Disciplinary Actions

Reinstated

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:
Heather M. Gwinn, Boulder, Colo.
Richard J. Rice, Maryville

Lawrence County attorney Charles Matthew Bates was reinstated to the practice of law on June 3. He had been suspended on April 22 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility about a complaint of misconduct.

Nashville attorney Matthew Fort Mayo was reinstated to the practice of law on June 3. He had been suspended on April 16 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility about a complaint of misconduct.

Suspended

On April 8, the Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Memphis attorney Timothy Allen Price after he failed to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct and the court determined that he posed a threat of substantial harm to the public.

On May 6, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Johnson City lawyer Alex Vanburen for one year and one day, retroactive to the date of a temporary suspension imposed on Sept. 21, 2009. The court found that Vanburen violated disciplinary rules by failing to (1) communicate with clients, (2) diligently represent clients, (3) properly withdraw from representation of clients and (4) respond to requests for information from the Board of Professional Responsibility. The court determined that his actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.16, 8.1 and 8.4. In addition to imposing the suspension, the court ordered Vanburen to pay the costs of his disciplinary proceeding.

The Tennessee Supreme Court on May 18 issued a second suspension of Knoxville lawyer William S. Lockett Jr. based on his guilty plea to the federal charge of willfully failing to file an income tax return. Lockett already was suspended based on a guilty plea in the Knox County Criminal Court to theft over $10,000. That suspension was imposed on April 13. The court ordered the Board of Professional Responsibility to consolidate the two matters and institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed as a result of the convictions.

On May 27, the state Supreme Court summarily and temporarily suspended Memphis lawyer King Bethel Harris from the practice of law for failure to respond to a complaint of misconduct. Harris already is serving a one-year suspension " imposed on Jan. 3, 2008 " based on a prior disciplinary matter. While he may petition for and receive dissolution of the temporary suspension, the 2008 suspension will remain in effect.

Knoxville lawyer Keith Pope was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on June 2 after the state Supreme Court determined he posed a threat of substantial harm to the public.

On June 4, Memphis lawyer Timothy Darnell Flowers was suspended for one year and ordered to make restitution to three clients. In 2005 and 2006, the Board of Professional Responsibility filed three petitions for discipline against Flowers based on 10 complaints of misconduct. Eight of the complaints were filed by clients, who accused Flowers of neglecting their cases by failing to file appeals, briefs and other pleadings on time. Another complaint concerned Flowers' failure to prosecute 18 appeals filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. All cases were dismissed because Flowers did not pay filing fees or file required forms and briefs. After investigating the complaints, the Board of Professional Responsibility recommended that Flowers be suspended for one year. Flowers appealed that recommendation to the Shelby County Chancery Court and the Tennessee Supreme Court. Both courts upheld the suspension.

Disbarred

On May 11, Memphis lawyer James M. Hoots was disbarred after acknowledging he could not successfully defend himself on a charge of misappropriation of funds filed by the Board of Professional Responsibility. Hoots previously had been suspended on Feb. 17 pending final determination of the discipline to be imposed. He consented to the disbarment.

Disability Inactive

The Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order on May 27 transferring the law license of Nashville lawyer Edward Turner Kindall to disability inactive status. Kindall cannot practice law while on disability inactive status. He may return to the practice of law after being reinstated. Reinstatement requires a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and the lawyer is fit to resume the practice of law.