The Florida Bar has accused attorney Guillermo Jose Farinas of pursuing meritless appeals and has lodged a complaint against him before the Supreme Court of Florida. The complaint was filed on Friday, May 26, 2023.
The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Guillermo Jose Farinas” with case no. 2018-50, 334.
The charges cited Rules Regulating Florida Bar 4-1.1, 4-3.1, 4-8.4(a), and 4-8.4(d) which states:
A lawyer must provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or controvert an issue therein unless there is a basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.
A lawyer shall not violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another.
A lawyer shall not engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, including knowingly, or through callous indifference disparaging, humiliating, or discriminating against litigants, jurors, witnesses, court personnel, or other lawyers on any basis, including, but not limited to, on account of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, employment, or physical characteristic.
The Rules Regulating Florida Bar can be found here.
The complaint centers around Farinas’ representation of a client in a case titled “In Re: The Matter of Joseph Manzaro.” It alleges that Farinas filed a complaint for equitable relief from the agreed final order modifying temporary custody by extended family members on the basis of extrinsic fraud and the lack of personal jurisdiction in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. However, the court dismissed the petition with prejudice, deeming it without merit and a frivolous appeal. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal and sanctioned both Farinas and his client, awarding attorney’s fees and costs to the opposing party.
The Florida Bar asserted that Farinas violated several rules regulating professional conduct, including providing competent representation, refraining from filing frivolous proceedings, and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The filing states:
“On November 1, 2017, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued its opinion and sanctioned Manzaro and the respondent awarding attorney’s fees and costs to the opposing party. In its opinion, the court stated,
We find the appeal to be completely without merit. Asserting fraud in the court, the Appellant [Manzaro] sought relief from an order entered more than four years before he filed his complaint. . . . Clearly, he did not seek relief from the order within the time required by Rule 1.540(b). . . . The Appellant has had multiple opportunities to raise the issues presented in his complaint to the Broward Circuit Court and, in fact, has done so. His attempt at filing a new lawsuit in a different circuit, after those prior attempts were rejected and while other new attempts still remain pending in the Broward Circuit Court, is completely devoid of merit. . . . [T]he Court awards the appellee it’s appellate attorn ey’s fees and costs as a sanction against the Appellant and his counsel, Guillermo J. Farinas, Jr., for the filing of a frivolous appeal.”
Due to this, the Florida Bar is seeking that Farinas be disciplined accordingly.
The Florida Bar 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.”
Mr. Farinas practices in Palm Beach, Florida. He is licensed in Florida. His info can be found on lawyersjustia.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.