September 1, 2014

Florida Law

The Hank Adorno Suit

Art Levy | 1/1/2011

Hank Adorno
Hank Adorno
The case that lead to Hank Adorno’s suspension began in the 1990s, when Miami imposed a fire rescue fee on property owners. In 1998, a group of property owners filed a class-action suit to overturn the fee. Four years later, the Florida Supreme Court declared a similar fee unconstitutional, meaning that Miami’s law was unconstitutional, too, and the city had wrongfully collected $90 million in fire rescue fees.

In 2004, Adorno participated in settlement meetings with the city that resulted in a small group of his clients getting $7 million, although his clients had only actually paid $93,000 in fire rescue fees. Later, city officials said they felt misled by Adorno because they thought they were settling the case for everyone and not just Adorno’s small group of clients. The $7-million settlement was invalidated in 2006, but Adorno appealed, and the legal wrangling continued, eventually leading to his suspension.

George Yoss, Adorno’s partner, says the suspension “flabbergasted” him because, at worst, he expected that the Florida Supreme Court would follow another judge’s recommendation to impose a public reprimand.

“There’s a big difference between a public reprimand and a suspension.” Yoss says. “I respectfully disagree with the court.”

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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