TALLAHASSEE — Miami attorney Daniel E. Tropp was briefly suspended earlier this year following an April 12 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he mishandled trust funds, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
In its two-page order, the high court suspended Tropp for 10 days and ordered him to pay $1,250 in costs. Tropp's suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the court's order.
"Tropp represented a client in a workers' compensation claim and a related negligence lawsuit," the state bar said in its May 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "In the course of negotiating and settling both claims, Tropp violated bar rules regarding failure to preserve settlement funds in trust as required and disputed ownership of trust funds."
In Florida, court orders are not final until after the time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not have altered the effective date of Tropp's suspension.
Tropp was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 24, 1992, according to his profile at the state bar website.
Tropp negotiated a settlement in the worker's compensation claim and the negligence lawsuit following an accident in which his client was injured on the job, according to the consent judgment filed with the court. The consent judgment also includes Tropp's unconditional guilty plea.
The worker's compensation claim was settled in July 2005 for $22,500. Almost two years later, a lien was filed by the worker's compensation insurance carrier claiming recovery for the full amount of benefits paid to Tropp's client. When the settlement was reached in the negligence case for $62,500 in December 2008, Tropp made disbursements based on the settlement and asked the insurance carrier to waive the lien, despite state bar rules that require that an attorney preserve settlement funds that are in dispute.
In late 2014, the insurance carrier filed a motion for equitable distribution to enforce the lien, which was granted in March 2016 for approximately $35,000 in principle and interest, and Tropp and his client "were found jointly and severally liable," the consent judgment said. Tropp filed a motion to alter and amend the judgment or for abatement, but no hearing on that motion had been set when the consent judgment was entered.