Melbourne attorney disbarred for allegedly abandoning clients

By Karen Kidd | Dec 2, 2018

TALLAHASSEE — Suspended Melbourne attorney Rolando Enrique Rodriguez has been disbarred following an Oct. 4 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations that he abandoned his clients, according to a recent announcement by the Florida Bar.

"Rodriguez closed his law office without notice, abandoned his clients' pending legal matters and failed to protect his clients' interests," the state bar said in its Nov. 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "He also failed to refund unearned fees and unexpended costs. In one matter, Rodriguez provided a falsified order to mislead the client into believing he was working on his immigration case."

In its two-page order, the high court approved the uncontested referee's report filed in the matter before disbarring Rodriguez and ordered him to pay a little more than $2,703 in costs. Rodriguez was already suspended, so his disbarment was effective immediately, according to the court's order.

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 Rodriguez's suspension.

Attorneys disbarred in the state generally may not reapply for admission for five years and even then they must pass through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

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

Rodriguez was suspended following a state Supreme Court order in April approving the state bar's petition for emergency suspension after six separate clients filed sworn complaints against him. The clients claimed Rodriguez provided very little or no useful legal services, abandoned their legal matters, failed to provide adequate communication, closed his law office with no notice and didn't protect their interests, according to the referee's report.

A default was entered against him the following month after he failed to answer the state bar's petition, according to the referee's report. Rodriguez also failed to appear at a sanctions hearing in July or to participate in the state bar's proceedings in the matter, according to the referee's report.

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