Florida Supreme Court Puts Mark Stopa Suspension Into Effect Immediately
The Florida Supreme Court made the Mark Stopa suspension official on Friday. The suspension prevents St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa from practicing law or signing new clients. He must also stop representing existing clients within 30 days.
Stopa’s name must also be removed from his law firm and other attorneys will take over hundreds of pending cases.
Stopa’s lawyer, Scott Tozian told The Tampa Bay Times:
Stopa’s attorney contested the suspension by saying the Florida Bar had known about Stopa allegedly instructing a client to lie in court for more than a year. Yet, they never rendered a finding of probable cause or took other steps to resolve the allegations.
The Florida Bar also claimed Stopa settled cases without the knowledge or permission of clients. They also claim Stopa failed to tell one client of his ownership stake in a company to which she deeded her house.
Tozian also stated the judge took no action against Stopa:
It strains credulity that this subject raises an emergency justifying an ex parte suspension considering the lack of action taken by the circuit judge for over two years and similar inertia by the Florida Bar and Grievance Committee 6B for more than 16 months.
The motion also noted that several judges had testified to superior legal abilities and ethical behavior.
The Bar sought the emergency suspension on the grounds that Stopa posed great harm to the public.