Monday, September 17, 2012

Inappropriate Removal of Client Files

We've pointed to stories like these before [see here and here]. Now comes another extreme example of controversy over handling client files, and more: "Florida Supreme Court suspends Winters and Yonker for misconduct in leaving Mulholland law firm, including theft for removal of Mulholland firm’s client files" [The Florida Bar vs. William Henry Winters and Marc Edward Yonkers, Case SC10-1333 (September 6, 2012)] --
  • "In a highly publicized (and very contentious) case, the lawyers were prosecuted by The Florida Bar for their alleged misconduct related to their actions before, during, and after leaving the Mulholland law firm."
  • "The Florida Supreme Court opinion found that the lawyers solicited clients of the Mulholland law firm to terminate that law firm and hire their new law firm to represent them, made misrepresentations to the Mulholland law firm, made copies of and took files belonging to the firm, and improperly used a third lawyer’s name in their firm name."
  • "According to the opinion, '(t)he Bar argues that Winters and Yonker’s ‘personal use’ of the Mulholland firm’s client files constituted acts of criminal theft under section 812.014, Florida Statutes (2001), and that theft inherently reflects adversely on a lawyer‘s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer. We agree…Winters‘ and Yonker’s conduct in appropriating client files from their employer for their own personal use constitutes theft."
See the complete article for more details.

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