On Thursday, February 23, 2023, the Supreme Court of Florida suspended attorney Daniel Wayne Perry for engaging in a pattern of misconduct during his representation of several mobile park homeowners’ associations.  The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v Daniel Wayne Perry ” with case no. SC22-391 & SC22-1097.

The charges cited Florida Bar Rules 4-1.1, 4-1.7(a)(b), and 4-1.8(e) which state:

A lawyer must provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

Conflict of Interest; Representing Adverse Interests. Except as provided in subdivision (b), a lawyer must not represent a client if: (1) the representation of 1 client will be directly adverse to another client; or (2) there is a substantial risk that the representation of 1 or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.

Conflict of Interest; Informed Consent. Notwithstanding the existence of a conflict of interest under subdivision (a), a lawyer may represent a client if: (1) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client; (2) the 6 representation is not prohibited by law; (3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a position adverse to another client when the lawyer represents both clients in the same proceeding before a tribunal; and (4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing or clearly stated on the record at a hearing.

Financial Assistance to Client. A lawyer is prohibited from providing financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except that: (1) a lawyer may advance court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; and (2) a lawyer representing an indigent client may pay court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client.

On March 28, 2022, it was alleged that the respondent, while representing a client in a lawsuit against several defendants, proceeded with the antitrust claims against the latter although he didn’t believe that the claim was meritorious. The respondent, in his defense, stated that the clients told him to include it in lawsuits. However, several pieces of evidence prove that board members (complainants) did not know any facts that supported the lawsuit against the defendants.

The filing states:

“After the dismissal of the claims in federal court and the award of attorneys’ fees to the defendants, the respondent testified in a sworn statement with the bar that Harbor View HOA wanted to refile the complaint in state court, but they would not proceed if they had to pay the federal court award of the attorneys’ fees. Respondent, therefore, had Harbor View HOA sign a second written agreement to repay to respondent “ court costs and expenses of litigation advanced by him” from a “favorable monetary award in the soon-to-be filed a state court case.”

The filing continues

“The agreement did not state that the respondent could be solely liable for the payment of the attorney fee sanction regardless of any future suit filed in state court or any agreement to repay him by the HOA. There was no informed consent by the HOA for this agreement to repay the respondent for his payment of the attorney fee sanction.”

On January 3, 2022, the referee recommended that based on the allegations and evidence submitted, the respondent be found guilty of the violations of the above-mentioned Florida bar rules. In response, the court decided to adopt the said recommendation and suspended the respondent for 60 days.

The Dispositon states:

“The uncontested report of the referee is approved and the respondent is suspended from the practice of law for sixty days, effective thirty days from the date of this order so that the Respondent can close out his practice and protect the interests of existing clients. If Respondent notifies this Court in writing that he is no longer practicing and does not need the thirty days to protect existing clients, this Court will enter an order making the suspension effective immediately.”

As of today, Mr. Perry runs his own law firm, the Law Office of Daniel W. Perry. He attended Wake Forest Law School, graduating in 1983. He practices in Orlando, Florida. He is licensed in Florida. Mr. Perry’s info can be found on martindale.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.