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Florida Bar Emergency Suspension

RULE 3-5.2 EMERGENCY SUSPENSION AND INTERIM PROBATION OR INTERIM PLACEMENT ON THE INACTIVE LIST FOR INCAPACITY NOT RELATED TO MISCONDUCT

(a) Petition for Emergency Suspension.

  • (1) Great Public Harm. On petition of The Florida Bar, authorized by its president, president-elect, or executive director, supported by 1 or more affidavits demonstrating facts personally known to the affiants that, if unrebutted, would establish clearly and convincingly that an attorney appears to be causing great public harm, the Supreme Court of Florida may issue an order suspending said attorney on an emergency basis.

    (2) Discipline by Foreign Jurisdiction. On petition of The Florida Bar, authorized by its president, president-elect, or executive director, supported by a certified copy of an order of a foreign disciplinary jurisdiction suspending or disbarring an attorney from the practice of law, the Supreme Court of Florida may issue an order suspending the attorney on an emergency basis. See subdivision (l) of rule 3-7.2.

A petition for emergency suspension shall also constitute a formal complaint. The respondent shall have 20 days after docketing by the Supreme Court of Florida of its order granting the bar’s petition for emergency suspension in which to file an answer and any affirmative defenses to the bar’s petition.

(b) Petition for Interim Probation or Interim Placement on the Inactive List for Incapacity Not Related to Misconduct. On petition of The Florida Bar, authorized by its president, president-elect, or executive director, supported by 1 or more affidavits demonstrating facts personally known to the affiants that, if unrebutted, would establish clearly and convincingly that conditions or restrictions on a lawyer’s privilege to practice law in Florida are necessary for protection of the public, the Supreme Court of Florida may issue an order placing said lawyer on interim probation, the conditions of which shall be as provided in rule 3-5.1(c) ); or placing the lawyer on the inactive list for incapacity not related to misconduct as provided in rule 3-7.13. This petition shall also constitute the formal complaint. The respondent shall have 20 days after docketing by the Supreme Court of Florida of its order granting the bar’s petition for interim probation in which to file an answer and any affirmative defenses to the bar’s petition.

(c) Trust Accounts. Any order of emergency suspension or probation that restricts the attorney in maintaining a trust account shall, when served on any bank or other financial institution maintaining an account against which said attorney may make withdrawals, serve as an injunction to prevent said bank or financial institution from making further payment from such account or accounts on any obligation except in accordance with restrictions imposed by the court.

(d) New Cases and Existing Clients. Any order of emergency suspension issued under this rule shall immediately preclude the attorney from accepting any new cases and unless otherwise ordered permit the attorney to continue to represent existing clients for only the first 30 days after issuance of such emergency order. Any fees paid to the suspended attorney during the 30-day period shall be deposited in a trust account from which withdrawals may be made only in accordance with restrictions imposed by the court.

(e) Motions for Dissolution. The lawyer may move at any time for dissolution or amendment of an emergency order by motion filed with the Supreme Court of Florida, a copy of which will be served on bar counsel. Such motion shall not stay any other proceedings and applicable time limitations in the case and, unless the motion fails to state good cause or is procedurally barred as an invalid successive motion, shall immediately be assigned to a referee designated by the chief justice. The filing of such motion shall not stay the operation of an order of emergency suspension or interim probation entered under this rule.

(f) Appointment of Referee. Upon entry of an order of suspension or interim probation, as provided above, the Supreme Court of Florida shall promptly appoint or direct the appointment of a referee.

(g) Hearing on Petition to Terminate or Modify Suspension. The referee shall hear a motion to terminate or modify a suspension or interim probation imposed under this rule within 7 days of assignment and submit a report and recommendation to the Supreme Court of Florida within 7 days of the date of the hearing. The referee shall recommend dissolution or amendment, whichever is appropriate, to the extent that bar counsel cannot demonstrate a likelihood of prevailing on the merits on any element of the underlying rule violations.

(h) Successive Motions Prohibited. Successive motions for dissolution shall be summarily dismissed by the Supreme Court of Florida to the extent that they raise issues that were or with due diligence could have been raised in a prior motion.

(i) Review by the Supreme Court of Florida. Upon receipt of the referee's recommended order on the motion for dissolution or amendment, the Supreme Court of Florida shall review and act upon the referee's findings and recommendations.

(j) Hearings on Issues Raised in Petitions for Emergency Suspension or Interim Probation and Sanctions. Once the Supreme Court of Florida has granted a petition for emergency suspension or interim probation as set forth in this rule, the referee appointed by the court shall hear the matter in the same manner as provided in rule 3-7.6, except that the referee shall hear the matter after the lawyer charged shall have answered the charges in the petition for emergency suspension or interim probation or when the time has expired for filing an answer. The referee shall issue a final report and recommendation within 90 days of appointment. If the time limit specified in this subdivision is not met, that portion of an emergency order imposing a suspension or interim probation shall be automatically dissolved, except upon order of the Supreme Court of Florida, provided that any other appropriate disciplinary action on the underlying conduct still may be taken.

(k) Proceedings in the Supreme Court of Florida. Consideration of the referee's report and recommendation shall be expedited in the Supreme Court of Florida. If oral argument is granted, the chief justice shall schedule oral argument as soon as practicable.

(l) Waiver of Time Limits. The respondent may at any time waive the time requirements set forth in this rule by written request made to and approved by the referee assigned to hear the matter.

For more information on how Richard Marx, Esq. can help you resolve Florida Bar Emergency Suspension.
Call him at (305) 579-9060.

*WARNING TO FLORIDA ATTORNEYS*

Responding to a Florida Bar Emergency Suspension Inquiry on your own – Don’t do it!