Miami Attorney Bernardo Roman Permanently Disbarred by Florida Supreme Court

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The case dates back to a years-old feud involving multiple bar complaints against the attorneys involved. It involves lawsuits that Roman filed in state and federal court against Miami attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein on behalf of the Miccosukee Tribe.

Miami Attorney Bernardo Roman Permanently Disbarred by Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court ordered the permanent disbarment of embattled Miami attorney Bernardo Roman, former counsel for the Miccosukee Tribe.

The high court’s ruling is the culmination of several years’ worth of controversy and litigation involving Roman and attorneys from the Lewis Tein law firm in Miami.

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It followed a finding of guilt and a recommendation of disbarment by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dava Tunis, who served as court-appointed referee in Florida Bar disciplinary case against Roman.

“The uncontested report of the referee is approved and respondent is permanently disbarred,” the high court ordered in a decision issued July 12.

The case dates back to a years-old feud involving multiple bar complaints against the attorneys involved. It involves lawsuits that Roman filed in state and federal court against Miami attorneys Guy Lewis and Michael Tein on behalf of the Miccosukee Tribe.

The Lewis Tein law firm had once represented the tribe, but Roman’s filings alleged the attorneys billed the client for millions of dollars in “fictitious, excessive, exorbitant and unsubstantiated legal fees.” The suits also alleged that attorneys Lewis and Tein had conspired with then-Miccosukee Chairman Billie Cypress to receive kickbacks.

A federal judge dismissed sanctioned Roman for filing frivolous litigation and dismissed the case against the Lewis Tein firm, which in turn filed suit, accusing Roman and the Miccosukee tribe of seeking to dismantle the Lewis Tein law firm.

The events led to Florida Bar disciplinary cases. Tunis, the referee in the bar’s case against Roman, recommended that the high court find Roman guilty of violating 14 Florida Bar rules. The judge also recommended that the state Supreme Court, which has the last word on attorney discipline in Florida, order Roman to compensate Lewis Tein and its partners $562,264 in legal fees.

Roman subsequently filed for bankruptcy.

Roman’s Florida Bar file lists him as an attorney in good standing but with disbarment pending. Roman has been given 30 days from the date of the state Supreme Court’s ruling to close out his practice and notify clients.

Tein declined to comment, and Lewis did not respond to requests for comment. Their lawyer, Paul Calli, said Roman “soiled the legal profession.”

“His illegal and unethical acts on behalf of (plaintiffs) Collie Billie and the tribe were extraordinarily corrosive to the rule of law. Though the near daily public attacks were vicious, Guy and Mike maintained a sense of integrity and character that made representing them a privilege,” Calli wrote in an email message. “We greatly appreciate the hard work and uncompromising dedication of the Florida Bar and the referee.”

Roman did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

 

law.com