TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Altamonte Springs attorney Michael David Fender has been placed on emergency suspension following an April 23 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he abandoned his practice, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Fender abandoned his law practice, neglected client matters, lacked competence, failed to maintain adequate client communication, failed to earn his fees, failed to return documentation to his clients and engaged in an ongoing pattern of behavior that presented a threat to his clients and the judicial system," the state bar said in its April 30 announcement of the discipline and the state Supreme Court's order. "He also failed to respond to the bar’s investigative inquiries."
Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such motion does not alter the effective date of Fender's suspension.
Fender was admitted to the bar in Florida on April 29, 1992, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Fender's state bar profile.
Fender appeared "to be causing great public harm by abandoning his law practice," the state bar's petition said.
Fender was evicted from his Seminole County office in June after allegedly failing to pay rent to his landlord and having previously failed to pay his rent from the previous February through April. He later was ordered to pay his landlord $8,140, according to the petition.
State bar investigators were unable to locate Fender but they did find that he stopped responding to court pleadings in more than one case after December 2017. Investigators also found Fender had been paid $1,958 up front in February 2017 to file a dissolution case but the case was never filed and the matter has been neglected for more than two years.
Most recently, Fender was hired in April 2018 and paid $1,500 to represent a couple in a lien matter but the couple has not heard from him since, according to the petition.