Fort Lauderdale attorney David Arthur Eagle has been publicly reprimanded following a June 22 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations that, while suffering ill health, his communications with clients suffered and, in one case, the statute of limitations expired for lack of a filing.
In that case, Eagle allegedly directed his paralegal to draft a complaint to preserve the statute of limitations in a slip-and-fall case but he later learned the complaint was not filed and that the statute of limitations had expired, according to the consent judgment filed with the court. The judgment also includes Eagle's conditional guilty plea.
The state court, in its single-page order, also directed Eagle to pay $1,504 in costs. The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order Sept. 27.
Eagle was admitted to the bar in Florida on Feb. 14, 1990, according to his profile at the state bar website. Eagle has had no other discipline before the state bar for at least 10 years, according to his profile.
Eagle was retained in the slip-and-fall in April 2009 and, during the case's initial phases, Eagle had adequate and reasonable communications with his client, either in person or via telephone, according the judgment.
In August 2011, Eagle had an emergency visit to an area hospital "and began a very difficult multiyear struggle with his health, which resulted in multiple surgeries, repeated hospital stays, inclusive of multiple days in an intensive care unit, and significant recovery time at home with very limited availability to practice law," the judgment said. Eagle's health issues were further aggravated when he was injured in a serious auto accident the following April, according to the judgment.
His health issues prompted Eagle to hire a part-time paralegal, use coverage counsel for court matters and he directed his staff to communicate with clients and assist them in finding alternative counsel elsewhere, the consent judgment said. In the slip-and-fall case, the client was not offered to secure replacement counsel and the client continued to believe Eagle would handle her case, the judgment said.
A filing in the case was not filed by coverage counsel before the statute of limitations expired in April 2013, the consent judgment said.