November 1, 2022 Disciplinary action
In recent court orders, the Florida Supreme Court has disciplined 12 attorneys, suspended five, reprimanded one, revoked the license of five and reprimanded one. Included are three reciprocal orders and one disciplinary order from before September 26.
Timmy W. Cox, Sr., 7401 SW 16th St., Plantation, suspended until further order of the court effective immediately after the October 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2014) Cox did not respond to The Florida Bar Docket No. 2022-50,604 (17C). The Florida Bar filed its Petition for Contempt and Order of Discovery on August 16, 2022, and the Florida Supreme Court ordered Cox to show cause by September 1, 2022. Cox did not file a response to the writ of discovery. (Case Number: SC22-1063)
Calvin Carl Curtis, 1135 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT, Disciplinary Cancellation with leave to seek repossession effective immediately following the September 1 order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) In United States District Court, District of Utah, case number 2:21-cr-00464, Curtis pleads guilty to one count of wire fraud, a felony in violation of 18 USC §1343; and one count of money laundering, a felony in violation of 18 USC § 1957. (Case Number: SC22-697)
Steven Konstantinos Dimopoulos, 6671 Las Vegas Blvd. S., unit D-275, Las Vegas, NV, warning for minor misconduct. (Admitted to practice: 2011) This is a reciprocal disciplinary action based on Dimopoulos’ notification to The Florida Bar of a letter of confidence dated November 20, 2020 by the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Commission. Dimopoulos failed to adequately supervise his employees while representing a client in a personal injury matter. Dimopoulos’ paralegal staff exchanged emails with the insurance adjuster without copying the associate counsel assigned to the matter. So it appeared that the non-lawyers were negotiating a settlement with the client. (Case Number: SC22-162)
Vegina Trimetrica Hawkins, 4824 SW 24th St. West Park, suspended for a period of 90 days with automatic renewal pending evaluation by Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., effective immediately following the October 6 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) While serving as a circuit judge in 2019, Hawkins placed her hands near or on the neck of a court employee and made a back-and-forth shaking motion for less than two seconds. The Judicial Qualification Commission filed charges and suspended Hawkins pending an investigation. Eventually, Hawkins stepped down from the bench. (Case Number: SC22-590)
Brian Alfred Mangines, 1515 N. Federal Hwy., Suite. 300, Boca Raton, suspended for two years, nunc pro tunceffective August 24, 2022, pursuant to a court order dated October 13. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Mangines pleaded 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 would not practice law while on probation. The Florida Supreme Court suspended Mangines on August 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 ruling in agreement with the bar. (Case Number: SC22-1110)
Scott Leonard Newman, 16 Sutton Ter., Jericho, NY, suspended for one year effective 30 days after September 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) This is reciprocal disciplinary action, based on the New York Opinion and Order dated March 3, 2021, which imposed a one-year suspension. Newman submitted an affidavit in the New York case in which he conditionally admitted that (1) he had misappropriated funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary incident to his practice of law; (2) commingled personal funds with funds entrusted to him as trustee related to his law practice; (3) failed to maintain or maintain the required accounting records for its escrow account; and (4) engaged in conduct that reflects adversely on his competence as a lawyer. Newman did not participate in The Florida Bar’s disciplinary proceedings. Newman had no prior discipline and made restitution before joining the bar. Violation of Rules: 1.15(a) d) and 8.4(h) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0). Pursuant to Rule 3-4.6, Rules Governing the Florida Bar, the opinion and order of the Supreme Court of the Appellate Division of the State of New York, Second Judicial Department was conclusive evidence of such misconduct in this disciplinary proceeding. (Case Number: SC22-148)
Gordon Thomas Nicol, 8845 Chambore Dr., Jacksonville, Disciplinary Cancellation with leave to apply for repossession effective 30 days after the September 29 order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Nicol’s law firm failed to properly handle several client matters. Nicol failed to properly supervise the non-lawyer staff and associates assigned to these cases. Nicol had no previous disciplinary record. (Case Number: SC22-981)
Robert Laurence Pelletier, 233 E. Bay St., Suite 1020, Jacksonville, public reprimand and attending ethics school within six months of the September 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) Pelletier was hired to represent a client in a criminal matter. He was hired by a co-defendant to represent a client in criminal prosecutions brought against the client he was hired to represent. Pelletier did not obtain a stakeholder waiver related to the potential conflict. Pelletier failed to diligently pursue his client’s criminal cases and failed to communicate adequately with the client. Pelletier also did not respond to the Bar Association’s questions in a timely manner. (Case Number: SC22-397)
Nah-Deh EW Simmons, PO Box 41083, Jacksonville, suspended for 90 days, ethics school attendance, DDCS, FLA, Inc., evaluation and payment of disciplinary costs effective 30 days after October 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Simmons engaged in multiple counts of neglect, failure to communicate, failure to respond to show cause orders issued by appellate courts, failure to appear for hearings, and lack of candor in court in two separate cases. Simmons had significant relief. (Case Number: SC21-21 and SC21-1762)
Thomas Edward Stone, PO Box 292, Madison, disciplinary revocation with leave to apply for repossession effective 30 days after the September 29 order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Stone, an assistant public defender, was assigned to represent the defendant in several criminal cases involving felonies. The client violated a condition related to her objection in the criminal case. Stone was again assigned to represent a client in violation of probation. Afterward, Stone admitted that he had a sexual relationship with a client he was still representing at the time. The client stated that she felt pressured to engage in an inappropriate relationship because Stone was handling the client’s criminal matters. (Case Number: SC22-945)
Thomas Edmondson Whigham Jr., 4310 W. Spruce St., Unit 238, Tampa, Disciplinary Cancellation with leave to apply for repossession effective 30 days after the September 29 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., rehabilitation agreement. Afterward, Whigham allegedly failed to honor the terms of his FLA, Inc. contract. During the Bar’s investigation into Whigham’s non-compliance, he filed for disciplinary revocation with permission to seek readmission. (Case Number: SC22-979)
James Santos Wilkie, 1333 S. Ocean Blvd., Ste. 1323, Pompano Beach, disciplinary appeal with permission to apply for readmission after five years from the October 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2013) Wilkie agreed to a disciplinary appeal relating to the misuse of client funds. (Case Number: SC22-1009)
The Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering the statewide disciplinary system to enforce the Supreme Court’s rules of professional conduct for the more than 110,000 members of the Florida Bar. Key discipline case files, which are public record, are posted on individual Florida Bar online profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Information about the disciplinary system and how to file a complaint is available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.
Injunctions are not final until the time for filing a motion for a new trial has expired, and if they have been filed, they are not determined. The filing of such a motion does not change the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not reapply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Attorneys suspended for 91 days or longer must go through a rigorous process to regain their law licenses, including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary appeal is tantamount to expulsion.