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Florida Bar v. Neale

384 So. 2d 1264 (1980)

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Florida Bar v. Neale

Florida Supreme Court

384 So. 2d 1264 (1980)

Facts

William Neale (defendant) represented Mrs. Mitchell in a personal-injury matter arising out of a 1970 dog bite. After settlement negotiations failed, Neale filed suit on Mitchell’s behalf in 1973. Shortly before the scheduled trial date, Neale learned that the dog had a history of biting, which meant that punitive damages might be available. Neale moved to amend the complaint to add a claim for punitive damages, and the court denied the motion. Believing that the claim was subject to a four-year statute of limitations, Neale took a voluntary nonsuit with Mitchell’s consent and filed a second lawsuit. However, the statute of limitations was three years, and the court entered judgment against Mitchell because the second claim was filed after the statute of limitations had expired. The Florida Bar (bar) (plaintiff) initiated a grievance proceeding against Neale, arguing that his lack of preparation and failure to discover the dog’s propensity to bite violated attorney disciplinary rules. A referee recommended that Neale be sanctioned, and Neale appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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