TALLAHASSEE — Orlando attorney Curtis Dee Mendenhall has been publicly reprimanded following a Nov. 8 Florida Supreme Court order for allegedly flirting via text with a client's girlfriend, according to a recent announcement by the Florida Bar.
"Mendenhall was court-appointed to represent a client in a criminal case," the state bar said in its Nov. 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "During the course of representation, he sent inappropriate, flirtatious text messages to the client's girlfriend. The client brought the messages to the attention of the court and the court subsequently removed Mendenhall as counsel."
In addition to the public reprimand, the high court also placed Mendenhall on a year of probation and ordered him to pay a little more than $1,745, according to the court's two-page order. Mendenhall also was required to enter into a rehabilitation contract with the state bar's lawyer assistance program.
Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Mendenhall's reprimand.
Mendenhall was admitted to the bar in Florida on Dec. 22, 1998, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Mendenhall's state bar profile.
Mendenhall admitted that his misconduct "caused potential conflict with his client and was prejudicial to the administration of justice," said the consent judgment filed with the court. The consent judgment also includes Mendenhall's conditional guilty plea.
Mendenhall's lack of a prior record and his agreement to enter into a contract with the attorney's assistance program were considered mitigating factors in the matter, according to the consent judgment, which noted he already had been sanctioned by his removal from his client's case. Mendenhall also "has expressed sincere remorse for his misconduct," the consent judgment said.