Winter Park attorney Eric Anthony Lanigan, practicing in Florida for almost 41 years, has been publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter and placed on two years' probation following an Aug. 3 Florida Supreme Court order related to allegations in three separate cases.
In all three cases, Lanigan failed to clearly explain the nature and basis of his fee and there were no signed agreements between himself and the clients, with whom he failed to communicate about their cases' statuses, according to the consent judgment filed with the court. The judgment also includes Lanigan's conditional guilty plea.
Allegations against Lanigan included not diligently working for clients, according to the consent judgment, and a state bar audit also found trust account irregularities.
The state court's two-page order also required Lanigan to pay restitution of $7,150 to two clients and to attend the Florida State Bar's ethics school. The state bar announced the discipline and the supreme court's order on Sept. 27. In Florida court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires.
Lanigan was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 19, 1976, according to his profile at the state bar website. Lanigan has had no other discipline before the state bar for at least ten years, according to his profile.
The state bar initiated a compliance audit of Lanigan's trust accounts after receiving two insufficient funds notices pertaining to overdrafts in the trust accounts from the banks where the accounts are maintained, according to the consent judgment. The audit identified shortages in the accounts caused by bookkeeping errors and found no evidence of misappropriation, according to the consent judgment.
In addition to the audit's finding, the state bar investigation turned up issues in three separate cases, including one involving home foreclosure matter, according to the judgment. Lanigan allegedly did not communicate with clients in the case about the case's status and the legal actions he planned to pursue, the consent judgment said.
Lanigan filed a bankruptcy petition in an attempt to stop the foreclosure but did not clearly explain the legal basis for filing the bankruptcy, which his clients did not expressly authorize him to do, according to the judgment.