Sunday, December 8, 2013

Florida Bar v. Dunagan case brief

Florida Bar v. Dunagan case brief summary
731 So. 2D 1237 (1999)

Defendant attorney appealed from the complaint of the Florida Bar and the referee's report regarding his alleged ethical breaches.

After a formal hearing, the referee for the Florida Bar determined that defendant attorney was guilty of violating several rules of attorney conduct and recommended that his license be suspended. Defendant sought review of the referee's findings and recommendation.

  • The court affirmed defendant's suspension. 
  • The facts revealed that defendant represented a husband and wife in their acquisition of a business. 
  • Defendant then represented the husband in his claim for divorce against the wife. 
  • This was an obvious conflict of interest because the business which defendant assisted the couple in obtaining was surely going to be part of the marital estate and defendant would have to argue on behalf of the husband that he was entitled to a greater share of the business. 
  • Defendant failed to show that the wife consented to such a conflict. 
  • It was also demonstrated that defendant used personal information to the detriment of his former client, the wife. 
  • As such, the referee's recommendation of a temporary suspension was supported by the facts.

Defendant attorney's appeal from the findings of the referee of the Florida Bar was denied because the facts supported the referee's recommendation of temporary suspension.

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