Hello everyone and welcome to this Ethics Alert Update which will discuss the recent responses to the Bar’s Motion to Disqualify by its former president, Ramon Abadin. The Response claims, inter alia, that the information that received was public record; that even if it was confidential, it is not substantially related to the matter; he has no duty of loyalty; that the Bar did not object to his representation in the UPL matters; and that he will not be a necessary witness in the lawsuit. The case is TIKD Services LLC, v. The Florida Bar, et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-24103-MGC (U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida-Miami Division).
As I previously blogged, on December 1, 2017, The Florida Bar filed a Motion to Disqualify Ramón A. Abadin alleging that, during his 2015-16 term as president, he “was provided attorney-client and attorney work-product communications and advice about and involving the specific antitrust issues and allegations asserted in this action”, including an amicus brief that was filed in the U.S. Supreme Court case of North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, 135 S. Ct. 1101 (2015). In that opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the N.C. dental board did not have state action immunity because its decisions were final and not subject to review. The Florida Bar joined in an amicus brief in that case arguing state action immunity should apply.
The former Bar president and TIKD have now filed responses in opposition to the Bar’s Motion to Disqualify. In his “Response on Behalf of Plaintiff’s Counsel Ramon Abadin in Opposition to The Florida Bar Defendant’s Motion to Disqualify Plaintiff’s Counsel and Incorporated Memorandum of Law” dated December 19, 2017, Mr. Abadin states:
Disqualification of Mr. Abadin is not warranted for the following reasons:
- Mr. Abadin is not in violation of specific Bar Rules regarding disqualification based upon prior service with the Bar;
- The alleged “confidential” information received when Mr. Abadin was an executive officer of The Florida Bar or a member of the Board of Governors regarding the Bar’s response to the Dental Examiners case (other than legal advice) is public information;
- Even assuming the information received by Mr. Abadin is confidential, such information is not relevant to the cause of action in this lawsuit and, therefore, is not substantially related to this matter and would not be used to the Bar’s disadvantage;
- Mr. Abadin’s fiduciary duty of loyalty to The Florida Bar ended when his service as President was complete, which was prior to the time Plaintiff was formed;
- The Florida Bar did not object to Mr. Abadin’s representation of Plaintiff in connection with the Bar’s UPL investigation; and
- Mr. Abadin is not a necessary witness, and Plaintiff does not intend to call Mr. Abadin as a witness on its behalf.
Bottom line: As I previously stated, this is one of the first cases in Florida which directly alleges that The Florida Bar’s procedures violate the Sherman Antitrust Act based upon the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission. As an added element of drama, the Bar has filed a motion to disqualify Ramon Abadin, its recent former president, from representing the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the Bar and Abadin and TIKD have now filed responses in opposition to the motion.
Stay tuned…and be careful out there.
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Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire
Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.
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Clearwater, Florida 33761
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