1. News

Foreclosure attorney Mark Stopa challenges his emergency suspension

Foreclosure attorney Mark Stopa, shown here at a court hearing in April, was suspended from practicing law Friday by the Florida Supreme Court, though he quickly challenged the action. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times
Published Jul. 27, 2018

As expected, the Florida Supreme Court on Friday suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa from practicing law although he quickly challenged the action.

In a motion filed by his attorney, Stopa said the Florida Bar had known about some of the new complaints against him for more than a year but never rendered a finding of probable cause or took other steps to resolve the allegations.

Moreover, the motion said, a judge took no action against Stopa even though she told the Bar she had "reason to believe'' he had instructed a client to lie in a trial before her.

EARLIER THIS WEEK: Florida Bar wants emergency suspension of foreclosure lawyer Mark Stopa

"It strains credulity that this subject raises an emergency justifying an ex parte suspension considering the lack of action taken by the circuit judge for over two years and similar inertia by the Florida Bar and Grievance Committee 6B for more than 16 months,'' Stopa's lawyer, Scott Tozian, said in the motion.

The motion also noted that 10 judges had "testified glowingly of (Stopa's) superior legal abilities and ethical behavior'' in hearings this spring on the initial complaints against him.

JUDGE: Attorney Mark Stopa 'clearly has emotional problem,' shouldn't be disbarred

The Bar sought the emergency suspension on the grounds that Stopa, one of Florida's best-known foreclosure defense lawyers, posed "great harm'' to the public by continuing the kinds of misconduct that already had led to a recommendation he be suspended for a year.

Among the new allegations were that Stopa settled cases without the knowledge or permission of clients and that he failed to tell one client of his ownership stake in a company to which she deeded her house.

In the motion, Stopa asks the high court to dissolve the emergency suspension or appoint a referee to consider his request. As it now stands, he cannot accept any new clients and must stop representing existing clients within 30 days.

Stopa's name will be removed from his law firm and other attorneys will take over his pending cases, which number in the hundreds.

"The firm can continue in the ownership of other people, and hopefully they can put their finger in the dike,'' Tozian said. "There's no question he's the warhorse, and there are going to be transition pains.''

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate


  1. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.
  2. A still image from a 2014 video of Granville Ritchie's interrogation with Temple Terrace detectives the day after 9-year-old Felecia Williams vanished. He is now on trial for her murder. JAMAL THALJI  |  [Photo courtesy of WTVT-Ch. 13]
    Jurors watched his interrogation the day after Felecia Williams was last seen in 2014. “This situation is very complicated for me,” he told police.
  3. Tampa investor and owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning Jeff Vinik, right, speaks about his investments in the video game industry at the eSports Summit Wednesday in Tampa as Matt Samost, Vice President of New Ventures for Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment looks on. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A summit at USF brought together major players and explored the possibility of an esports arena.
  4. Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. Courtesy of Lynn Cristina
    My husband and I usually divide and conquer on the parenting front — and I was a man down.
  5. Falo Kane, 32, of Clearwater, now faces four counts of sexual battery of a physically helpless person and a violation of probation charge, according to police. [CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT]  |  Clearwater Police Department
    Falo Kane now faces a total of seven counts of sexual battery of a physically helpless person.
  6. Female driver texting on mobile phone while driving. STAR TRIBUNE  |  baona/Star Tribune/TNS
    Police are choosing to issue warnings instead of tickets — so far.
  7. 7-Eleven Inc. is opening its first location in a Brandon mall. Pictured is a location in Port Richey in 2018. | [Times (2018) TYLISA JOHNSON | TIMES  |  TyLisa Johnson | Times
    It is the first of eight mall locations opening this year.
  8. Pedro Davila, 27, was arrested in Pasco County three weeks after he robbed a New York City jewelry store, authorities said. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    Pedro Davila was taken into custody on a rural stretch of roadway, three weeks after he and two others held up a store, authorities said.
  9. The State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville announced Wednesday that Donald Hugh Davidson Jr. had waived his right to a jury trial after pleading guilty. Photo from video/News4JAX
    Prosecutors said Davidson entered Roseann Welsh’s Middleburg home and strangled and stabbed her.
  10. Hurricane Dorian evacuees wait for family and friends to arrive after evacuating on the Grand Celebration cruise ship from Freeport, a city in the Grand Bahamas on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 in Riviera Beach. The cruise ship transported hundreds of evacuees seeking passage from Freeport after the damaged caused by Hurricane Dorian. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    The Bahamians who arrived Wednesday from Freeport say they will temporarily stay with relatives or friends before traveling back.