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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA _Before a Referee_ THE FLORIDA BAR

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA _Before a Referee_ THE FLORIDA BAR Powered By Docstoc
					                     IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA
                               (Before a Referee)

THE FLORIDA BAR,                                    Supreme Court Case
                                                    No. SC06-1881
      Complainant,

v.

GEORGE LOUIS GARCIA,                                The Florida Bar File
                                                    No. 2006-71,187(11M-OSC)
     Respondent.
________________________________/

                     SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT OF REFEREE

      I.             SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS: Pursuant to the undersigned

being duly appointed as Referee for the Supreme Court of Florida to conduct

disciplinary proceedings as provided for by Rule 3-5.2(g) of the Rules Regulating The

Florida Bar, a final hearing of this cause was undertaken and a Report of Referee was

electronically filed on February 29, 2008 with copies contemporaneously mailed to

counsel. In this initial Report the undersigned recommended that the Respondent be

permanently disbarred and reserved jurisdiction to consider the issue of each parties’

request for costs.

The following attorneys appeared as counsel for the parties:

      On behalf of The Florida Bar: William Mulligan
                                    The Florida Bar
                                    444 Brickell Avenue, Suite M-100
                                    Miami, Florida 33131
      On behalf of the Respondent:     Michael Zelman
                                       28 W. Flagler Street
                                       Suite 1021
                                       Miami, Florida 33036

II.   PROCEDURAL HISTORY: The undersigned has received and considered the
following documents on the issue of costs:

      a.     The Florida Bar’s Affidavit of Costs dated February 27, 2008 seeking

costs in the amount of $14,682.49.

      b.     The Respondent’s Motion for Costs and Objections to Costs Claimed by

Petitioner dated February 28, 2008 in which the Respondent sought a total set off

against The Florida Bar’s costs in the amount of $10,654.47.

      c.     The Florida Bar’s Response to the Respondent’s Motion for Costs and

Objections dated March 4th, 2008.

      d.     The Florida Bar’s Amended Affidavit of Costs dated March 5th, 2008 for

Costs in the total amount of $15,342.49.

The originals of these documents, if not previously submitted, are enclosed with this

report. If the original was previously transmitted to the court a copy is attached for

ease of reference.




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III.   RECOMMENDATION AS TO COSTS: The issue of entitlement to costs was

determined based on the testimony introduced at the hearing and a review of the

documents referenced above. I find that the following costs were reasonably incurred

by The Florida Bar:

            Administrative Costs
            Rule 3-7.6 (q)(1)(I) …………………..$                   1,250.00

            Staff Investigators’ Costs……............$         1,935.87

            Court Reporter’s attendance at
            Deposition of Arthur Gill held
            On August 9, 2007, and transcript…..$              137.00

            Original and one copy of transcript of
            Hearing held on October 5, 2007……$                 276.60

            Court Reporter’s attendance at
            Deposition of Carlos J. Ruga, Staff
            Auditor for the Florida Bar held on
            December 12, 2007, and transcript…$                234.40

            Court Reporter’s attendance at
            Deposition of Gabriel Martin held
            On December 19, 2007, and transcript.$             711.40

            Court Reporter’s attendance at
            Deposition of Stanley Foodman held on
            January 18, 2008, and transcript..............$    488.00




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            Travel Reimbursement for Witness,
            Michael J. Troch, for testimony at trial
            held on January 22, 2008.........................$ 1,529.47


            Court Reporter’s attendance at
            Final Hearing held on January 22,
            23, 25, and 29, 2008, and February 20, 2008
            and transcript...........................................$ 1,415.00



            Invoice for Michael J. Posner’s
            Preparation for and attendance at
            Deposition held on January 16, 2008,
            And post deposition meeting....................$          660.00

            Court Reporter’s attendance at
            Deposition of Dr. Harry Graff held
            On February 8, 2008, and transcript.......... $ 429.00

            Invoice for Dr. Harry Graff’s
            Attendance at deposition held on
            February 8, 2008.........................................$ 650.00
                                                                    ___________
            TOTAL:                                                  $ 9,716.74


      These costs represent all the costs claimed by The Florida Bar with one

exception. The Florida Bar also sought $5,625.75 for Branch Auditor Costs. This

sum was represented to be:

      “¼ of the Auditor’s total costs to date for The Florida Bar File Nos. 2006-

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      71-187(11M-OSC) and 2008-70,228 (11M). As the costs for these two files

      can not be distinguished, the remainder of these costs will be sought in

      Florida Bar File No. 2008-70,228(11M).”

      I believe it would be more appropriate to consider the Branch Auditor Costs

at the conclusion of both of these cases. The remaining case against this respondent

will focus almost exclusively on financial issues. At the conclusion of that case I

will be in a position to independently assess the reasonableness of this cost and

therefore decline to make a partial award at this time. The Florida Bar may seek all,

or any part, of this cost at the conclusion of the remaining matter and the

Respondent may respond at that time.

      I also I find that the Respondent incurred reasonable costs of $2,162.40 in

successfully defending a portion of this action. This sum represents the fee charged

by the Respondent’s real estate expert witness, Mr. Michael Posner. The Florida

Bar originally alleged that the Respondent engaged in the unlawful practice of law

when he preformed enumerated tasks in the course of his employment as a real

estate paralegal. These allegations were not pursued at the hearing and were not

justiciable at the time the Petition was filed. The enumerated activities were within

the permissible scope of work for a real estate paralegal. Moreover, the activities

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described in the Petition for Contempt were specifically approved of by Florida

Bar as demonstrated in Respondent’s Exhibit E. The Respondent should receive a

credit of $2,162.40 against costs awarded to the Bar of $9,716.74, leaving a

balance due to The Florida Bar of $7,554.34.

      I recommend that costs in the amount of $7,554.34 be charged to the respondent

and that interest at the statutory rate shall accrue and be deemed delinquent 30 days

after the judgment in this case becomes final unless paid in full or otherwise deferred

by the Board of Governors of the Florida Bar.

      DATED this _____ day of __________________, 2008.


                          _________________________________________
                          HON. DEBORAH WHITE-LABORA, Referee

Copies furnished to:

Michael Zelman, Attorney for the Respondent
Kenneth L. Marvin, Staff Counsel
William Mulligan, Bar Counsel




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