leave to reapply.
Alex S. Barnett, P.O. Box 2890, Silver Spring, MD, emergency suspended effectively immediately following a February 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2018) Barnett posted on social media, and in other communications and/or filings disparaged and/or impugned a variety of legal and law enforcement organizations, and used threats of violence that are contrary to the administration of justice. Barnett’s language included a profanities and threats to kill numerous individuals and blow up the Florida Supreme Court. (Case No: SC23-0273)
Luis Ernesto Basagoitia, 1320 N. Semoran Blvd., Suite 106, Orlando, suspended for 60 days and ordered to attend Ethics School and Stress Management Workshop, effective 30 days following a March 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) While representing a client in a dissolution of marriage matter, Basagoitia failed to file a notice of appearance, which caused him to not be served with orders issued by the court. He also failed to provide his client with competent representation and adequate communication. In the course of the representation, as well as during the disciplinary proceeding, Basagoitia made several inappropriate and disparaging remarks about his client. (Case No: SC22-837)
William Kalish, 5813 Bayshore Blvd, Tampa, disciplinary revocation without leave to reapply and restitution by court orders dated July 7, 2022, and March 30, 2023. (Admitted to practice: 1976) By order dated July 7, 2022, Kalish’s petition for disciplinary revocation without leave to reapply related to allegations of misappropriation was granted, and the Court ordered further proceedings as to the issue of restitution. By order dated March 30, 2023, Kalish was ordered to comply with the confidential restitution agreements made with the parties. (Case No: SC22-0436)
Mark D. Siegel, 3205 Southgate Circle, Suite 4, Sarasota, suspended for three years, effective immediately following a March 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Siegel personally failed to respond to an arbitration petition, was defaulted, and purposely avoided service of process in the enforcement action. He also avoided service of process of a legal malpractice suit filed against him for lack of diligence, lack of communication and incompetence. Siegel failed to respond to several official bar inquiries, was held in contempt and suspended. (Case No: SC22-594)
Jonathan Clement Zisser, 121 W. Forsyth St., Suite 1000, Jacksonville, suspended for 60 days, effective April 3 following a March 2 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Zisser was hired to represent the client in a divorce proceeding and in a criminal domestic batter case as her victim advocate. During the representation, Zisser began a sexual relationship with the client. The client’s husband exposed the relationship between the two, and Zisser ended his representation of the client. (Case No: SC22-591)
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 110,000 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. 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.