1 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA (Before a Referee) THE FLORIDA BAR, Supreme Court Case No. SC Complainant, The Florida Bar File v. Nos ,685(11D) and ,155(11D) PETER MILAN PREDRAG VUJIN, Respondent. / REPORT OF REFEREE RECOMMENDING DIVERSION TO A PRACTICE AND PROFESSIONALISM ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM I. RECOMMENDATION: Pursuant to Rule 3-5.3(h)(1) of The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, the referee adopts the parties conditional agreement for diversion to a practice and professionalism enhancement program, a copy of which is attached hereto and incorporated herein. II. PURPOSE AND PROGRAMS WHICH ARE RECOMMENDED: The purpose of diversion is to assist the Respondent in the future avoidance of the situations summarized below. The following program(s) is recommended: A. Attend the specific Florida Lawyer s Assistance, Inc. s (FLA) Psychotherapy Group Meetings as designated by FLA for a period of twelve (12) months. Respondent will provide the Bar s headquarters office with proof that Respondent has enrolled or participated in said meetings within thirty (30) days of
2 the Supreme Court Order approving this Consent Judgment. Respondent shall notify the Bar on a quarterly basis that he has attended the group meetings (the quarters are March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31). B. Respondent agrees to be supervised by an attorney acceptable to The Florida Bar for a period of twelve (12) months. Respondent is responsible for finding and submitting the name of the supervising attorney to headquarters office of The Florida Bar within sixty (60) days of the Supreme Court Order approving this Consent Judgment. The supervising attorney shall provide continuous monitoring of Respondent s client case files and provide quarterly reports to The Florida Bar regarding the status of the client files and inform The Florida Bar if respondent is meeting deadlines, returning phone calls, and answering correspondence. Respondent is responsible for submission of the quarterly reports to the headquarters office of The Florida Bar (the quarters are March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31). C. Respondent is required to attend an additional twenty-four (24) hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, over and above the required thirty (30) hours per CLE reporting cycle, one of which shall include a basic skills or introductory course in Civil Procedure, within one year of the Supreme Court approving this Consent Judgment.
3 D. Respondent will pay a quarterly monitoring fee of $ to The Florida Bar. All quarterly monitoring fees must be remitted no later than the end of each respective quarter in which the monitoring fee is due. All fees must be paid to the Bar s headquarters office in Tallahassee. III. NARRATIVE SUMMARY: The following factual summary provides the basis for Respondent s Consent Judgment for Diversion: COUNT I As to The Florida Bar File No ,685(11D) A. On or about June 5, 2007, Respondent filed, on behalf of himself and other purportedly similarly situated unit owners, a Complaint in Miami Dade Circuit Court against Mirador Master Association (MMA) and several other named defendants, styled Vujin v. Zaretsky, et al., Case No CA 1 (40). This complaint was dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a cause of action. B. Thereafter, Respondent filed his first Verified Amended Complaint on September 27, The court similarly found the Amended Complaint legally insufficient, and dismissed it for failure to state a cause of action. C. Respondent s third and fourth attempts to file a legally sufficient pleading were similarly dismissed. Each of the Amended Complaints
4 attempted to assert individual and class action claims for injunctive relief, fraud and conversion, as well as derivative claims. D. On October 30, 2008, the Court dismissed with prejudice Respondent s fourth attempt to file a legally sufficient pleading, titled Plaintiff s Third Amended Complaint. The Honorable Gill Freeman found the pleading problematic in several respects. The court issued a scathing order of dismissal, holding that the Third Amended Complaint was, amongst other problems: untimely, disjointed, incomprehensible, nonsensical, contradictory, demonstrated that Respondent had no standing, demanded relief in the alternative for claims not plead, and made sweeping conclusory allegations without factual support. E. Accordingly, upon MMA s Motion, on July 22, 2010, Judge Freeman issued an order awarding $89, in attorney s fees to MMA for its defense against several years worth of frivolous pleadings. In her order, Judge Freeman found that [t]he complaint and the amended pleadings were tantamount to frivolous and bad faith. Additionally, Judge Freeman found that Respondent and his law partner Albert Weintraub knew or should have known that the pleadings they filed were inadequate and failed to state a cause of action.
5 COUNT II As to The Florida Bar File No ,155(11L) A. In or about November 2009, Respondent began to represent Celeste Coonan ( Coonan ) in a lawsuit that she had commenced pro se against CitiMortgage, Inc. ( CitiMortgage ). B. Respondent filed a response to CitiMortgage s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff s Complaint, but failed to appear at the December 8, 2009 hearing on the Motion. The court re-noticed the hearing for January 5, C. Respondent also failed to appear at the January 5, 2010, hearing. The court made multiple attempts to contact Respondent telephonically and received no reply. Due to Respondent s failure to appear, the court dismissed Coonan s complaint without prejudice. D. Coonan filed an Amended Complaint pro se, and appeared at a February 23, 2010, hearing on CitiMortgage s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff s Complaint. Respondent failed to appear at the hearing. Respondent s failure to appear, Coonan s pro se filing, and Respondent s failure to communicate with CitiMortgage, gave the appearance that Respondent was no longer representing Coonan. However, Coonan informed the court that Respondent was still representing her, and was aware of the hearing. E. Consequently, CitiMortgage, following the court s direction, filed a Motion for an Order to Show Cause which required Respondent and his law
6 partner Albert Weintraub ( Weintraub ), to show why they should not be held in contempt of court for failing to appear on their client s behalf. F. At the April 15, 2010 hearing on the Motion for an Order to Show Cause, Respondent appeared before the court for the first time. Respondent indicated that he and Weintraub were representing Coonan. Nevertheless, based on correspondence from Coonan, Judge Jennifer Bailey commented that Ms. Coonan doesn t know whether you re in or out. G. Additionally at the hearing, Judge Bailey expressed concerns about Respondent s failure to attend duly noticed court hearings, and the resulting delay caused by his absences. Judge Bailey found that Respondent did not understand what is going on, and found that arguments made by Respondent in court documents did not indicate a basic understanding of the Rules of Civil Procedure. H. Furthermore, Judge Bailey struck Coonan s Amended pro se complaint because of Respondent s failure to sign it, and directed Respondent to file a notice of appearance in the matter, because he had yet to do so. Moreover, Judge Bailey indicated that she would report this matter to The Florida Bar. I. On or about December 3, 2010, Coonan advised Respondent that she wished to discharge his services, and demanded that he withdraw from the
7 case. Coonan attributed Respondent s failure to communicate with her about her case, and his filing of fraudulent pleadings, as the reasons for her request. IV. COSTS: The Respondent shall pay the costs of this matter which are: Administrative costs Rule 3-7.6(q). $ T O T A L $ Failure to pay the above costs will render Respondent delinquent and ineligible to practice law, pursuant to Rule of The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, unless costs are deferred by the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. V. EFFECT OF DIVERSION: Diversion to a practice and professionalism enhancement program shall close this disciplinary file without the imposition of a disciplinary sanction and diversion shall not constitute a record of professional misconduct. If Respondent successfully completes the diversion recommended hereunder, this disciplinary file shall remain closed. VI. EFFECT OF FAILURE TO COMPLETE DIVERSION PROGRAM: Failure of the Respondent to successfully complete all requirements of the practice and professionalism enhancement program(s) to which the Respondent is referred shall:
8 (a) (b) constitute a waiver of the right to an evidentiary hearing herein; result in the entry of a finding of minor misconduct predicated upon the facts set forth in section I above; (c) constitute a waiver of any right to reject or appeal the imposition of minor misconduct; (d) require Respondent, upon reasonable notice, to appear before the board of governors for imposition of the admonishment of minor misconduct and payment of costs stated herein; and (e) result in a finding of contempt in violation of the Supreme Court Order approving the conditions set forth in the Consent Judgment for Diversion in this cause. DATED this day of, Hon. JOHN W. THORNTON, JR., Referee Circuit Court Judge Eleventh Judicial Circuit Dade County Courthouse 73 West Flagler Street, Room 817 Miami, Florida 33130
9 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I HEREBY CERTIFY that the original of the foregoing Report of Referee Recommending Diversion to a Practice and Professionalism Enhancement Program was mailed to the Honorable Thomas D. Hall, Clerk, Supreme Court of Florida, 500 South Duval Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399; and a true and correct copy was mailed to Richard B. Marx, Attorney for Respondent, at his record bar address of 66 West Flagler Street, 2 nd Floor, Miami, Florida 33130, and to Jennifer R. Falcone Moore, Bar Counsel, The Florida Bar, 444 Brickell Avenue, Suite M-100, Miami, Florida 33131, on this day of July, Hon. JOHN W. THORNTON, JR., Referee Circuit Court Judge