SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 17 ATTORNEYS
Summaries of orders issued between July 24 and Sept. 6, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 27, 2012
CONTACT: Karen Y. Kirksey
The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 17 attorneys, disbarring four and suspending 10. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Three attorneys were publicly reprimanded; one was placed on probation and three were ordered to pay restitution.
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 93,000-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 and/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.
Richard Cox Bishop, P. O. Box 248, Greenfield, Mass., suspended for 60 days, effective 30 days from a July 31 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1977) Bishop was hired by a married Massachusetts couple who had an estate plan for their three daughters that conveyed their home to the two able-bodied daughters, and reserved a life estate for themselves and a mentally disabled daughter. Subsequently, the parents died, the mentally disabled daughter then admitted herself to a psychiatric ward, and Bishop began representing the able-bodied daughters, who sold the home without sharing the proceeds with their disabled sister. Bishop engaged in a conflict of interest by virtue of his dual representation. (Case No. SC12-227)
Thomas Louis Borell, 9350 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 930, Miami, disbarred effective retroactive to June 2, following a July 31 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) Borell failed to preserve and apply client funds as required by the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar and Rules Regulating Trust Accounts. He engaged in deceit and professional misconduct by issuing multiple trust account checks to an investment firm for his own benefit. (Case No. SC12-1137)
Kimberly S. Daise, 8323 S.W. 64th Place, Gainesville, disbarred for five years, effective immediately, following a July 31 court order. Further, Daise shall pay restitution of $1,851,500 to two separate banks. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Daise pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud --both felonies. She was also charged with one count of grand theft. (Case No. SC12-461)
Carl Lee Dornshuld, 35044 Haines Creek Road, Leesburg, to be publicly reprimanded following a July 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Dornshuld was found guilty of professional misconduct for violating Rules Regulating The Florida Bar including: practicing law in a state he isn’t licensed in, soliciting professional employment from prospective clients that the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship with, and accepting referrals from a law service that has communication with the public. (Case NO. SC11-2309)
Bruce Garrett Duncan, 1300 Citizens Blvd., Suite 300, Leesburg, suspended for three years, effective immediately, following a July 31 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Duncan pleaded guilty in court to one count of DUI-Manslaughter, a second-degree felony. Duncan was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of probation. (Case No. SC11-1997)
Charles A. Esposito, 94 Fulton Place, Palm Coast, to be publicly reprimanded by a referee, following a July 31 court order. Further, Esposito is placed on probation for six months. (Admitted to practice: 1992) In multiple instances, Esposito failed to properly communicate with clients, failed to provide adequate and competent representation, failed to promptly and reasonably consult with clients, and failed to give reasonable notice to clients upon termination of representation. Also, Esposito did not clearly communicate client fees and scope of representation when retaining clients. (Case No. SC11-834)
David Jonathon Joffe, 1 E. Broward Blvd., Suite 700, Fort Lauderdale, to be publicly reprimanded following a July 31 court order. Further, Joffe shall pay restitution totaling $30,000 to his clients. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Joffe was retained to represent a client who had been convicted in federal court and sentenced to 35 years in prison. During the appeal, Joffe failed to communicate the status of the case, failed to respond to inquiries and failed to provide adequate and timely representation. His not acting within the one year period allowed hurt his client's appeal. Five years after receiving the $20,000 retainer, Joffe still had not filed the actual innocence claim as agreed. (Case No. SC11-1987)
James Crenshaw Kelley, 12651 S. Dixie Highway, Suite 201, Pinecrest, disbarred effective immediately, following a July 31 court order. Further, Kelley shall pay restitution of $120,370.21 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 1977) After being retained, Kelly misappropriated client funds. Kelley received a check for more than $124,000 from a client to cover legal expenses, with the balance to be returned to her at the conclusion of the matter. Without the client's permission, Kelley disbursed funds the funds from his trust account to himself. (Case No. SC11-2426)
Johnny Kincaide Jr., 217 N. Seacrest Blvd., Unit 1540, Boynton Beach, suspended until further order, following an Aug. 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Kincaide appeared to be causing great public harm. He was emergency suspended for neglecting clients, charging them excessive fees, failing to diligently pursue their cases, and not communicating with them. (Case No. SC12-1695)
Paul Alan Lehrman, 2578 Canvasback Court, Tallahassee, suspended for three years effective immediately, following a July 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1978) Lehrman pleaded guilty in court to three felony counts of filing false income tax returns for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006. The charges were the result of his failure to report income of more than $85,000 over a three-year period. (Case No. SC12-523)
Rita Rosato Pitassi, 1100 Coconut Creek Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, suspended following a Sept. 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Pitassi is currently serving a two-year suspension in a previous case. She was adjudicated guilty in court of one count of felony driving under the influence for the third time in 10 years, one additional lesser count of driving under the influence for the third time in 10 years and one count of failing to submit to a chemical or physical test, a first-degree misdemeanor. (Case No. SC12-1892)
Peter R. Price, 24 Library Ave., P.O. Box 51, Westhampton Beach, N.Y., suspended until further order, following an Aug. 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) According to a petition for emergency suspension, there was a clear risk that Price would cause great public harm if not suspended. Price is also a member of the New York State Bar Association. He was suspended in that state for five years based in part on misconduct including the misappropriation of funds entrusted to him in his duties as an escrow agent. (Case No. SC12-1565)
A. J. Rohe, 201 W. Main St., Tavares, suspended for six months, effective retroactive to March 30, following a July 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Rohe pleaded no contest in court to resisting arrest with violence. Adjudication of guilt was withheld and he was sentenced to two years probation. Rohe was also required to abstain from alcohol and/or illegal drugs and submit to random drug testing. (Case No. SC12-560)
Emmanuel Roy, 26 Court St., Suite 1503, Brooklyn, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a July 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Roy was found in contempt for violating the terms of an Oct. 19, 2010, court order. Despite receiving numerous notifications from the court clerk that he was not admitted to practice in the Southern District, Roy continued to appear before the court. He falsely represented to the court that he was in fact licensed to practice, by entering notices of appearance, using another attorney's electronic filing number. (Case No. SC12-556)
Randall Shanafelt, 803 Turner St., Clearwater, suspended for three years, effective immediately, following a July 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) (Case No. SC12-524) Shanafelt is the subject of at least eight Bar investigations. In some instances he accepted fees and subsequently failed to adequately communicate with the clients or even do the work. In other instances, he failed to provide an accounting for money received for service. Shanafelt was also arrested for domestic violence, a misdemeanor, but he failed to notify the Bar of felony criminal charges stemming from battery on a law enforcement officer at the same time.
William Henry Winters, P.O. Box 3342, Tampa, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a Sept. 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Winters and colleague Marc Edward Yonker made secret plans to leave a law firm and practice together in a new law firm. In the process, clients were solicited to leave the law firm to be represented by them at the new law firm. Winters removed client files from the former firm without authorization, and returned them when ordered to do so. Winters and Yonker also created letterhead that included a third attorney's name without his permission. This attorney never joined the new firm and asked Winters and Yonker to stop using the letterhead. (Case No. SC10-1332)
Marc Edward Yonker, P.O. Box 3342, Tampa, suspended for 60 days, effective 30 days from a Sept. 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Yonker and colleague William Henry Winters made secret plans to leave a law firm and practice together in a new law firm. In the process, clients were solicited to leave the law firm to be represented by them at the new law firm. Yonker, without authorization, took client files from the former firm during his lunch break to have them copied. Winters and Yonker also created letterhead that included a third attorney's name without his permission. This attorney never joined the new firm and asked Winters and Yonker to stop using the letterhead. (Case No. SC10-1333)
EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."