TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Supreme Court ruled on July 14 to publicly reprimand Paul Aaron Herman, an attorney operating out of Delray Beach, after he pleaded guilty to misconduct.
Herman, who has been practicing law since 1984, was investigated and tried for mishandling a case involving debt reduction in the state of Connecticut.
According to court documents, Herman was hired by Denise Tremblay to represent her in disputing defaulted debts while also searching for any violations of federal law in relation to the debts in question. The record states that he did initial work on the case, but failed to keep his client “reasonably informed about the status of her matter,” which does not comply with rules 1.4(a) and of the Rules of Professional Conduct of Connecticut. In addition, the lack of communication with his client violates sections 4-1.2(a) and 4-1.4 of the Florida Bar.
Though Herman’s plea was approved by the Supreme Court of Florida, the board of governors of the Florida Bar must also accept the plea for it to take effect. If approved by the board, Herman will be required to pay court costs totaling $1,250 within 30 days. Failure to tender payment within the set time frame will result in accruing interest and his ineligibility to continue practicing law. The ruling includes a public reprimand to be carried out via publication. The plea was signed by Herman, Kevin P. Tynan and Navin A. Ramnath, Bar Counsel for the Florida Bar.
This will be the second disciplinary action taken against Herman in two years. In the summer of 2014, a formal complaint was brought against Herman for similar misconduct. The complaint outlines Herman’s involvement in the bankruptcy case of Judy Wamachio of Florida. According to the record, Wamachio was referred to Herman by a co-worker, Michael Silva, after the attorneys she had hired to represent her in the foreclosure of her home informed her that filing for bankruptcy would benefit her.
Silva, Herman’s “nonlawyer office administrator,” allegedly presented himself to Wamachio as an attorney and filed the bankruptcy proceedings through Herman’s one-person firm. Wamachio claims to never having met or corresponded with Herman directly, and that all communication was done through Silva. The case was filed under the United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida, and dismissed on April 22, 2014, due to “failure to file certain documents and schedules.”
Upon receiving news of the dismissal, Wamachio contacted Silva who allegedly provided her with a fraudulent order claiming the case was reinstated. Wamachio then forwarded the order to her foreclosure attorneys who spoke with Herman about the legitimacy of the document. He allegedly assured them the case was being properly handled. The order was then investigated by the bankruptcy court and determined to be fraudulent.
Herman was suspended for six months by the Florida Bar as well as indefinitely suspended from the Federal Bankruptcy Bar for the Southern District of Florida with eligibility to reapply after six months. Criminal charges were also filed against Silva and Nikita Jordan, another non-attorney associate in Herman’s firm.
As of September 2015, Herman is not eligible to practice law in the state of Florida. His Bar Association profile lists his status as retired.