North Miami attorney Benjamin R. Jacobi, practicing in Florida for 44 years, has been publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter following an Aug. 24 Florida Supreme Court order after issues that arose in a probate case.
Jacobi filed a claim against the estate in the incorrect court, according to the consent judgment filed with the court. The judgment also includes Jacobi's conditional guilty plea. Jacobi reportedly was 73 when the judgment was filed May 31.
The state supreme court's one-page order also directed Jacobi to pay $1,250 in costs. The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order Sept. 27. In Florida court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires.
Jacobi was admitted to the bar in Florida on May 1, 1973, according to his profile at the state bar website. Jacobi has had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to his profile and the consent judgment.
Jacobi's reprimand stemmed from a probate case for which he was retained by a longtime client to open a probate case and represent her daughter-in-law following the death of the client's son in September 2011, according to the consent judgment. The son had died intestate, leaving behind a wife and two minor children, according to the consent judgment.
In May 2012, the court appointed the daughter-in-law as personal representative of her deceased husband's estate, according to the consent judgment. About a year later and without the daughter-in-law's knowledge or consent, Jacobi prepared a claim against the estate for a loan the mother-in-law made to her son prior to his death, the judgment said. The claim, dated May 2, 2013, was filed in the wrong court and later was refiled in Broward County where the court ultimately denied the claim.
Jacobi's action violated court rules regarding competence, objectives and scope of representation, communication and representing adverse interests, according to the consent judgment. Jacobi admitted to the facts in the matter and expressed remorse over the error, the judgment said.