June 5, 2008
Office of Governor Charlie Crist
State of Florida
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001
Re: Complaint against Special Counsel for the Judicial Qualifications Commission -
Lauri Waldman Ross
Dear Governor Crist:
This is a letter of complaint about Special Counsel to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, Lauri Waldman Ross. Ms. Ross represents attorney Marc Cooper in the defense of a legal malpractice lawsuit, Case No. 99-21062 CA 15, brought on behalf of myself, my husband, Norman Lanson, and our corporation, Baron’s Stores, Inc. The Honorable Jeri Beth Cohen is now presiding over the case.
On February 4, 2008, Ms. Ross joined in a Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of her client. The Motion for Summary Judgment is supported by two documents entitled First Amended Plan of Liquidation and First Amended Disclosure Statement. I hired a Forensic Document Expert who has sworn, under oath, that these documents are falsified documents. On May 15, 2008, I filed the Forensic Document Expert Report in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami Dade County. All interested parties received the Expert Report, including Ms. Ross. Ms. Ross has not obtained an opposite opinion from any other expert, nor has she attempted to refute the Plaintiffs’ Expert’s finding. Additionally, the defendants, Ms. Ross, and defendants co-counsels, have not withdrawn their Motion supported by these falsified documents.
This submission of, and continued reliance on, a falsified document, is a violation of the following Florida Bar Rule:
Florida Bar Rule 4-3.3 Candor Toward the Tribunal states:
False evidence: Upon ascertaining that material evidence is false, the lawyer should seek to persuade the client that the evidence should not be offered, or, if it has been offered that its false character should immediately be disclosed. If the persuasion is ineffective, the lawyer must take remedial measures. If necessary to rectify the situation, an advocate must disclose the existence of the client’s deception to the court. If perjured testimony or false evidence has been offered, the advocate’s proper course ordinarily is to remonstrate with the client confidentially. If that fails, the advocate should seek to withdraw if
that will remedy the situation. If withdrawal will not remedy the
situation or is impossible and the advocate determines that disclosure is the only measure that will avert fraud on the court the advocate should make disclosure to the court.
Rule 4-3.3(a)(4) prohibits a lawyer from offering false evidence and requires the lawyer to take reasonable remedial measures when false material evidence has been offered.
Rule 4-3.4(b) prohibits a lawyer from fabricating evidence or assisting a witness to testify falsely.
Ms. Ross is Special Counsel to the Judicial Qualifications Commission. She cannot sit on that Commission, in my opinion, and violate the above-noted rules.
Ms. Ross has ensnarled Judge Jeri Beth Cohen by inducing Judge Cohen to have violated Judicial Canons in support of her client, Marc Cooper, and the other attorney defendants. Judge Cohen has been fully briefed by the Plaintiffs as to the falsified documents.
Canon 3D(2) states:
A judge who receives information or has actual knowledge that substantial likelihood exists that a lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar shall take appropriate action.
Judge Cohen has actual knowledge of the submission of the documents and has actual knowledge of an Expert Report claiming the documents are falsified. Judge Cohen has violated the Judicial Canons.
As Governor of the State of Florida, your power is described in Article IV, Section 7 of the State Constitution:
Article V, Section 12, of the State Constitution creates the JQC and specifies:
Members who are not judges may be removed through the Governor’s power to suspend public officials in certain instances.
As you know, you have the power to suspend a non-judge member of the JQC, in certain instances. This may be one of those instances, and I urge you to conclude that it is, and remove Ms. Ross immediately from the JQC because of her ethical misconduct which has now involved a sitting judge.
Meryl M. Lanson
Motion for Summary Judgment
First Amended Plan of Liquidation
First Amended Disclosure Statement
Expert Witness Report by Michael G. Kessler
cc: Lauri Waldman Ross, Esq. (w/o enclosures as already in Ms. Ross’ possession)
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director JQC (with enclosures)
Friday, June 13, 2008
June 5, 2008