WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Thursday, June 18, 2015

YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN NOT HIDE

The Florida Supreme Court has moved Laura Watson from the 17th Circuit bench for conduct committed before she became a judge.  According to the opinion, which is unanimous and unsigned, the Court found that Ms. Watson engaged in conduct designed to help herself and her partner to the detriment of co-counsel and her clients in bad-faith litigation against Flo and Progressive Insurance Company.

The actions of Ms. Watson were especially egregious, and should ultimately result in her disbarment.    The conduct started in 2002, and the investigation by the Bar started in 2012.  Seeking to pull a Rick Scott (avoid prosecution for conduct committed before taking office by getting elected) she ran for judge.  Much to her displeasure, upon her election the matter was transferred to the JQC.  She fought the charges against her with the scorched earth litigation style for which she was known.  The docket is voluminous.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Removed, not moved.

Anonymous said...

The real burn is that on top of everything, the opinion included a quote from a really horrid spelling mistake she made in an email to L.S.

Ouch.

The Professor said...

1:45 - Thanks for the correction. I saw that, but truthfully, I have not learned how to edit a post once I find a mistake. I apologize.

Kissimmee Kid said...

The head of the commission is a guy who was a Circuit Judge in the Beach Circuit to the East and is now on the DCA. I had a good relationship with him. I thought about writing him and asking, "what about the insurance company lawyers?"

The dirtbag judge conspired with the insurance company and the insurance company lawyers to steal money from co-counsel and sell clients short. Why do the insurance lawyers get to keep their licenses? If the conduct of the judge was so bad, and it looks really evil, why do the lawyers who helped her do it get off. Is that how low our occupation has gotten, that effing people over is OK if you are the lawyer for the effer?

Anonymous said...

Kissimee Kid is right on. Same thing happened to Roland St. Louis. He got spanked but not the lawyers on the other side who were in cahoots with him. This is the problem with a self regulated bar. SSDD. It takes two to Tango, but the Florida Bar way is to pick on the one that fights the system. I call BS on that.

Anonymous said...

She was an excellent judge, based on the usual criteria of knowledge, experience and temperament, including even diligence. This is a loss to the practicing bar in Broward County. So I think it is too harsh to call names. The reasoning of the Supreme Court in its few important sentences dismissing her evidentiary position in a 2-witness case based on an e-mail that doesn't support their point at all is not persuasive.

Anonymous said...

It is irrelevant what did or did not happen to others that were involved in this, the case was about her. Her actions as an attorney were unethical and she deserves to be sanctioned. Regardless of the job she did while on the bench, we expect judges to act without even the appearance of impropriety. These actions, while occurring before her election, cast doubt on her ability to act judiciously on the bench and for that removal is justified. The Supreme Court is not looking the other way on this and other transgressions of State Court Judges.

The Professor said...

Kissimmee Kid and 11:29:

So that your sense of fairness is not overwhelmed, a check of the Florida Supreme Court dockets show that each of the attorneys who were in cahoots with Ms Watson are all facing discipline from the Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court. Their cases are pending review by that Court. Based upon the ruling against Ms Watson, I think it is fair to assume the penalties will be very severe. If the "PIP" lawyers are not disbarred, they most certainly will be suspended for more than 90 days, which requires application for reinstatement.

Their actions are not that dissimilar to those of Hank Adorno and the Miami City Attorney's office some years ago. In that case, Mr. Adorno's firm represented a small number of named plaintiffs in an action regarding overcharged fees by the City which affected the entire city of Miami. Instead, with the complicity of the Assistant City Attorney, a settlement was reached which benefited those plaintiffs and Mr. Adorno's firm, and released the City from further liability to other claimants. They jointly bamboozled the judge into approving the settlement. This cost Mr. Adorno a significant suspension requiring a petition for reinstatement, and the total dismantling of the firm which bore his name. That case probably was on the mind of the trial judge in Ms. Watson's underlying case, resulted in the settlement being disapproved and the matter being referred to the bar.

Anonymous said...

The assistant city attorney worked for Adorn when he was at the state attorneys office. He was an easy mark for Hank. Little Yoss, the lap dog of Adorno escaped all liability but he had to know what Adorno was up to....