Florida Record

Friday, October 18, 2019

Panama City attorney reprimanded after disclosing relationship with client

By Karen Kidd | Jul 18, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — Panama City attorney Carl Wesley Pittman, who had been in practice for more than 40 years, has been publicly reprimanded following a May 4 Florida Supreme Court order over a sexual relationship between with a client.

Pittman also was required to pay costs and attend the Florida Bar's Ethics School as part of his conditional guilty plea, according to court records.

The state bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order June 29.

Pittman met the woman with whom he began the relationship after her husband was arrested in Mississippi on Oct. 31, 2014, and charged with stealing a car the couple had lawfully purchased from an automobile dealership, according to the conditional guilty plea. The following month, the couple met with Pittman to consider whether he would represent them in the subsequent civil suit against the dealership that had sold them the car and then reported it stolen.

Soon after, the woman met with Pittman on several occasions before the sexual relationship between them began in late November or early December 2014.

On Jan. 15, 2015, the woman and her husband signed a contract with Pittman for him to represent them in their civil suit against the dealership.

Pittman's sexual relationship with the woman continued until late May 2015.

On July 24, 2015, Pittman, through counsel, self-reported and admitted to the state bar that he'd had the sexual relationship with his client.

That same month, Pittman filed for substitution of counsel and stopped representing the client and her husband, who had obtained new counsel for the civil suit.

"Respondent asserts that he lost his moral compass for a time," the conditional guilty plea said. "He has acknowledged that his conduct was improper. He sincerely regrets that his lapse has reflected adversely on the bench and bar. Respondent wants to convey to the bar his sincere apology for his missteps and his solemn promise that no such conduct will ever be repeated."

Pittman was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 19, 1976, according to his profile on the state bar website. Pittman had no other discipline before the state bar, according to his conditional guilty plea.

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