On Monday, October 16, 2023, the Florida Bar filed a complaint with the Supreme Court of Florida against attorney Christopher Vincent Puleo. The complaint alleges multiple violations of the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.

The case is entitled ‘The Florida Bar v. Christopher Vincent Puleo’ with case number 2021-00,497(4B).

The Florida Rules of Professional Conduct can be viewed here.

The complaint is based on a judicial referral filed by a Judge of Compensation Claims regarding an order dated April 7, 2021. Attorney Puleo represented Eduardo Suarez Frances in a workers’ compensation case. Mr. Puleo filed a Petition for Benefits on behalf of Mr. Frances on December 18, 2020. The petition stated that the accident occurred on September 7, 2020, in Levy County, Florida.

Due to the representation of the accident location, the case was assigned to the Gainesville Division. The employer/carrier filed a motion to change venue on February 9, 2021, stating that Mr. Frances testified that the accident occurred in Utah during his deposition. The employer requested the venue be transferred to the Pensacola Division. Attorney Puleo objected to the change of venue on February 16, 2021, but he did not attempt to correct the misrepresentation regarding the accident location.

The judge granted the change of venue on February 26, 2021, and ordered Attorney Puleo to show cause why sanctions should not be entered against him. Attorney Puleo filed a response to the show cause order on March 2, 2021, claiming that the misunderstanding was due to a language barrier. However, the employer’s response on March 3, 2021, included evidence that Mr. Frances spoke English. The employer asserted that Mr. Frances had admitted under oath during his deposition that he spoke English. Attorney Puleo did not provide any clarification or correction regarding the misrepresentation of Mr. Frances’ language abilities.

The judge’s order on April 7, 2021, acknowledged potential errors but stated that lawyers have a responsibility to correct and remediate such errors. The judge ordered Puleo and Mr. Frances to individually pay attorney’s fees and costs related to the venue issue.

The complaint alleges that Puleo has violated the following Rules Regulating The Florida Bar: 4-1.3 (Diligence); 4-3.3(a) (Candor Toward the Tribunal: False Evidence; Duty to Disclose); and 4-8.4(d) (A lawyer shall not engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice).

The charge reads:

“WHEREFORE, The Florida Bar prays respondent will be appropriately disciplined in accordance with the provisions of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar as amended.”

According to Avvo.com, Attorney Christopher Vincent Puleo is a personal injury attorney based in Jacksonville, Florida. He attended the University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law, and acquired his law license in Florida in 1992.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.