Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Lawyer overcharged, Bar says
By COLLEEN JENKINS
Published June 23, 2007
TAMPA - The Florida Bar says paralegals at lawyer Dennis Hernandez's law firm provided legal advice to clients and charged excessive fees for the work.
A 54-page disciplinary complaint filed May 30 with the Florida Supreme Court lays blame for multiple allegations of suspect billing practices and dishonest conduct on Hernandez, the firm's director.
Florida Bar attorney Jodi A. Thompson said grievance committees also made two probable cause findings this month of violations committed by Hernandez and firm attorney Dennis Brian Nemeth in their handling of a Lutz woman's case.
Former clients who said they were mistreated by the firm welcomed the move.
Hernandez, who has offices in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota, was unavailable for comment Friday. His associate Matthew S. Przybycin, also named in the complaint, denied any misconduct by the firm.
"With all due respect to the Bar, we disagree with any allegation of wrongdoing, " Przybycin wrote in an e-mail.
Hernandez, whose Web site says he is a fifth-generation Tampa native, already had been dealing with personal legal troubles. He faces charges of false imprisonment and domestic battery after being accused of beating up an ex-girlfriend on New Year's Day 2006. A trial is scheduled for July 30.
Most concerns in the Bar complaint arose from the firm's Sarasota office.
The complaint cites four cases in which paralegal Harry M. Walsh Jr. portrayed himself as a lawyer. Accompanied by inexperienced attorneys, he conducted meetings, gave legal advice and billed his services at the senior associate attorney rate of $300 per hour, the complaint said.
The firm's Web site listed him under the section titled "Our Attorneys." But Walsh was not licensed to practice law in Florida. Once a lawyer in Maryland, he was prohibited from practicing there in September 2004 and was disbarred the following year.
Under the firm's policy, clients should have paid only $95 per hour for a paralegal's work, records show.
Thompson said the two recent probable cause findings will be added to the formal complaint. They stem from the case of Lynne Hajj, a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy from Lutz who paid a $7, 500 nonrefundable retainer for representation in her fight against a condo association over water damage.
She didn't get legal help from attorney Nemeth or a refund, she said Friday.
The seven clients named in the complaint tried without success to get refunds after they grew disenchanted with the law firm.
A Pinellas County judge will be appointed to hear the complaint. Punishment could range from no action to disbarment.