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:
Nima Fiuzat, Atlanta, Ga.
John Irving Houseal III, Forrest City, Ark.
Madeleine Christie Savage-Townes, Cordova

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:
John Brian Hyneman, Oxford, Miss.
Phillip Edward Kuhn, Lakeland, Fla.
Erin Marie Schad, Knoxville

David Lynn Whitt of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., was reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee on May 17 after paying his state professional privilege tax. Whitt was suspended on Dec. 3, 2010, for failing to pay the 2009 and 2010 tax.



Suspended

On May 8, Memphis lawyer William B. Penn was suspended for three years by the Tennessee Supreme Court. However, the court allowed him to serve two of the years on probation. The court determined that he violated Disciplinary Rules 1-102, 2-110, 4-101, 7-102 and 9-102 by failing to preserve client confidences and secrets, failing to safeguard client funds and taking an excessive unearned fee. Prior to reinstatement, Penn must pay $36,040 in restitution to a former client and medical provider, and pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

On May 18, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended John Broadbent Cundiff for one year for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility. The court also censured him for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. The court determined that these actions violated Disciplinary Rules 5.5 and 8.1(b).


Disbarred

On May 9, the Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Wilson County lawyer Samuel Mingledorff after determining that he abandoned his practice, practiced law while suspended and failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility. The court found that these actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 3.1, 4.1, 8.1(b) and 8.4. In addition, the court ordered Mingledorff to pay the costs of his disciplinary proceeding. In a dissenting opinion filed in the case, Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder argued that Mingledorff should have been referred to the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program for evaluation prior to the imposition of discipline.

Chattanooga lawyer Charles E. Stanbery Jr. was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court on May 18 and ordered to pay restitution to 11 former clients. The court found that he abandoned his law practice, took legal fees knowing that he was prohibited from accepting new cases while suspended, failed to communicate with clients, and failed to diligently pursue clients’ cases. Additionally, Stanbery’s trust account was found to be overdrawn on five separate occasions. Finally, Stanbery was found to be in contempt by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The court gave him an opportunity to purge the contempt, but he failed to appear at any hearing set for that purpose. The court determined that these actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 8.1 and 8.4.

Inactive

A request from Nashville lawyer Elizabeth Byrn Fox that her law license be moved to inactive status was approved by the Board of Professional Responsibility on May 11. Prior to moving Fox’s license to inactive status, the board lifted a summary suspension that had been imposed for nonpayment of registration fees. The board acknowledged receipt of Fox’s back fees and associated fines.


Court of the Judiciary

On May 4, the Court of the Judiciary issued a public reprimand to Circuit Court Judge Jim T. Hamilton of Columbia. The reprimand came in response to the judge’s handling of certain cases in 2006 and 2007 in which he signed ex-parte orders of dismissal and ex-parte orders expunging convictions without confirming whether the orders had been approved by the district attorney. In a letter to Judge Hamilton, the presiding judge of the court noted that the entry of improper ex-parte orders is a violation of Judicial Canon 2A and 3B(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.


Disability Inactive

On April 19, the Tennessee Supreme Court approved a request from Nashville lawyer Jack Case Wilson to move his license to inactive status. While on inactive status, Wilson may not practice law in Tennessee.

The law license of Lincoln County lawyer Terry Lance Carter was transferred to disability inactive status on April 25 for an indefinite period of time and until further order. The court approved a petition from the Board of Professional Responsibility moving Carter to disability inactive status after concluding that he is incapacitated from practicing law.