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Morgan R. Bentley

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in Sarasota, FL

Bentley Goodrich Kison, P.A.
783 South Orange Avenue, Suite 300
Sarasota, FL 34236-4702
Phone: 941-556-9037
Fax: 941-312-5316
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2011 - 2022
Licensed in Florida Since: 1992
Practice Areas: Business Litigation, Land Use/Zoning
Attorney Profile

Morgan R. Bentley is the founder of The Bentley Law Firm P.A.  that is based in Sarasota, Florida. A highly regarded trial attorney, he focuses the majority of his practice on complex business litigation matters, and his experience extends to real estate disputes, including land use and zoning. Mr. Bentley attended the University of Florida as an undergraduate, where he majored in economics and received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in 1988. Upon his graduation, he was inducted into The Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Mr. Bentley remained in Gainesville in order to pursue his legal education at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. While he was there, he was an associate editor of the Florida Law Review before being awarded his Juris Doctor with honors and being inducted into the Order of the Coif in 1992.

After he graduated from law school, Mr. Bentley joined a well-known Sarasota law firm, and he spent nearly 20 years there before helping to found Bentley & Bruning, P.A., in August 2011. He has received numerous honors and awards from his fellow members of the bar in recognition of his superb track record in and out of the courtroom, including an AV Preeminent* peer review rating through Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, Mr. Bentley has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, and he has been named to Florida Trend magazine’s annual Florida Legal Elite list.

Admitted to practice in Florida since 1992, Mr. Bentley is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Florida and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Active in a variety of professional and civic organizations, he is a former president of the Sarasota County Bar Association and a former member of the board of governors of The Florida Bar.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice Areas
  • 90%Business Litigation
  • 10%Land Use/Zoning


12 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2011 - 2022

Certificates and Credentials

About Morgan R. Bentley

First Admitted: 1992, Florida

Professional Webpage:

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Leadership Sarasota, 2006 – 2007
  • Florida Commission of Ethics, Member, 2010 – 2014
  • 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Florida Commissions of Ethics, Vice Chair, 2012 – 2013
  • Florida Commission of Ethics, Chair, 2013 – 2014
  • Member, Executive Council of Florida Bar’s General Practice Section
  • Chair, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee
  • Past Chairman, Florida Commission on Ethics
  • Middle District of Florida
  • Florida
  • President, Sarasota County Bar Association; Member, Florida  Bar Young Lawyer Board of Governors; President; Sarasota County Young Lawyers Division; Chair, Grievance Committee; Life Fellow, ABA Foundation.

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Tiger Bay of Sarasota, Treasurer, 2016 – Present
  • Tiger Bay of Sarasota, Board of Directors, 2014 – Present
  • Tiger Bay of Sarasota, Immediate Past Chairman, 2016 – Present
  • Past Chair, Manatee County Chamber of Commerce School Issues Committee
  • Director of the Cotillion Club of Sarasota
  • President Legal Aid of Manasota Fellow, Florida Bar Foundation Gold and Silver Service Award Florida Bar Distinguished Service Award  Board Member Nate's Honor Animal Rescue Vice Chair Tiger Bay of Sarasota; Bay Area Legal Services Board of Directors


  • Five Year Pro Bono Award Winner by Legal Aid of Manasota
  • Silver Service Pro Bono Recognition by Florida Supreme Court
  • Martindale-Hubbell’s highest AV rating in 2004
  • Best Lawyer in America, Best Lawyers
  • Gold Service Pro Bono Recognition by Florida Supreme Court
  • Gulf Coast Business Review 40 Under 40 Recipient
  • Florida Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine
  • Legal Up and Comer and Legal Elite, Florida Trend Magazine
  • Awarded to one person in Twelfth Circuit for outstanding pro bono services, Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Award; Sarasota County Distinguished Service Award
  • Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney for Sarasota and Manatee Counties, Legal Aid of Manasota


  • FCCI v. National Union Fire, PRACTICE AREA: Insurance. DATE: July 24. 1998. OUTCOME: Doctrine to apply as between insurer and insured. DESCRIPTION: Underlying case involved seven figure reinsurance claim with AIG subsidiary National Union Issue
  • Thrasher v. Arida, PRACTICE AREA: Real Estate. DATE: November 7, 2003. OUTCOME: Trial Court reversed in favor of client. DESCRIPTION: Challenge to entry of summary judgment against client on issue of easement rights across property
  • FCCI v. National Union Fire, PRACTICE AREA: Litigation. DATE: November 6, 1998. OUTCOME: Trial Court decision upheld in client’s favor. DESCRIPTION: Trail Court set aside judgment based on newly discovered evidence and appeal taken by AIG
  • Maple Manor v. City of Sarasota, PRACTICE AREA: Civil Rights. DATE: April 3, 2002. OUTCOME: Trial Court decision in favor of City reversed due to City’s failure to provide procedural due process to owner. DESCRIPTION: Challenge to City Nuisance Abatement Board imposition of fines and other terms on landlord
  • FCCI v. Cayce’s Excavation, PRACTICE AREA: Insurance. DATE: April 27, 2005. OUTCOME: Trial Court decision reversed in favor of client. DESCRIPTION: Challenge to Trial Court judgment of estoppel against Insurance carrier
  • Sarasota County v. Bow Point Developers, PRACTICE AREA: Land Use/Zoning. DATE: October 26, 2007. OUTCOME: Trial Court decision upheld in client’s favor. DESCRIPTION: Challenge to County decision to close waterfront hotel due to alleged abandonment
  • Brivik v. Law, PRACTICE AREA: Malicious Prosecution, Civil Rights. DATE: October 16, 2013. OUTCOME: Upheld trial court’s dismissal of claims against witnesses to fraud claim prosecution
  • Eric Hackney et. al v. Scott Niedecken et. al, PRACTICE AREA: Partnerships. DATE: March 14, 2014. OUTCOME: Upheld verdict defending business founder from claims of ownership by alleged partner
  • McCann Holdings Ltd, v. SDC Communities et. al, PRACTICE AREA: Land Use, tortious interference, local government rights. DATE: April 28, 2017. OUTCOME: Upheld trial court overturning of $20 million verdict against developers participating in comprehensive planning process

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • “Effects of Equitable Estoppel and Substantial Deviations to Vested Rights in DRI Projects: A New Approach” 43 Florida Law Review 4 (September 1991) “Quasi-Judicial Review of Re-zoning Decisions and Local Government Home Rule Power: Can They be Reconciled?” 57 Florida Bar Journal 53 (January 1993) (Winner of Dean Frank E. Maloney Memorial Writing Competition – 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). Editor, To The Point bi-monthly (May 1994 - May 1998) firm newsletter on land use and environmental issues distributed to over 120 clients. Published quarterly May 1998 - May 2000. Editor and writer, The Docket, Sarasota County Bar Association. Monthly 8-12 page newspaper distributed to Sarasota County Bar. (Editor May-August 1995, Writer, August 1994 - September 2001) Editor, General Practice Journal, General Practice Section, Florida Bar, Quarterly  publication (1999- 2002). Numerous articles for local publications and Firm newsletters.  
  • Basic Personal Injury Litigation – Moderator, Florida Bar CLE
  • Basic Evidence – Moderator, Florida Bar CLE
  • Practicing with Professionalism, Florida Bar CLE
  • Arbitration: Newsletter, Panacea of Problematic, 2006
  • A Victory for Manatee County Property Owners: Newsletter, If you own real estate in Manatee County, this ruling could affect you, 2005

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Board Certification Business Litigation

Educational Background

  • University of Florida B.A. Economics Phi Beta Kappa, Florida Blue Key Leadership Honorary, 1988

Other Outstanding Achievements

  • Florida Commission on Ethics; Chair 2013, Vice Chair 2012, 2010
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Office Location for Morgan R. Bentley

783 South Orange Avenue
Suite 300
Sarasota, FL 34236-4702

Phone: 941-556-9037

Fax: 941-312-5316

Last Updated: 5/15/2022

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