Jacksonville attorney held in contempt for not 'fully' responding to inquiry

By Karen Kidd | May 3, 2019

TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Jacksonville attorney Sheldon Jerome Vann faces indefinite suspension following an April 15 Florida Supreme Court order over his alleged lack of response to an official inquiry, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"Vann failed to respond fully to an official bar inquiry," the state bar said in its April 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order.  "The Florida Supreme Court held him in contempt and ordered his suspension."

In its two-page order, the court granted the state bar's petition for contempt, held Vann in contempt of court and suspended Vann until he fully responds in writing to the state bar's official inquiry and until further order of the court.

The state court also ordered Vann to pay $1,250 in costs.

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

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires, and Vann did file a motion for rehearing two days after the court's order. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Vann's suspension.

Vann was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 23, 2009, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Vann's state bar profile.

In his motion for rehearing, Vann said he "did respond to the substance of the grievance committee's request" which he alleged "formed the basis" of the state bar's petition for contempt.

"The substance of the request dealt with the bar's audit of [my] trust account—specifically, the payment of medical liens on behalf of personal injury clients," Vann's motion said.

Vann added he was "loath to file a copy of the substantive response because it is replete with confidential information including client names and bank account numbers," but did provide exhibits backing up what Vann claimed he did provide.

Vann noted in his motion that he "is now ordered to be suspended as a result of this misapprehension, as a sanction for contempt of court, when this is manifestly unjust and not the case."

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