Remembering Samuel Perry Penland ,a simple defense
I didnít hear of the passing of S. Perry Penland for some months, we had become estranged. When I read his obituary, I was offended. I think he would have felt the same way. His children loved him, his wife loved him, so did his dog-- bla, bla, bla. It described a vanilla flavored bureaucrat, not a man with the intelligence and the power to make things change.. The obituary said nothing of his excellence or his ability to teach young lawyers to be excellent. Penland was Oliver Wendell Holmes with just a little Fagan mixed in.
Penland once represented me. His passing has allowed lawyers with less moral character to move in and try to recapture their loss, but they cannot. Among the hundred or so lawyers I have worked with in eleven years, none has come close to the mental toughness he showed. Mr. Penland had little to gain from his representation of me, but generosity was always one of his greatest qualities: a quality which often hurt him.
When he first appeared in our life, the bad guys were coming up fast. A now defunct Ghetto insurance company had filed a two hundred page bill of particulars accusing me of the theft of $126 from thirty six thousand individual collections I made in three months. The company hired a big gun who coached state officers. He claimed, for his client, that I refused to account for monies owed, and was therefore unfit to work in the practice of insurance. Private council orchestrated everything. Attorney Rhoda Kibler, representing the Department of Insurance, ask the company to discontinue their assault, but Ghetto Mutual persisted in it's private prosecution.
To me, this was Penland's defining moment. The presentation was simple, understated, and elegant. The entire case file should be studied by every law student. It should be on the test. This was also be the defining moment for the hired gun. By agreement, I can not disclose what motivated the insurance company unless it occurs in a legal context, I wish I could.
When the twelve hour hearing ended, there was no doubt I had been exonerated. I was still concerned because we knew nothing of the writing skills of Judge Pollock or his inclinations. My worry was unfounded. His twelve page opinion used simple and obvious data, Judge Pollack found that the insurance company owed me money, several hundred dollars. They had not accounted for and have never paid the money. Judge Pollack repeatedly addressed the complaint in simple and penetrating ways. For example,
Mr. Baucom's feeble effort to paint the Respondent in the picture of an embezzler fell far short of its intended goal, in light of all the other testimony and the paucity of any showing that Miller was dishonest.
The Florida Division of Administrative hearings recently posted the written opinion on their web site. Perhaps it will explain the rest. But, no one has listed the effects of that hearing, so I will.
An insurance executive retired, so did a district manager. Seventeen members of the Department of Insurance decided to change jobs. The State Insurance Commissioner gave up his campaign for the United States Senate. The insurance company dumped its intercity business and sold its fifty million dollar building. This marked the end of a system that allowed the use of the office of the Insurance Commissioner for a personal vengeance. Soon, similar insurance businesses in Florida would fail. As for me, after an appropriate apprenticeship, I got a masters degree and became an expert witness.
Penland was no vanilla flavored bureaucrat, he was a man that changed things..
Barrett Chambers Miller MEd, OHST
Afterward: It's too bad Penland didn't live to see this guy when he was finally caught, Penland didn't like his type.See: OffenderFlyer.asp.htm
And counterfeit Lawyers hcarter.htm
And Ethical Monsters