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The following attorneys have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Supreme Court Rule 21, which requires mandatory continuing legal education:
Richard Edward Jackson, Pleasant View; Edward Victor Longinotti III, West Suffield, Conn.; James A. Meaney III, Dalton, Ga.; Roger Price Nimmo, Nashville; John Dudley Stuber, Memphis; James Clifford Walker, Columbia; and Michael Gregory Williams, Chattanooga.
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:
Roy Lee Steers Jr., Scottsdale, Ariz.
A censure declares conduct improper but does not limit the right to practice law.
Victoria L. DiBonaventura of Buchanan was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Sept. 12. In a termination of parental rights case, DiBonaventura requested and was granted a continuance to take a deposition. She then advised her client, because the client could not afford the deposition, that she would withdraw and ask the court to appoint a new lawyer. More than a year passed without DiBonaventura either taking the deposition or filing a motion to withdraw from representation. The board found that her conduct violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 1.16(d).
On Oct. 28, Knoxville lawyer Anthony M. Avery received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for commingling the proceeds of a settlement with his own money. In representing a client, Avery settled a civil matter for the sum of $17,500. He then placed the proceeds in and disbursed the same from an operating account rather than an escrow account. The board reported that Avery's client suffered no loss but that his actions violated Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Athens attorney Randy George Rogers received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on Oct. 28 for courtroom behavior that violated Rule 8.4(b) and (d) of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct. Rogers appeared in circuit court on Jan. 19, 2007, on a motion to set aside an order of protection. When the court concluded another matter, Rogers attempted to gain the court's attention to advise that the matter would be passed. The court made a statement to the effect that it would not consider the matter at that time since it was in recess. In frustration, Rogers threw his file on the counsel table, made a hand gesture and uttered an expletive toward the judge. The judge did not witness the gesture nor hear the expletive. Rogers immediately went to the judge's chambers and apologized for his conduct and soon thereafter wrote a letter of apology. On Feb. 5, the court charged Rogers with criminal contempt. On Sept. 26, Rogers was found guilty of criminal contempt, fined $50 and sentenced to serve 10 days in jail and three years on probation.
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.
Nashville lawyer Ronald K. Nevin was suspended on Oct. 27 for six months by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The suspension was related to three complaints against Nevin in his role as a public guardian. As public guardian, he managed the financial and personal affairs of people under conservatorships or guardianships. The court found that in the first matter, Nevin improperly transferred money from his trust account to a conservatorship account, failed to preserve the identity of the ward's money, improperly retained interest owed to the ward's account and commingled trust fund accounts. In the second matter, the court found that he failed to file an accurate inventory of the ward's assets and misrepresented the value of the client's estate to the probate court. Finally in the third matter, Nevin failed to safeguard a minor's assets resulting in a tax sale of the minor's property. Nevin appealed the proposed suspension to the Chancery Court of Davidson County and then to the state Supreme Court. Both courts affirmed the suspension, finding that his actions violated Disciplinary Rules 1-102(A)(1), 6-101(A)(3), 7-101(A)(1) and 9-102(A)(B)(3).
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Nov. 3 suspended the law license of Kingsport attorney Jason H. Arthur for 30 days, but waived all time in exchange for one year of probation and restitution to the complainant. The court found that Arthur had requested and received fees and compensation on cases without remitting those fees and compensation to his former employer. It also determined that he wrote false letters to physicians regarding liens. Arthur agreed to the terms of his discipline. He may resume the practice of law without further order by the court. ï¿½
Compiled by Stacey Shrader from information obtained from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court