TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court has ruled to suspend attorney Vito Torchia Jr. from the practice of law after being found culpable in three client matters in which he allegedly failed to provide competent legal services.
Torchia, a Florida licensed attorney based in Los Angeles, was hired in October 2011 to represent a woman in a mass joinder litigation. The same client hired Torchia to handle her unlawful detainment case in January 2012. The client paid over $13,000 in fees to Torchia for his services and court costs. The attorney allegedly failed to file the mass joinder petition, and the client fired Torchia in January 2013. Because the attorney had not performed his legal duties, he was not entitled to the advanced fees but did not return them or provide an accounting to the client, according to court records.
In May 2013, Torchia was hired to represent another client in a mass joinder litigation for a retainer of over $5,000. In this matter, the attorney allegedly failed to inform the client of any significant developments in her case including that fact that her petition had been dismissed. His employment was terminated in May 2014, but the attorney allegedly failed to release the client’s paperwork to her.
Another matter stems from an incident beginning in April 2012 when Torchia was hired to represent a client in his mass joinder litigation for a fee of $7,500. The attorney allegedly failed to add this client to the list of plaintiffs and his employment was terminated.
In one final matter, Torchia was again hired for a mass joinder litigation in May 2013 to represent two clients. The attorney was paid nearly $7,000 to preform services that were never rendered, court documents state. His employment was terminated, and the fees were unreturned.
The Florida State Bar ruled to suspend Torchia from the practice of law for a time period of three years. He was also ordered to pay restitutions of $25,000 to those clients.
Torchia has been a member of both the Florida and California State Bars since his admittance in 2006. He graduated from the Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and had no prior record of discipline in either state. He has been disbarred from practice in California following a May 29, 2016, decision.