Judge Upholds Suspension Order
A referee hearing on Scott Strems’ Motion to Dissolve the Order of Suspension was held during the week of July 6, presided by 11th Circuit Court Judge Dawn Denaro via Zoom videoconference proceedings. Eighteen hours of testimony was heard over three days. Florida Bar Counsel Derek Womack outlined a pattern of misconduct, that he called “willful, deliberate, contumacious, and that eliminates all possibility that this was due to accident or negligence” on Strems’ part.
Judge Denaro in weighing the evidence against Strems and the Strems Law Firm (SLF), upheld the Bar’s complaint as having a likelihood of prevailing at his scheduled September trial before the Florida Supreme Court. In her referee report, Judge Denaro wrote: “The referee finds that Circuit Court Judge Gregory Holder and Circuit Court Judge Rex Barbas are both credible and qualified witnesses. Both Judges have had extensive dealings with SLF over the past few years…. Judge Holder testified that Jonathan Drake, Esq. had to be admonished by him on several occasions for his failure to appear in court and other delay tactics. Elaborating, Judge Holder testified that he has a vivid memory of Mr. Drake tearfully apologizing to him outside of court and telling him in private that Mr. Strems had directed him to violate many of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar. Specifically, Mr. Drake stated that Mr. Strems told him to file and prosecute cases without proper supporting evidence, to initiate cases not supported by proper contracts of insurance, to refuse their clients participation in EUO examinations and depositions, and to allege and seek unsupported damages. Mr. Drake denied that this out of court conversation took place.”
Scot Strems law license suspension continues until further notice. He has until July 30 to show cause why the referee’s recommendations should not be approved. The Florida Bar may serve its reply on or before August 10, 2020. For further background, you can read our June 22 newsletter story. This case is being closely watched by many and we will keep you apprised.
LMA Newsletter of 7-20-20