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April 18, 2014

Malpractice suit against Decker dropped

Live Oak —

A lawsuit filed against Third Judicial Circuit Judge Andrew Decker III concerning alleged legal malpractice actions while working as a private attorney was dismissed April 6 with both parties agreeing to the dismissal with prejudice. 

Decker still faces formal charges that were filed against him in February by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC). 

On March 14, 2013, Union County residents Daniel Dukes and William Woodington, who were trustees with Third Circuit Judge Paul Bryan in various real estate purchases, filed a lawsuit against Decker and the law firm he ran at that time and demanded a jury trial. 

In August of 2013, the complaint was amended. That same month, Decker filed a response regarding the allegations brought against him.

On April 6, Dukes and Woodington filed a stipulation for dismissal with prejudice, which dismisses the case and cannot be reopened.

Prior to November 2010, Decker and the Decker Law Firm were retained on behalf of Dukes, Woodington and Bryan, individually and in their capacities as trustees of BWD Land Trust, for a dispute involving a mortgage and personal guarantees in favor of TD Bank.

The lawsuit

Land purchases

According to the complaint, Dukes and Woodington were involved in various real estate ventures with Judge Bryan. They all served as trustees of the BWD Land Trust.

On or about January 22, 2004, BWD purchased real property in Hamilton County. 

On or about Dec. 8, 2005, BWD purchased real property in Bradford County. 

Bradford County

In December 2010, TD Bank instituted action in Bradford County for mortgage foreclosure and upon the personal guarantees against Dukes, Woodington and Bryan individually and in their capacity as trustees of BWD. In the litigation, Decker represented all parties of BWD. 

In connection with the TD litigation, Decker and Bryan allegedly convinced Dukes and Woodington to convey their interest to Bryan under the pretense that it would avoid title issues that might arise due to judgments against Dukes and Woodington individually, according to the lawsuit. On March 17, 2011, Woodington executed a deed conveying his interest to Bryan. The following day, Dukes signed his portion over to Bryan. 

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