TALLAHASSEE — Sarasota attorney Allen Montgomery Blake has been disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court.
The order was issued after Blake allegedly failed to adhere to the terms of a prior suspension order. He has been suspended three times, the first of which was in July 2015.
The attorney was hired to represent a man in a criminal matter in June 2011, according to the formal complaint released by the Supreme Court. For his services, Blake charged $3,000, which the document states was nonrefundable and would cover “work done up to and including trial.”
Blake adequately provided legal services for the client, but in February 2012, prior to the scheduled April 9, 2012, trial date, the attorney submitted a motion to withdraw from the case. Blake's motion stated that he had been diagnosed with a disability that prevented him from properly defending his client and that he would be retiring from practice. Although he attached a motion to retire with his motion to withdraw, he allegedly did not file one with the Florida Bar.
His withdrawal was granted. On March 27, 2012, at a hearing for the motion, the attorney allegedly told his client and the presiding judge that he would refund $1,500 of the fee. However, the following month Blake sent the client an invoice for the funds claiming that not only had the entire $3,000 been used but the client exceeded his retainer by $221.02, court records state.
The client submitted a complaint with the Florida Bar, which eventually found the attorney culpable in the matter, according to section 48 of the formal complaint. The Supreme Court order released July 16, 2015, sentenced the attorney to a 91-day suspension to begin 30 days from the order date.
As part of the suspension, the attorney was required to adhere to the terms of Rule Regulating the Florida Bar 3-5.1(h). The rule informs attorneys that they need to notify their clients, opposing counsel, courts where they are listed as counsel of record and any other bars they are a member of that they have been suspended from practice and may be ordered to pay restitution to the client.
The Petition for Contempt and Order to Show Cause for Blake’s April 4, 2016, suspension, said that the attorney had not submitted an affidavit with his list of notified persons in the time provided, and he did not submit proof of his payment to his client. He was suspended for an additional year effective immediately following the Supreme Court order.
Blake was suspended once more on Aug. 26, 2016, for failing to meet the terms of the April suspension. The attorney was suspended for three years beginning August 26. When he still did not provide an affidavit to the courts for the suspension, disbarment was ordered.
According to the attorney’s profile page on the Florida Bar’s website, Blake is a graduate of the Stetson University College of Law and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1969. He operated his own firm in Sarasota.