Fort Myers lawyer faces additional suspension for allegedly failing to comply with discipline

By Karen Kidd | Apr 1, 2019

TALLAHASSEE — Fort Myers attorney Esmond Jude Lewis faces suspension for the second time four months following a March 27 Florida Supreme Court order after being held in contempt, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"Lewis was held in contempt of the court's Dec. 20, 2018, order for failing to fully comply with notifying clients and the judiciary as ordered by the court," the state bar said in its March 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order.

In its two-page order, the high court approved the state bar's petition for contempt and order to show cause before suspending Lewis and ordered him to pay $1,250 in costs.

Lewis's suspension will be 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.

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 Lewis's suspension.

Lewis was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 26, 2004, according to his profile at the state bar website.

In December the high court suspended Lewis for 30 days following allegations that he failed to diligently pursue a client's claim against a city utility company, according to the state bar's Jan. 31 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order.

At the time the high court also had allowed Lewis 30 days from the date of the court's order to give him time to close out his practice and protect his existing clients' interests. Under that order Lewis could expect to be automatically reinstated Feb. 21.

But Lewis failed to fully comply with all the requirements of the Supreme Court's December order, according to the state bar's petition.

"[Lewis] has not submitted the required affidavit containing a list of persons/entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provided a copy of the order of suspension," the petition said. "Consequently, The Florida Bar is unaware whether respondent notified any clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension pursuant to Rule 3-5.1(h)."

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