ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The body that regulates Florida attorneys has forwarded a complaint to the state Supreme Court against a South Florida lawyer whose firm handled tens of thousands of foreclosure cases.
The Florida Bar on Wednesday filed a 17-count complaint against David Stern, whose firm operated out of Broward County.
The complaint said Stern failed to properly supervise his staff and that led to allegations of misconduct, including missed hearings, improperly filed court documents and hundreds of attorneys handling thousands of foreclosure cases.
Documents submitted in court by his firm often were incomplete, contained inaccuracies and were improperly notarized, the complaint also said.
Several of the allegations were made by judges.
"In David J. Stern's capacity as managing attorney and sole shareholder in charge of all activities and functions of the Stern law firm, David J. Stern either knew or should have known that inaccurate and/or improperly executed documents were regularly being provided to courts throughout the state of Florida and took insufficient action to investigate the activity or to stop or prevent the improprieties," the complaint said.
Stern's attorney, Jeffrey Tew, said his client did nothing wrong and that the Bar will be unable to prove the allegations.
"He doesn't feel like he violated any ethical standards," Tew said. "We're going to defend this because I don't think the bar is going to be able to prove that David did anything to merit ethical sanctions or punishment."
The state Supreme Court will appoint a referee, who ultimately will present a report to the court after going through evidence and depositions. That process usually takes up to six months but can last longer in complicated cases such as Stern's, Tew said. The high court could suspend Stern's law license or disbar him.
Stern still has his law license but isn't actively practicing. His law firm isn't taking any new cases.
The only other foreclosure attorney with pending disciplinary action before the Supreme Court is Marshall Watson, who entered a conditional guilty plea last December. He could face a 91-day suspension from practicing the law.
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