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Jax Daily Record Monday, Nov. 4, 200212:00 PM EST

Florida Supreme Court disciplines attorneys

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The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders suspended nine attorneys, including Michael Joseph Davie of Jacksonville, reprimanded two others, accepted the disciplinary resignation of two, disbarred three, and placed one on probation.

The following lawyers are disciplined. 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:

• Mark Jonathan Abramson, Miami, disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days following Sept. 26 court order. In two unrelated matters, Abramson failed to adequately communicate with a client and to disburse funds.

• John A. Barley, Tallahassee, suspended from practicing law in Florida, effective immediately following a Sept. 27 court order. On April 5, Barley entered a plea of nolo contendere to one count of grand theft in an amount greater than $20,000, a second degree felony. Also, disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective retroactive to April 9, 1999, following an Oct. 24 court order. Barley improperly used trust funds, charged a clearly excessive fee and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, misrepresentation, deceit or fraud.

• Anita Eileen Belle, Southfield, Mich., disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective immediately following an Oct. 17 court order. In unrelated matters, Belle violated numerous rules regulating The Florida Bar. In one matter, she failed to deliver trust funds to a client as ordered by a judge. Belle failed to hold in trust, separate from her own funds, the client’s property and knowingly used the client’s funds for her own purposes.

• Martin Leroy Black, Tallahassee, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 60 days, effective 30 days following an Oct. 10 court order. Black failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, and to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

• Janice Theresa Clement, Marco Island, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 91 days, effective 30 days following a Sept. 26 court order. In unrelated matters, Clement failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client, to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, and to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

• Lee Arman Cohn, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 30 days, effective 30 days following an Oct. 3 court order. Cohn failed to respond in writing to an official inquiry by the Bar regarding his conduct.

• James Prescott Covey, Stuart, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a Sept. 26 court order. In two unrelated matters, Covey entered into an agreement for, charged, or collected an illegal, prohibited, or clearly excessive fee. In one matter, he represented a client when the representation of that client was directly adverse to the interests of another client.

• Michael Joseph Davie, 24 N. Market St., Ste. 303, Jacksonville, suspended from practicing law in Florida for 10 days, effective 30 days following an Oct. 17 court order. While representing clients in a medical malpractice claim, Davie failed to act with reasonable diligence and promptness. He also failed to produce a closing statement for the matter, even though he represented to the Bar that he had a proper statement for every case.

• Robert A. Eisen, Boca Raton, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective immediately following a Sept. 12 court order. Eisen allegedly violated rules regulating trust accounts.

• Miles Edward Ferris, Sarasota, suspended from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days following an Oct. 18 court order. On Dec. 1, 1998, Ferris entered a plea of guilty to one felony count of causing a false claim to be made to the United States.

• John Christopher Hubbard, Palm Bay, suspended from practicing law in Florida until he has certified compliance in full with a subpoena duces tecum, effective 30 days following an Oct. 21 court order. Hubbard failed to comply with a subpoena directing him to produce trust account and operating account records, and a complete client file.

• Richard L. Jorandby, Palm Beach, resigned in lieu of disciplinary proceedings, without leave to seek readmission, effective 30 days following an Oct. 10 court order. Jorandby engaged in ethical misconduct. In criminal proceedings, he pleaded guilty to nine misdemeanor counts of election misconduct.

• Alan Ira Karten, Miami, disbarred from practicing law in Florida, effective 30 days following an Oct. 10 court order. Karten improperly sold a client’s property and used the proceeds as an unauthorized fee.

• John Carl Larson, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended from practicing law in Florida until 30 days after he has updated his address and complies with Florida Lawyers’ Assistance, Inc. (FLA) related requirements, effective 30 days following an Oct. 9 court order. In an October court order, Larson was placed on probation and as a condition of that probation, he was to undergo an evaluation by FLA and comply with FLA recommendations. Larson failed to follow through with FLA as directed, and is therefore in non-compliance with his probation.

• Ray Mattox, Winter Haven, placed on probation for one year, effective immediately following a Sept. 26 court order. Mattox failed to provide competent representation to a client and engaged in conduct in connection with the practice of law that was prejudicial to the administration of justice.

• Jonathan Karl Thiele, Miami, reprimanded for professional misconduct following a Sept. 26 court order. Thiele was hired by a client to pursue a wrongful termination claim. During the course of the next four years, Thiele failed to file a complaint as he assured his client he would. He never filed the complaint due to his belief that the client’s claim was without merit.

• Gary Wood Tinsley, Tallahassee, suspended from practicing law in Florida until further court order, effective 30 days following a Sept. 27 court order. Tinsley intentionally misappropriated funds from his trust account and misappropriated funds from his mother’s trust while acting as trustee.

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