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:
Henry Clay Barry, Lebanon
Gary Kendrick Bond, Chattanooga
Richard Lee Burnette, Johnson City
Michael Scott Collins, Nashville
Denvil F. Crowe Jr., Tupelo, Miss.
Earl Frank Johnson, Germantown
Michael Edward Latimore, Cordova
Stephen James Lusk, Knoxville
Mable Lou Oliver Osemwegie, Nashville
Brian Jerry Quarles, Henderson, Nev.

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:
Azura Dea Mason, New York, N.Y.
Kacee Parks McCalla, Covington
Vanessa Lemons, Knoxville   
Robert J. Wittmer, Asburn, Va.

Memphis attorney Michael Latimore was reinstated to the practice of law on Nov. 3, 2009. He had been temporarily suspended on Sept. 1 for failing to respond to a complaint of misconduct.

Censured

On Oct. 29, 2009, Memphis lawyer Scott Thomas Beall received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court for violating Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The court found that Beall improperly instructed a client to shred duplicate photocopies of account statements the client had illegally taken from a former employer despite specific instructions from Beall not to take the documents. Initially, the client did not advise Beall that he had taken the documents, and in fact, signed two affidavits stating he had not taken them. When Beall learned of the copies, he advised the client to destroy them so the client would be in compliance with federal and state financial privacy laws. Beall and local counsel disclosed the client's perjury and shredding of documents to opposing counsel and the court. The Supreme Court determined that although Beall's instructions were not intended to mislead or prevent disclosure of his client's wrongdoing, they were not proper. Beall submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to the censure.

Blount County lawyer Charles Deas received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on Nov. 2, 2009,   for failing to act diligently on behalf of a client. On Aug. 24, 2007, Deas was retained to represent a client who was unavailable to appear in juvenile court as scheduled on Aug. 27. Deas immediately placed a handwritten note in the court file and contacted opposing counsel to request a continuance. Opposing counsel did not agree to the request. On the morning of Aug. 27, Deas was detained in another court and advised the juvenile court staff of his delay. In his absence, the court made a ruling adverse to his client. Deas immediately filed a motion to set aside the ruling. He attempted to obtain hearing dates from opposing counsel on more than one occasion but was unsuccessful. The matter eventually was heard almost two years later on Feb. 2, 2009. The board determined that Deas failed to act diligently in setting a hearing date for the matter and that his actions violated Rule 1.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Suspended

On Oct. 26, 2009, the Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended Hendersonville attorney Garry Christopher Forsythe from the practice of law after finding that he misappropriated funds and posed a threat of substantial harm to the public. The suspension remains in effect until dissolved or modified by the court.

On Nov. 20, 2009, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Columbia lawyer Matthew Q. Bastian for one year with all time to be served on probation if he meets the following conditions: engaging a practice monitor for one year, obtaining professional liability insurance, paying $20,000 in restitution, attending 15 hours of law office management CLE and paying the costs of the disciplinary proceeding. Bastian was disciplined for
(1) failing to communicate satisfactorily with clients,
(2) failing to file a lawsuit as requested,
(3) failing to fully pay funds agreed to in a settlement,
(4) failing to advise clients of a potential conflict of interest and
(5) failing to advise clients to seek independent legal counsel.

The court determined that Bastian's actions violated Disciplinary Rules 1-102(A)(1), (5) and (6); 6-101(A)(1), (2) and (3); 7-101(A)(1), (2) and (3); and 9-102(B)(2) and (4), as well as Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.16 and 8.4.