Florida personal injury attorney who owes clients $396,000 is essentially disbarred

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Posted July 10

MIAMI — A Tallahassee personal injury attorney who was already on emergency suspension for failing to turn over records from his trust account while the Florida Bar investigated client grievances has decided, officially, to drop out.

Gus Soto, of the Soto Injury Law Firm, 65 and admitted to the bar in 1984, gave up his career seeking disciplinary dismissal without permission to seek readmission. Soto’s request, which was granted by the state Supreme Court, also says he will waive $396,931 in restitution to five clients who allege Soto misappropriated their settlement funds.

As the state Supreme Court put it, “Disciplinary removal is equivalent to disbarment. ” The lawyer requests the action, either with authorization to reintroduce in five years, or without authorization to reintroduce in five years. In matters of professional discipline, the pending disciplinary cases disappear. The disciplinary revocation does not however have any effect on any civil or criminal action matters arising from the actions of the lawyer.

The state Supreme Court suspended Soto in May after the Law Society’s subpoenas for records from January 1, 2018 through August 31, 2021 failed to produce “records for the Regions Bank Trust Account of ( Soto), closing statements, settlement agreements, customer records, and documentation evidencing the location of remaining customer settlement fund balances. »

A total of seven grievances were filed. Soto’s request and the state Supreme Court’s acceptance of that request indicates that, in 60 days, Soto must pay $86,500.00 to David Wofford; $20,000.00 to Tevin McCollough on behalf of the Estate of Velma Bickers; $146,189.63 to James Surber; $137,875.00 to Daniel Hirsh; and $6,367.00 to William Nealy.

– David J. Neal Miami Herald (TNS)

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