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September was a Monster Month for Fl. Bar Disciplinary Cases. So Much So they Issued Two Separate Lists

On Sep 1, 2021, the Florida Bar Disciplined 10 lawyers and on Sep 15, another 17. That’s 27 lawyers in one month.

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September Discipline Part II by the Bar

SEP 15, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: OCT 6, 2021

The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 17 attorneys, disbarring six, suspending seven, and reprimanding four. One attorney was also ordered to pay restitution.

Rasheed Karim Allen-Dawson, P.O. Box 135819, Clermont, suspended for 91 days and conditional probation for one year effective 30 days following an August 19 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2011)

Allen-Dawson failed to provide a client with competent representation in a family law matter and pursued frivolous litigation.

Following the filing of the Bar complaint, Allen-Dawson made an impermissible agreement with the complaining client for a full refund conditioned on the client withdrawing the Bar complaint.

In a second matter, Allen-Dawson engaged in a course of conduct where he failed to follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules, failed to diligently and competently handle multiple client matters, and certified to the court that good-faith conferences had occurred when, in fact, they had not, resulting in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, imposing disciplinary sanctions against him which resulted in 12 months of conditional probation by the Federal Court.

(Case Nos.: SC21-472 and SC21-504)

Referee;

Gerald P. Hill II
Polk County Courthouse
P.O. Box 9000, Drawer J109
Bartow, FL 33831-9000

Charles McCormack Caldwell II, 801 W. Romana St., Suite C, Pensacola, public reprimand by publication and attendance at Ethics School effective immediately following an August 12 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2010)

Caldwell worked for a Canadian trademark company representing clients in pending trademark applications and issued trademark registrations before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The company’s practice was to enter Caldwell’s electronic signature on trademark documents before filing with the USPTO.

When Caldwell was contacted by the USPTO and advised that he was violating its regulations, he cooperated fully and severed all ties with the trademark company.

The USPTO imposed a public reprimand and 12 months probation.

(Case No: SC21-230)

Joe Luis Castrofort, 1906 E. Robinson St., Orlando, suspended for 60 days with attendance at Ethics School effective 30 days following an August 5 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2001)

Castrofort represented a defendant in a criminal case where the defendant told Castrofort that someone had messaged him, claiming to be the alleged victim, and had requested $15,000 in exchange for her agreement not to testify against him in the case.

At the time, there was a court order that defendant have no contact with the alleged victim.

Castrofort involved private investigators who directed the client to message the alleged victim and have her appear at a designated location to collect the money.

Though there was no actual money involved, the client watched from a distance as the alleged victim entered the client’s unoccupied vehicle and searched for the money.

The client and alleged victim communicated using a messaging application and the private investigators recorded the encounter.

At the time, Castrofort did not fully appreciate that his client’s actions could be viewed as a violation of the no-contact order and expressed remorse for the misconduct.

(Case No: SC21-1100)

Kevin Keenan Chase, 709 Laurel Way, Casselberry, public reprimand by publication effective immediately following an August 6 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 1994)

Chase was held in contempt of the Court’s order dated November 12, 2020, for failing to timely comply with Rule 3-5.1(h) requirements of notifying clients, opposing counsel, and tribunals of his suspension.

(Case No: SC21-799)

Andrean Rose Eaton, 2020 N.E. 163rd St., Suite 300, North Miami Beach, suspended for 91 days effective 30 days following an August 6 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 1995)

Eaton was held in contempt of the court’s order dated March 5, 2020, for failing to comply with Rule 3-5.1(h) requirements of notifying clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension and for failing to comply with the conditions of her probation.

(Case No: SC21-772)

William Cater Elliott, P.O. Box 43343, Vestavia, Alabama, disbarred effective Nunc pro tunc to January 16, 2020, the date of his felony suspension following a June 17, 2021, court order.

(Admitted to Practice: 1989)

On July 18, 2019, Elliott was convicted of Organized Fraud over $50,000, adjudicated guilty, and sentenced to a two-year prison term followed by eight years’ probation.

Elliott deposited a counterfeit U.S. Treasury check into his law firm business account for $287,000.50, and withdrew a substantial amount, leaving the bank with a financial loss of $98,813.33.

Elliott was felony suspended on January 16, 2020.

After an appeal to the First DCA that was denied, the appellate court issued its mandate in March 2021.

(Case No: SC19-2094)

Michael James Foley, 644 Orange Belt Loop, Winter Garden, suspended for 91 days effective 30 days following an August 19 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2002)

Foley, while employed by Liberty Law Team, failed to exercise reasonable supervision over the paralegal assigned to work on a client’s criminal appeal, allowing the paralegal to engage in impermissible activities such as giving legal advice, and making misrepresentations to the client and the client’s family.

Foley’s failure to supervise further enabled his paralegal to perpetrate a fraud on the client and the client’s family and collect fees and costs that were misappropriated by unknown persons at Liberty Law Team.

(Case No: SC21-311)

Referee:

Michael C. Heisey

Dana Marie Fragakis, 2150 Goodlette Rd. N., FL 6, Naples, suspended for 90 days and attendance at The Florida Bar Professionalism Workshop effective 30 days following an August 12 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2000)

Fragakis became a candidate for a vacant county court seat in Palm Beach County in June 2016.

During a run-off election, Fragakis hired a campaign manager that promoted her candidacy by making disparaging statements about her opponent in emails, statements to the media, and a webpage.

Fragakis initially defended her campaign’s actions but ultimately admitted that her conduct was a violation of the Judicial Canons and apologized to her opponent.

Fragakis was thereafter removed from judicial office.

(Case No: SC12-1122)

Ronald Andersen Hurst, Jr., P.O. Box 540262, Greenacres, public reprimand by publication effective August 5 by court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2003)

Hurst was court-appointed to file an Amended Motion to Withdraw Plea Agreement on behalf of a criminal defendant.

Hurst made minimal efforts to communicate with the client to determine the basis for the motion. Since Hurst did not receive a response from the client, he did not file the subject motion.

(Case Nos: SC21-1098 and SC21-1100)

Eric Otto Husby, 306 S Blvd., Tampa, suspended for 90 days and directed to attend Ethics School effective 30 days following a July 29 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2004)

Husby neglected his client’s matter and failed to communicate adequately in one matter, and failed to provide competent representation in the second. Husby failed to timely respond to the Bar in the first matter.

(Case No: SC20-1837)

Referee;

Honorable Alicia Polk

Andrew John Jones, 5200 South U.S. Highway 17/92, Casselberry, disbarred immediately following an August 19 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2006)

On June 3, 2021, Jones pled guilty to Child Abuse and Tampering with Physical Evidence, both third-degree felonies.

(Case No: SC21-894)

Referee;

Michael J. McNicholas

Frederick Joseph Keitel III, P.O. Box 3243, Palm Beach, permanently disbarred effective immediately following an August 12 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 1991)

Keitel represented his own corporations in numerous cases during which he made unfounded, unethical, and disparaging attacks against many different judges.

He further engaged in incivility and unprofessionalism in a deposition, attempted to hinder and delay discovery, engaged in a conflict of interest, and violated orders entered by the bankruptcy court.

Keitel continued to engage in such disparaging conduct during the disciplinary proceedings.

(Case No: SC18-546)

John Chandler Ross, 1025 Indian River Ave., Titusville, disbarred effective immediately following an August 5 court order because he is currently suspended.

(Admitted to practice: 1983)

Ross was held in contempt of the court’s order dated November 24, 2020, for failing to comply with Rule 3-5.1(h) requirements of notifying clients, opposing counsel, and tribunals of his suspension.

(Case No: SC21-807)

Roger S. Rathbun, 9380 N.W. 13th St., Plantation, disbarred effective immediately following an August 12 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2000)

Rathbun continued to engage in the active practice of law after being suspended from the practice of law by order dated January 9, 2020.

(Case No: SC20-623)

Douglas Alan Lopp, 19420 Sandy Springs Cir., Lutz, disbarred effective immediately following an August 11 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 1995)

Lopp was held in contempt of the court’s order dated September 20, 2020, for his repeated failure to respond to the court’s previous order and for his failure to notify clients, opposing counsel, and tribunals of his suspension.

(Case No: SC20-1026 and SC21-852)

Patrick James Thompson, 201 Hilda St., Suite 23, Kissimmee, public reprimand by publication and completion of Ethics School effective immediately following an August 26 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2007)

Thompson negotiated with timeshare resorts on behalf of clients to assist the clients with an exit from their timeshare contracts and/or their timeshare maintenance fees.

Thompson improperly shared legal fees with a nonlawyer, who was a corporate officer of his law firm, Timeshare Lawyers, Inc.

Thompson was not admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction other than Florida but the resorts and the clients he represented sometimes were located outside of Florida.

In addition, Thompson did not sufficiently communicate with two clients about their cases, and he was not diligent in handling their cases.

(Case No: SC21-588)

Peter James Yanowitch, 232 Andalusia Ave., Suite 202, Coral Gables, suspended for 90 days and ordered to pay restitution in the total amount of $100,000 effective 30 days following an August 5 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 1982)

Yanowitch failed to maintain cost money in his trust account, instead, he applied it to fees deemed to be excessive, and without providing monthly invoices to the client.

(Case No: SC21-1090)

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 more than 109,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.
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 includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.

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• Continue to provide this website, content, resources, community and help center for free to the many homeowners, residents, Texans and as we’ve expanded, people nationwide who need access without a paywall or subscription.

• Help us promote our campaign through marketing, pr, advertising and reaching out to government, law firms and anyone that will listen and can assist.

Thank you for your trust, belief and support in our conviction to help Floridian residents and citizens nationwide take back their freedom. Your Donations and your Voice are so important.



Florida

August 2022 List of Thievin’ and Lyin’ Attorneys In the State of Florida

The consistent theme for August 2022, and indeed most months, is Florida lawyers theft of client funds and settlement funds.

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August 1, 2022 Disciplinary Actions

AUG 1, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: NOV 15, 2022

The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined six attorneys, suspending three and disbarring three.

And LIF’s highlighted a few of these rogue attorneys before.

Timmy W. Cox, Sr., 7401 S.W. 16th St., Plantation,

suspended effective immediately following a July 13 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2014)

Cox failed to respond to official Bar inquiries.

The Bar filed its Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause on April 29.

The Florida Supreme Court ordered Cox to show cause by May 18. Cox failed to file a response to the court’s Order to Show Cause.

(Case No: SC22-598)

James F. Feuerstein III, 22724 Stallion Dr., Sorrento,

disbarred effective immediately per a July 21 court order as Feuerstein is currently suspended for 91 days (by court order dated April 21).

(Admitted to practice: 1987)

Feuerstein failed to respond to official Bar inquiries in three separate Bar matters and failed to file a response to the Court’s Order to Show Cause.

(Case No: SC22-618)

Thievin’ from Your Own Mamma’s Estate

John Hadsall, 18198 3rd St. E., Redington Shores,

disbarred, effective 30 days following a July 7 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 1980)

Hadsall was found to have improperly transferred assets from the estate of his mother for personal use.

He failed to show by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that he acted in good faith throughout the transactions and failed to show that his mother acted freely, intelligently, and voluntarily in gifting him funds from her accounts.

Hadsall subsequently attempted to render himself judgment proof to thwart the estate’s attempt to recoup the funds.

(Case No: SC21-1444)

Melanie L. Johnson, 4790 Longbow Dr., Titusville,

disbarred effective immediately following a July 14 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2004)

Johnson misappropriated client funds.

In response to the Bar’s request for records needed to perform a compliance audit of her law office trust account, Johnson reconstructed her records and submitted records to the Bar that contained false and misleading information.

(Case No: SC21-1675)

Thievin’ from Clients, and Received a PPP Loan

Bradley Nephase Laurent, 8615 Commodity Circle, Suite 6, Orlando,

emergency suspended effective 30 days following a July 14 court order but to cease accepting new clients as of July 14.

(Admitted to practice: 2005)

Laurent misappropriated client funds from his law office trust account, some of which he repaid from the proceeds of a Paycheck Protection Program loan he obtained on behalf of his law firm for COVID-19 relief.

(Case No: SC22-851)

Thievin’ from Clients, and Lyin’ to the Bar

James Santos Wilkie, 1333 S. Ocean Blvd., Suite 1323, Pompano Beach,

emergency suspended effective immediately following a July 19 court order.

(Admitted to practice: 2013)

Wilkie misappropriated client settlement funds and made misrepresentations to the Bar during their investigation.

(Case No: SC22-911)

Meet James S. Wilkie – Managing Partner

James was originally born in North Miami Beach; however, due to his father being a United States Marine Corps Officer (Col. James R. Wilkie Ret.), he lived in dozens of places across the continental United States. James graduated from Collierville High School in Collierville, Tennessee, where he elected to remain and receive his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis. While attending the U of M, he joined the prestigious fraternity Pi Kappa Phi. Furthermore, Mr. Wilkie went on to make the Dean and Presidents list through his undergraduate education. He was accepted to Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing Michigan, where he placed in the top 4% of his class.

Wanting to be closer to his family in South Florida, he transferred to Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, where he graduated with his Doctorate of Juris Prudence in 2011. Mr. Wilkie attended the Nova Southeastern University Family Law Clinic, where he worked with both The Thomas Family Law Firm in Memphis Tennessee, and Legal Aid of Palm Beach County Florida. During law school, his concentration was Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Civil Litigation, and Dependency. He accepted a position with Katz & Katz, P.A. where he practiced a wide variety of law, including but not limited too; Plaintiff Personal Injury Protection Litigation, Personal Injury Plaintiff, Contract Actions, and Criminal Defense. Eventually in 2013, Mr. Wilkie opened the doors to The Wilkie Law Firm, P.A. practicing mainly Plaintiff Personal Injury and complex negligence cases. He remained the managing partner of The Wilkie Law Firm until his assentation to of counsel with Salpeter Gitkin, LLP through his now conjoined practice in 2018.

Mr. Wilkie has recovered millions of dollars for his clients and boasts a wide variety of trial experience in multiple areas of law. Mr. Wilkie values himself as a well versed civil litigation attorney utilizing his knowledge and extended experience to provide his clients with the most advantageous outcome. Having successfully co-counselled cases in Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi, Mr. Wilkie’s wide variety of experience and aggressive nature continues to achieve leaps and bounds for his clients.

James is a long time Florida resident and enjoys golf, softball, basketball, fishing and spending time with his wife Crystal and his two daughters Amilia and Anessa.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Injuries

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Car Accidents

If you have been hurt in a car accident, do not accept any settlement that is offered by an insurance company without first reviewing it with a skilled and experienced attorney who can advise you more thoroughly about your legal rights and options.

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Motorcycle Accidents

If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, then you may be able to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for damages rather than simply relying upon an insurance claim to meet your needs.

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Truck Accidents

If you have been hurt in an automobile wreck involving a commercial truck then we can help you to explore the possible merits of legal action and to determine whether the driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, or another third-party may be liable.

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Catastrophic Injuries

If you have suffered life-complicating injuries and would like to know more about the possible advantages of filing a civil lawsuit then you should consult with a skilled and experienced attorney about your case.

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Cruise Ship & Boating Accidents

If you have been hurt in an accident involving another person’s failure to properly operate, design, or maintain a watercraft then you might wish to consider filing a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for your injuries. You may be able to recover the resources that you need to address medical bills, boat repair costs, and other appropriate damages.

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Premises Liability

Premises Liability If you or your loved one has been hurt in an accident that occurred on another party’s property then you may be able to pursue financial compensation through a civil lawsuit. Medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages may be recoverable.

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Medical Malpractice

If you or your loved one has been the victim of a medical mistake and has experienced adverse health effects as a result, then you may wish to investigate the possibility of pursuing a medical malpractice claim. A successful lawsuit can gain you the resources that you need for present and future care and may also help you obtain financial compensation for other relevant damages.

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Products Liability

If you have been sickened or hurt by a dangerous product then you may be able to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for your injuries. A successful legal action might help you cover the costs of medical bills, lost wages, and other considerations appropriate to the specific details of your case.

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Personal Injury

If you have been hurt in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness and are looking for a compassionate and committed legal representative, then we can help you fight to hold them accountable for the harm that you have suffered.

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Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist

If you have been in an automobile accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist then it may be possible to pursue additional financial compensation through a civil lawsuit. A successful legal action might gain you the resources necessary to make up the gap between the policy maximum and the damages you have experienced.

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Wrongful Death

While prevailing in a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your loved one’s death may seem like a hollow victory, the reality is that it may be the best or only way to ensure that you have the financial resources that you need to cope with the painful adjustments you must make.

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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. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.
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 includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam. Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.

YOUR DONATION(S) WILL HELP US:

• Continue to provide this website, content, resources, community and help center for free to the many homeowners, residents, Texans and as we’ve expanded, people nationwide who need access without a paywall or subscription.

• Help us promote our campaign through marketing, pr, advertising and reaching out to government, law firms and anyone that will listen and can assist.

Thank you for your trust, belief and support in our conviction to help Floridian residents and citizens nationwide take back their freedom. Your Donations and your Voice are so important.



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Fake Documents

Florida Clerks Want to Stop Property Deed Scammers, Unlike Texas Where the Judiciary are the Scammers

On our main website at LIT (lawsintexas.com) we’ve been publishing the real facts about corrupt lawyers, judges and Texas citizens involved in fraudulent deeds.

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Northeast Florida Clerks of Court team up against property and mortgage fraud

Clerks in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam & St. Johns urge residents to sign up for free fraud alert services

OCT 24, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: OCT 25, 2022

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Clerks of Court for Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties want the residents they serve to take advantage of free property fraud alert services offered by each of their offices.

The clerks joined forces Monday to urge property owners to protect themselves against scammers who would steal their homes, vacant land or business property through fraudulent deeds or other official records.

“Property and identity fraud are national and local problems that can have a serious impact,” said Putnam County Clerk Matt Reynolds. “By taking advantage of this service offered by the Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Office, citizens can get ahead of fraud and protect the things we have all worked so hard to achieve.”

Reynolds and Clerks Stacie D. Harvey, Tara S. Green, Jody Phillips, John A. Crawford and Brandon J. Patty launched a regional campaign to highlight a shared webpage that provides property fraud signup links in all six counties.

The webpage is accessible through both www.ProtectYourFloridaProperty.com and www.ClerksAgainstFraud.com.

“Northeast Florida Clerks are united to fight property fraud across the region, as criminals don’t stop at the county line,” said St. Johns County Clerk Patty.

Property fraud is when someone illegally uses your property for financial gain. A common example is when a scammer creates a fraudulent document that will deed your home to them and then records that document in a county’s official records.

“We are now seeing instances where your home and property can be digitally stolen from you by the filing of a fraudulent deed by scammers miles and miles away,” said Baker County Clerk Harvey.

But property owners themselves can easily discern if ownership of their home or business has been modified — if they are notified that a change has occurred.

“Receiving notifications that something may be amiss is the first step to fighting back. We encourage all property owners to register for this free service that your Clerks have implemented for your protection,” said Nassau County Clerk Crawford, who recently launched the county’s new property fraud alert service.

To combat the nationwide rise in property and mortgage fraud, identity protection companies charge monthly or annual fees to monitor your official records. But your local Clerk of Court offers a free do-it-yourself option — simply subscribe to receive alerts when an official record document is recorded in your name(s) with that office.

“We ask property owners to partner with us, as we work to eliminate the attempts to steal homes and land,” said Clay County Clerk Green. “Bad actors might get away with a fraudulent filing, but an alert sent to a registered property owner will quickly follow that allows the property owner to intervene.”

Like paid commercial alert systems, the free noticing service does not prevent a fraudulent action from occurring.

As a county’s recorders of deeds and mortgages, Clerks of Court document property records but are not authorized to determine the validity of the record.

“Although the notification won’t stop the fraudulent transaction, it will give the property owners the opportunity to right the wrong before it’s too far gone!” Harvey said.

Local realtor Jonathan Daugherty, since 2009, says he’s gotten calls about home that were not for sale.

He thinks the alert system will help homeowners.

“I think it’s a great tool and it sounds like it’s pretty easy for people to do,” said Realtor Jonathan Daugherty with Realtor Future Home Realty.

The free notification service provides an early warning system for subscribers, giving them a tool to become aware of fraudulent activity that may have otherwise gone undetected. Once notified, a property owner knows to contact law enforcement, seek legal advice, or even file a case in civil court.

“Property fraud alerts give individuals and businesses the tools they need to proactively monitor recorded documents and stop property fraud at its very source,”

Duval Clerk Phillips said.

“I greatly appreciate my fellow Clerks joining with me on the front steps of the Duval County Courthouse today as we present a united front against those who would seek to steal from our communities.”

Visit the website, accessible through ProtectYourFloridaProperty.com or www.ClerksAgainstFraud.com, to sign up for this free service in each of these participating counties.

Here are some tips from the FBI to make sure you are not a victim of this kind of fraud:

Get referrals for real estate and mortgage professionals.

Check the licenses of the industry professionals with state, county, or city regulatory agencies

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Promises of big profits in a small amount of time are signals of concern

Be wary of unsolicited contacts and high-pressure sales online or over the phone

YOUR DONATION(S) WILL HELP US:

• Continue to provide this website, content, resources, community and help center for free to the many homeowners, residents, Texans and as we’ve expanded, people nationwide who need access without a paywall or subscription.

• Help us promote our campaign through marketing, pr, advertising and reaching out to government, law firms and anyone that will listen and can assist.

Thank you for your trust, belief and support in our conviction to help Floridian residents and citizens nationwide take back their freedom. Your Donations and your Voice are so important.



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Appellate Judges

The Eleventh Circuit Issues Another Glossed Opinion to Dismiss a Pro Se Lawyer’s Appeal

All motions under Rule 60(b) OTHER THAN those based on Rule 60(b)(4) must be made within a reasonable time.

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Henry v. City of Mount Dora, No. 21-14120 (11th Cir. Sep. 16, 2022)

REPUBLISHED BY LIT: SEP 17, 2022

Before LUCK, LAGOA, and ANDERSON, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM:

Marie Henry, proceeding pro se, appeals the district court’s denial of her Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4), (d)(3) motion seeking relief from the court’s order dismissing her federal claims raised pursuant to several federal statutes, and remanding to state court her state law claims raised pursuant to Florida state law.

After filing an ethics complaint against one of the defendants and a pro se motion to disqualify a judge in a predatory lending case, Henry was referred to a Florida Bar grievance committee on two counts of misconduct and, after disciplinary proceedings that she challenged as defective, she was suspended for 6 months.

She originally filed her complaint in Florida state court, but the Florida Bar removed her case to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

On appeal, she argues, first, that the district court erred by denying her Rule 60 motion as untimely.

Second, she contends that the court abridged her due process right to an impartial tribunal, notice, and an opportunity to be heard by dismissing her federal claims where the defendants did not unanimously consent to removal, the court judicially noticed facts without a hearing, and the judge was a member of an adverse party.

Third, she asserts that the court erred by failing to analyze fraud on the court.

Finally, she argues that the court’s denial of an extension to file objections to a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation violated 28 U.S.C. § 2072.

I.

LIT OBJECTS TO THE PANEL SUMMARY, WHICH DOES NOT PROVIDE DATES FOR THE FLORIDA BAR SUSPENSION, WHICH WAS IN MARCH 2015 , AND GLOSSES OVER THE FACT IT TOOK THE BAR YEARS TO PROSECUTE AND REACH ITS FINAL DISPOSITION.

We review de novo the denial of a motion to set aside a judg-ment for voidness under Rule 60(b)(4).

Stansell v. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colom., 771 F.3d 713, 736 (11th Cir. 2014).

Motions pursuant to Rule 60(b)(4) are not subject to a reasonable timeliness requirement or a typical laches analysis.

Id. at 737-38.

But “Rule 60(b)(4) does not provide a license for litigants to sleep on their rights.”

United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Espinosa, 559 U.S. 260, 275 (2010).

When considering whether a movant slept on her rights, we have noted that subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and have addressed the merits of the movant’s jurisdictional argument.

See Stansell, 771 F.3d at 737

(holding that movant waived “his right to object to any defects in the service of process or to any denial of his right to be heard” because he “sat on his rights for nine months” but addressing alleged jurisdiction issues).

We may affirm for any reason supported by the record.

Bircoll v. Miami-Dade Cnty., 480 F.3d 1072, 1088 n.21 (11th Cir. 2007).

Here, the district court applied a reasonable time requirement to Henry’s Rule 60(b)(4) motion, but that requirement was inappropriate.

See Stansell, 771 F.3d at 737.

However, Henry sat on her rights by waiting more than 2 years to file her Rule 60(b)(4) motion.

See id. at 737-38.

Thus, we affirm the district court as to any issues raised by Henry that do not relate to subject matter jurisdiction because she slept on her rights for over two years.

Bircoll, 480 F.3d at 1088 n.21.

Like in Stansell, however, we next consider Henry’s arguments that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

See Stansell, 771 F.3d at 737.

LIT DISAGREES WITH THE PANEL OPINION WHICH CONTRADICTS ITSELF AND THIS COURT’s OWN RULINGS TO RELY UPON A SCOTUS BANKRUPTCY CASE, WHICH IS INAPPOSITE TO THE FACTS HERE.

FURTHERMORE, THE CITE, WHEN READ FULLY, IS NOT ABOUT DELAY IN APPEALING AT ALL:

“United had actual notice of the filing of Espinosa’s plan, its contents, and the Bankruptcy Court’s subsequent confirmation of the plan. In addition, United filed a proof of claim regarding Espinosa’s student loan debt, thereby submitting itself to the Bankruptcy Court’s jurisdiction with respect to that claim…. United therefore forfeited its arguments regarding the validity of service or the adequacy of the Bankruptcy Court’s procedures by failing to raise a timely objection in that court.

United Student Aid Funds v. Espinosa, 559 U.S. 260, 275 (2010)

—————

Before HULL, MARCUS and WILSON, Circuit Judges.:

“All motions under Rule 60(b) other than those based on Rule 60(b)(4) must be made within a reasonable time. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(c). ” Sec. & Exch. Comm’n v. J&J Mgmt. Consulting, No. 15-14628, at *4 (11th Cir. Oct. 3, 2016)

II.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4) provides relief from a final judgment or order if the judgment is void.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(4).

A judgment is not void under Rule 60(b)(4) merely because it was erroneous.

Espinosa, 559 U.S. at 270.

Generally, it is void solely if it is premised on a jurisdictional error depriving the court of even arguable jurisdiction or on a due process violation that deprived a party of notice or the opportunity to be heard.

See id. at 271.

Federal courts always have jurisdiction to determine their own jurisdiction.

In re Nica Holdings, Inc., 810 F.3d 781, 789 (11th Cir. 2015).

The Rooker-Feldman1 doctrine is a narrow jurisdictional doctrine concerning a court’s subject matter jurisdiction that bars parties who lose a case in state court from appealing their loss in a federal district court.

Behr v. Campbell, 8 F.4th 1206, 1208 (11th Cir. 2021);

Alvarez v. Att’y Gen for Fla., 679 F.3d 1257, 1264 (11th Cir. 2012).

Neither res judicata nor the requirement that all defendants consent to removal is jurisdictional.

See Narey v. Dean, 32 F.3d 1521, 1524-25 (11th Cir. 1994);

In re Bethesda Mem’l Hosp., Inc., 123 F.3d 1407, 1410 n.2 (11th Cir. 1997).

An appellant abandons any argument not briefed before us, made in passing, or raised briefly without supporting arguments or authority.

Access Now, Inc. v. Sw. Airlines Co., 385 F.3d 1324, 1330 (11th Cir. 2004);

Sapuppo v. Allstate Floridian Ins. Co., 739 F.3d 678, 681 (11th Cir. 2014).

We can consider sua sponte an abandoned issue if a forfeiture exception applies and extraordinary circumstances warrant review.

United States v. Campbell, 26 F.4th 860, 873 (11th Cir. 2022) (en banc), petition for cert. filed (U.S. May 17, 2022) (No. 21-1468).

Here, Henry was not entitled to relief pursuant to her Rule 60(b)(4) motion because she did not identify any jurisdictional defect depriving the district court of arguable jurisdiction.

See Espinosa, 559 U.S. at 271.

The requirement that all defendants consent to removal is not jurisdictional.

See In re Bethesda Mem’l Hosp., Inc., 123 F.3d at 1410 n.2.

Res judicata is not jurisdictional either.

Narey, 32 F.3d at 1524–25.

Moreover, to the extent Henry argues that the district court erred by concluding the Rooker-Feldman doctrine applied, that is an argument over which the court had jurisdiction because a court always has jurisdiction to determine its own jurisdiction.

See In re Nica Holdings, Inc., 810 F.3d at 789.

Moreover, Henry points to no error in the district court’s application of the doctrine, nor to any other possible jurisdictional problem that might have deprived the district court of arguable jurisdiction.

Thus, we affirm the district court’s denial of Henry’s Rule 60(b)(4) motion.

1 Rooker v. Fid. Tr. Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923); D.C. Court of Appeals v. Feld- man, 460 U.S. 462 (1983).

III.

We review a district court’s denial of a Rule 60(d)(3) motion for relief from a judgment due to the opposing party’s fraud on the court for abuse of discretion.

See Cox Nuclear Pharm., Inc. v. CTI, Inc., 478 F.3d 1303, 1314 (11th Cir. 2007) (Rule 60(b)(3) motion).

Rule 60 does not limit a court’s power to set aside a judgment for fraud on the court.

Fed. R. Civ. P 60(d)(3).

A movant must prove fraud on the court with clear and convincing evidence.

See Booker v. Dugger, 825 F.2d 281, 283-84 (11th Cir. 1987)

(appealing denial of Rule 60(b) motion after denial of § 2254 petition).

Fraud on the court is limited to exceptional conduct like bribery or evidence falsification involving an attorney.

Rozier v. Ford Motor Co., 573 F.2d 1332, 1338 (5th Cir. 1978) (prior version of Rule 60).

We have held that, in independent actions challenging a judgment for fraud on the court, the alleged fraud must not have been raised in the original litigation, and it must not have been possible for the complaining party to raise the issue through reasonable diligence.

See Travelers Indem. Co. v. Gore, 761 F.2d 1549, 1552 (11th Cir. 1985).

Here, the district court addressed fraud on the court, and it correctly found that Henry failed to show sufficiently egregious conduct.

The conduct Henry points to on appeal, even if true, does not fall within the category of egregious conduct that can constitute fraud on the court, but instead amounts to, at most, arguably erroneous legal arguments, or conduct that occurred before she filed her complaint, neither of which come close to the necessary showing of fraud on the court.

See Rozier, 573 F.2d at 1338.

Furthermore, she does not challenge any conduct that was not raised before her Rule 60 motion or that she could not have raised through reasonable diligence.

See Travelers Indem. Co., 761 F.2d at 1552;

Bircoll, 480 F.3d at 1088 n.21.

Thus, we affirm the denial of her Rule 60(d)(3) motion.

LIT OBJECTS TO THE PANEL SUMMARY, WHICH DOES NOT PROVIDE THE ‘CONDUCT’ AT ISSUE, AND BLANKS HENRY’S ARGUMENTS.

IV.

We review a district court’s denial of a motion for extension of time for abuse of discretion.

See Lizarazo v. Miami-Dade Corr. & Rehab. Dep’t, 878 F.3d 1008, 1010-11 (11th Cir. 2017)

(extension of time to file motion for substitution).

A request for an extension should be granted if good cause is shown. Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b).

Here, Henry arguably has shown good cause for an extension in her motion for an extension to file objections to the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation concerning her Rule 60 motion because she asserted that she did not receive the report and recommendation until after the time for her to file objections had passed and she had been occupied caring for a family member.

We assume arguendo that she showed good cause for an extension.

However, the consequence for failing to object to the magistrate’s report and recommendation is waiver of the right to challenge those issues on appeal.

11th Cir. R. 3-1.

Because we have reviewed Henry’s arguments as if she had not waived them for failing to object, we affirm the denial of her motion for the reasons discussed above.

See R. 3-1; Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b).

AFFIRMED.

LIT OBJECTS TO THE SCANT LEGAL ANALYSIS OF THE ‘CONSEQUENCE FOR  FAILING TO OBJECT TO THE MAGISTRATE REPORT’.

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