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How would I file a Motion to Disqualify opposing counsel?

Tampa, FL |

Family law case where opposing counsel consulted with me years ago about this very same case. I filed a motion to disqualify opposing counsel and cited my reason as indicated above. No hearing was held but I recieved the order from the judge today and he denied my motion but it said this "the motion to disqualify is legally insufficient and should be handled in the proper forum, therefore, denied. " What does the judge mean by this. He also ordered mediation again even though we already went to mediation and could not agree. It was the court mediation which was cheap compared to the private mediator that is appointed now. How many times can he make us go to mediation?

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Attorney answers 2


You didn't come out and say so, but it sounds to me like you are appearing and representing yourself pro se. I'm attaching an article below that seems to indicate that the motion you made is very difficult and that the conflicts of interest must be clear and compelling and not a mere technical "gotcha" that an attorney happened to represent one of the parties before.

The article mentions a "clear and compelling" burden of proof, which is a high burden. This is likely what the Judge probably had in mind by calling your motion "legally insufficient".

The article seems to suggest this burden of proof is high and a failed effort to make this motion may damage your credibility more than making the motion is worth, given the low probability of success.

I'm not sure what the Court meant by wrong forum, and am not a Florida attorney, so he many have meant this motion should have been made in a different court or before a different judge (e.g. superior court judge vs. family court judge vs. support magistrate vs. appellate court or state bar ethics committee, etc., it's hard to say, perhaps a FL attorney can make a better guess than me on this point.

The article below, however, suggests that this kind of motion is far from straightforward and should only be attempted, if at all, by a skilled litigation attorney and not by a pro se litigant. Would you do surgery on a family member after reading an article about a disease on Web M.D. It's kind of like that, or "closed course - professional driver" or "don't try this trick at home" warnings.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


p.s. If I had to guess after reading this article, I'd say your motion failed primarily because of the facts stated that the lawyer represented you "years ago". The article suggests that its only a conflict if the opposing counsel or his law firm represents you on the same matter at the present time.


I'm licensed in California although I tend to agree. If you're representing yourself, you might not have presented the salient facts to the judge in a manner that the judge could rule in your favor. Great advice by learned counsel on this forum. A consultation with a family law lawyer licensed in your state ought to answer your questions. If you want to file a motion for reconsideration or similar motion, you do have certain timelines in hich to file per Florida statutes and local rules. I wouldn't dawdle and would call a Florida lawyer who can advise you.

Good luck.

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