On Thursday, August 17, 2023, the Supreme Court of Florida issued an order suspending attorney Emelike Nwosuocha from practicing law for six months due to failure to comply with court orders.
The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Emelike Nwosuocha,” with case no. SC2022-1776.
The charges cited Rules Regulating the Florida Bar 4-3.4(c) and 4-8.4(a) which states:
A lawyer must not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists.
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.
The case against Nwosuicha arose from a medical negligence lawsuit filed in 2017, which led to a series of legal missteps. The Florida Bar filed a complaint against Nwosuocha on December 20, 2022, which alleged that he failed to pay attorney’s fees awarded to the defendant, Dr. Johnny Salomon. Despite several opportunities, Nwosuocha did not respond adequately to the charges, leading to a motion for default.
After a case management conference on February 2, 2023, the referee granted Nwosuocha additional time to address the complaint. However, his failure to comply with court orders and respond appropriately led to further sanctions. Nwosuocha’s case involved an appeal to the Third District Court of Appeal, which affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the case and awarded attorney’s fees to Dr. Salomon. Despite this outcome, Nwosuocha argued that the lawsuit was not frivolous.
The referee found Nwosuocha guilty of knowingly disobeying a court order, causing injury, and exhibiting a pattern of non-compliance with court orders. This led to a recommended six-month suspension and an order to pay The Florida Bar’s costs in the proceedings. While Nwosuocha had no prior disciplinary record, aggravating factors were present, including a dishonest or selfish motive, bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary process, and refusal to acknowledge wrongful conduct.
The Supreme Court approved the uncontested findings of the referee, leading to Nwosuocha’s suspension from legal practice.
The Disposition states:
“The uncontested report of the referee is approved, and the respondent is suspended from the practice of law for six months, 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.”
According to avvo.com, Ms. Nwosuocha is an employment and labor attorney in Miami, Florida. He attended the Michigan State University College of Law, graduating in 2005. He acquired his law license in Florida in 2008.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.