The Supreme Court of Florida dismissed the member-backed petition to amend Rule 4-3.1 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.  As discussed in a previous post, the proposed amendment provided that an appellate court’s determination that an attorney pursued a frivolous claim or defense would “constitute[] a conclusive determination” that the attorney violated Bar Rule 4-3.1.  The Florida Bar opposed the petition, arguing that it would impose an automatic sanction on attorneys and bypass the grievance process.

On May 25, 2018, the Supreme Court of Florida declined to adopt the proposed amendment and dismissed the petition.  On June 7, 2018, the petitioner moved for clarification, asking the Court to: (1) provide that decisional law of frivolity applies throughout the grievance process; (2) clarify that the Rules prohibit an attorney from using client trust funds to pay the attorney’s portion of court-imposed sanctions; (3) require The Florida Bar to review the grievance process with regard to improving consistency in lawyer discipline and to report back to the Court by a specific deadline; and (4) allow the petition to remain pending during the review and report period.

Last week, The Florida Bar moved to strike the motion for clarification, arguing it serves as a request for reconsideration and that the proposed review of the grievance system goes beyond the original petition.

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