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Disciplinary actions.

Prepared by The Florida Bar's Public Information and Bar Services Department

The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 32 attorneys; disbarring eight, revoking the license of one, suspending 14, and publicly reprimanding nine. Three attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One was ordered to pay restitution and two were placed on probation.

The following lawyers have been disciplined:

Russell Leroy Akins, 4888 N. Kings Hwy., Suite 403, Ft. Pierce, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from an August 28 court order. Further, upon reinstatement, Akins is placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Akins failed to adequately communicate with a client regarding the legal fees he would be charged and failed to communicate with other clients who hired Akins for a loan modification. He entered into a financial agreement with two E-commerce referral services that were not sanctioned by Florida Bar rules governing lawyer referral services. Akins also failed to properly supervise non-lawyer employees who worked on loan modification cases. Akins allowed the non-lawyer employees to solicit clients via email and telephone. Some of the clients resided outside of Florida, despite the fact that Akins was not licensed to practice law in any other state. (Case No. SC13-1890) Richard Russell Baker, 1355 Orange Ave., Suite 3, Winter Park, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Baker pleaded guilty in court to tax evasion, a felony offense. He knowingly failed to file his personal income taxes from 2002 to 2008. (Case No. SC14-1681)

Anthony Wayne Blackburn, 4812 San Juan Ave., Jacksonville, suspended for 30 days, effective December 1, following a September 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) After being retained, Blackburn failed to exercise due care while transferring custody of a child from the guardian to the birth mother. (Case No. SC14-1429)

Thomas Theodore Clifford, 1718 E. 7th Ave., Suite 201, Tampa, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a September 8 court order. Further, his probationary period has ended and Clifford is required to successfully complete a trust accounting workshop prior to petitioning for reinstatement. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Clifford was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a March 14 suspension order. Specifically, Clifford was required to provide a sworn affidavit to The Florida Bar within 30 days of his suspension, listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC14-996)

Larry Herbert Colleton, P.O. Box 677459, Orlando, suspended for one year, retroactive to July 29, 2012, following a September 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Colleton was hired in early 2010 to pursue legal action against an insurance company. He filed a wrongful death suit in 2011 but failed to take any further action on the case. He also failed to communicate with the client (Case No. SC14439)

Robert B. Cook, P.O. Box 3609, Tequesta, to receive a public reprimand to be administered by publication in the Southern Reporter, following an August 14 court order. Further, Cook shall pay restitution of $8,310 to four clients. (Admitted to practice: 1971) Between 2010 and 2012, Cook engaged in a continuing course of conduct involving cases in which clients sought credits on their credit cards, claiming that the purchased services did not occur. Cook was affiliated with an entity as a referral source, which solicited business on his behalf. Although he was unaware of the solicitation, Cook allowed his nonlawyer staff to handle the cases with little supervision from him. Cook was suspended for 90 days following a November 2013 court order and paid restitution of $57,000 to 13 clients. The public reprimand case concerns complainants who were not part of the 90-day suspension and restitution order (Case No. SC14-1468) Timothy Daniel, 39 Beechwood

Drive, Ormond, disbarred effective immediately, following an August 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) Daniel intentionally misappropriated funds he was holding on behalf of a client. Additionally, Daniel made misrepresentations under oath in connection with the Bar's investigation regarding the client's funds in question. (Case No. SC14-602)

Marcia Vestylena Forsett, 11 Elkhorn Drive, Frostproof, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a September 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Forsett was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of an August 7, 2013, Supreme Court order, in which she was publicly reprimanded and ordered to attend and successfully complete ethics school. On three occasions, Forsett failed to attend ethics school after being scheduled by the Bar. (Case No. SC14-856)

John Christopher Getzinger, 1440 Coral Ridge Drive, Suite 190, Coral Springs, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a September 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Getzinger was found in contempt by a grievance committee for failing to respond to Bar inquiries dated December 11, 2013, and February 11, 2014. (Case No. SC14-963)

Mikal Winston Grass, 3132 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a September 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Grass was found in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena served by The Florida Bar, requesting trust accounting and other records. (Case No. SC14-1089)

Michael J. Hernandez, 2211 S. Hacienda Blvd., Suite 205, Hacienda Heights, Calif., disbarred effective immediately, following an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Hernandez did not inform any of his clients that he was suspended in Florida and the immigration court, or that he was not licensed to practice in California. He also continued to hold himself out as a Florida attorney in good standing with both his clients and the courts. (Case No. SC13-2277)

Frances Grace Jaynal, 6251 Park Blvd. N., Suite 3, Pinellas Park, disbarred effective immediately, following an August 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) A compliance audit of Jaynal's bank records indicated a misappropriation of funds from her trust account from the estates of three separate clients totaling more than $132,000. Jaynal also ceased communication with one client regarding the status of her case. (Case No. SC14-1033)

Carlo Jean-Joseph, P.O. Box 550976, Ft. Lauderdale, disbarred effective immediately, following a September 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Jean-Joseph was suspended from the practice of law from December 8, 2008, through October 30, 2013, yet he continued to practice law. In one instance, he collected a fee to handle an immigration case, failed to keep the client informed of action taken on the case, and subsequently caused the woman's petition for temporary protected status to be denied. (SC14-1213)

S. Antonio Jiminez, P.O. Box 279505, Miramar, to receive a public reprimand following an August 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Jiminez did not properly supervise the activities of his nonlawyer staff in the handling of a property insurance claim. This resulted in his submission of inaccurate affidavits to the court. (Case No. SC14-1528)

Rendi Katalinic, 543 Harbor Blvd., Suite 102, Destin, to receive a public reprimand administered by the referee, following an August 8, court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) Katalinic was hired in November 2010 to handle an immigration case, but he did not submit the immigration application until June 2011. From September 2011 until January 2012, the clients contacted Katalinic's office 11 times and were unable to speak with him. Due to errors by Katalinic, the clients were instructed by Immigration Services to resubmit the application with the correct fee. Assisted by an IRS certified tax preparer, the clients completed the forms and resubmitted the application on their own. (Case No. SC14-519)

Scott Douglas Leemis, P. O. Box 551086, Jacksonville, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1981) In at least four separate cases, Leemis failed to adequately represent clients and failed to properly communicate with them. Initially, Leemis was held in contempt for noncompliance and failure to respond to official Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC14-1102) Terry Lee Locy, P.O. Box 1284, Cape Canaveral, disbarred effective immediately, following a September 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Locy has abandoned his law practice. After being retained to handle a civil lawsuit, Locy failed to diligently pursue the matter and failed to adequately communicate with the clients. He also failed to timely respond to Bar inquiries regarding the matter and he failed to appear at a final hearing. (Case No. SC14-130)

Alberto J. Matta, P.O. Box 310276, Miami. The Supreme Court granted Matta's request for a disciplinary revocation, effective immediately, following an August 7 court order, with leave to seek readmission after five years. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Disciplinary revocation is equivalent to disbarment. Matta had several disciplinary charges pending including allegations of misappropriation of client funds. (Case No. SC13-1712)

Richard Kinney Edward Middagh, 2625 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 201, Coral Gables, suspended for 18 months, effective 30 days from an August 28 court order. Further, upon reinstatement, Middagh shall be placed on probation for one year. (Admitted to practice: 2004) A Bar audit found that Middagh was ignorant of the technical Bar rules governing trust accounts and he failed to maintain appropriate trust accounting records. There were also periodic shortages in his trust account. (Case No. SC14-1497)

Salvatore Dennis Mollica, P.O. Box 86, Earleton, to receive a public reprimand following an August 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1975) In July 2010, after assuring a client that he'd timely file an appeal on his behalf, Mollica failed to do so. He eventually filed a petition for a belated appeal. When Mollica failed to respond to a letter from the First District Court of Appeal, it was dismissed for failure to file the docketing statement. The appeal was subsequently taken over by the office of the public defender. The Bar wrote multiple letters to Mollica regarding the matter, but they went ignored. He finally responded in August 2012, after being contacted in writing by Bar counsel. (Case No. SC14-740)

Yvonne Marquette Nelson, P.O. Box 720598, Orlando, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a September 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Nelson was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a December 19, 2013, suspension order. Nelson was required to contact Florida Lawyers Assistance. (Case No. SC14-1065)

David Karl Delano Osborne, 121 S. Orange Ave., Suite 1500, Orlando, disbarred effective immediately, following an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) A Bar audit found that Osborne misappropriated client funds. It also revealed that he used those funds to correct personal bank account shortages and overdrafts. He failed to maintain adequate funds in his trust account to meet liabilities he owed to his clients. (Case No. SC14-1042)

David Frank Petrano, 11502 S.E. U.S. Highway 301, Hawthorne, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a September 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Petrano was found in contempt for violating the terms of a November 12, 2013, court order placing him on indefinite probation and ordering him to undergo an evaluation to determine his fitness to practice law. (Case No. SC14-820)

Michael James Powers, 470 Washington St., Suite 29, Norwood, Mass., to receive a public reprimand following an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) This is a reciprocal discipline action. Powers is also a member of the State Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he received a public reprimand on February 21, 2013. Powers intermingled personal funds with those held in trust and failed to follow trust accounting rules. (Case No. SC14-862)

Thomas Edward Pryor, Jr., P.O. Box 2888, Orlando, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a September 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Pryor appeared to be causing great public harm. A Bar audit found that Pryor had $8,000 in his trust account that was not accounted for in the client ledger cards. In a deposition, Pryor said that most of that balance represented his own funds, which he kept in the trust account to prevent seizure by the IRS. The Bar's investigation also uncovered liens against Pryor by the IRS, for failure to pay annual and quarterly business taxes over a period of many years. (Case No. SC14-1597)

Brent Rainey, P.O. Box 547035, Orlando, suspended for three years, effective 30 days from an August 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Rainey engaged in a pattern of neglect and lack of communication in regard to several clients. He also refused to respond to multiple requests from The Florida Bar and failed to produce records in compliance with a grievance committee subpoena. (Case No. SC14-1475)

William J. Rinaldo, 1102 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland, disbarred effective immediately, following an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Rinaldo engaged in a course of conduct in which he accepted legal fees from clients to file bankruptcy petitions and thereafter failed to communicate, failed to file the petitions in some instances, and abandoned the cases in other instances. He failed to refund all unearned fees and his admission to practice in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida was permanently suspended. (Case No. SC14-1517)

Sharon B. Roberts, 2022 Raymond Diehl Rd., No. 2, Tallahassee, to receive a public reprimand following a July 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Roberts listened in on a conference call without the authorization or knowledge of the parties involved. She then shared details of the call with her employer who made a public records request for a document that was discussed on the call. Roberts was arrested and jailed on felony charges stemming from her actions. Criminal charges were dropped and the record expunged after she successfully completed a one-year pretrial intervention agreement. (Case No. SC13-1753)

Scott David Rubinchik, 1860 N. Pine Island Rd., Suite 201, Plantation, to receive a public reprimand to be administered by publication in the Southern Reporter, following an August 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) After being retained, Rubinchik failed to provide competent representation to several clients. (Case No. SC14-168)

Michael Udowychenko, 3282 Greenwald Way N., Kissimmee, to receive a public reprimand following an August 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) On three separate occasions in court, Udowychenko's behavior was inappropriate and disrespectful. In one instance he filed motions alleging fraud on the court. He also filed a recusal motion in court alleging potential collusion between a judge and co-counsel. (Case No. SC13-2234)

Robert Keith Williams, 3125 W. New Haven Ave., Suite 200, Melbourne, to receive a public reprimand to be administered by the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar, following an August 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1985) Williams had a personal and professional relationship with a husband and wife for many years, but when the two decided to divorce, Williams took sides with the wife, who also worked for him. Williams represented the wife in the divorce but it was clear that he was personally involved before litigation began and chose to act as an advocate, knowing that his actions were already subject to scrutiny and suspicion by the husband. (Case No. SC13-2069)

Henry Lamar Willis, 2745 Tell Place Way S.W., Atlanta, disbarred effective immediately, following an August 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Willis was also a member of The State Bar of Georgia. On October 7, 2013, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued an opinion disbarring Willis, due to his extreme disregard of his duty to safeguard the property of a client. Willis represented a client in a personal injury matter. When the case settled, a check was made payable to Willis and the client. Willis converted the funds to his own use. (Case No. SC14-149)

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 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.
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Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Dec 1, 2014
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