FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Circuit Court for
Collier County; Christine Greider, Judge.
Raymond L. Bass, Jr. of Bass Law Office, Naples, for
S. Adrien of Law Offices of Adrien & Richards, Hollywood,
Goff, the former husband, petitions for a writ of certiorari
seeking review of the trial court's order disqualifying
his attorney, Raymond Bass, from representing him in a
postdissolution proceeding involving his former wife, Heather
Goff. Because the trial court's order departed from the
essential requirements of the law, we grant the petition and
quash the order.
parties were married on May 9, 1999. The former wife filed a
petition for dissolution of marriage on February 29, 2016.
After a final judgment of dissolution of marriage was entered
on July 7, 2017, the former wife filed three postjudgment
motions: a Motion to Enforce Final Judgment, a Motion for
Assets Awarded, and a Motion for Respondent to Remove Assets.
Mr. Bass filed a notice of appearance on behalf of the former
Bass has known the former husband since he was born and met
the former wife while she was dating the former husband.
Throughout the years, Mr. Bass has given the parties legal
advice regarding various issues. Mr. Bass represented the
former husband in a personal injury case that lasted several
years. He also represented the former wife in a
family-related dispute regarding a debt owed to her by her
sister and brother-in-law.
former wife filed a motion to disqualify Mr. Bass as the
former husband's attorney. Her motion was based on rule
4-1.9, Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, which governs
conflicts of interests with former clients. In her motion,
the former wife alleged that Mr. Bass has confidential
information about the parties' finances. The motion also
made reference to Mr. Bass being listed as a trial witness
for the former husband in the pretrial catalog of the
Bass responded to the former wife's allegations in an
affidavit, alleging that he consulted with the former wife on
one occasion on a legal matter that had nothing to do with
the dissolution proceeding. Mr. Bass also alleged that he has
not obtained any confidential information about any matter
involving their marriage. He explained that he was listed as
a witness in the dissolution proceeding "for the purpose
of establishing the circumstances of how the former husband
obtained his home from his father and his sister following
the death of his grandfather." He was neither served
with a subpoena nor called to testify at trial.
trial court conducted a hearing on the former wife's
motion. On cross-examination, the former wife admitted that
she had made a complete disclosure of her personal finances
during the dissolution proceeding. The trial court
subsequently entered an order disqualifying Mr. Bass as
counsel for the former husband. The trial court relied on
Furman v. Furman, 233 So.3d 1280 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018)
and cited to rule 4-1.7 but made no mention of rule 4-1.9,
upon which the former wife's motion was
of counsel is 'an extraordinary remedy that should be
used most sparingly.'" Bon Secours-Maria Manor
Nursing Care Ctr., Inc. v. Seaman, 959 So.2d 774, 775
(Fla. 2d DCA 2007) (quoting Akrey v. Kindred Nursing
Ctrs. E., L.L.C., 837 So.2d 1142, 1144 (Fla. 2d DCA
2003)). Because an order disqualifying counsel denies a
party's right to choose one's counsel, it is a
material injury that cannot be remedied on appeal.
Id. As such, certiorari is the appropriate vehicle
to review an order disqualifying counsel. Alto Constr.
Co., Inc. v. Flagler Constr. Equip., LLC, 22 So.3d 726,
727 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009) (citing AlliedSignal Recovery Tr.
v. AlliedSignal, Inc., 934 So.2d 675, 677 (Fla. 2d DCA
standard of review for orders disqualifying counsel is
whether the trial court abused its discretion. See Young
v. Achenbauch, 136 So.3d 575, 580-81 (Fla. 2014);
see also Kaplan v. Divosta Homes, L.P., 20 So.3d
459, 461 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009). "While the trial
court's discretion is limited by the applicable legal
principles, the appellate court will not substitute its
judgment for the trial court's express or implied
findings of fact which are supported by competent substantial
evidence." Applied Dig. Sols., Inc. v. Vasa,
941 So.2d 404, 408 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006). To be entitled to a
writ of certiorari, a petitioner must establish that the
trial court departed from the essential requirements of law.
Furman, 233 So.3d at 1282.
Florida Rules of Professional Conduct provide the standard
for determining whether counsel should be disqualified in a
given case." Young, 136 So.3d at 580 (citing
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