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- 2014 - August - 4th -

Florida Supreme Court disciplines 24 attorneys

From Staff

The Florida Supreme Court disciplined 24 attorneys; disbarring four, revoking the licenses of three, suspending 16 and publicly reprimanding one.

Two attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Two were placed on probation and one was also ordered to pay restitution.

There were none from Jacksonville; one is from St. Augustine.

• Obed Dorceus, 8 Third St., St. Augustine, suspended for 60 days, effective 30 days from a July 10 court order. Between September 2006 and December 2007, in his role as an agent for Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, Dorceus failed to timely remit to the fund premiums totaling approximately $7,135.18 that he had collected as a part of real estate closings. He also failed to adequately supervise his non-lawyer employee and failed to maintain the minimum required trust account records and follow trust accounting procedures.

Others are:

• Russell Samuel Adler, 55 S.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach, disbarred effective immediately, following a June 19 court order. In March, Adler was charged with and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act and to defraud the United States, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 371, a felony.

• Bernard H. Butts Jr., 4801 S. University Drive, Davie. The Supreme Court granted Butts’ request for a disciplinary revocation, effective 30 days from a June 19 court order, with leave to seek readmission after five years. Disciplinary revocation is equivalent to disbarment. Butts had a Bar case and a civil case pending alleging that he failed to preserve and apply escrow funds connected to an investment venture.

• Richard A. Colegrove Jr., P.O. Box 726, Sanford, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a July 8 court order. Further, Colegrove shall attend and successfully complete ethics school prior to petitioning for reinstatement. Colegrove was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a Feb. 4 suspension order. Specifically Colegrove did not submit a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his suspension order.

• Hugh Adolphus Davis II, 9161 Silver Lake Drive, Leesburg, suspended for nine months, effective 30 days from a July 10 court order. In three separate instances, Davis accepted money to represent clients and failed to adequately do so. He often failed to communicate, failed to timely handle one probate case and failed to take action in another. Two clients were forced to hire new counsel.

• Kathleen M.P. Davis, P.O. Box 542796, Greenacres, disbarred following a June 12 court order. A default was entered against Davis in November 2011 due to her failure to file an answer to the Bar’s allegations in a complaint. Two months later she failed to appear at the final hearing set by the referee. In 2007, Davis was retained and paid $5,000 to handle a divorce. She never filed the divorce papers.

• David Bradley Dohner, 2500 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale, suspended until further order, following a July 3 court order. Dohner was found in contempt for failing to respond to official Bar inquiries regarding three separate cases.

• Gayle Patricia Ellsworth, 5 Cedar Pond Drive, Apt. 7, Warwick, R.I., suspended for three years effective immediately, following a July 9 court order. Ellsworth was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a Nov. 21, suspension order. Specifically, Ellsworth did not submit a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of her suspension order.

• Charles A. Esposito, 94 Fulton Place, Palm Coast, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from a June 6 court order. In seven separate cases, Esposito was retained to represent clients and he failed to adequately communicate. He also failed to timely respond to Bar inquiries about his conduct and had trust account violations. Three clients had to sever their ties with him and hire new counsel.

• Maria A. Fernandez, 401 W. Main St., Suite 1807, Louisville, Ky., suspended for 30 days, effective June 24, following a June 13 court order. Upon reinstatement, Fernandez is further placed on probation for one year. This is a reciprocal discipline action. Fernandez is also a member of the Kentucky Bar Association. A court of appeals found that Fernandez breached her fiduciary duty to an estate in several regards. She improperly served as executrix and attorney and her fees of $175,000 were excessive. She improperly based her fee on a percentage of the gross estate of the decedent, instead of the personal estate as required by statute. She also improperly billed the estate for handling the estates of two of the decedent’s family members.

• Ariel Manuel Friedler, 1560 Wilson Blvd., Suite 550, Arlington, Va., suspended until further order, effective June 25, following a June 19 court order. Friedler entered into a plea agreement in federal court, waiving indictment and pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization.

• Frances Grace Jaynal, 6251 Park Blvd. N., Suite 3, Pinellas Park, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a June 6 emergency suspension order. Jaynal was found in contempt by a grievance committee for failure to respond to official Bar inquiries. According to the June 6 court order, Jaynal appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating funds to be held in trust.

• Janice L. Jennings, P.O. Box 1013, West Palm Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a July 2 court order. According to a petition for emergency suspension order, suspending Jennings’ privilege to practice law is necessary for the protection of the public. The Florida Bar became aware of statements and conduct by Jennings which raised grave concerns about her mental state.

• Ralph Ernest Lerner, 590 Madison Ave., Floor 21, New York, N.Y., suspended for one year, effective July 3, following a June 27 court order. This is a reciprocal discipline action. Lerner is also a member of the New York State Bar Association. A disciplinary committee found that over a 10-year period, Lerner had improperly charged 448 car service rides for himself and members of his immediate family to law firm clients.

• Beverley A. Linton-Davis, 5921 Hollywood Blvd., Suite A, Hollywood. The Florida Supreme Court granted Linton-Davis’ request for a disciplinary revocation, effective immediately, following a June 26 court order, with leave to seek readmission after five years. Disciplinary revocation is equivalent to disbarment. Among the disciplinary charges pending against Linton-Davis, she failed to disclose pending felony charges of mail fraud, to which she pleaded guilty, to The Florida Bar.

• Anthony Martin Livoti Jr., 721 N.E. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. The Florida Supreme Court granted Livoti’s request for a disciplinary revocation, effective immediately, following a June 27 court order, with leave to seek readmission after five years. Disciplinary revocation is equivalent to disbarment. Livoti had a disciplinary proceeding pending due to a 2013 felony conviction.

• Charles Denis Miner, 5120 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, disbarred effective immediately, following a July 10, 2014 court order. Miner engaged in repeated violations of Bar rules regarding shortages in his trust account, which subsequently led to his suspension on an emergency basis.

• David Karl Delano Osborne, 121 S. Orange Ave., Suite 1500, Orlando, suspended until further order, following a June 6 court order. According to a petition for emergency suspension order, Osborne appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating trust funds.

• Vana Renejuste, 3049 Cleveland Ave., Suite 140, Fort Myers, was publicly reprimanded, placed on probation for one year, required to attend ethics school, and ordered to pay restitution of $2,500 to one client following a July 10 court order. Renejuste failed to act with diligence in handling three separate cases and failed to properly communicate with her clients. In two of the matters, she improperly handled the cases due to her inexperience in the areas of law for which she was hired. She also collected and attempted to collect improper fees for using credit plans.

• Stuart Alan Rosenfeldt, 100 S.E. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale, disbarred effective July 21, 2014, following a June 27 court order. Rosenfeldt was charged by Information and pleaded guilty to Conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, a felony.

• George Allen Routh, 1521 Finland Drive, Spring Hill, suspended for 91 days, effective July 21, following a July 10 court order. Routh knowingly transferred marital assets to prevent his former wife or the courts from considering it as a marital asset in the dissolution of marriage proceeding. He failed to obey court orders directing him to pay spousal support.

• Robert L. Shear, 131 Bluff View Drive, Apt. 204, Belleair Bluffs, suspended for 18 months, following a July 10 court order. A Bar audit found that Shear was not in compliance with Bar rules. He commingled earned fees with client money and his record-keeping for his trust account was completely inadequate.

• Adam Ira Skolnik, 1761 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Suite 201, Deerfield Beach, suspended for 15 days, effective Aug. 8, following a June 13 court order. Skolnik swore under oath that a statement was true, when in fact, he knew that it was not.

• Paul Bradford Woods, 1221 Brickell Ave., Floor 9, Suite 900, Miami, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a June 25 court order. Woods was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a Dec. 5, 2013 suspension order. Specifically, Woods did not timely submit a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of his suspension order or attend a required Practice and Professionalism Enhancement Program.

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