On Tuesday, October 17, 2023, the Florida Bar filed a petition for the approval of the Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgement of Attorney Thomas J. Wenzel before the Supreme Court of Florida.

The case is titled ‘The Florida Bar v. Thomas J. Wenzel,’ with case number 2023-50,108(17I).

In this disciplinary matter, Attorney Wenzel, the managing attorney of a personal injury firm’s PIP department, is accused of failing to comply with court orders to mediate within 105 days in four separate cases. Show cause orders were issued by the presiding judge in response to these failures. In one case, a settlement was reached before the hearing, while in another case, mediation took place the day before the show cause hearing. In a third case, the respondent did not appear for the initial show cause hearing, and the case was voluntarily dismissed. During the second show cause hearing, Wenzel claimed excusable neglect, extenuating circumstances, and lack of jurisdiction to sanction him due to the voluntary dismissal. In the fourth case, Attorney Wenzel did not appear for mediation, resulting in another show cause order.

As a result of the fourth incident, the matter was referred to the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Professionalism Panel, which then referred it to The Florida Bar. Attorney Wenzel provided an initial response through his counsel, explaining that the four cases did not represent his overall experience and emphasizing that corrective measures had been implemented within his firm. The presiding judge, during the grievance committee’s investigation, noted improvements and expressed his satisfaction that potential larger issues may have been prevented. The grievance committee recommended diversion for a DOCS (Diversion/Discipline Consultation Service) review and attendance at a Professionalism Workshop.

The Board of Governors approved this disposition, but the Florida Supreme Court rejected the recommendation. The Court’s rejection is considered a finding of probable cause for further disciplinary proceedings.

However, prior to the filing of the formal complaint, Attorney Wenzel entered a Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment regarding allegations of failing to comply with court orders and show cause orders in four separate cases. The Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment has been approved by The Florida Bar under Rule 3-7.9 of the Rules of Discipline. The Florida Bar petitions for the approval of the acceptance of the Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment.

The petition reads:

“WHEREFORE, The FloridaBar respectfully requests that the Conditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment be accepted, the proposed discipline be imposed, and the Bar be awarded costs.”

According to Avvo, Attorney Thomas J. Wenzel is a general practice attorney based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He attended Pace University School of Law, graduating in 2010. He acquired his license in Florida in 2013.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.