Florida lawyer publicly reprimanded for conflict of interest

By Olivia Olsen | Oct 6, 2016

TALLAHASSEE -- Attorney David Barry Newman has been publicly reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court following charges of conflict of interest. 

TALLAHASSEE -- Attorney David Barry Newman has been publicly reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court following charges of conflict of interest. 

Newman, a partner at the law firm Day Pitney LLP, was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2010 and is licensed to practice law in the state of New York where he currently resides.

The incident for which he's been publicly reprimanded occurred when Newman accepted two new clients, referred to as Client One and Client Two in court documents. Newman was the long-time attorney of Clients Three and Four, who are principal partners at a company, known as Client Five, for which Newman provided trademark legal services. 

Newman was asked to provide legal services to Client One, who is the daughter of Client Three, and to the daughter’s friend, Client Two. Client Five, the company, was to be charged for the services. Newman would later include Client Three’s company, referred to in documents as Client Six, among his clientele.

Newman instructed an associate of Day Pitney, Jeremy Blackowicz, to process paperwork between all five clients, alerting them to any potential legal conflict that may occur because of the nature of the clients’ relationships. Blackowicz dropped the ball on several different filings that Newman failed to properly review, court documents state. Blackowicz also sent emails among the five clients revealing confidential information to the wrong people, the documents show. 

Client One and Client Two ended up dissolving their business relationship and decided to continue using Newman for trademark matters separately. A conflict of interest, the details of which are not expressly stated in court documents, arose between Clients One, Three and Six. Client One was not asked by Newman or Blackowicz to waive the conflict.This resulted in an incident that ultimately acted against the best interest of Client One, something Newman failed to notify his client of or attempted to prevent.

According to court documents, Newman was officially charged with the following in reference to his judgement being adversely affected: failure to obtain consent after full disclosure from a client, failure to decline proffered employment, continuing employment of multiple clients, neglecting a legal matter entrusted to the practitioner, accepting compensation, and allowing a person who pays the practitioner to render legal services for another to direct the practitioner’s professional judgment in rendering such legal services.

Newman pled guilty to the Florida Bar Association, which was accepted. The plea now will need to be approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Newman is required to pay fees associated with the case of $1,250 within 30 days, which is subject to interest. Newman accepted the fee with the understanding that it cannot be waived, even in the case of bankruptcy. Newman is still eligible to practice law in Florida, but also is subject to disciplinary action in the state of New York.

The ruling was signed by Newman and his counsel, John A. Weiss, as well as James K. Fisher, Bar Counsel in Tallahassee. All court documents can be found at www.floridabar.org. 

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