On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, The Florida Bar filed a complaint with the Supreme Court of Florida against attorney Jack William Merritt. The complaint alleges Merritt violated several Rules of Professional Conduct during his representation of David C. Davis, a senior citizen who fell victim to a lottery scheme scam.

The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Jack William Merritt.”

The charges cited in Rules Regulating Florida Bar Rules 4-1.2, 4-1.3, 4-1.4, 4-1.5, 4-1.15, and 5-1.1.

In November 2016, Davis retained Merritt to help recover funds lost to fraudulent activity on his Wells Fargo bank account. Davis paid Merritt a $4,500 retainer.

According to the complaint, Merritt improperly treated the retainer as non-refundable rather than holding it in his trust account. He also allegedly failed to communicate to Davis that the retainer had been exhausted around March 2017.

The complaint further claims Merritt took around eight months to draft an affidavit for Davis to review regarding the fraudulent events. It then took multiple revisions over several months to finalize.

In March 2018, over 15 months after being retained, Davis received an invoice from Merritt for $9,660, reflecting the original $4,500 retainer had been spent. Davis paid an additional $5,160. However, the complaint states Merritt then failed to take further action on the case.

Merritt is also accused of not promptly informing Wells Fargo that he no longer represented Davis after being paid. In November 2019, the bank allegedly sent Davis a letter saying it had written off over $17,000 in fraudulent charges, but Merritt did not explain the letter to Davis.

The complaint asserts Merritt failed to determine if arbitration would be required or advise Davis of the potential statute of limitations issues regarding claims. He is charged with violating Florida Bar Rules related to the scope of representation, diligence, communication, fees, and costs, safekeeping of client funds, and trust accounting requirements.

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, Mr. Merritt is an estate planning attorney in Osprey, Florida. He attended the University of Baltimore School of Law. He acquired his law license in Florida in 1995.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.