Leslie H. Smith, spokesperson for the Department of Lawyer Regulation of The Florida Bar informed local Historic City News reporters that the Florida Supreme Court has recently disciplined 12 attorneys, suspending five, reprimanding one, revoking the licenses of five, and admonishing one. Three reciprocal orders and one discipline order are reported prior to September 26th.
Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days or longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.
Summaries of orders issued from Sept. 26 to Oct. 27, 2022
Robert Laurence Pelletier, 233 E. Bay St., Suite 1020, Jacksonville, public reprimand and attendance at ethics school within six months of a Sept. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) Pelletier was hired to represent a client in a criminal matter. He was hired to represent the client by a co-defendant to the criminal charges pending against the client he was hired to represent. Pelletier did not obtain a waiver from the parties involved related to the potential conflict. Pelletier failed to diligently pursue his client’s criminal cases and failed to adequately communicate with the client. Pelletier also failed to timely respond to the Bar’s inquiries. (Case No: SC22-397)
Gordon Thomas Nicol, 8845 Chambore Dr., Jacksonville, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission effective 30 days following a Sept. 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Nicol’s law firm failed to handle multiple clients’ matters in a proper manner. Nicol failed to properly supervise non-lawyer staff and associates who were assigned to these cases. Nicol had no prior disciplinary history. (Case No: SC22-981)
Nah-Deh E. W. Simmons, P.O. Box 41083, Jacksonville, suspended for 90 days, attendance at ethics school, DDCS, FLA Inc. evaluation and payment of disciplinary costs effective 30 days following an Oct. 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Simmons engaged in multiple cases of neglect, inadequate communication, failure to respond to orders to show cause issued by appellate courts, failure to appear for hearings, and lack of candor to the court in two separate cases. Simmons had significant mitigation. (Case No: SC21-21 and SC21-1762)
Timmy W. Cox, Sr., 7401 SW 16th St., Plantation, suspended until further order of the Court effective immediately following an Oct. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2014) Cox failed to respond to The Florida Bar File No. 2022-50,604(17C). The Florida Bar filed its Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause on Aug. 16, 2022, and the Florida Supreme Court ordered Cox to show cause by Sept. 1, 2022. Cox failed to file a response to the Court’s Order to Show Cause. (Case No: SC22-1063)
Calvin Carl Curtis, 1135 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission effective immediately following a Sept. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) In the United States District Court, District of Utah, Case Number 2:21-cr-00464, Curtis plead guilty to one count of Wire Fraud, a felony violation of 18 U.S.C. §1343; and one count of Money Laundering, a felony violation of 18 U.S.C. §1957. (Case No: SC22-697)
Steven Konstantinos Dimopoulos, 6671 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Unit D-275, Las Vegas, NV, admonishment for minor misconduct. (Admitted to practice: 2011) This is a reciprocal disciplinary action, based on Dimopoulos’ notice to The Florida Bar of a Letter of Reprimand dated Nov. 20, 2020, by the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board. While representing a client in a personal injury matter, Dimopoulos failed to adequately supervise his staff. Dimopoulos’ nonlawyer staff members exchanged emails with the insurance company’s adjustor without copying the associate attorney assigned to the matter. Therefore, it appeared that the nonlawyers were negotiating the client’s settlement. (Case No: SC22-162)
Vegina Trimetrice Hawkins, 4824 S.W. 24th St., West Park, suspended for 90 days with automatic reinstatement pending a Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. evaluation, effective immediately following an Oct. 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) While a circuit judge in 2019, Hawkins placed her hands near or on a court employee’s neck and made back-and-forth shaking motions for less than two seconds. The Judicial Qualifications Commission filed charges and suspended Hawkins during the investigation. Ultimately, Hawkins resigned from the bench. (Case No: SC22-590)
Brian Alfred Mangines, 1515 N. Federal Hwy., Suite. 300, Boca Raton, suspended for two years, nunc pro tunc, effective Aug. 24, 2022, per the Oct. 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Mangines pled guilty to one count of Patient Brokering, a third-degree felony, and was sentenced to 24 months of probation, which included a condition that he could not engage in the practice of law during probation. The Florida Supreme Court suspended Mangines on Aug. 24, 2022, after the bar filed a Notice of Determination or Judgment of Guilt following his guilty plea. The Court then suspended Mangines for two years after he entered into a consent judgment with the bar. (Case No: SC22-1110)
Scott Leonard Newman, 16 Sutton Ter., Jericho, NY, suspended for one year effective 30 days following a Sept. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) This is a reciprocal disciplinary action, based on a New York Opinion and Order dated March 3, 2021, which imposed a one-year suspension. Newman submitted an affidavit in the New York matter in which he conditionally admitted that he (1) misappropriated funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary incident to his practice of law; (2) commingled personal funds with funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary, incident to his practice of law; (3) failed to make or maintain required bookkeeping records for his escrow account; and (4) engaged in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness as a lawyer. Newman failed to participate in The Florida Bar’s disciplinary proceeding. Newman had no prior discipline, and he made restitution prior to the bar’s involvement. Rules violated: 1.15(a) and (d), and 8.4(h) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0). By operation of Rule 3-4.6, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, the Opinion and Order of the Supreme Court of The State of New York Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department was conclusive proof of such misconduct in this disciplinary proceeding. (Case No: SC22-148)
Thomas Edward Stone, P.O. Box 292, Madison, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission effective 30 days following a Sept. 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Stone, an assistant public defender, was assigned to represent a defendant in several criminal matters that included felonies. The client violated probation related to her plea for the criminal matters. Stone was again appointed to represent the client in the violation of probation matters. Thereafter, Stone admitted that he engaged in a sexual relationship with the client who he still represented at the time. The client reported she felt pressured to engage in an inappropriate relationship because Stone was handling the client’s criminal matters. (Case No: SC22-945)
Thomas Edmondson Whigham Jr., 4310 W. Spruce St., Unit 238, Tampa, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission effective 30 days following a Sept. 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Whigham was previously suspended for 30 days and placed on probation conditioned on his compliance with a Florida Lawyer’s Assistance, Inc. (FLA, Inc.) rehabilitation contract. Thereafter, Whigham is alleged to have failed to comply with the terms of his FLA, Inc. contract. During the Bar’s investigation of Whigham’s non-compliance, he filed a Petition for Disciplinary Revocation with Leave to Seek Readmission. (Case No: SC22-979)
James Santos Wilkie, 1333 S. Ocean Blvd., Ste. 1323, Pompano Beach, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years following an Oct. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Wilkie agreed to a disciplinary revocation concerning the misuse of client funds. (Case No: SC22-1009)
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 more than 110,000 members of The Florida Bar.