On Thursday, August 3, 2023, the Supreme Court of Florida approved the uncontested report of the referee and ordered that attorney Teresa Gaffney be permanently disbarred for violating rules of professional conduct.
The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Teresa Marie Gaffney,” with case no. SC2021-0938.
Attorney Teresa Gaffney found herself in the midst of disciplinary action, as a comprehensive investigation revealed a troubling pattern of obstruction, deception, and refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing during bar disciplinary proceedings.
Gaffney, who stood accused of engaging in a series of actions that raised serious ethical concerns, faced severe disciplinary action following the unveiling of a litany of violations. The allegations included a failure to comply with procedural rules and court orders, along with a litany of other serious offenses. One particularly controversial aspect of the case revolved around the destruction of evidence. Gaffney was accused of instructing her daughter to destroy a computer containing potentially vital information related to the case. This action constituted a breach of legal and ethical standards.
The Florida Bar Association, the governing body overseeing legal ethics, brought forward a comprehensive case, citing numerous instances where Gaffney allegedly violated key rules of professional conduct. These violations ranged from fairness to opposing parties and counsel, to engaging in conduct involving dishonesty and fraud.
In its order, the Supreme Court approved the uncontested report of the referee and permanently disbarred attorney Teresa Marie Gaffney, effective thirty days from the date of the order. Gaffney was given time to close out her practice and protect the interests of her existing clients. If she notifies the court in writing that she is no longer practicing and does not need the thirty days, the disbarment will be made effective immediately. Gaffney must fully comply with Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 3-5.1(h) and 3-6.1, if applicable, and accept no new business from the date the order was filed.
The court also entered judgment for The Florida Bar for recovery of costs from Gaffney in the amount of $8,931.02. The filing of a motion for rehearing will not alter the effective date of the permanent disbarment.
According to avvo.com, Ms. Gaffney is listed as a tax attorney in Tampa, Florida. She acquired her law license in Florida in 1984.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.