The Florida Bar v. Taylor, Nos. 81379

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; GRIMES; GRIMES
Citation648 So.2d 709
Parties20 Fla. L. Weekly S20 THE FLORIDA BAR, Complainant, v. Phillip H. TAYLOR, Respondent.
Decision Date05 January 1995
Docket Number81903,Nos. 81379

Page 709

648 So.2d 709
20 Fla. L. Weekly S20
THE FLORIDA BAR, Complainant,
v.
Phillip H. TAYLOR, Respondent.
Nos. 81379, 81903.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Jan. 5, 1995.

John F. Harkness, Jr., Executive Director, and John T. Berry, Staff Counsel, Tallahassee, and Jan Wichrowski, Bar Counsel, Orlando, for complainant.

G. Michael Keenan of G. Michael Keenan, P.A., West Palm Beach, for respondent.

PER CURIAM.

The Florida Bar petitions for review of the referee's findings in this disciplinary case regarding Phillip H. Taylor's failure to pay child support. We have jurisdiction. Art. V, Sec. 15, Fla. Const. For the reasons expressed, we approve the referee's findings and recommendation that no disciplinary action be taken by this Court in this cause.

Page 710

This approval, however, is without prejudice as to further proceedings regarding the failure to pay child support under the principles set forth in this opinion or under the new disciplinary rule proposed in In re Rules Regulating The Florida Bar--Willful Nonpayment of Child Support, No. 84,390 (Fla. Nov. 3, 1994), should that rule be adopted.

The facts of this case are as follows. 1 Taylor was divorced in 1972 in New Hampshire and was ordered to pay child support for his two minor children. After the divorce, he became a successful medical doctor. Due to drug and alcohol addictions, however, he eventually lost everything, including his medical license. Thereafter, he began treatment for his addictions and entered and completed law school. After passing the Florida Bar exam, he was admitted to the Bar on probationary status in 1989 and was hired by a large personal injury law firm.

Over the years, Taylor had also become increasingly delinquent in his child support. When Taylor was seeking admission to the Bar, he disclosed his child support problems and, although he was admitted to the Bar on a probationary status, payment of the delinquent child support was not a part of the conditions imposed under the probation.

In March 1991, Taylor's ex-wife filed a petition in New Hampshire seeking to have Taylor held in contempt for failure to pay child support. The New Hampshire court issued an order of contempt, finding that Taylor owed $37,850 in back child support and that, at times, Taylor had the ability to pay this support and without just cause failed to do so. That order was still in effect at the time of the hearing before the referee in this cause. The Bar charged Taylor with violating Rule Regulating The Florida Bar 3-4.3 (committing an act that is unlawful or contrary to honesty and justice) and rules 4-8.4(a) and (d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).

The referee recommended that Taylor be found not guilty, finding that this matter was more like a private civil matter between Taylor and his ex-wife than a matter subject to discipline. Additionally, the referee noted that Taylor's situation has not had an adverse impact on his ability to practice law, nor does it involve dishonesty, moral turpitude, immorality, deceit, or breach of trust. Because Taylor owed the child support before being admitted to the Bar, the referee was also concerned that the imposition of sanctions would implicate ex post facto considerations.

The Bar contends...

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5 practice notes
  • The Florida Bar v. Cibula, No. 89,551.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • November 25, 1998
    ...be made in almost any case where suspension or disbarment is imposed. Finally, although Cibula argues that under Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So.2d 709 (Fla. 1995), the prior contempt orders entered against him for failure to pay alimony would no longer be grounds for discipline, we find that......
  • Carlson, Matter of, No. S96Y1021
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • September 15, 1997
    ...for the judicial process and an indifference to his legal obligations," warranting an indefinite suspension; Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So.2d 709 (Fla.1995), holding that the respondent lawyer's contempt in another state of a support order did not authorize discipline absent a finding of fr......
  • Bajcar v. Bajcar, Nos. 3D17–2726 & 3D17–2763
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 16, 2018
    ..."to vindicate the authority of a court and to punish the offending participant." Bowen, 471 So.2d at 1277 ; The Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So.2d 709, 710 n.2 (Fla. 1995). Incarceration in this context is not merely a means to an end; it is an end unto itself. Based upon the circumstances of......
  • Bajcar v. Bajcar, No. 3D17-2726
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • May 16, 2018
    ..."to vindicate the authority of a court and to punish the offending participant." Bowen, 471 So. 2d at 1277; The Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So. 2d 709, 710 n.2 (Fla. 1995). Incarceration in this context is not merely a means to an end; it is an end unto itself. Based upon the circumstances o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • The Florida Bar v. Cibula, No. 89,551.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • November 25, 1998
    ...be made in almost any case where suspension or disbarment is imposed. Finally, although Cibula argues that under Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So.2d 709 (Fla. 1995), the prior contempt orders entered against him for failure to pay alimony would no longer be grounds for discipline, we find that......
  • Carlson, Matter of, No. S96Y1021
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • September 15, 1997
    ...for the judicial process and an indifference to his legal obligations," warranting an indefinite suspension; Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So.2d 709 (Fla.1995), holding that the respondent lawyer's contempt in another state of a support order did not authorize discipline absent a finding of fr......
  • Bajcar v. Bajcar, Nos. 3D17–2726 & 3D17–2763
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 16, 2018
    ..."to vindicate the authority of a court and to punish the offending participant." Bowen, 471 So.2d at 1277 ; The Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So.2d 709, 710 n.2 (Fla. 1995). Incarceration in this context is not merely a means to an end; it is an end unto itself. Based upon the circumstances of......
  • Bajcar v. Bajcar, No. 3D17-2726
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • May 16, 2018
    ..."to vindicate the authority of a court and to punish the offending participant." Bowen, 471 So. 2d at 1277; The Florida Bar v. Taylor, 648 So. 2d 709, 710 n.2 (Fla. 1995). Incarceration in this context is not merely a means to an end; it is an end unto itself. Based upon the circumstances o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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