Morgan R. Bentley

Morgan R. Bentley

Managing Partner
Location:
Sarasota, Florida
Phone:
941-549-8963
Fax:
941-312-5316
Email:

Morgan R. Bentley concentrates his practice in the area of litigation involving business and real estate disputes. He handles both trial proceedings as well as complex arbitrations and administrative hearings.

He received his undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Florida in 1988, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Florida Blue Key Leadership Honorary. Mr. Bentley received his Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of Florida in 1992 where he served as an associate editor of the Florida Law Review and was a member of Order of the Coif. Mr. Bentley is admitted to practice in Florida State Courts, the Middle District of Florida and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Bentley is a past chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics, having been twice appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Bentley is a Past President of the Sarasota County Bar Association and a Past President of Legal Aid of Manasota. Mr. Bentley is a former member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors, Young Lawyer Division, and the Executive Council of Florida Bar's General Practice Section. He is the past chair for Manatee County Chamber of Commerce School Issues Committee, past President of the Young Lawyer Division, Sarasota County Bar Association, and a Life Fellow of the American Bar Association.

In 2008, Mr. Bentley was selected by the Florida Bar for its 2008 Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award, having previously been recognized as the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney for Sarasota and Manatee Counties by Legal Aid of Manasota.

Mr. Bentley has been recognized as a Legal Up and Comer and Legal Elite by Florida Trend magazine, was named a Florida Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine, is a Fellow of the American Bar Association Foundation, and was a Gulf Coast Business Review 40 Under 40 recipient.

Mr. Bentley was awarded Martindale-Hubbell's highest AV rating in 2004.

 

Areas of Practice

  • 95% Business Litigation
  • 5% Land Use Litigation
  • Real Estate Disputes
  • Civil Proceedings
  • Complex Arbitrations
  • Administrative Hearings

Bar Admissions

  • Florida, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1994

Education

  • University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida
    • J.D. - 1992
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Law Review: The Florida Law Review, Associate Editor, 1990 - 1992
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
    • B.A. - 1988
    • Honors: Florida Blue Key Leadership Honorary
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Honors: Phi Beta kappa
    • Major: Economics

Published Works

  • Effects of Equitable Estoppel and Substantial Deviations to Vested Rights in DRI Projects: A New Approach, Vol. 43 University of Florida Law Review No. 4, September, 1991
  • Quasi-Judicial Review of Rezoning Decisions and Local Government Home Rule Power: Can They Be Reconciled?, Florida Law Journal, January, 1992
  • Co-Author, Forms of Park Ownership: Rental v. Coop v. Condo v. Subdivision, with James L. Turner, Esq., Florida Bar CLE Seminar Mobile Home Law, April 25, 1997
  • A Victory for Manatee County Property Owners: Newsletter, If you own real estate in Manatee County, this ruling could affect you, 2005
  • Arbitration: Newsletter, Panacea of Problematic, 2006

Representative Cases

Representative Clients

  • Successfully overturned Sarasota County Ordinance imposing automatic loss of non-conforming status due to renovations lasting more than one year.
  • Successfully overturned Sarasota County Ordinance limiting development due to presence of mesic hammock on residential lots.
  • Successfully overturned City of Sarasota Nuisance Abatement Board procedures for prosecuting landlords without knowledge of violations on rental properties.
  • Obtained judgment of insurance fraud in excess of $16,300,000 on behalf of large insurance company.
  • Represented Florida Secretary of State in pre-election challenge to ballot initiative to require paper ballots.
  • Represented Florida Secretary of State in post-election challenge involving alleged miscounts by electronic voting machines.
  • Administratively prosecuted Fair Housing Act claim by mental health facility to settlement by the City of Sarasota.
  • Represented owners of nursing home in reinstatement of facility license revoked by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
  • Represented Sarasota County Sheriff Department to defeat claims of fraud in the procurement of service contracts.
  • Represented dozens of claimants in Ponzi schemes and other matters involving financial fraud.

Classes/Seminars

  • Practicing with Professionalism, Florida Bar CLE
  • Basic Evidence - Moderator, Florida Bar CLE
  • Basic Personal Injury Litigation - Moderator, Florida Bar CLE
  • Numerous local REALTOR and paralegal associations

Honors and Awards

  • Florida Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers
  • Legal Elite by Florida Trend magazine
  • Pro Bono Service Awards by Florida Bar
  • Florida Up and Comer by Super Lawyers
  • Gold Service Pro Bono Recognition by Florida Supreme Court
  • Silver Service Pro Bono Recognition by Florida Supreme Court
  • Martindale-Hubbell's highest AV rating in 2004
  • Twelfth Circuit Distinguished Service Award by Legal Aid of Manasota
  • Five Year Pro Bono Award Winner by Legal Aid of Manasota

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, Board of Directors, 2017 - Present
  • Tiger Bay of Sarasota, Vice Chair, 2016 - Present
  • Tiger Bay of Sarasota, Treasurer, 2016 - Present
  • Tiger Bay of Sarasota, Board of Directors, 2014 - Present
  • American Bar Association Foundation, Life Fellow, 2012 - Present
  • Florida Commission of Ethics, Chair, 2013 - 2014
  • Florida Commissions of Ethics, Vice Chair, 2012 - 2013
  • Florida Commission of Ethics, Member, 2010 - 2014
  • American Bar Association Foundation, Fellow, 2005 - Present
  • Legal Aid of Manasota, Past President
  • Sarasota County Bar Association, Past President
  • Leadership Sarasota, 2006 - 2007
  • Manatee County Chamber of Commerce, Committee Chair, 2001 - 2002

Past Employment Positions

  • Williams Parker Harrison Dietz and Geten, Shareholder, 1992 - 2011