Another Strems Law Firm Attorney Suspended by Florida Supreme Court
Fallout from the infamous Strems Law Firm’s litigation practices in Florida continues.
Two years after Coral Gables plaintiffs’ attorney Scot Strems was suspended from practice for filing thousands of unnecessary lawsuits against property insurers and violating other Bar rules, and two years after the Florida Bar filed a complaint against another attorney with the firm, the state Supreme Court has suspended the lawyer for 91 days.
Gregory Saldamando, 39, represented a South Florida couple in a sinkhole damage claim against American Integrity Insurance Co., after a claims adjuster had the couple sign a retainer agreement with the Strems firm, the Bar explained.
“Saldamando did not adequately involve the clients in the settlement process and did not apprise them of the total settlement amount or the amount that Saldamando intended to take as the firm’s fee, which was substantially higher than the amount the clients would obtain,” reads a summary of the Bar’s case against the attorney, posted this week.
Saldamando also did not provide the clients with any invoices or substantiation of the fees claimed by the firm. And although Saldamando withdrew as counsel before settling the case, the Strems firm took $30,000 from the final settlement obtained by new counsel, for fees and costs.
A judicial referee appointed to hear Saldamando’s disciplinary case recommended in April 2021 only that he be publicly reprimanded and that he reimburse the Bar $8,100 for its investigative costs. Referee Dawn Denaro, who normally works as a children’s court judge in Miami, said that Saldamando did not appear to have a selfish or dishonest motive and had taken steps to resolve the fee dispute with the clients.
But the Florida Supreme Court, as it has done several times in the last year, overruled the referee and imposed the 91-day suspension, plus the cost reimbursement. The court said in its March 31 order that Saldamando had violated three Bar rules of professional conduct.
The court said it “disapproves the referee’s recommendation as to discipline, and instead imposes a ninety-one day suspension from the practice of law, effective thirty days from the date of this order so that respondent can close out his practice and protect the interests of existing clients,” reads the order, endorsed by all seven justices.
Saldamando and his attorneys could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. The Strems law firm was closed in late 2020, but several of its attorneys moved to another South Florida firm, Bar officials have said.
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