Disciplinary Actions

Reinstated

The following attorneys have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Supreme Court Rule 21, which requires mandatory continuing legal education:
John Thompson Harding, Goodlettsville; Thomas Michael Leveille, Knoxville; James A. Meany III, Dalton, Ga.; Randy K. Miller, Powell; and Glen A. Wimmer, Memphis.

The following attorneys have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Section 20 of Supreme Court Rule 9, which requires the payment of annual registration fees: Rodney Victor Ahles, Lebanon; Christopher Hunter Jones, Nashville; David John Sachar, Little Rock; and Casey Fitzgerald Wilson, Nashville.

Censured

A censure declares conduct improper but does not limit the right to practice law.
  
Memphis lawyer Charles Mark Pullen received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for noncompliance with his Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program contract. The board found that noncompliance violates Rule 8.4(d) of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.

On Nov. 12, Fernando J. Ramos of Nashville received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for failing to properly and completely file a client's Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. Following the filing of a partial petition, the court clerk advised Ramos that certain schedules, statements and other required documents were missing. Ramos did subsequently file some, but not all, of the missing information. On Oct. 16, 2006, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed the case after finding that the debtor had failed to provide all required information. The board found that Ramos' failure to file the necessary documents violated Rules 1.1 and 1.3 of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.     

On Nov. 13, Nashville lawyer James Todd Faulkner was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility for misstatements made to his client and the board, and for failure to address client issues in a divorce case. The client represented in the case complained to the board that Faulkner failed to seek or obtain the client's requested name change, failed to complete a Qualified Domestic Relations Order and failed to file a counter complaint. In his response to the board, Faulkner denied the client requested a name change, stated that opposing counsel was going to prepare the order and insisted that he did file the counter complaint. The board found the opposite: the client had requested a name change, court documents showed that Faulkner was to have prepared the order and Faulkner did not file a counter complaint. Accordingly, the board determined that the actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 8.1(b) and 8.4(c)(d).

The Board of Professional Responsibility publicly censured Memphis lawyer Gail O. Mathes on Nov. 14 because she "stated and implied an ability to influence a tribunal on grounds unrelated to the merits of the procedures governing her client's legal matter." The board found that such an assertion violates Rule 8.4(e) of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.

Javier M. Bailey of Memphis was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Nov. 16 based on four separate complaints. In the first case, the board found that Bailey failed to acknowledge the complainant's status as a client, failed to keep the client informed about the case and failed to timely respond to the client's demand for a refund of fees. In a second case, two clients' suits were dismissed with prejudice because Bailey did not properly serve process and did not appear at scheduling conferences. In a third situation, a client's case was dismissed because Bailey did not file a transcript, pay proper fees or file required forms. He also did not notify the client for six months that the case had been dismissed. With regard to another suit involving this same client, Bailey failed to respond to written discovery or a motion to compel, resulting in an entry of default judgment against the client. He also failed to appear at a hearing to determine damages. Finally, in a fourth matter, Bailey improperly endorsed a two-party check made payable to a contractor and his client, and instructed his client to deposit it without the endorsement of the contractor. The board found that these actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4(a)(b), 1.15(b) and 8.4(a)(c)(d).
  

Suspended

Suspension is effective 10 days after issuance, except where immediate suspension is necessary to protect the public. A suspended lawyer may not accept new clients but may continue representing current clients for 30 days. The lawyer must notify all clients, co-counsel and opposing counsel of the suspension order; return to clients any papers or property to which they are entitled; not use the indicia of lawyer, legal assistant or law clerk; and not maintain a presence where the practice of law is conducted. An attorney suspended for one year or more must prove by clear and convincing evidence that he has the moral qualifications, competency and learning required for admission to the practice of law, and that resumption of his practice would not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar or the administration of justice, nor be subversive to the public interest. An attorney suspended for less than one year with conditions may resume practice after complying with those conditions. An attorney suspended for less than one year with no conditions may resume practice without reinstatement.
  
Madhurendra Kumar Singh, a Tennessee attorney practicing in New Mexico, was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on Nov. 8 pending resolution of disciplinary action against him. The Supreme Court ordered the suspension based on a report from the Board of Professional Responsibility that Singh has disappeared from his last known home and office addresses and has failed to respond to a complaint of misconduct. Given these failures, the board concluded that Singh poses a threat of harm to the public.

The Supreme Court on Nov. 27 suspended Shannon Leigh Clark from the practice of law for five years effective Sept. 17, 2004. Clark had been summarily suspended on that date after pleading guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The court's November 2007 action represents a final determination of discipline.