On Friday, January 26, 2024, The Florida Bar filed a four-count complaint against attorney Ryan M. Layton for allegedly mishandling estate representation, failure to reopen an estate, and procedural lapses in an eviction case.

The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Ryan M. Layton.”

According to the complaint, the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “A” found probable cause to file the complaint, which was approved by the presiding member of the committee.

The first count, alleges Layton’s representation of the Estate of Norma Jean Rogers. Layton, acting as counsel, allegedly failed to provide proper services, charged excessive fees, and mishandled estate assets. The trial court entered a Default Final Judgment against Layton, ordering him and his law firm to pay $21,354.94 to the Rogers Estate. Layton is accused of violating several rules, including those related to diligence, promptness, communication, and the prohibition of excessive fees.

In the second count, Layton represented the Estate of Loretta Doherty. Allegations include failure to reopen the estate despite receiving signed documents from the beneficiary, lack of communication, and failure to respond to investigative inquiries. Layton is accused of violating rules related to diligence, communication, and timely responses to official inquiries.

The third count pertains to Layton’s role in an eviction case as the attorney for XW821SE LLC. Layton entered into a stipulation without obtaining informed consent, leading to subsequent legal issues. He is accused of violating rules related to client communication and obtaining informed consent.

According to count four of the complaint, Respondent Ryan M. Layton served as the attorney for guardians of wards in two guardianship cases in Palm Beach County, Florida probate court. In both cases, audit reports found that Respondent failed to comply with some court orders, failed to timely file annual accountings, and failed to appear at some of the court hearings. Additionally, in one case Respondent received a $2,825 payment for attorney’s fees without obtaining court approval. The Florida Bar sent Respondent an inquiry regarding these matters to which Respondent failed to respond.

The complaint contends that Layton’s actions were prejudicial to the administration of justice and calls for appropriate disciplinary action. The alleged violations include failure to provide competent representation, lack of diligence, improper communication, and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. The Florida Bar seeks disciplinary measures in accordance with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.

According to Avvo, Mr. Layton is a real estate and wills, trusts and estates attorney in Lake Worth, Florida. He graduated from Nova Southeastern University – Shepard Broad Law Center in 2002. He obtained his law license in Florida in the same year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.