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:
Brian Kelly Herrington, Lexington, Miss.
Kenneth Ray Witt, Hyden, Ky.

Nashville attorney Ivan Omar Lopez was reinstated to the practice of law on Aug. 11. He had been suspended on July 21, for substantial noncompliance with his Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program monitoring agreement.

Censured

On Aug. 3, Nashville lawyer Thomas Howard Miller received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for failing to file an order and respond to a client about the status of a case. Miller was engaged to represent a client in a post-divorce custody modification proceeding. A hearing was held June 24, 2008, and the court ordered a change in primary custody to Miller's client. However, Miller failed to submit a final order memorializing the court's decision. The client contacted Miller several times to get a status update, but Miller failed to respond. Miller finally entered the order on March 1, but the board found that his conduct prejudiced his client's ability to enforce child support obligations of the other parent. The court determined that Miller violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 3.4 and 8.4(d).

Suspended

Knoxville lawyer Vanessa Lynn Lemons was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on Aug. 11 for failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct.

Disbarred

Nashville lawyer Alea Danielle Ashby was disbarred on Aug. 5 by the Tennessee Supreme Court and ordered to provide restitution to eight clients. On Aug. 24, 2009, the Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for discipline against Ashby that contained three complaints of misconduct. Two supplemental petitions containing seven more complaints were filed on Nov. 18, 2009, and Jan. 13. Ashby did not file an answer to any of the 10 complaints and was temporarily suspended. She later was found to have practiced law while suspended, including misrepresenting her licensure status to the Davidson County Circuit Court, opposing counsel and clients. At a hearing on the petitions for discipline, the Board of Professional Responsibility's hearing panel determined that Ashby failed to perform work for which she was paid, failed to properly communicate with clients, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and abandoned her practice, causing serious injury to her clients. The Supreme Court agreed, finding that her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, Fees, 3.4, 5.5, 8.1 and 8.4.