Florida Record

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Miami attorney voluntarily disbarred following 'uncivil and unprofessional' behavior


By Karen Kidd | Apr 1, 2019

General court 08

TALLAHASSEE — Longtime Miami attorney Marvin Kurzban has been permanently and voluntarily disbarred following a Feb. 13 Florida Supreme Court order after being "discourteous and unprofessional" during two trials of a civil matter, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"Kurzban was discourteous and unprofessional in civil proceedings, resulting in a mistrial," the state bar said in its March 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "Upon retrial, additional misconduct occurred."

In its two-page order of disciplinary revocation, tantamount to disbarment, the state high court approved Kurzban's petition for permanent revocation before disbarring Kurzban without leave to seek readmission.

Kurzban's suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the court's order to allow him time to close his practice and protect his existing clients' interests, according to the high court's order.

Kurzban was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 13, 1970, according to his profile at the state bar website. Kurzban, 73 when he filed his petition, cited in the petition a previous discipline in 2001 when he was publicly reprimanded "for engaging in uncivil and unprofessional behavior in a contentious civil rights action."

Allegations against Kurzban stem from his behavior during the medical malpractice case Gutierrez v Vargas, decided by the state Supreme Court last year. During the "contentious medical malpractice trial," the presiding trial judge admonished Kurzban for violating an evidentiary ruling, Kurzban's petition said.

The judge declared a mistrial when Kurzban "asked certain questions of a witness that appeared to paint opposing counsel as the fabricator of testimony" and also "personally sanctioned" Kurzban with all legal fees in the trial, which he paid, according to the petition.

During the subsequent retrial, the judge admonished Kurzban "for making an inappropriate comment as to no wanting to engage in a 'cat fight' which appeared targeted toward opposing counsel and the judge, both of whom are female," the petition said.

Kurzban, represented during the disciplinary proceedings by attorney Scott K. Tozian, a partner with Smith, Tozian, Daniel & Davis in Tampa, initially agreed to a consent judgment with the state bar that included a non-rehabilitative suspension, which the Supreme Court declined to accept, according to his petition.

Kurzban's petititon soon followed.

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