The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announced that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 23 attorneys, disbarring five and suspending 12. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Two attorneys were placed on probation; six attorneys were publicly reprimanded.
Keith Alan Michael Manson of Jacksonville was disbarred.
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 90,000-plus lawyers admitted to practice law in Florida.
Since Aug. 1, 2007, case files have been posted to attorneys’ individual Florida Bar profiles and may be reviewed at or downloaded from The Florida Bar’s website, www.floridabar.org.
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, fewer than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.
• Brad Alexander, 19 W. Flagler Street, Suite 410, Miami, publicly reprimanded and further, placed on probation following a July 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Alexander was negligent in the handling of an immigration case that forced the client to retain new counsel. (Case No. SC10-2258)
• Scott Vincent Boruta, 402 Knights Run Ave., Suite 100, suspended until further order, following an Aug. 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Boruta appeared to be causing great public harm by the misappropriation of client trust funds. Boruta told a client that he no longer had the $100,000 entrusted to him by the client for a specific purpose. Instead, he admitted to using the funds for a personal business venture. (Case No. SC11-1515)
• Raymond O. Burger, 3200 Marilyn Drive, Moore, Okla., suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a June 8 court order. (Admitted to practice 2003) Burger was found in contempt for non-compliance with the conditions of a Jan. 5 suspension. Burger failed to submit a sworn affidavit within 30 days of his suspension, he failed to submit the required list of persons/entities to whom he provided a copy of his suspension order, and he failed to respond to official Bar inquiries regarding the matter. (Case No. SC11-520)
• Wilfred Calero, P.O. Box 100178, Palm Bay, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a July 14 court order. (Admitted to practice 1998) In three separate instances, Calero was hired to represent clients and he failed to file necessary paperwork. He also failed to adequately communicate regarding the status of the cases and he closed his law office without advising his clients. (Case No. SC10-2260)
• Byron T. Christopher, 2526 Amity Road, Washington, Ga., disbarred effective immediately, following a July 26 court order. (Admitted to practice 2005) Christopher pleaded no contest and had adjudication withheld on one felony count of False Statement in Support of Insurance Claim. (Case No. SC11-1075)
• Daniel Gary Gass, 10001 N.W. 50th St., Suite 204, Fort Lauderdale, publicly reprimanded following a July 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Gass failed to timely resolve a fund dispute, resulting in a civil suit being filed against him. (Case No. SC11-1087)
• Fernando Hernandez, 2701 S. Bayshore Drive, Suite 605, Miami, suspended until further order, following a July 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Hernandez appeared to be causing great public harm. A Bar audit indicated that as of Dec. 31, 2010, Hernandez’ trust account had a significant shortage; Hernandez failed to disburse settlement proceeds to his client and he misused and/or misappropriated client funds. (Case No. SC11-1363)
• Dwayne Bisford Johnson Sr., 733 Cypress Drive, Apt. A, Lake Park, suspended until further order, effective immediately, following a June 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Johnson was found in contempt for noncompliance. He failed to respond to official Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC11-430)
• Patricia A. Johnston, Calle Cesar Chavez 84, Arrecife de Lanzarote, Canary, Spain, suspended until further order, following a July 26 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Johnston appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating client funds and engaging in other unethical conduct. Johnston is the subject of several Bar disciplinary matters. She abandoned her Orlando law practice, changed her Bar status to retired and moved to Spain. Efforts by the Bar to contact Johnston have failed. (Case No. SC11-1424)
• Constantine Kalogianis, 8141 Bellarus Way, Suite 103, Trinity, publicly reprimanded following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice 1993) Kalogianis is further directed to complete ethics school. Kalogianis failed to maintain communication with clients and failed to properly supervise his legal assistant who oftentimes performed tasks of a lawyer. Kalogianis also used a misleading firm name. By calling his company Kalogianis & Associates, it implied that more than one attorney worked at the firm, when in fact, he was a sole practitioner. (Case No. SC10-1739)
• Howard A. Kusnick, P.O. Box 25646, Tamarac, disbarred effective immediately, following a July 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1978) Kusnick signed a false settlement letter on behalf of a party that he did not represent, purporting to settle a claim for $310,000. (Case No. SC11-1220)
• Norman Malinski, 2875 N.E. 191st Street, Suite 508, Aventura, disbarred effective 30 days from a June 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Malinski failed to preserve and apply client funds. He also made misrepresentations regarding the amount and location of funds held in trust. (Case No. SC11-218)
• Joseph John Mancini, 328 S. Second St., Fort Pierce, publicly reprimanded following a July 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) In several separate cases, Mancini failed to diligently represent clients. He failed to properly communicate clients and opposing counsel, he failed to appear at scheduled court hearings and in one instance, he failed to timely comply with discovery requests. (Case No. SC11-640)
• Keith Alan Michael Manson, 8355 Chason Road W., Jacksonville, disbarred effective immediately, following a July 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Manson was found in contempt for non-compliance with the terms of a court order conditionally admitting him to The Florida Bar. He also practiced law while suspended. (Case Nos. SC09-2318 & SC10-1187)
• Peter U. Mayas, 2784 S.W. 129th Terrace, Miramar, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a July 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) When a client complained to the Bar that Mayas did not pay one of her health care providers when settling a case, an audit found that Mayas had not created or maintained the minimum required trust accounting records. He also allowed his two non-lawyer employees to handle unsupervised, all aspects of fund closings, for which he was responsible, resulting in the misappropriation of more than $100,000. (Case No. SC10-2342)
• Michael Joseph McNerney, 796 N. Rio Vista Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a June 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1973) McNerney is the subject of a Bar disciplinary investigation. On May 16, McNerney entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. government, in which he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. (Case No. SC11-1145)
• Marsha Wilson Montgomery, 4771 Bayou Blvd., #19, Pensacola, publicly reprimanded following a July 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Montgomery was held in contempt of court when she failed to appear in her client’s guardianship case. She also failed to respond to inquiries from the court and the Bar regarding the matter. Montgomery was further ordered to send a letter of apology to the presiding judge within 30 days of the order. (Case No. SC10-2255)
• Dominyka Mindaougas Netchiounas, 2203 N. Lois Ave., Suite 953, Tampa, suspended for 91 days, effectively immediately, following a June 23 court order. (Admitted to practice 2002) Netchiounas was found in contempt for non-compliance with the conditions of her June 2010 suspension. She failed to submit the required sworn affidavit listing persons/entities to whom she gave notice of her suspension and provided a copy of her suspension order. She also failed to respond to official Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC11-681)
• Carolyn Dianne Olive, P.O. Box 13949, Tallahassee, suspended for two years, effective immediately, following a July 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) After being hired, Olive failed to adequately represent clients in six separate cases. In one instance, a client unsuccessfully attempted to contact Olive for four months. When Olive finally returned the call, she informed the client that the papers and court filings were in progress. The client later learned from the court clerk the papers had never been filed. She terminated Olive’s services. (Case No. SC11-596)
• Timothy Allen Patrick, 800 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Suite 2, Tampa, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a June 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) At mediation, Patrick improperly induced his client to reject a settlement offer by offering to pay any attorney fee award imposed against the client in the event trial was unsuccessful. The settlement offered would have fully compensated the client but would have paid only a small amount for attorney fees. Patrick also paid improper financial assistance to the client, beyond litigation expenses. (Case No. SC09-2057)
• Lafe Ranier Purcell, 1403 W. Colonial Drive #A, Orlando, publicly reprimanded following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Purcell contracted to practice law with a loan modification/legal staffing company. At the time, he was unaware that doing so constituted practicing law through a non-legal entity; a violation of Bar rules. (Case No. SC11-965)
• J. Christopher Rich, 124 E. Rich Ave., Deland, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a July 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Rich was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a June 2010 suspension order and subsequently, a Feb. 17, 2011, disbarment order. Rich was ordered to notify all his clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his disbarment and provide to the Bar a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of the disbarment order. He also failed to respond to the Bar’s letter dated Feb. 22, 2011. (Case No. SC11-914)
• Joshua Johnson Stewart, 5435 Main Street, New Port Richey, suspended for 91 days, effective immediately, following a June 20 court order. Upon reinstatement, Stewart is further placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Stewart pleaded guilty in circuit court to possession of Oxycodone, a third-degree felony, and no valid driver’s license, a second-degree misdemeanor. The trial court withheld adjudication and placed Stewart on 18 months of drug offender probation. (Case No. SC10-594)