On Monday, April 15, 2024, The Florida Bar filed a complaint against attorney Ileana Maria Almeida with the Supreme Court of Florida. The complaint alleges multiple violations of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.

The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Ileana Maria,” with case number 2021-50,200(17C).

The charges cited Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 4-1.4, 4-1.5(a), 4-8.4(a). 

According to the complaint, Almeida was retained by Mark Lumsden in February 2020 to represent him in a dissolution of marriage case. Lumsden paid Almeida a $3,000 fee but she allegedly failed to take significant action on his case. The complaint states Almeida did not file a notice of appearance until April 2020. She also reportedly failed to keep Lumsden informed about the status of his case, despite his numerous attempts to contact her.

In May 2020, Lumsden hired new counsel to take over his case. He requested Almeida return his client file and refund the fees he had paid. However, the complaint alleges Almeida did not return the file until July 2020. It was only after Lumsden filed a grievance with The Florida Bar that Almeida, through her attorney, agreed to refund his fees. But she allegedly failed to fully refund him, leading Lumsden to pursue a civil lawsuit to recover the money.

The Florida Bar complaint says Almeida eventually refunded Lumsden’s fees in full. However, she is accused of violating multiple rules related to diligence, communication with clients, illegal or excessive fees, and violating the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The complaint states:

“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, Ms. Almeida is a divorce & separation attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She attended the Florida State University College of Law, graduating in 1993. She acquired her law license in Florida in the same year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.