TALLAHASSEE — St. Petersburg attorney Stephen Proctor Tourtelot has been disbarred following a Dec. 21 Florida Supreme Court order following allegations he improperly handled four client cases, according to an announcement from The Florida Bar.
"In several instances, Tourtelot failed to diligently perform services for which he had been retained and failed to communicate with clients or produce documentation or evidence of work product to support the fees charged," the bar said in its Jan. 29 announcement. "Further, He also failed to respond to the grievance committee and The Florida Bar."
Tourtelot already was suspended, so his disbarment was effective immediately, according to the state Supreme Court's two-page order. Tourtelot was ordered to pay $1,398.72 in costs.
In Florida, court orders are not final until the time to file a rehearing motion expires. Attorneys disbarred in the state may not re-apply for admission for five years, and even then they must pass an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.
Tourtelot was admitted to the bar in Florida on March 24, 2005, according to his profile at the state bar website.
The state bar filed a four-count complaint against Tourtelot in June, which Tourtelot failed to answer, prompting the state bar to file a motion for default in August, according to a referee's report issued before the high court's order. The state bar filed a memorandum of law for sanctions the following month, but Tourtelot did not participate in the subsequent proceedings, according to the referee's report.
In the four client matters, Tourtelot faced charges that include violations of state bar rules governing communication, fees and costs for legal services, diligence and failing to respond in write to an official state bar inquiry. The referee recommended disbarment and for Tourtelot to pay costs.
Tourtelot was suspended until further order in September 2016 following a state Supreme Court order that found him in contempt for failing to respond to an official state bar inquiry. That order also required Tourtelot to pay $1,250 in costs.