Anna Maria attorney Charles Houston Webb has been suspended for 60 days and placed on year's probation following a Nov. 30 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations that included suing clients and foreclosing on their property to recover legal fees.
Webb's suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the order and his probation is under terms and conditions in a report and consent judgment filed with the court, according to the supreme court's two-page order and the Florida Bar's Dec. 28 announcement of the discipline. Webb also was ordered to pay a little more than $3,945 in costs.
Allegations against Webb stemmed from his representation of a married couple "in several matters over the years," the state bar's announcement said. "Webb engaged in a conflict of interest when he sued the clients and foreclosed on three of their properties to recover owed legal fees.
"Webb gave no credit to the clients for the value of the first property that he foreclosed on and sold, and continued to foreclose on two additional properties, one of which appeared to be the clients’ homestead. Finally, Webb did not disclose to any of the courts his prior foreclosure against the clients’ first property."
In Florida, court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Webb's suspension.
Webb was admitted to the bar Florida bar Dec. 16, 1996, according to his profile at the state bar website. Webb has had no other discipline before the state bar, according to his profile and the consent judgment filed with the court. The consent judgment also includes Webb's conditional guilty plea.
Webb admitted he violated state bar rules, including rules about conflicts of interest and meritorious claims and contentions, according to the consent judgment. Webb also contended "that he researched the legal issues in pursuing his purported lien interest and believed he had a good faith legal basis to pursue his security agreement against the clients' properties," the judgment said.