FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – While citing an alleged pattern of misconduct, The Florida Supreme Court will no longer allow a veteran attorney to practice law in Florida. He used to be based in Fort Lauderdale and represented clients for more than three decades.
Phillip Timothy Howard was admitted to the Florida Bar about a year after he graduated from Florida State University College of Law. His cases included tobacco, oil spills, and workers’ compensation injuries.
The Florida Bar filed a complaint against Howard in 2019 alleging Howard falsely portrayed the image of a “protector” while he charged “clearly unearned and excessive fees” to a “vulnerable″ client.
Jason Hall, the client, received a $613,000 settlement after a workplace accident that left him paralyzed. The client had addiction issues, got divorced in 2010, and died in a car crash in 2012, according to the complaint.
Howard was accused of repeatedly violating trust account rules.
In another case, Howard faced accusations that he “improperly” handled the attempted “hand-off” of a case involving a tobacco company and of displaying a “lack of diligence” on a probate case. J.B. Harris, a Coral Gables attorney, told The Daily Business Review on Thursday, that he represented one of Howard’s former clients.
“If you’re going to be a lawyer, you better play by the rules and respect the ethical obligations that the bar expects of you,” Harris said. “Otherwise, you’re going to get nailed.”
The court ordered Howard to pay a former client about $267,000 in restitution within six months.