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:
Richard Alan Arnold, Rogersville
Ted Austin Burkhalter, Nashville
Charles Philip Carter, Knoxville
William Claude Collins Jr., LaVergne
James Blake Craft, Landenberg, Pa.
C. Coulter Gilbert, Knoxville
Marcus Neal Hanna, Germantown
Lisa Hatfield, Knoxville
Jerry Alan Kennon, Nashville
Michael David King, Fort Worth, Texas
Darren E. Ridenour, Knoxville
Arthur Conley Walton, Atlanta, Ga.
Quenton I. White, Nashville

The following attorneys were reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Section 20 of Supreme Court Rule 9, which requires the payment of annual registration fees to the Board of Professional Responsibility, and Supreme Court Rule 43, which requires certification that a lawyer’s funds are held in an account participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program:
Vinita Maria Ollapally, Washington, D.C.
John Calvin Patterson, Tupelo, Miss.

James Gabriel Banks Jr. of Decatur, Ga., was reinstated to the practice of law on Dec. 6, 2011, after complying with Section 20 of Supreme Court Rule 9, which requires the payment of annual registration fees to the Board of Professional Responsibility.


Censured

On Oct. 27, 2011, Davidson County lawyer Marvin D. Himmelberg received a public censure for failing to file a client’s appeal of a workplace suspension within the required 15 days. Himmelberg was hired to perfect an appeal to the Civil Service Commission of his client’s suspension. Without explaining to his client, Himmelberg submitted an undated letter requesting an appeal, which was received by the Civil Service Commission 99 days after notification of the suspension and almost two months after Himmelberg discovered the appeal had not been perfected. The administrative law judge dismissed the appeal as time-barred. When the client called Himmelberg’s office to inquire about the status of the appeal, he was told that a former paralegal had failed to file it. The court found that these actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4 and 5.3.

On Oct. 27, 2011, Knox County lawyer Jeffrey William Warkins was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility for misuse of his IOLTA account. In March 2009, Warkins deposited client funds as well as personal funds into the account. He then used the personal funds in the account to pay personal expenses. The board found that Warkins violated Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15 regarding the safekeeping of property. It did note, however, that no client funds were misused.

On Oct. 31, 2011, Hamilton County lawyer Carl Mark Warren received a public censure from the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. The board found that in representing a client in a personal injury claim, Warren did not obtain a written fee agreement and accepted a settlement without the client’s authorization. These actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(a), 1.4, 1.5(c) and 1.15(b).

On Nov. 2, 2011, Tipton County lawyer Jewel Guy Boozer received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for failing to (1) pursue a matter he was hired to handle, (2) communicate with a client, (3) return the client’s documents, and (4) respond to the board about a complaint of misconduct. The board found that these actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4,1.16 and 8.1(b).

On Nov. 2, 2011, Knox County lawyer Melanie Ann Campbell-Brown received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for (1) paying advance funds to clients for purposes other than court costs and litigation expenses, (2) making one such payment from her trust account, and (3) notarizing documents in violation of statutory requirements. The board found that her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.8(e), 1.15(b) and 8.4(c).

On Nov. 2, 2011, Bedford County lawyer Robert Lee Marlow received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for comingling personal funds with client funds in his IOLTA trust account. The board found that this action violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(a) and (b). However, it noted that there was no evidence that Marlow used client funds or that any client funds were lost.


Suspended

Memphis lawyer Ruchee Patel was suspended for nine months on Oct. 25, 2011,  after the state Supreme Court found that she repeatedly failed to file appellate briefs in six criminal appeals cases and failed to comply with the rules and orders of the Court of Criminal Appeals. However, the court allowed Patel to serve the entire time on probation as long as she engages a practice monitor to review office management practice, case deadlines and client communication. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in revocation of the probation and imposition of the suspension. Her actions were found to violate Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 8, Sections 1.3, 1.4, 3.4(c) and 8.4(d).

Shelby County lawyer Alisa Lashelle Simmons was suspended from the practice of law for one year on Oct. 27, 2011,  retroactive to a previous suspension imposed on Oct. 19, 2010. The Tennessee Supreme Court took the action based on Simmons’ failure to pay annual registration fees and professional privilege taxes, failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements and failure to respond to a disciplinary complaint. In addition, the court imposed conditions for reinstatement, including compliance with a Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program monitoring agreement and providing restitution.

Shelby County lawyer David Gregory Hays was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on Nov. 10, 2011, for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility concerning a complaint of misconduct.

On Nov. 10, 2011, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Memphis lawyer Jack Lester Mewborn Jr. for four years, retroactive to a Nov. 10, 2010, temporary suspension. The court found that he forged names on discovery pleadings, converted funds from a former employer to his own use, failed to respond to complaints of misconduct, and admitted to the use and manufacture of methamphetamine. Prior to being reinstated, the court ruled that Mewborn must complete a drug court program, maintain compliance with a Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program monitoring agreement, and provide restitution to his former employer. The court determined his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 8.1(b) and 8.4.

On Nov. 21, 2011, Davidson County lawyer Bradley H. Frakes was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court for one year, retroactive to a temporary suspension imposed Nov. 17, 2010. The court noted, however, that he will not receive credit for 180 days spent incarcerated. Frakes pled guilty to two counts of misdemeanor DUI and admitted that he represented a client despite a conflict of interest and violated his Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP) contract. The court directed Frakes to enter into a new TLAP monitoring agreement and comply with its terms and conditions, as well as pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6, 1.7, 2.2 and 8.4 (a), (b) and (d).


Disbarred

On Nov. 15, 2011, the Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Memphis lawyer David J. Johnson, who consented to the discipline after determining he could not successfully defend himself on charges brought by the Board of Professional Responsibility. The board had alleged that Johnson misappropriated client funds for his own use and benefit. The court agreed with the board’s recommendation, determining that Johnson’s actions violated Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4. It also ordered him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding. Finally, it dissolved a temporary suspension that had been imposed on Aug. 19 while the question of final discipline was being determined.


Disability Inactive

On Nov. 8, 2011, the Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order removing Bradley County lawyer Sherman Ames III from disability inactive status. However, it ruled that outstanding disciplinary proceedings must be resolved prior to his reinstatement.