By Karen Kidd | Jul 2, 2018

TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Naples attorney Jon Douglas Parrish has been suspended for three years following a May 3 Florida Supreme Court opinion over allegations stemming from business dealings with one of his clients, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"Parrish had conflicts of interest related to business dealings with a client," the state bar said in its June 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's opinion. "He also entered into an improper fee agreement and failed to act diligently, risking dismissal of his client’s case."

Parrish challenged a referee's recommendation that he be found guilty of allegations that included lack of diligence and competence, charging excessive fees and conflict in a business transaction and that he be suspended for one year. 

In its 30-page opinion, the court approved the referee’s findings and recommendations about guilt. "However, as discussed below, we disapprove the referee's recommended discipline and, instead, suspend Parrish from the practice of law for three years," the court's opinion said.

The court also ordered Parrish to pay about $7,100 in costs.

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 Parrish's suspension.

Parrish was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 1, 1993, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Parrish's state bar profile.

The case against Parrish began in late October 2015 with the state bar's formal complaint, alleging he committed "various instances of ethical misconduct" while representing Spruce River Ventures and that company's principal in three separate legal matters, the court's opinion said.

In his challenge to the referee's recommendation, Parrish argued the recommended one-year suspension was unsupported by the usual standards for imposing attorney sanctions or existing case law. 

"To the extent Parrish challenges the referee's findings of fact for the rule violations, the court’s review of such matters is limited, and if a referee’s findings of fact are supported by competent, substantial evidence in the record, this court will not reweigh the evidence and substitute its judgment for that of the referee," the court opinion said. 

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