Maris lawyers cleared of improper conduct

Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 11:52 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 11:52 a.m.

OCALA -- A jubilant Willie Gary embraced coworkers, his lawyers and members of the Maris family this morning after Circuit Judge Brian D. Lambert dismissed a 10-count Florida Bar complaint against him and partner Madison McClellan.

"I'm just happy that it's over," Gary said afterward. "Never once did I think that the system would fail us."

McClellan expressed relief the case was over.

"Hopefully, this will never happen to another lawyer," he said.

The complaint accused Gary and McClellan of improper conduct during a 2001 trial in which they represented local beer distributor Maris Distributing in a civil case in Gainesville against brewing giant Anheuser-Busch.

Lambert agreed with Gary's lawyers that the Bar failed to meet the required standard of "clear and convincing" evidence against Gary and McClellan. The judge made no statement other than to dismiss all counts of the complaint.

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