The Florida Bar

Florida Bar News

August 1, 2021 Disciplinary Actions

Disciplinary Actions

Scales Books GavelThe Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 21 attorneys, disbarring two, suspending 10, revoking the licenses of one, and reprimanding six. Five attorneys were placed on probation and one was admonished.

Damien Aranguren, 725 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Suite 1, Ocala, suspended for 18 months and probation for one year then following reinstatement, Aranguren is further placed on probation for one year. Aranguren is currently suspended; therefore, this suspension is effective, nunc pro tunc, to the effective date of his felony suspension, March 30 following a June 10 court order. (Admitted to Practice: 2009) On or about March 10, Aranguren entered pleas of nolo contendere to three felony counts of Grand Theft (Statutory Theft) and two misdemeanor counts involving trespass. The court withheld adjudication as to all counts and sentenced Aranguren to two years of conditional probation as to the felony counts and to credit for time served as to the misdemeanor counts. (Case No: SC21-468)

Bryon R. Aven, 400 South Street D, Titusville, public reprimand effective immediately following a May 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) During his unsuccessful judicial campaign in Marion County, Aven made misleading and damaging statements concerning the incumbent judge. Aven expressly and intentionally implied that the incumbent judge favored criminals, disfavored law enforcement, disfavored the state attorney and that he, as a candidate, would do differently. (Case No: SC19-1879)

Danielle Justine Butler, 1314 E. Las Olas Blvd., PMB 8, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended effective 30 days following a May 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Butler entered a plea of no contest to one count of Grand Theft in the Third Degree, a felony. The trial court entered an order of disposition, withheld adjudication and sentenced Butler to one year of probation. (Case No: SC21-738)

Abraham Elmazahi, P.O. Box 78023, Orlando, suspended for 90 days and probation for three years with attendance at the Professionalism Workshop and Ethics School effective 30 days following a June 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2018) Elmazahi, while employed as an assistant state attorney in Orange County created a conflict of interest when he engaged in a consensual romantic relationship with the victim in a domestic violence case in which he was the assigned prosecutor. (Case No: SC21-781)

Robert John Foy, 620 N. Walnut St., Murfreesboro, TN, disbarred effective July 5 following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) In September 2015, Foy agreed to represent a client in a personal injury case which resulted from a car accident. The client’s case was settled in February 2018 for $40,000. Foy knowingly and intentionally did not send a portion of the settlement funds to settle the client’s bills and did not provide any settlement funds to the client until she filed a disciplinary complaint against Foy. In response to the complaint, Foy submitted bank records to the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee that were not accurate and were altered. This is a reciprocal discipline action based on the Petition for Discipline dated November 7, 2019, and the Order of Enforcement from the Supreme Court of Tennessee dated August 17, 2020. (Case No: SC20-1595)

Carl Roland Hayes, 308 E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Suite E, Tampa, suspended for 60 days effective 30 days following a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Hayes lacked competence and diligence in his representation of a client in an immigration matter. The client hired Hayes to fight his pending deportation, which required the filing of an Application of Cancellation of Removal with the immigration court. Hayes failed to file an application by the deadline and instead filed an improper motion with the court. The court found the motion legally insufficient and deemed the application abandoned. The court ordered the client’s removal and an appeal was reserved. Subsequently, the appellate court remanded the case and Hayes withdrew from the case. The client remained in detention throughout the appeal process. (Case No: SC21-757)

Andrew C. Hill, 11916 Trevally Loop, Apt. 311, Trinity, suspended for one year effective 30 days following a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Hill was ordered to hold disputed frozen funds in his trust account until the final resolution of his client’s case or upon further order of the court. Hill did not have a trust account, and he failed to hold the funds in trust as ordered. In addition, Hill failed to account for the funds when the matter concluded and failed to timely disburse the funds. Hill also failed to timely respond to The Florida Bar’s inquiries in this matter. (Case No: SC20-1515)

Chinagozi Ikpeama, 2820 Howland Blvd., Suite 6, Deltona, public reprimand and directed to attend The Florida Bar’s Trust Accounting Workshop effective immediately following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2010) While representing the husband in a dissolution of marriage case, Ikpema received funds representing attorney’s fees and costs from the wife. Ikpema failed to timely disburse funds paid by the wife for five itemized costs to his client. Additionally, Ikpema failed to comply with The Florida Bar Rules Regulating Trust Accounts. (Case No: SC21-755)

Lisa Jacobs, 7951 SW 6th St. Suite 200, Plantation, suspended for 30 days effective 30 days following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Jacobs tested positive for alcohol use on a few occasions after receiving diversion for reckless driving. Thereafter, Jacobs failed to notify The Florida Bar that she was adjudicated guilty to DUI with property damage/personal injury and refusal to submit to a blood/breath test. (Case No: SC21-766)

Tarica C. LaBossiere, 301 S.W. 86th Ave., Apt. 205, Pembroke Pines, admonishment and probation for three years effective immediately following a June 10, court order. (Admitted to practice: 2018) LaBossiere was arrested for driving under the influence after a traffic stop. There, she plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence. LaBossiere was sentenced to 12-months’ probation, a $1,000 fine and other conditions. In March 2019, the grievance committee considered this matter and made a diversion recommendation with certain conditions. LaBossiere accepted the diversion. Subsequently, LaBossiere failed to comply with all conditions of the diversion and the matter was returned to the grievance committee for further proceedings. (Case No: SC21-786)

Allen Howard Libow, 4651 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, public reprimand and attendance at The Florida Bar’s Professionalism Workshop effective immediately following a June 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Libow sent unprofessional emails to opposing counsel and made disparaging comments to the presiding judge. In another matter, in which Libow sued a client for fees, he engaged in vexatious litigation. (Case No: SC21-805)

Kelly Anne McCabe, 535 Central Ave., Suite 435, St. Petersburg, suspended for three years effective 30 days following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) McCabe engaged in a pattern of misconduct over the course of litigation in two client matters. McCabe failed to communicate and act with competence or diligence in her client’s cases and she failed to respond to the Bar in two separate matters. (Case No: SC20-620)

Diane Marie McGuire, 42 Snapper Ave., Key Largo, indefinite interim probation effective immediately following a June 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) McGuire failed to participate in an agreed evaluation through Florida Lawyer’s Assistance, Inc. (Case No: SC21-874)

Arthur Joseph Morburger, 201 S. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, emergency suspended effective immediately following a June 16 court order (Admitted to practice: 1973). Morburger was found to have misappropriated funds from his trust account. He also made misrepresentations regarding these funds in his sworn deposition testimony, as well as to the Bar in his written responses. A petition for emergency suspension is granted by the Florida Supreme Court when The Florida Bar presents clear and convincing evidence that a lawyer appears to be causing great public harm (see Rule 3-5.2(a)) and also constitutes a formal complaint so that the matter is fully investigated and a final disciplinary action is ordered. (Case No: SC21-900)

James C. Peterson, P.O. Box 428, New Smyrna Beach, public reprimand, probation for two years and completion of Trust Accounting Workshop, effective June 8 following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2010) Peterson’s father and grandfather were partners of the law firm, and he was an associate. In 2015, Peterson became a signatory on the firm’s trust accounts and at the time, serious deficiencies existed in the way the firm maintained its two trust accounts including a shortage in one account. Although his father corrected the shortage, Peterson was unaware of the issue until the Bar commenced its compliance audit of the firm’s two trust accounts. When the Bar notified Peterson of the errors, he created a new law firm with his brother and took the necessary steps to ensure the new law firm’s trust account complied with the rules. (Case No: SC21-758)

Dave Kumar Roy, 1665 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., West Palm Beach, suspended for 10 days effective 30 days following a June 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) Roy was hired to handle a wrongful arrest case and allowed the statute of limitations to run out, while also failing to advise the client that the case had been dismissed. (Case No: SC21-810)

Todd Patrick Scholl, 2792 Duffer Road, Sebring, public reprimand effective immediately following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2019) On or about July 15, 2020, Scholl pled no contest to DUI, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to a one-year period of probation with conditions, fines, and costs. In 2017, Scholl had a prior arrest for first-time DUI that was resolved with a guilty plea to Reckless Driving, a misdemeanor. (Case No: SC21-279)

Mark Ellis Solomon, 4767 New Broad St., Orlando, suspended for one year effective 30 days following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) In two separate matters, Solomon failed to provide his clients with competent and diligent representation resulting in the dismissal of their cases with prejudice. In the first matter, the court awarded attorney’s fees and costs against Solomon’s clients. Solomon personally paid the judgment entered against the clients. He also failed to maintain adequate communication during the representation. In the second matter, Solomon filed a pleading that cast aspersions on the appellate court panel but filed an amended pleading after an order to show cause was issued by the court. Additionally, the appellee was awarded attorney’s fees against Solomon’s client. (Case No: SC20-1816)

Mark Edward Tietig, 6065 South Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, disbarred effective immediately following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to Practice: 1997) Tietig self-reported to the Bar an overdraft in his law office trust account resulting from fraud. At the time of the overdraft, Tietig was holding client funds in the trust account. Tietig was unable to recover the client funds and he failed to correct the shortage in the trust account. Additionally, Tietig represented two clients in different civil cases where he neglected the cases, failed to communicate with the clients and ultimately abandoned the clients when he closed his law office without notice. Tietig took no steps to protect his clients when he abruptly ceased practicing law. (Case No: SC20-1436)

Michael Dennis Walsh, 3411 Powerline Rd., Suite 701, Oakland Park, public reprimand, effective immediately following a June 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Walsh was held in contempt and publicly reprimanded for failing to timely respond to official inquiries of The Florida Bar. (Case No: SC21-201)

Randall Albert Werre, 3645 Flintwood Circle, Pensacola, disciplinary revocation with leave to apply for readmission after five years effective immediately following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Werre filed a Petition for Disciplinary Revocation based on his prior disciplinary history and another current case involving neglect of client and failing to respond to The Florida Bar. (Case No: SC21-590)

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. 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.

News in Photos