Florida Record

Monday, August 19, 2019

Suspended Fort Myers attorney held in contempt, disbarred after allegedly practicing law while ineligible


By Karen Kidd | Jun 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE – Suspended Fort Myers attorney Esmond Jude Lewis was disbarred following a Florida Supreme Court order after the court held him in contempt regarding a suspension handed down earlier this year, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"Lewis was held in contempt for engaging in the practice of law during his period of suspension and during the period of cost delinquency," the state bar said in its May 30 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's May 21 order.

In its two-page order, the high court granted the state bar's petition for contempt and, after holding Lewis in contempt, disbarred him for having failed to file a timely response the court's show cause order issued in December. Lewis already was suspended, which meant his disbarment was effective immediately.

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

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' disbarment.

Attorneys disbarred in Florida generally cannot reapply for admission for five years and must pass an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

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

Lewis was indefinitely suspended in March after he allegedly failed to comply with an earlier discipline. That suspension was effective 30 days from the date of the court's order to allow Lewis time to close out his practice and protect his existing clients' interests, according to the Supreme Court's March 27 order.

Lewis previously was suspended in December 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.

Under that order, Lewis could expect to be automatically reinstated on Feb. 21 but he failed to fully comply with all the requirements of the Supreme Court's December order, according to the state bar's petition.

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