Licensure and Discipline

DISCIPLINARY

Censured

Wilson County lawyer James Henry Flood received a public censure on Aug. 7 for failing to (1) deposit a client’s funds in his trust account and (2) remove a fee from his trust account in a timely manner. Flood entered into a contingency contract stipulating that a client would pay him 25 percent of any past due social security benefits that were recouped. The client made periodic payments to be held for expenses or for satisfaction of the contingency fee. Flood received six payments from the client, but failed to deposit three of them in his trust account. An overdraft occurred when Flood wrote a check to himself on the account. In a second matter, Flood earned an attorney fee in May 2012 but failed to remove the funds from his trust account for more than seven months. The Board of Professional Responsibility determined that these actions violated Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Jefferson County lawyer Jill R. Talley received a public censure on Aug. 7 for harming a client. In representing a client in divorce matter, Talley filed a motion and affidavit to withdraw from the case stating that “there have been several instances where [client] has not been completely truthful concerning certain issues, including her actions, in the case.” The Board of Professional Responsibility determined that this statement to the court caused the client to suffer harm and was a violation of Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Shawn Patrick Sirgo of Davidson County received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on Aug. 12 for practicing law while his license was suspended. The board determined that his actions violated Rule 5.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Suspended

Nashville attorney William Alan Alder was suspended on Aug. 7 for two years, with the suspension to run consecutively with a one-year suspension imposed on Dec. 28, 2012. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Alder failed to diligently handle two lawsuits, failed to communicate adequately with clients and made a misrepresentation to a client. In addition to imposing the suspension, the court directed Alder to make restitution to a client, consult with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program and pay the Board of Professional Responsibility’s costs in this matter. The court found his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.15, 1.16(d), 3.2, 8.1(b) and 8.4(a), (c) and (d).

On Aug. 9, H. Owen Maddux of Chattanooga was suspended for nine months for ethical misconduct in the representation of two plaintiffs in a business dispute. In an effort to collect money due to the pair, Maddux sent letters to customers demanding that payment be made directly to him. He stated that he would deposit the funds with the court pending a resolution. According to the court, however, he gave the money to his clients instead. In addition, the court found that Maddux did not notify the opposing party that funds had been collected until after he made a distribution to his client. Maddux appealed the suspension to the Hamilton County Chancery Court, which affirmed the hearing panel’s recommendation. Maddox then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which also upheld the recommended suspension and imposed the discipline. The court found that Maddox’s actions violated Rules 1.15(b), 4.1 and 8.4(a) and (c) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Disbarred

Jimmy Vallejo Delgado, an attorney licensed to practice law in Tennessee and Texas, was disbarred and ordered to pay $96,826 in restitution to former clients by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court’s action on Aug. 7 was based on allegations that Delgado never informed clients in a Georgia wrongful death case that he was not licensed to practice law in that state. The court also found that Delgado never met personally with the clients, settled the case without the clients’ knowledge or consent, and failed to promptly remit settlement funds to the clients. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that his actions violated Tennessee Rule of Professional Conduct 8.1(b) and Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(a), 1.15(I) and (II), 5.5, 8.4 and 9.4.


Compiled by Stacey Shrader Joslin from information provided by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Licensure and disciplinary notices are included in this publication as a member service. The official record of an attorney’s status is maintained by the board. Current information about a particular attorney may be found on the board’s website at www.tbpr.org.