. Legal ethics

A couple of updates, both involving Florida attorneys

Just about a month ago, I wrote a bit about an effort by a Florida attorney to get a Washington state court to unmask the identity of someone who posted an anonymous Avvo review claiming to be the Florida attorney’s unhappy former client.  This week the news has come out that the Washington Court of Appeals (full opinion here) rejected the Florida attorney’s effort.  Other than feeling the need to offer this update, I do think this lends further support for my earlier point about The Streisand Effect.  With the ruling, this is another round of further publicity for the situation involving articles quoting from the unfavorable review.  You can get caught up on that development here.

The other update involves a lawyer who was discussed in my 2014 Ethics Roadshow and who is back in the news this month.  Christina Kitterman was one of several Florida lawyers whose career ended up in ruins over the last few years in the wake of proximity to, and involvement with, Scott Rothstein.  Unlike some others though who were actually in the know about Rothstein’s Ponzi scheme, Kitterman has claimed to not have been aware of what Rothstein was up to and, if memory serves, even Rothstein testified at her criminal trial that she did not know what was going on.  Nevertheless, she caused her career flame-out by being willing to lie for Rothstein in a seriously bad way – claiming on a telephone call to be a state official, a Florida bar counsel.  That transgression led to her disbarment, and this past week the 11th Circuit also upheld her criminal conviction and five-year prison sentence for wire fraud.  I will admit that the “why” as to her willingness to pretend to be disciplinary counsel on a conference call for Rothstein never made much sense if she truly was not aware of Rothstein’s scheme, but the 11th Circuit (full opinion here) was able to conclude that her intent could be inferred and that the underlying conduct – the impersonation – happened to be criminal itself.