Florida lawyer, David J. Stern, whose law firm handled tens of thousands of foreclosure cases during the height of the financial crisis is ending his fight to hold on to his law license. The disbarment will mark the most significant punishment for the attorney’s role in falsifying documents through fake signatures and backdating records and not giving homeowners proper notice that they faced foreclosure.
In late January, the Florida Bar found probable cause for 17 counts against Stern. The alleged violations included misconduct and failure to supervise non-lawyers properly. Stern’s attorney initially said that his client had done nothing unethical and questioned if the Bar could prove his client did anything to merit punishment.
But recently, Stern’s lawyer, Jeffrey Tew, filed a one page document with the Florida Supreme Court stating that his client has decided to end his fight against recommendations that he be disbarred. A referee has also recommended that Stern pay nearly $50,000 in costs to the Florida Bar, claiming that Stern’s actions had “created chaos” in the courts.
The October report included testimony from six judges complaining about Stern and his firm’s lawyers. Judge Nancy Perez contended that Stern’s failure to exercise care was not “isolated, but rather a representation of the culture of the firm, as to the low level of competence and ethics.”