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Disciplinary Actions Florida Supreme Court Disbars Two South Florida Attorneys In Late May 2014

By Expert Author: BenzShon

According to the Florida Bar and the South Florida Business Journal two attorneys were disbarred and five others have been suspended by the Florida Supreme Court. According to the Business Journal a Miami-based lawyer was disbarred for holding up the disbursal of more than $19,000 in funds in trust account designated for the complainants. The attorney allegedly refused to return the money despite numerous requests and demands. The Florida Bar alleges that he failed to provide trust account records to the Bar and commingled some of his personal funds with those of his clients in order to hide marital assets from his wife in their divorce proceedings. The attorney also failed to appear for his final disciplinary hearing.
The South Florida Business Journal reports that another Miami attorney has been disbarred after allegations alleging improper activities by a title company she formed with a former law partner. The alleged improprieties stem from the misappropriation of more than $655,000 from a real estate closing. The disciplined attorney was also found guilty of contempt for failing to comply with the rules of the Florida Bar. Her law partner was disbarred in 2012.
The five suspensions stem from a variety of allegations including a no contest plea for felony cocaine possession, eluding a police officer (a third-degree felony) and failure to comply with the terms of a previous suspension order.
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The sanctions described arose from fairly obvious misconduct. What about possible sanctions rising from the way we conduct business electronically?Consider an article published on the Law360 website on April 14, 2014 by Sindhu Sindar headlined, “Advisory Panel OKs Higher Bar for E-Discovery Sanctions.”
The article reads in part:
An advisory panel agreed Friday to amend civil procedure rules to require parties seeking sanctions over lost electronic documents to show the documents were destroyed to be withheld from litigation, setting a higher bar that attorneys say could curb devastating product liability verdicts like the recent $6 billion award against Takeda Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
The Advisory Committee on Civil Rules backed a revision to Rule 37(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, raising the bar to impose sanctions for lost documents and saying that if the lost information is prejudicial to a party, the judge can only impose measures to cure that prejudice. The judge can only go further to impose sanctions if he or she finds that the information was destroyed to keep it out of litigation.

According to Law360, the amendments (as of May 30 1014) have not been finalized, would have a major impact on product liability litigation which typically involve expensive discovery battles.
What procedures does your law office have in place to prevent problems regarding electronic transmission related to discovery?
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