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Ethics Ruling Finds $2M Attorney Fee Excessive in Class Action Aiding 7 People

Posted Jan 12, 2010 7:45 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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The founding partner of a Florida law firm violated legal ethics rules by arranging a $7 million class action settlement on behalf of seven individuals rather than all Miami taxpayers, a referee in a Florida Bar attorney disciplinary case has determined.

And Henry Adorno of Adorno & Yoss also breached his duty to the proposed class clients, ruled Broward Circuit Judge Jack Tuter, who is acting as referee, by accepting a $2 million attorney fee in the case, reports the Daily Business Review.

However, the Florida Bar hasn't shown that Adorno misled a Miami-Dade Circuit judge into initially approving the $7 million settlement, Tuter found. The settlement, which concerned an unconstitutional government fee, was later overturned.

Tuter said the two sides should confer on appropriate sanctions in the case. If they can't reach agreement, he will hold a trial on the issue and recommend punishment to the Florida Supreme Court, which makes the final determination in attorney disciplinary cases.

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