Melbourne attorney suspended after allegedly closing office, abandoning clients

By Karen Kidd | Jun 2, 2018

​Melbourne attorney Rolando Enrique Rodriguez has been indefinitely suspended following a Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he closed his law office without notice and abandoned his clients, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

TALLAHASSEE – Melbourne attorney Rolando Enrique Rodriguez has been indefinitely suspended following a Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he closed his law office without notice and abandoned his clients, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

The Supreme Court's four-page order granted the state bar's petition for emergency suspension and suspended Rodriguez until further court order.

"Rodriguez appeared to be causing great public harm by closing his law office without notice, abandoning his clients' legal matters and failing to protect his clients' interests," the state bar said in its May 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. He failed to respond in writing to complaints filed by six clients and to official bar inquiries. He also failed to update his bar email and mailing addresses."

In Florida, court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Rodriguez's suspension.

Rodriguez was admitted to the bar in Florida May 30, 2012, according to his profile at the state bar website.

Six of Rodriguez's clients filed sworn complaints with the state bar between June 2017 and April 2018 alleging Rodriguez "provided very little or no useful legal services, abandoned their legal matters, failed to provide adequate communication, closed his law office without notice and failed to protect their interests," the state bar's petition said. "In at least one matter, [Rodriguez] provided the client with a fraudulent order to mislead the client into believing  [Rodriguez] was diligently handling his immigration case."

Rodriguez also allegedly failed to pay rent on his law firm's commercial space on North Wickham Road in Melbourne in December and his landlord commenced eviction proceedings and also filed a grievance with the state bar.

The state bar's petition for contempt and order to show cause against Rodriguez are pending before the court, according to the petition.

In a previous discipline, Rodriguez was suspended for 90 days following a Supreme Court order in August 2015. In the consent judgment filed with the court at the time, Rodriguez submitted a conditional guilty plea to rules violations, including those regarding diligence, communicating with his clients and failing to expedite litigation, stemming from his handling of a client's uncontested divorce.

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