August 4, 2021

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Florida judge won’t toss out sanctions against Grim Reaper lawyer

3 min read

A law firm who walked Florida’s shorelines dressed as the grim reaper all through the pandemic will proceed combating for his profession right after a Northwest Florida judge refused to throw out a lawsuit seeking achievable sanctions from the Santa Rosa Beach front lawyer.

Daniel Uhlfelder grabbed headlines in March 2020 when he filed a lawsuit in search of to power Gov. Ron DeSantis to near beaches for the reason that of the COVID-19 pandemic. Uhlfelder donned a grim reaper costume although walking the seaside to draw focus to the issue.

The lawsuit, and subsequent statements Uhlfelder produced to media stores, resulted in a 3-choose panel of the 1st District Court docket of Appeal taking the unusual step of ordering Condition Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden to go after willpower towards Uhlfelder.

“Appellant [Uhlfelder] and his counsel certainly employed this court docket simply as a stage from which to act out their model of political theater. This was unprofessional and an abuse of the judicial approach,” a Feb. 5 ruling by the panel read, in section.

Uhlfelder’s legal professional, Richard Greenberg, asked Santa Rosa County Circuit Decide Scott Duncan to dismiss the situation, arguing in a June 7 hearing that the appeals court’s order for the attainable sanctions fails to comply with a disciplinary rule cited by the three-choose panel.

The seldom-employed rule enables judges to immediate condition lawyers to file a movement trying to find willpower if a lawyer “has been guilty of any unprofessional act” laid out in Florida Bar rules.

But Duncan refused to dismiss the situation.

“Having carefully regarded as respondent’s movement, the state’s reaction, the respondent’s reply, the document, the arguments at the listening to, and relevant law, the court finds that respondent’s movement need to be denied,” the choose wrote in a temporary get issued Friday.

In the primary March lawsuit, Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll ruled that he lacked the authority to purchase the Governor to shut down seashores and encouraged Uhlfelder to question a bigger courtroom to weigh in on the concern. That’s when Uhlfelder took the circumstance to the Tallahassee-centered appeals court, which tossed out his lawsuit and referred him and his attorneys to bar ethics investigators.

Just after that ruling, Uhlfelder produced a assertion to the Tallahassee Democrat linking the panel’s ruling to Uhlfelder’s actions outside the house the courtroom to start a political committee aimed at eradicating DeSantis from workplace named Get rid of Ron.

“I do obtain it attention-grabbing that this feeling attacking my critiques of Gov. DeSantis appeared just two times immediately after I introduced a (political) committee to remove Ron DeSantis,” Uhlfelder explained for the duration of the job interview.

Immediately after the story was revealed, the a few-choose panel requested Bowden Madden’s workplace to initiate court proceedings against Uhlfelder for felony contempt, punishable by a high-quality or a jail sentence.

In a movement submitted in March, Assistant Condition Lawyer Anne N. Izzo accused Uhlfelder of “violating principles of expert conduct” for lawyers “as effectively as violating the oath of admission to The Florida Bar.” The motion did not specify what form of discipline prosecutors are considering.

Greenberg, in a reaction to the motion, claimed Uhlfelder hadn’t done everything completely wrong and questioned a decide to dismiss the scenario, arguing the condition lacks a foundation to go after sanctions.

The appeals court’s Feb. 8 buy demanding Bowden Madden to file a motion with regards to Uhlfelder “contains no assertion” that Uhlfelder has been discovered responsible of any unprofessional conduct, Greenberg wrote in the six-site reaction.

In addition to the exceptional transfer of purchasing Bowden Madden’s business, which is located in Uhlfelder’s home county of Walton County, to pursue sanctions against Uhlfelder, the a few-judge panel ordered the Panhandle prosecutor’s workplace to file every month status studies on the circumstance with the appeals courtroom.

An evidentiary listening to in the case has not been established, according to Walton County court information. The court docket data also show that three judges from the 1st Judicial Circuit ended up recused from the situation, which is now assigned to Duncan.


Reporting from Information Company of Florida was utilised in this write-up.

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