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Sanctions - Imposed

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NOTE:  This page is still being populated and all sanctions are not yet listed here.  To check whether a specific mediator has ever been sanctioned, please go to the Mediator Search feature and enter the name of the mediator you are seeking.  If a name does not appear that person is not certified.

 

Jacinto L. Puentes

Certification:  26571

Case Number: MQB 2012-001

Case Type: Failure to report conviction/Good Moral Character

MQB 2012-001 Puentes Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Charges, and Stipulation to Imposition of Sanctions entered on April 9, 2015.   The Mediator admitted the allegations and agreed to:  be decertified as a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit mediator; not apply for any certification as a mediator until five years after the restoration of his civil rights; not conduct any mediations in Florida until he obtains Florida Supreme Court mediator certification; and waive all rights to seek review under the Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.

Findings:  The Mediator fails to possess good moral character for continued Florida Supreme Court circuit court mediator certification by virtue of his conviction for conspiracy to commit mail fraud; he pled and was adjudicated guilty and was sentenced to federal prison for 60 months; he failed to report his conviction to the DRC within 30 days of the date of the conviction.

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators violated:  10.110, 10.130(b)


Keith Alan Manson

Case Number:  QCC 2013-057

Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2013-057 Manson Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On October 20, 2014, the Hearing Panel entered an Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposition of Sanctions.  Sanctions include the denial of the applicant’s application for mediator certification.  The applicant is forever barred from applying to be a certified mediator in Florida.

Findings:  While a U.S. Naval Reserve lawyer, the applicant was convicted of adultery, consensual oral sodomy, and two counts of using his position to gain a benefit by having sexual intercourse and oral sex in a military courtroom on the judge’s bench with his married, female client.  The applicant was suspended from the practice of law in Indiana with a provision for automatic reinstatement.  He was conditionally admitted to The Florida Bar and thereafter disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court due to violations of his Florida Lawyer Assistance contract regarding his treatment for alcohol dependence and for practicing law while suspended by The Bar.  The applicant was untruthful and/or intentionally omitted prior criminal convictions in his Application for Mediator Certification.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110 Good Moral Character


William Todd Lax

Certification:  24557R

Case Number:  MQB 2013-005

Case Type:  Circuit

MQB 2013-005 Lax Order and Sanctions 

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanction entered October 17, 2014.  Sanctions include a one year suspension of the mediator’s circuit certification during which time he shall not serve as a mediator; completion of eight hours of CME ethics courses; reading all MEAC opinions relevant to the Formal Charges; writing a reflective statement regarding the mediator’s understanding of the ethical violations which gave rise to the grievance; and permanently ceasing to send, personally or through any other entity, solicitation letters to homeowners for mediation services.

Findings:  The mediator authored and prepared solicitation letters for use by his corporation to homeowners who were parties to mortgage foreclosure proceedings.  The letters stated “[a]lthough Florida law provides you with the right to request mediation, you must take immediate action to exercise this right.  If you are interested in attempting to settle this foreclosure with your lender, you must send a written request to your Judge asking for your case to be sent to court-ordered mediation.”  The letters were generally accompanied by form Requests for Mediation for execution by the homeowners and Orders of Referral of Mediation for execution by the presiding judge.  The forms were also authored by the mediator for use by the company and routinely contained provisions designating the company to serve as the mediation administrator.  The letters were coercive because they suggested to homeowners that their rights to request mediation might be lost unless they immediately executed the Request for Mediation, and the language of the letters suggested homeowners could not select other mediation administrators and/or mediators at another time.  The solicitation letters and an information sheet also authored by the mediator suggested bias or favoritism by representing that the company had “helped countless homeowners reach resolution of their foreclosure cases” and the firm’s mediations had the effect of “positively impacting the lives of countless Florida homeowners.”  The mediator continued to allow and/or authorize the use of solicitation letters which represented to homeowners that the company serves as a program manager of the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (RMFM) for the courts of Florida after the termination of the statewide RMFM Program and the company’s termination as the Program manager for two judicial circuits.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules for Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated: 

10.310(b), Self-Determination
10.330(a), Impartiality
10.610(a),(e), (f), Marketing Practices
10.620, Integrity and Impartiality


Karen A. Watson

Case Number:  QCC 2012-014
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2012-014 Watson Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On June 30, 2014, the Hearing Panel entered an Order accepting the Applicant’s admission to the formal charges and stipulating to the imposition of sanctions.  Sanctions include denial of Applicant’s application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court circuit and family mediator; Applicant will not mediate in a court or private setting until she is certified; and Applicant is not allowed to apply for such certification for a minimum of 5 years from June 30, 2014.

Findings:  The Hearing Panel found the Applicant lacks the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.   As the mediation coordinator for a law firm, the Applicant referred at least 80 cases to her brother-in-law resulting in payment to him of over $30,000, without disclosing the relationship to the law firm.  Twenty-six of the referrals were prior to the brother-in-law becoming a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit mediator.  The applicant exposed the firm to possible financial loss when she processed invoices for payment to her brother-in-law and he was paid by the law firm in twenty-six cases prior to the mediations occurring.  Some of those mediations had to be rescheduled and may not have been performed by the brother-in-law or his mediation business.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators Violated:

10.110 Good Moral Character


Ronald Weeks

Certification: 28384R
Case Number:  MQB 2012-018
Case Type:  Conflict of Interest

MQB 2012-018 Weeks Order and Sanctions

Summary:

On June 2, 2014, the Hearing Panel entered an Order accepting the Mediator’s admitting to the formal charges and stipulating to the imposition of sanctions.  Sanctions include a six month suspension of his circuit court mediator certification during which time he will not mediate privately or in a court-annexed setting; attending 6 hours of CME on ethics, impartiality, and conflict of interest after advance approval of the courses by the DRC Director; reading and reviewing all MEAC opinions on those same topics; and writing a reflective statement regarding what he learned from the opinions and CME courses.

Findings:  The Mediator mediated cases in which he had a conflict of interest as a result of a financial and family interest relating to a mediation participant.  The mediator was hired by his sister-in-law who was the mediation coordinator for a law firm representing plaintiffs in mortgage foreclosure actions.  The Mediator conducted more than 100 mediations in which the law firm was counsel of record and a participant, resulting in payment to him of more than $30,000 in a one month period.  The Mediator did not disclose the conflict of interest or the extent of his financial relationship with the law firm to the mediation participants.  The law firm was a mediation participant. The Mediator was in violation of rule 10.610  by representing himself as a  certified mediator prior to becoming certified, indicating “Certified Circuit Court Mediator” without identifying the entity issuing his certification, and stating that he was a “Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator” in invoices without identifying that his certification was for circuit court.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated: 

Rule 10.340(a) & (b) Conflicts of Interest
Rule 10.610(b) & (c) Marketing Practices


Stephen D. Woodin

Certification: 18549C
Case Number:  MQB 2012-012
Case Type:  Marketing

MQB 2012-012 Woodin Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanction entered November 6, 2013.  Mediator admitted allegations of Formal Charges and agreed to immediately and permanently cease to advertise and offer the course “Personal Safety & Family Protection” or any similarly-related course to mediators for continuing mediator education (CME) credits.  Any default in the agreement by the mediator will result in the matter returning to the Mediator Qualifications Board for further action.

Findings:  Mediator offered the course “Personal Safety & Family Protection” for seven hours of CME credit to train mediators in self-defense, gun target practice, and to qualify the participants for a concealed firearms permit.  The mediator advertised the course as having been approved for CME credit when there is no approval process for CME.  The course did not enhance a participant’s professional competence as a mediator, nor did it constitute an organized program of learning directly related to the practice of mediation as required by In re Procedures Governing Certification of Mediators, Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC11-1(January 10, 2011).  The mediator failed to engage in forthright business practices supporting the advancement of mediation and advertised false or misleading information by using the word “approved” in his advertising.  The course subject matter did not meet the requirements of CME and demeaned the dignity of the mediation process. The mediator posted an online biography stating that he is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator without identifying at least one area of certification he holds.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:  10.600 and 10.610(a), (b) and (f)


Allan J. Weltman

Certification number:  11202
Case number:  MQB 2012-005
Case type:  Family

MQB 2012-005 Weltman Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Order Accepting Admission to Formal Charges and Imposing Sanctions entered June 11, 2013 – four hours of continuing education credits on ethics pertaining to business practices, providing services not directly related to the mediation process, fees, and integrity and impartiality; two hours of education regarding the unlicensed practice of law; and submit a reflective report on what was learned from the experience.  All courses to be pre-approved by DRC Director.

Findings:  The mediator charged the parties in excess of the time actually spent on their mediation and refused to give them a refund; he failed to provide the parties with a prior written explanation of fees and/or costs for which he later billed; he failed to provide the complainant with an accounting of his billed fees and costs upon her request; he charged the parties for a courier service that was not used; during a family law mediation the mediator attempted to procure bankruptcy documentation preparation services from the parties; and the mediator drafted or re-drafted dissolution pleadings for filing with the court by the parties.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110(b), Good Moral Character
10.300 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Parties
10.340(d) Conflicts of Interest
10.380 Fees and Expenses
10.600 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Mediation Profession
10.620 Integrity and Impartiality


Les Paul Sternberg

Case Number :  QCC 2011-058
Certification Denied
Case Type:  Good Moral Character

QCC 2011-058 Sternberg Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered March 22, 2013 – application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court Circuit Court Mediator denied and costs awarded to the Dispute Resolution Center and taxed against the applicant in an amount to be determined based on the submission of an affidavit of costs incurred.

Findings:  Found not to possess good moral character due to the applicant’s entering into plea agreements regarding charges of grand theft in 1994 and 1995 arising from the applicant’s misappropriation of trust account funds of $90,000.00 and $24,000.00 in his role as an attorney.  The applicant was suspended from the practice of law in Florida in 1993 and resigned from the Florida Bar in 1994 in lieu of disciplinary proceedings.  In 2001, the applicant was charged with grand theft involving $50,773.00 and the violation of his 10 year probation.  In 2002, the applicant was charged with extortion by threat and tampering with a witness-victim, to wit his ex-wife.  He pled guilty to tampering with a witness and subsequently served 364 days in the Broward County jail, completed one year of community control and 5 years of probation, and paid $50,773.00 in restitution.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character 


Richard R. Nevitte, Jr.

Case Number: QCC 2011-072
Case Type: Good Moral Character

QCC 2011-072 Nevitte Order and Sanctions

Summary

Santioned by Order entered March 6, 2013 - denial of Mediator's application for certification as a Florida Supreme Court Circuit Court Mediator; not allowed to again apply for such certification for a minimum of 5 years from March 13, 2013; and ordered to pay the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) $2,055.00 in costs within 30 days of March 13, 2013.

Findings: The Qualifications Complaint Committee (QCC) found probable cause to believe the Mediator lacks the good moral character required by rule 10.110, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators, due to a series of fraudulent acts from 1988 through 1991 connected to his purchase of a used Jaguar XJ-6. While employed as a trial attorney with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, he obtained a loan based on a fradulent bill of sale; underpaid sales tax on the car; arranged to have the car stolen, made a false police report, submitted two fradulent insurance claims; and underpaid personal property taxes on the car. He pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud, and failed to notify the Virginia, District of Columbia, and Louisiana Bars that he had been convicted of a felony. His application for reinstatement to the Louisiana Bar was denied and the Florida Bar denied his application for admission.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character


George J. Lawler, Mediator

Certification Number: 18409CF
Case Number: QCC 2011-039
Case Type: Good Moral Character

QCC 2011-039 Lawler Order and Sanctions

Summary

Sanctioned by Decision entered October 22, 2012 – Decertified as a family and county mediator and permanently barred from certification in any other areas.

Findings: Found not to possess good moral character because of failure to report an extensive disciplinary history as a practicing attorney within the state of Connecticut and false or misleading statements made to the Director of the Dispute Resolution Center concerning inquiries connected to his disciplinary history. The mediator failed to appear at the hearing after notice was duly provided.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character


William J. Jatczak, Mediator

Certification Number: 17792C
Case Number: MQB 2010-010
Case Type: County

MQB 2010-010 Jatczak Order and Sanctions

Summary

Sanctioned by Decision entered May 10, 2012 – Six hours of continuing education credits on the subjects of demeanor, impartiality, balanced process and sensitivity; submitting a reflective report following the CMEs; observation of five separate mediations by five mediators-must not be credit union or credit card collection mediations and imposition of costs of the proceeding. All courses and observations to be pre-approved by DRC Director.

Findings: The mediator did not conduct a balanced process, did not act in a dignified manner, gave the appearance of partiality and did not show sensitivity toward the complainant parties; specifically in his comments about the complainant’s appearance, her jewelry and the possible outcome of the case.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.300 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Parties
10.350 Demeanor


Bruce Morosco, Mediator

Certification Number: 25406CFR
Case Number: QCC 2010-048j
Case Type: Good Moral Character

QCC 2010-048 Morosco Order and Sanctions

Summary

Sanctioned by Decision entered March 23, 2012 – Decertified for a period of at least three years from all current certifications and denied certification as an appellate mediator. 

Findings:  The mediator lacks the good moral character required by Rule 10.110 as shown by his pattern of intimidation of his wife and after the period of their marriage, his activities which led to the issuance against him of the injunction against domestic violence, and his violation of the injunction.

Rules Violations

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character


Jason T. Banks, Mediator

Certification Number: 20581F
Case Number: MQB 2010-001
Case Type: Family

MQB 2010-001 Banks Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered November 10, 2011- Decertified and barred from mediating in the State of Florida and under the Rules for Certified and Court Appointed Mediators. 

Findings:  Mediator failure to maintain impartiality and avoid conflict of interest and to maintain business practices that reflect fairness, integrity and impartiality due to his friendship with one mediation participant (wife) while assuming an adversarial position to the other participant (husband) by giving advice and counsel to the participant wife prior to the institution of legal proceedings and during legal proceedings. In addition, the mediator untruthfully responded to the Florida Dispute Resolution Center that he did not mediate when evidence to the contrary was proven and the mediator improperly attempted to influence one of the parties to obtain a dismissal of the DRC Complaint.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110  Good Moral Character  [erroneously referred to as 10.800 in Decision and Disposition]
10.300 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Parties
10.340(a) and (b)  Conflicts of Interest
10.600 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Mediation Profession
10.620 Integrity and Impartiality


Craig R. Steinberg, Mediator

Certification Number: 20589R
Case Number: MQB 2010-006
Case Type: Circuit

MQB 2010-006 Steinberg Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered September 12, 2011 – Decertified and barred from serving as a mediator under the Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.

Findings:  Found not to possess good moral character because of repeated misrepresentations on his application for certification, in resumes, web sites and other marketing materials and to the public regarding his background and qualifications implying or stating he was an attorney, member of the Florida Bar; stating his prior occupation was as a judge and that he was now a retired judge and advertising he was certified prior to obtaining his certification.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.110 Good Moral Character
10.310(c) Self Determination
10.600 Mediator’s Responsibility to the Mediation Profession
10.610 (a) and (d) Marketing Practices


Mitchell A. Blum, Mediator

Certification Number: 17981F
Case Number: MQB 2009-006
Case Type: Family

MQB 2009-006 Blum Order and Sanctions

Summary:

Sanctioned by Decision entered February 26, 2010 – Relinquishment of Certification as a Florida Supreme Court mediator with agreement never to reapply for certification as a mediator in the State of Florida. 

Findings:  Did not enable parties to effectively participate in the mediation process, did not perform mediation services in a timely fashion, did not return a fee for drafting of agreement although no agreement was reached, and failed to maintain records necessary to support charges for services.

Rules Violations:

Florida Rules For Certified and Court Appointed Mediators Violated:
10.120(a) Notice of Change of Address or Name
10.380(c) and (d) Fees and Expenses
10.430 Scheduling Mediation*