The Florida Bar filed an ethics complaint against attorney Daniel Kaplan, formerly of Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco Kaplan, alleging he humiliated and disparaged ex-partner Eduardo Rasco and violated a court order.
The complaint stems from the messy breakup of the firm, which was fraught with lawsuits and countersuits. On Jan. 24, 2017, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto granted Rasco a temporary injunction ordering Kaplan to refrain from making defamatory remarks against Rasco after Kaplan sent multiple emails to clients accusing Rasco of “criminal, immoral and scandalous conduct,” according to court records.
On Aug. 18, 2017, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas fined Kaplan $10,000 and granted an emergency motion for contempt for violating the court order 30 days after the January injunction was filed.
The bar complaint filed Monday also alleges misconduct under Florida Bar Rule 4-8.4 when Kaplan referred to opposing counsel Karen Haas as “that thing over there” in an unrelated case.
Miami-Dade Circuit Chief Judge Bertila Soto has been appointed as referee by the Florida Supreme Court. Soto will submit findings of fact and recommendations to the Supreme Court, which will make the final ruling on any punishment.
Though Kaplan filed the first lawsuit in 2017, seeking judicial dissolution and $15,000 in damages, a report filed later that year by special magistrate Markenzy Lapointe found Kaplan owed the firm $234,355 and fellow partner Kerry Rosenthal owed $7,784.
According to court documents, Kaplan violated the January 2017 injunction when he sent several emails to Rasco calling him a “liar and a thief,” “master gamesman,” “ungrateful liar” and “piece of trash,” among other remarks. The complaint and August court filing also say that Kaplan threatened to drag a client into the lawsuit if Rasco did not drop the defamation lawsuit against Kaplan, telling the client he would lose his job.
Since the breakup, Kaplan has formed Kaplan Loebl, a four-attorney family law firm. Kaplan referred inquiries by the Daily Business Review to his attorney, Richard Baron, who said, “I have no comment at these early stages.”
Rasco, who has formed the firm Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco with his old partners, declined to comment, saying he will be serving as a witness.
“In over 30 years of working in the law, I had never reported an attorney to the bar,” he said. “Judge Cueto ordered me to report Kaplan to the bar.”
Read the Complaint: