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Sanctions - Imposed

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NOTE:  This page is still being populated and all sanctions are not yet listed here.  To check whether a specific mediator has ever been sanctioned, please go to the Mediator Search feature and enter the name of the mediator you are seeking.  If a name does not appear that person is not certified.

 

Clayton D. Simmons

Certification Number:  6861R
Case Number:  MQB 2015-003
Case Type:  Probate

MQB 2015-003 Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel 

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel entered on February 24, 2016 -   Mediator shall read MEAC and MQAP opinions on conflicts of interest, complete eight hours of CME, and is suspended for three months beginning on a date 30 days from the date of the Decision.  The DRC was awarded reasonable costs.

Findings:  The case mediated was a probate dispute between siblings.  The panel found the Mediator lacks the good moral character required of a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator due to his failure to disclose to the opposing sister and brother and the sister’s attorney that he had once represented the attorney for the brother in the attorney’s divorce; and in response to interrogatories by the MQB prosecutor, he attempted by e-mail to persuade or influence the attorney for the sister to support his untrue account regarding disclosure.  The Panel expressed its concern that the Mediator did not raise the issue at the mediation that a retired judge who was observing the mediation should not be appointed as a special master or magistrate in the probate case pursuant to rule 1.490, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110, Good Moral Character
10.230(f), Mediation Concepts
10.340, Conflicts of Interest


Neal J. Blaher

Certification number 19286RA
Case Number:  QCC 2015-014
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2015-014 Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel entered February 16, 2016 – Mediator decertified and permanently barred from mediating under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.  The DRC was awarded reasonable costs.

Findings:  Found not to possess the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to the Mediator, in his role as an attorney,  misappropriating client trust funds, improperly disbursing fees from his trust account to his operating account, using improperly transferred funds for business and operating expenses, and failing to properly maintain required trust account records; and failing to report to the DRC that he was suspended indefinitely from The Florida Bar.  The Mediator was disbarred as an attorney by the Florida Supreme Court.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110, Good Moral Character
10.800(b)(1), Good Moral Character; Professional Discipline


Irwin R. Eisenstein

Renewal Certification Denied
Case Number:  QCC 2014-063
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2014-063 Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel entered February 8, 2016 – application for renewal of certification as a Florida Supreme Court county mediator denied and mediator is permanently barred from applying for Florida Supreme Court mediator certification in any certification area or serving as a mediator under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.  The DRC was awarded reasonable costs.

Findings:  Found not to possess the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to his actions as a pro se litigant in litigation in which he was involved in the past and currently involved which show that he is not receptive to the views and positions of others in any dispute, and that anyone who does not agree with his view is wrong and subject to attack.  The Mediator’s actions indicate he has little regard for the legal system, the rules of court, or the decorum which should govern legal proceedings and mediations as a part of legal proceedings.  The Mediator was denied admission to The Florida Bar and disqualified from reapplying for five years, and also denied admission to the New York State Bar.  The evidence of any rehabilitation was insignificant when weighted against the mediator’s recent commission of the same type of conduct which has occurred over many years.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated”

10.110, Good Moral Character


Thomas J. Dandar

Certification Denied
Case Number: QCC 2014-039
Case Type:Good Moral Character

QCC 2014-039 Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel

Summary:

Sanctioned by Final Panel Decision entered February 19, 2016 – application for renewal of certification as a Florida Supreme Court circuit mediator denied pending proof of successful completion of six hours of CME within 90 days of the Decision; CME courses must be preapproved by the DRC.

Findings:  Found not to possess the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, and lacking candor due to his failure to disclose his 2008 Admonishment for Minor Misconduct by The Florida Bar on his sworn 2010 and 2012 mediator certification renewal applications.  The Mediator knew or should have known the admonishment was deemed a sanction by The Florida Bar. 

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110, Good Moral Character


John R. Pollaert

Certification Denied
Case Number: QCC 2013-016
Case Type:Good Moral Character

QCC 2013-016 Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel

Summary:

Sanction by Final Panel Decision entered February 3, 2016 – application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court circuit mediator permanently denied and he is permanently barred from applying for Florida Supreme Court mediator certification in any certification area.

Findings:  Found not to possess the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to the applicant’s failure to disclose the criminal case against him as part of the mediator certification application process; notify the DRC in writing of criminal charges brought against him which constituted a material change in the circumstance and condition of his application; and, as part of his pre-trial intervention contract (PIC) with the State Attorney, admission of guilt to criminal charges of felony official misconduct, felony grand theft, and six misdemeanor counts of falsifying records during his employment with the State of Florida.  After the applicant completed the conditions of the PIC, the criminal charges were dropped.  The panel found that despite the applicant having a law degree being a former career police officer and federal agent, he failed to attend the hearing although he was subpoenaed to be present and he did not take responsibility for his actions.  Further, his actions were crimes of dishonesty for financial gain. 

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110, Good Moral Character


Darlene J. Brower

Certification:  19564CF
Case Number: MQB 2013-015
Case Type: Family

QCC 2013-015 Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanctions entered on October 29, 2015.   The Mediator admitted the allegations and agreed to be decertified as a Florida Supreme Court certified family mediator and not ever apply for any certification as a Florida Supreme Court mediator.

Findings:  In a dissolution of marriage case, the Mediator, who owns and operates a document preparation and mediation business, made changes requested by the wife to the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement after the mediation and before the parties signed the Agreement without consulting the husband; prepared numerous legal documents not directly related to the mediation for the parties and notarized the parties’ signatures; had signed a Cease and Desist Order in 2012 in an unlicensed practice of law case with The Florida Bar indicating she understood what a non-lawyer can and cannot do relating to document preparation and qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO); and made decisions for the parties without their input, prepared documents that were beyond her skill level and experience, failed to respect the roles of other professional disciplines, and engaged in the practice of law by preparing the QDRO and identifying herself as a paralegal when she is not.

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.220, Mediator’s Role; 10.330, Impartiality; 10.340, Conflicts of Interest; 10.370, Advice, Opinions, or Information; 10.410, Balanced Process; 10.520, Compliance with Authority; 10.620, Integrity and Impartiality; 10.640, Skill and Experience; 10.670, Relationships with Other Professionals.


Zachariah M. Kilgus

Case Number:  QCC 2015-013
Certification Denied
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2015-013 Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanctions entered September 10, 2015 – application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court County Mediator denied; Applicant may not apply for certification in any area for 18 months; if Applicant applies after 18 months after satisfying the provisions of the Order and has not engaged in any additional violations, the need for re-training is waived; Applicant shall not engage in advertising or mediation until certified.  If he chooses to reapply for certification, Applicant is required to:  complete six hours of CME on advertising; submit an affidavit indicating he has read and understood all MEAC opinions on advertising and solicitation; and write and submit a reflective statement regarding how he will change his past activity as to advertising.

Findings:  Found not to possess good moral character as required by Rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court Appointed Mediators, for any mediator certification by the Florida Supreme Court.  Subsequent to his application to the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC), the Applicant committed, in a direct marketing mailing, numerous false and misleading marking practice violations, contrary to rule 10.610(a),(e) and (f), Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, by the use of a solicitation letter, sent to at least one defendant in a small claims action.  The Applicant also violated rule 10.330(a), Impartiality, by stating in the letter, “We save you the time of the exhausting drawn out court process while also protecting you from monetary judgment” and “We handle your entire case” (emphasis added); and rule 10.340(d), Conflicts of Interest, by stating, “Before the court creates a negative mark on your record permanently, you need to call us. If you use our services, you won’t have to go to court or meet anyone in person. You can even take your family on vacation! We handle your entire case.”

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110, Good Moral Character

10.610(a), (e) and (f), Marketing Practices

10.330(a), Impartiality

10.340(d), Conflicts of Interest


G. Enrique Pena

Case Number:  QCC 2013-036
Certification Denied
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2013-036 Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel entered September 4, 2015 – application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court County Mediator denied.

Findings:  Found not to possess the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to the applicant’s inability or refusal to abide by rules and court orders as indicated by his suspension from The Florida Bar for misappropriation of attorney trust funds and his disbarment due to continuing to practice law while suspended; the conduct was serious and continuing in nature and was willful, deliberate, knowing, and done based on the Applicant’s belief that no one would discover his activities; the Applicant’s response to questions from the Panel indicated a lack of complete candor and remorse; and the Applicant provided no evidence of rehabilitation other than that he has become a teacher.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110, Good Moral Character


Miriam L. Mendieta

Certification number:  24079R
Case Number:  QCC 2014-027
Case type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2014-027 Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision Including Findings and Conclusions of the Panel entered August 28, 2015 – Mediator admonished by written reprimand to read and be familiar with the rules for all licenses and certifications which she holds and comply with the rules; reasonable and justified costs to be determined by the Panel Chair and awarded to the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) and taxed against the Mediator.

Findings:  The Mediator was suspended from The Florida Bar for 90 days on February 10, 2014, for failing to properly and adequately supervise the lawyers under her supervision while she worked at the Law Offices of David J. Stern, P.A., although no evidence was presented of any specific individual misconduct on her part.  The Mediator failed to notify the DRC of the change in status of her professional license within 30 days of the event as required by rule 10.800(b)(1).  The Mediator was reinstated as a member of The Florida Bar.  The Panel concluded the Mediator’s failure to properly and adequately supervise the lawyers under her supervision and failure to report her suspension to the DRC within 30 days did not constitute a lack of good moral character; however, the Mediator did violate rule 10.800(b)(1) by failing to notify the DRC of the change in status of her professional license within 30 days of the event.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.800(b)(1), Professional Licenses and Certifications


Lamarris T. Cooper

Certification number:  29055C
Case number:  QCC 2014-050
Case type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2014-050 Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanctions entered July 6, 2015 - application for renewal of Florida Supreme Court County Mediator Certification was denied and the mediator is barred from applying for mediator certification for 5 years from July 6, 2015.

Findings:  Found not to possess good moral character due to the mediator’s violation of the law and her Oath of Office as a Notary Public by notarizing documents in blank and resigning her commission as a Notary Public rather than addressing a complaint filed in 2007 with the Office of the Governor or responding to the investigation by the Governor’s office.  The applicant’s resignation of her commission as a Notary Public resulted in a legal hold on her ability to become a Notary in Florida.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators

10.110, Good Moral Character


Rebecca Eve Rogers

Certification number:  20408C
Case number:  QCC 2014-043
Case type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2014-043 Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanctions entered July 2, 2015 – decertification as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator for 8 years and reapplication after 8 years only upon proof of the restoration of her civil rights.

Findings:  The mediator fails to possess good moral character as required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to her conviction for felony possession of a Schedule IV substance in violation of section 893.13(6)(a), Florida Statutes, and second degree misdemeanor possession of a new or legend drug without a prescription in violation of section 499.03, Florida Statutes.  The mediator did not report the convictions to the DRC within 30 days of the Judgment of Conviction entered on September 19, 2012, as required by rule 10.130(b), Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, and did not report them until submitting her renewal application on July 15, 2014.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110(b), Good Moral Character

10.130(b), Notification of Conviction


Sarah Mootoo

Case Number:  QCC 2014-007
Certification Denied
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2014-007 Panel Decision

Summary:

Sanctioned by Final Panel Decision entered June 18, 2015 – application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court County Mediator permanently denied, no other application for mediator certification will be accepted; and $1,200 costs awarded to the Dispute Resolution Center and taxed against the applicant to be paid by July 18, 2016.

Findings:  Found not to possess the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to the applicant’s arrest for possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia; arrest and entry into a Pretrial Intervention Program-Deferred Prosecution Agreement for an organized scheme to defraud and grand theft; violation of probation and conviction for petit theft; suspension of her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) license due to a positive test for cocaine and her refusal to participate in a treatment program; reprimand of her LPN license due to her failure to pay ordered investigative costs in the suspension case and suspension of her license until she paid the costs and a fine; voluntary relinquishment of her LPN license to resolve the administrative disciplinary case and agreement that the relinquishment was a disciplinary action; and her failure to report the criminal and administrative disciplinary history to the DRC on her application for mediator certification.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110, Good Moral Character


Jacinto L. Puentes

Certification:  26571
Case Number: MQB 2012-001
Case Type: Failure to report conviction/Good Moral Character

MQB 2012-001 Puentes Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Charges, and Stipulation to Imposition of Sanctions entered on April 9, 2015.   The Mediator admitted the allegations and agreed to:  be decertified as a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit mediator; not apply for any certification as a mediator until five years after the restoration of his civil rights; not conduct any mediations in Florida until he obtains Florida Supreme Court mediator certification; and waive all rights to seek review under the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.

Findings:  The Mediator fails to possess good moral character for continued Florida Supreme Court circuit court mediator certification by virtue of his conviction for conspiracy to commit mail fraud; he pled and was adjudicated guilty and was sentenced to federal prison for 60 months; he failed to report his conviction to the DRC within 30 days of the date of the conviction.

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators violated:  10.110, 10.130(b)


Keith Alan Manson

Case Number:  QCC 2013-057
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2013-057 Manson Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On October 20, 2014, the Hearing Panel entered an Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposition of Sanctions.  Sanctions include the denial of the applicant’s application for mediator certification.  The applicant is forever barred from applying to be a certified mediator in Florida.

Findings:  While a U.S. Naval Reserve lawyer, the applicant was convicted of adultery, consensual oral sodomy, and two counts of using his position to gain a benefit by having sexual intercourse and oral sex in a military courtroom on the judge’s bench with his married, female client.  The applicant was suspended from the practice of law in Indiana with a provision for automatic reinstatement.  He was conditionally admitted to The Florida Bar and thereafter disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court due to violations of his Florida Lawyer Assistance contract regarding his treatment for alcohol dependence and for practicing law while suspended by The Bar.  The applicant was untruthful and/or intentionally omitted prior criminal convictions in his Application for Mediator Certification.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110 Good Moral Character


William Todd Lax

Certification:  24557R
Case Number:  MQB 2013-005
Case Type:  Circuit

MQB 2013-005 Lax Order and Sanctions 

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanction entered October 17, 2014.  Sanctions include a one year suspension of the mediator’s circuit certification during which time he shall not serve as a mediator; completion of eight hours of CME ethics courses; reading all MEAC opinions relevant to the Formal Charges; writing a reflective statement regarding the mediator’s understanding of the ethical violations which gave rise to the grievance; and permanently ceasing to send, personally or through any other entity, solicitation letters to homeowners for mediation services.

Findings:  The mediator authored and prepared solicitation letters for use by his corporation to homeowners who were parties to mortgage foreclosure proceedings.  The letters stated “[a]lthough Florida law provides you with the right to request mediation, you must take immediate action to exercise this right.  If you are interested in attempting to settle this foreclosure with your lender, you must send a written request to your Judge asking for your case to be sent to court-ordered mediation.”  The letters were generally accompanied by form Requests for Mediation for execution by the homeowners and Orders of Referral of Mediation for execution by the presiding judge.  The forms were also authored by the mediator for use by the company and routinely contained provisions designating the company to serve as the mediation administrator.  The letters were coercive because they suggested to homeowners that their rights to request mediation might be lost unless they immediately executed the Request for Mediation, and the language of the letters suggested homeowners could not select other mediation administrators and/or mediators at another time.  The solicitation letters and an information sheet also authored by the mediator suggested bias or favoritism by representing that the company had “helped countless homeowners reach resolution of their foreclosure cases” and the firm’s mediations had the effect of “positively impacting the lives of countless Florida homeowners.”  The mediator continued to allow and/or authorize the use of solicitation letters which represented to homeowners that the company serves as a program manager of the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (RMFM) for the courts of Florida after the termination of the statewide RMFM Program and the company’s termination as the Program manager for two judicial circuits.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules for Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated: 

10.310(b), Self-Determination
10.330(a), Impartiality
10.610(a),(e), (f), Marketing Practices
10.620, Integrity and Impartiality


Karen A. Watson

Case Number:  QCC 2012-014
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2012-014 Watson Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On June 30, 2014, the Hearing Panel entered an Order accepting the Applicant’s admission to the formal charges and stipulating to the imposition of sanctions.  Sanctions include denial of Applicant’s application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court circuit and family mediator; Applicant will not mediate in a court or private setting until she is certified; and Applicant is not allowed to apply for such certification for a minimum of 5 years from June 30, 2014.

Findings:  The Hearing Panel found the Applicant lacks the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.   As the mediation coordinator for a law firm, the Applicant referred at least 80 cases to her brother-in-law resulting in payment to him of over $30,000, without disclosing the relationship to the law firm.  Twenty-six of the referrals were prior to the brother-in-law becoming a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit mediator.  The applicant exposed the firm to possible financial loss when she processed invoices for payment to her brother-in-law and he was paid by the law firm in twenty-six cases prior to the mediations occurring.  Some of those mediations had to be rescheduled and may not have been performed by the brother-in-law or his mediation business.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110 Good Moral Character


Ronald Weeks

Certification: 28384R
Case Number:  MQB 2012-018
Case Type:  Conflict of Interest

MQB 2012-018 Weeks Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On June 2, 2014, the Hearing Panel entered an Order accepting the Mediator’s admitting to the formal charges and stipulating to the imposition of sanctions.  Sanctions include a six month suspension of his circuit court mediator certification during which time he will not mediate privately or in a court-annexed setting; attending 6 hours of CME on ethics, impartiality, and conflict of interest after advance approval of the courses by the DRC Director; reading and reviewing all MEAC opinions on those same topics; and writing a reflective statement regarding what he learned from the opinions and CME courses.

Findings:  The Mediator mediated cases in which he had a conflict of interest as a result of a financial and family interest relating to a mediation participant.  The mediator was hired by his sister-in-law who was the mediation coordinator for a law firm representing plaintiffs in mortgage foreclosure actions.  The Mediator conducted more than 100 mediations in which the law firm was counsel of record and a participant, resulting in payment to him of more than $30,000 in a one month period.  The Mediator did not disclose the conflict of interest or the extent of his financial relationship with the law firm to the mediation participants.  The law firm was a mediation participant. The Mediator was in violation of rule 10.610  by representing himself as a  certified mediator prior to becoming certified, indicating “Certified Circuit Court Mediator” without identifying the entity issuing his certification, and stating that he was a “Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator” in invoices without identifying that his certification was for circuit court.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated: 

Rule 10.340(a) & (b) Conflicts of Interest
Rule 10.610(b) & (c) Marketing Practices


Stephen D. Woodin

Certification: 18549C
Case Number:  MQB 2012-012
Case Type:  Marketing

MQB 2012-012 Woodin Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanction entered November 6, 2013.  Mediator admitted allegations of Formal Charges and agreed to immediately and permanently cease to advertise and offer the course “Personal Safety & Family Protection” or any similarly-related course to mediators for continuing mediator education (CME) credits.  Any default in the agreement by the mediator will result in the matter returning to the Mediator Qualifications Board for further action.

Findings:  Mediator offered the course “Personal Safety & Family Protection” for seven hours of CME credit to train mediators in self-defense, gun target practice, and to qualify the participants for a concealed firearms permit.  The mediator advertised the course as having been approved for CME credit when there is no approval process for CME.  The course did not enhance a participant’s professional competence as a mediator, nor did it constitute an organized program of learning directly related to the practice of mediation as required by In re Procedures Governing Certification of Mediators, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC11-1(January 10, 2011).  The mediator failed to engage in forthright business practices supporting the advancement of mediation and advertised false or misleading information by using the word “approved” in his advertising.  The course subject matter did not meet the requirements of CME and demeaned the dignity of the mediation process. The mediator posted an online biography stating that he is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator without identifying at least one area of certification he holds.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:  10.600 and 10.610(a), (b) and (f)


Allan J. Weltman

Certification number:  11202
Case number:  MQB 2012-005
Case type:  Family

MQB 2012-005 Weltman Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanctions entered June 11, 2013 – four hours of continuing education credits on ethics pertaining to business practices, providing services not directly related to the mediation process, fees, and integrity and impartiality; two hours of education regarding the unlicensed practice of law; and submit a reflective report on what was learned from the experience.  All courses to be pre-approved by DRC Director.

Findings:  The mediator charged the parties in excess of the time actually spent on their mediation and refused to give them a refund; he failed to provide the parties with a prior written explanation of fees and/or costs for which he later billed; he failed to provide the complainant with an accounting of his billed fees and costs upon her request; he charged the parties for a courier service that was not used; during a family law mediation the mediator attempted to procure bankruptcy documentation preparation services from the parties; and the mediator drafted or re-drafted dissolution pleadings for filing with the court by the parties.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110(b), Good Moral Character
10.300 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Parties
10.340(d) Conflicts of Interest
10.380 Fees and Expenses
10.600 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Mediation Profession
10.620 Integrity and Impartiality


Les Paul Sternberg

Case Number :  QCC 2011-058
Certification Denied
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2011-058 Sternberg Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered March 22, 2013 – application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court Circuit Court Mediator denied and costs awarded to the Dispute Resolution Center and taxed against the applicant in an amount to be determined based on the submission of an affidavit of costs incurred.

Findings:  Found not to possess good moral character due to the applicant’s entering into plea agreements regarding charges of grand theft in 1994 and 1995 arising from the applicant’s misappropriation of trust account funds of $90,000.00 and $24,000.00 in his role as an attorney.  The applicant was suspended from the practice of law in Florida in 1993 and resigned from the Florida Bar in 1994 in lieu of disciplinary proceedings.  In 2001, the applicant was charged with grand theft involving $50,773.00 and the violation of his 10 year probation.  In 2002, the applicant was charged with extortion by threat and tampering with a witness-victim, to wit his ex-wife.  He pled guilty to tampering with a witness and subsequently served 364 days in the Broward County jail, completed one year of community control and 5 years of probation, and paid $50,773.00 in restitution.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character 


Richard R. Nevitte, Jr.

Case Number: QCC 2011-072
Case Type: Good Moral Character

QCC 2011-072 Nevitte Order and Sanctions

Summary

Santioned by Order entered March 6, 2013 - denial of Mediator's application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court Circuit Court Mediator; not allowed to again apply for such certification for a minimum of 5 years from March 13, 2013; and ordered to pay the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) $2,055.00 in costs within 30 days of March 13, 2013.

Findings: The Qualifications Complaint Committee (QCC) found probable cause to believe the Mediator lacks the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to a series of fraudulent acts from 1988 through 1991 connected to his purchase of a used Jaguar XJ-6. While employed as a trial attorney with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, he obtained a loan based on a fradulent bill of sale; underpaid sales tax on the car; arranged to have the car stolen, made a false police report, submitted two fradulent insurance claims; and underpaid personal property taxes on the car. He pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud, and failed to notify the Virginia, District of Columbia, and Louisiana Bars that he had been convicted of a felony. His application for reinstatement to the Louisiana Bar was denied and the Florida Bar denied his application for admission.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character


George J. Lawler, Mediator

Certification Number: 18409CF
Case Number: QCC 2011-039
Case Type: Good Moral Character

QCC 2011-039 Lawler Order and Sanctions

Summary

Sanctioned by Decision entered October 22, 2012 – Decertified as a family and county mediator and permanently barred from certification in any other areas.

Findings: Found not to possess good moral character because of failure to report an extensive disciplinary history as a practicing attorney within the state of Connecticut and false or misleading statements made to the Director of the Dispute Resolution Center concerning inquiries connected to his disciplinary history. The mediator failed to appear at the hearing after notice was duly provided.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character


William J. Jatczak, Mediator

Certification Number: 17792C
Case Number: MQB 2010-010
Case Type: County

MQB 2010-010 Jatczak Order and Sanctions

Summary

Sanctioned by Decision entered May 10, 2012 – Six hours of continuing education credits on the subjects of demeanor, impartiality, balanced process and sensitivity; submitting a reflective report following the CMEs; observation of five separate mediations by five mediators-must not be credit union or credit card collection mediations and imposition of costs of the proceeding. All courses and observations to be pre-approved by DRC Director.

Findings: The mediator did not conduct a balanced process, did not act in a dignified manner, gave the appearance of partiality and did not show sensitivity toward the complainant parties; specifically in his comments about the complainant’s appearance, her jewelry and the possible outcome of the case.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.300 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Parties
10.350 Demeanor


Bruce Morosco, Mediator

Certification Number: 25406CFR
Case Number: QCC 2010-048j
Case Type: Good Moral Character

QCC 2010-048 Morosco Order and Sanctions

Summary

Sanctioned by Decision entered March 23, 2012 – Decertified for a period of at least three years from all current certifications and denied certification as an appellate mediator. 

Findings:  The mediator lacks the good moral character required by Rule 10.110 as shown by his pattern of intimidation of his wife and after the period of their marriage, his activities which led to the issuance against him of the injunction against domestic violence, and his violation of the injunction.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character


Jason T. Banks, Mediator

Certification Number: 20581F
Case Number: MQB 2010-001
Case Type: Family

MQB 2010-001 Banks Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered November 10, 2011- Decertified and barred from mediating in the State of Florida and under the Rules for Certified and Court Appointed Mediators. 

Findings:  Mediator failure to maintain impartiality and avoid conflict of interest and to maintain business practices that reflect fairness, integrity and impartiality due to his friendship with one mediation participant (wife) while assuming an adversarial position to the other participant (husband) by giving advice and counsel to the participant wife prior to the institution of legal proceedings and during legal proceedings. In addition, the mediator untruthfully responded to the Florida Dispute Resolution Center that he did not mediate when evidence to the contrary was proven and the mediator improperly attempted to influence one of the parties to obtain a dismissal of the DRC Complaint.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110  Good Moral Character  [erroneously referred to as 10.800 in Decision and Disposition]
10.300 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Parties
10.340(a) and (b)  Conflicts of Interest
10.600 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Mediation Profession
10.620 Integrity and Impartiality


Craig R. Steinberg, Mediator

Certification Number: 20589R
Case Number: MQB 2010-006
Case Type: Circuit

MQB 2010-006 Steinberg Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered September 12, 2011 – Decertified and barred from serving as a mediator under the Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.

Findings:  Found not to possess good moral character because of repeated misrepresentations on his application for certification, in resumes, web sites and other marketing materials and to the public regarding his background and qualifications implying or stating he was an attorney, member of the Florida Bar; stating his prior occupation was as a judge and that he was now a retired judge and advertising he was certified prior to obtaining his certification.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character
10.310(c) Self Determination
10.600 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Mediation Profession
10.610 (a) and (d) Marketing Practices


Mitchell A. Blum, Mediator

Certification Number: 17981F
Case Number: MQB 2009-006
Case Type: Family

MQB 2009-006 Blum Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered February 26, 2010 – Relinquishment of Certification as a Florida Supreme Court mediator with agreement never to reapply for certification as a mediator in the State of Florida. 

Findings:  Did not enable parties to effectively participate in the mediation process, did not perform mediation services in a timely fashion, did not return a fee for drafting of agreement although no agreement was reached, and failed to maintain records necessary to support charges for services.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.120(a) Notice of Change of Address or Name
10.380(c) and (d) Fees and Expenses
10.430 Scheduling Mediation*


Samir Gustavo Jerez

Case Number:  QCC 2007-020 (20g)
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

Findings and Conclusions of the Panel

Summary:

On October 6, 2008, the Hearing Panel entered its Sanctions by Findings and Conclusions of the Panel denying Applicant’s application for Florida Supreme Court county and family mediator certification.

Findings:  On the Applicant’s initial application for county and family certification, he disclosed that he pled no contest to and adjudication was withheld in two separate incidents:  in 1990 for the felony charge of keeping a house of ill fame, a felony involving moral turpitude, and in 1998 for the felony charge of aggravated assault with a weapon, a firearm.  The hearing panel found the Applicant did not accept any responsibility for his actions regarding the house of ill fame, and instead cast responsibility on his business partner, who was his wife at the time; the Applicant’s explanation and justification for the actions leading to his arrest and conviction for assault demonstrated a lack of judgment and an inability to maintain neutrality when attempting to resolve conflict; and the Applicant was a mature adult, 25 and 32 years of age, at the time of the incidents.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110 Good Moral Character 


Robert O. Wilhelm

Case Number:  QCC 2001- 015a
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

Order and Sanctions

Summary:

In November 2001, the hearing panel entered a Findings of the Panel and Sanctions.  Sanctions included the mediator being on probation for one year during which time the panel retained jurisdiction; suspension from conducting mediations for nine months; compliance with the mediator’s Florida Lawyer Assistance contract in effect at the time and consent to release any reports of non-compliance to the DRC; no consumption of alcohol or any controlled substances; commission of no new violations of the law or of probation; completion of 100 hours of community service to be coordinated with the director of the DRC; completion of all required continuing mediator education requirements; and observation of two circuit mediations conducted by a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit mediator and conducting two mediations under the observation of a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator as coordinated by the DRC director.

Findings:  When the mediator submitted his renewal form, he disclosed that he had been convicted of two first degree misdemeanors since submitting his most recent mediator certification renewal.  The hearing panel found that the mediator failed to possess good moral character as required by rule 10.110(b) based in part on the mediator’s lengthy record of arrests and convictions for driving under the influence of intoxicating substances; the mediator violated the terms of his criminal probation, a condition of which was the completion of an inpatient detoxification program, by failing to report to his probation officer for testing, leaving the detoxification program early without permission, consuming alcoholic beverages while on probation, and purchasing firearms; and the mediator was less than candid with the DRC and the MQB in relation to his complete criminal history.

The mediator failed to complete the sanctions within the required time.  A decertification hearing was held pursuant to rule 10.830(b) and the mediator was decertified on January 27, 2003.  The mediator appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, and then submitted a voluntary dismissal of the appeal which the Court accepted.

On August 1, 2005, the mediator submitted a Petition for Reinstatement as a Mediator.  A hearing panel reviewed the Petition and additional documentation and found that the mediator should be reinstated effective December 30, 2005.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:  10.110 Good Moral Character


Mark London

Certification Number:  8473
Case Number: MQB 2005-002
Case Type:  Family

Order and Sanctions        

Summary:

On June 30, 2006, Mediator received a written reprimand from the Hearing Panel.  While recognizing that the mediator was no longer Florida Supreme Court certified, the Panel strongly suggested that if the mediator chose to continue mediating pursuant to the agreement of parties, he should complete additional training on the ethical standards for mediators. 

Findings:  The Hearing Panel found that there was clear and convincing evidence to support a violation of rule 10.090(d).  The mediator gave his personal and professional legal opinion regarding the disposal of the couples’ frozen embryos and how the judge in the case would rule if the case went to trial.  The Panel also expressed concern regarding the length of the mediation session which lacked adequate breaks considering the nature of the issues and emotions involved.

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.090(d), Professional Advice


Ramon David Feliu

Certification Number:  4508
Case Number:  MQB 2004-002
Case Type:  Family

Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On October 18, 2004, the Complaint Committee issued a written reprimand* for the violation of rule 10.520.

Findings:  The Complaint Committee expressed concern that during the Mediator’s full time employment as a mediator he did not comply with the requirements related to maintaining his Florida Supreme Court certification, and was actively working and conducting court-referred mediations for six months after his certification lapsed.  However, because the Mediator completed a new Florida Supreme Court certification training and was reinstated as a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator after the filing of the grievance, the Complaint Committee opted not to pursue action beyond the written reprimand.

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.520, Compliance with Authority

*This is a 2004 case; no written reprimand would be permitted by a complaint committee currently (2015) as it constitutes a “sanction” and sanctions can only be imposed by a hearing panel.  A complaint committee only has jurisdiction to enter into a consensual agreement.  As of approximately 2010, the DRC, in case such as this, utilizes an Order of Non-Referral authorized by Rule 10.810(m).


John C. Briggs

Certification:  9856R
Case No.:  MQB 2003-003
Case Type: Circuit

Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On May 3, 2005, the Hearing Panel entered its Findings of the Panel imposing the following sanctions:  a written and oral reprimand of the Mediator; in addition to the continuing education requirements for renewal, completion of six hours of continuing mediator education in mediator ethics; and costs of the investigation and prosecution.  After dismissing the mediator’s request for a rehearing, the Hearing Panel imposed the sanctions.

Findings:  The panel found the mediator failed to provide fee information concerning charges for lunch in the Mediator’s engagement letter, and the mediator was personally responsible for compliance with the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators where the engagement letter was signed by his assistant. 

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Rules Violated
10.380(c), Fees and Expenses