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. They both were suspended in 2008 for failure to comply with 2007 CLE requirements.
John B. Hyneman, Oxford, Miss.
Michael Edward Latimore, Cordova, Tenn.

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:
Kenitra I. Fewell, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
Garry Christopher Forsythe, Hendersonville
Jamal Johnson, New York, N.Y.

Censured

On Oct. 19, Knox County lawyer Charles Carter received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for continuing to practice law after being suspended in 2006 for failing to pay the BPR's annual fee. While suspended, the board received notice that Carter had filed supplemental responses to discovery in the Knox County Circuit Court. In addition, Carter failed to respond to the board's requests for information about the alleged misconduct. His actions were found to have violated Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5(a).

On Oct. 19, Maryville lawyer Charles Michael Clifford was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility for not diligently working on his client's case and lying to the client. Clifford represented the client in a civil action against a home improvement company for four years. During that time, there were long delays and Clifford found it difficult to tell his client that the case was weak and probably could not be sustained. He later lied to his client about a court setting. Clifford admitted his wrongdoing, which the board found violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 3.2, 8.1(b) and 8.4(c).

Davidson County lawyer Brad Heath Frakes was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Oct. 19 for failing to comply with the provisions of his Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP) contract. His actions violated Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4.

On Oct. 19, Madison County lawyer Angela Joy Hopson received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for not acting with reasonable diligence. Hopson represented a defendant in a post-conviction proceeding who was denied relief. Shortly thereafter, Hopson went on maternity leave. Although she left instructions with members of her office to file a notice of appeal in the case, no notice of appeal was filed. Consequently, the defendant lost his right to appeal. Hopson then assured the board that she would seek to late-file the notice of appeal, but never did so. The board found that on both accounts, she failed to act with reasonable diligence and that her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 8.1(b).

Williamson County lawyer William Warren Leech received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on Oct. 19. He had been suspended in October 2007, and again in May 2008, but did not inform his client that he was unable to complete the case. In addition, the board found that Leech failed to return the client's file until May 27, 2008, after the filing of the disciplinary complaint. The board found that his actions violated Supreme Court Rule 9, sec. 18.1 and Rule of Professional Conduct 1.16(d).

On Oct. 19, Davidson County lawyer John Lowe received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for failing to place a furnisher's lien on a piece of property where the complainant's company performed mechanical work. Because he did not place the lien, the property was sold and the client's lien rights expired. Lowe repeatedly promised to reimburse the complainant the lost money, but never did. The board found that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 8.1(a) and 8.4(c).

On Oct. 23, Williamson County lawyer Trey Cain received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for failing to take reasonable measures to ensure that persons obtaining "law-related services" from his firm knew that the services were not legal services and that the protections of the client-lawyer relationship did not apply. The board also found that Cain failed to ensure that work was diligently performed on behalf of clients, and that he commingled non legal-services funds with his law firm trust account. In November 2008, Cain formed an LLC with two non-lawyers to process loan modifications for clients in danger of defaulting on real estate deals. These "law-related services" were promoted as having attorney involvement that would be beneficial to clients. The LLC also had a 100-percent refund policy on client funds. Cain established a bank account into which client payments were deposited. After several months, he learned that the non-lawyer partners had accessed the account and made withdrawals without proper accounting, which resulted in insufficient funds to meet the company's refund policy. Cain withdrew the remaining client funds and commingled the funds with his law firm trust account. The board found that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4, 1.15, 5.3, 5.4 and 5.7.

Suspended

On Sept. 28, Sumner County lawyer William P. Jones was suspended from the practice of law for five years for misappropriating funds, misrepresenting the priority of liens and mortgages on real estate, wrongfully executing releases, wrongfully notarizing documents, and wrongfully retaining funds belonging to other lien holders in connection with his mortgage brokering business. Jones entered a conditional guilty plea and agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution to two complainants. The board also ordered him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding. In imposing the suspension, the Supreme Court found that Jones violated DR 1-1-2(A)(1)(4)(5)(6) and DR 9-102 of the Code of Professional Conduct, and Rules 1.8, 1.15 and 8.4(a)(c)(d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

On Sept. 30, the Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Memphis attorney Stephanie Calvert because of her failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct.

On Sept. 30, former Nashville lawyer David Alan Gold was suspended for four years and nine months retroactive to a temporary suspension imposed on Jan. 7, 2005. The court imposed the suspension after Gold pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of an especially aggravated robbery. Gold agreed to a conditional guilty plea, to submit to a Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program evaluation, and to complete required CLE hours. The Supreme Court found that he violated Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and ordered him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

On Sept. 30, Chattanooga lawyer Jeffrey A. Stinnett was suspended for nine months, retroactive to a temporary suspension imposed on Jan. 29. The Supreme Court found that his neglect and failure to communicate with clients violated Rules 1.3,1.4, 1.5, 1.15, 1.16, 3.2, 8.1 and 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Stinnett agreed to a conditional guilty plea and to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

Nashville lawyer David S. Weed was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Sept. 30 for three years. Weed agreed to a conditional guilty plea that as director of the Tennessee Receiver's Office, he commingled receivership funds and failed to maintain adequate accounting records. The court found that his actions violated Rules 1.3, 1.15, 3.4(c) and 8.4(a)(c)(d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and ordered him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

Rule 9 Suspensions

The following lawyers were suspended on Oct. 5 for failure to pay the 2009 annual fee as required by Rule 9, Section 20. This is the sixth suspension order filed this year. Attorneys who paid the fee by press time have been noted as reinstated.
Clinton: Debra Fannin Graham
Covington: Kacee Parks McCalla
Knoxville: Vanessa Lynn Lemons, Darren E. Ridenour, Kathy Burns Stillman
Memphis: John Bernard Bartels (reinstated), Yvette Ann Camel-Smith, Sarah Elizabeth Meltzer, Jason Gregory Wolfkill
Nashville: Cherry Dawn Williams
Alabama: Patrick Gerald Nelson
Arkansas: John Paul Brizzolara
California: Martha Joiner King
Georgia: Carolee Berasi, Rita Mae Trumble
Missouri: Thelma Jean Copeland
North Carolina: Susan Anne Fine
Texas: Branda Eugene Newsom
Virginia: Dina Guirguis, Marquex Dominique Rey

Rule 21 Suspensions

The following attorneys were suspended by the Supreme Court on Aug. 31 and Sept. 4, 2009, for failing to comply with requirements for mandatory continuing legal education in 2008. Attorneys who have complied with the rule by press time are noted as reinstated.
Brentwood: Margaret L. Atkins, Diane Gurule Livingston, Steven Terrell Raney, George Anthony Villasana
Chattanooga: Gary Kendrick Bond, Tabitha Elizabeth Finch (reinstated), Wendy Ann Stanfield (reinstated), Michael Gregory Williams (reinstated), Joe Alfred Wolverton II
Clarksville: John Randall Brice
Clinton: James Lee Arnold
Collierville: John Christopher Davis
Cordova: Evette Elizabeth Dukes, Michael Edward Latimore, Alisa Lashelle Simmons
Dyersburg: Martin Lynn Howie (reinstated)
Elizabethton: Jason Lee Holly (reinstated)
Franklin: Timothy James Wall
Germantown: Earl Frank Johnson (reinstated)
Jackson: Lawrence E. Nicola (reinstated), Robin Fisher Nicola
Johnson City: Richard Lee Burnette (reinstated), Alex Steven Vanburen
Knoxville: Wesley Markland Baker (reinstated), Thomas Michael Leveille (reinstated), D'Artagnan Honre Perry (reinstated), Raymond Andrew Shirley Jr. (reinstated), Kathy Burns Stillman, William Lee Wheatley (reinstated), Kimberly Erin Wright (reinstated)
Lebanon: Henry Clay Barry (reinstated)
Memphis: Michelle Lorraine Betserai, Yvette Ann Camel-Smith, Clayton Chronos Chandler (reinstated), William David Cheek (reinstated), Leigh McDaniel Chiles (reinstated), Thelma Jean Copeland, Timothy Darnell Flowers (reinstated), Melvin Lucius Ford (reinstated), Don Anthony Handley (reinstated), John Robert Hershberger (reinstated), William Marion Larsha Jr. (reinstated), Oscar Lee Malone III, Jessica Anne Speer Neal, David E. Short, Michael Lee Spencer, Mary Hovious Stout, Jason Gregory Wolfkill
Mt Juliet: Mark Wesley Henderson (reinstated)
Murfreesboro: Tony Lawrence Maples (reinstated)
Nashville: Timothy J. Babb, Daniel William Champney, Michael Scott Collins (reinstated), James William Crowson, Mary Welch Francois, Andre Philip Johnson, Anthony McNerney Kestner Jr. (reinstated), Matthew Fort Mayo (reinstated), John Wayne Oliphant Jr., Mable Lou Oliver Osemwegie (reinstated), Charles Edwin Reed, Earl William Roberts, Jonathan Allen Street (reinstated), Barbara Delores Toms, Hal Wilkes Wilkins, Cherry Dawn Williams
White House: Gerard Thomas Nebel

Out-of-state

Alabama: Dudley Frank Davis, Karen Gail Foster, James Robert Grisham, Justin Braun Kaplan (reinstated), Michelle DeLaine Mauldin, Beverly Bhaswattia Scruggs, Daniel Boyd Smith
Arkansas: John Paul Brizzolara Jr., Gary J. Mitchusson
California: James Paul Sizemore (reinstated)
Florida: Harold Scott Bates (reinstated), Traci Lovell Carbonaro, Paul D. Mark Lucas, Amy Jo Quezon
Georgia: Musa Lumumba Eubanks, Stephen Royce Mills, Don Michael Roman
Kentucky: Bruce Dwain Atherton, Leroy Arlis Gilbert Jr.
Massachusetts: Joel Robert Petrow
Minnesota: Danny Francis Nicol
Mississippi: David Alan Burns, Mark Christian Carlson, Denvil F. Crowe Jr., Brian Kelly Herrington, Charles Victor McTeer, Clay Spencer Nails
North Carolina: Ruby Kaur Dhaliwal, Norman Gregory Durham, Keltie Hays Peay
New Mexico: Delores Charlotte Korb
Nevada: Brian Jerry Quarles
New York: Mark Anthony Carey
Pennsylvania: Sharon Bauer Berman
Texas: John Edward Ferguson Jr.
Virginia: Jody Preston Mitchell (reinstated)