Florida Record

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Fort Lauderdale attorney allegedly didn't know he was suspended while practicing

By Karen Kidd | Jul 18, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — Fort Lauderdale attorney Peter G. Stamas has been suspended for two years following a May 4 Florida Supreme Court order for practicing law while he was suspended when he allegedly didn't know he was suspended.

"Unfortunately, the Respondent was not immediately aware that he had been suspended by the Court due to his own failure to review communications from the Bar and ultimately this Court," said Stamas' conditional guilty plea in the high court's most recent order. "Upon being informed by a colleague that he had been suspended, he ceased accepting new business and took steps to inform the few active clients that he was representing at that time and to secure new counsel for his clients."

In addition to the fresh suspension, which was effective immediately, Stamas also agreed to pay the Florida Bar's costs of $1,654.10 and a total of $7,000 restitution to two clients.

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

Stamas was admitted to the bar in Florida on July 2, 2007, according to his profile on the state bar website.

On Aug. 18, 2015, the state Supreme Court handed down an order suspending Stamas until he fully responded in writing to an ongoing official state bar inquiry or until further court order. That order was in response to a petition for contempt filed by the state bar, which was looking into a complaint by Broward County Court Judge Mardi Levey Cohen, who alleged Stamas had misrepresented an earlier pleading.

That suspension was to be effective the following September 2015. A 30-day period before a suspension begins is common in Florida and is intended to allow a suspended attorney time to notify clients, courts and opposing counsel and then produce documentation showing compliance.

Stamas reportedly did none of that because he didn't know he was suspended. Once he did know, Stamas appeared in a court proceeding and advised opposing counsel, the trial judge and his client that he was suspended, according to court records.

"On these limited occasions where he did appear in Court, he did not take any action relative to the client's matter or practice law in any manner," his conditional guilty plea said.

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Florida Supreme Court