Licensure & Dicipline

DISABILITY INACTIVE

The law license of Fayette County lawyer Drew Justin Canale Jr. was transferred to disability inactive status on Aug. 21. Canale may not practice law while on inactive status. He may return to the practice of law after reinstatement, which requires a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law.

The Tennessee Supreme Court transferred the law license of Williamson County lawyer Sandra Leah Wells to disability inactive status on Aug. 9. Wells may not practice law while on inactive status. She may return to the practice of law after reinstatement, which requires a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and she is fit to resume the practice of law.

DISABILITY INACTIVE STATUS REMOVED

The Tennessee Supreme Court removed the disability inactive status from Davidson County lawyer David Harris on Aug. 12 but did not reinstate his law license. The court transferred Harris’ law license to disability status on Nov. 17, 2017. Harris petitioned the court to remove the disability status on July 18. Noting no objection to removal of disability status from the Board of Professional Responsibility, the court granted the petition. However, the court did not reinstate Harris, noting that he will remain suspended.

REINSTATED

Florida attorney Lynette Mayfield was reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee on July 8. She had been placed on inactive status more than five years ago, on May 25, 2012. Mayfield petitioned the court for reinstatement and the Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory. The court issued the order on July 9.

REINSTATEMENT DENIED

The Tennessee Supreme Court rejected a petition for reinstatement filed by Chattanooga attorney Nathan E. Brooks on May 7. The court noted that Brooks agreed to a two-year suspension of his law license, agreed to pay restitution on 12 complaints filed against him, and agreed to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings in 1998 in lieu of disbarment. In 2002, Brooks sought reinstatement of his law license but the request was denied because he never paid the agreed upon costs and restitutions. Brooks appealed to the Supreme Court arguing he was indigent and requiring him to pay the costs violated his constitutional right to due process. In 2004, the court rejected his appeal. Most recently, Brooks filed another reinstatement petition. Tennessee rules require attorneys seeking reinstatement to make an advance deposit for the costs of the proceedings. Brooks did not pay the advance deposit and his petition was denied. He again appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing he was unable to pay the deposit and requiring him to do so denied his right to due process. The court again rejected the appeal.

DISCIPLINARY

Disbarred

The Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Carter County lawyer Gregory Scott Norris from the practice of law on Aug. 22. In addition to disbarment, the court ordered Norris to pay $17,360 in restitution to eight former clients. The actions were taken after a hearing panel found that Norris failed to appear in court on numerous occasions, stopped corresponding with opposing attorneys, made incoherent arguments in court, took fees from clients for which he did little work, failed to advise clients of a temporary suspension, failed to communicate with clients, failed to return files, and abandoned numerous client matters. These actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.15, 1.16(d), 3.2, 8.1(b) and 8.4(a), (d) and (g). The court also noted that a suspension imposed on Norris on Jan. 26, 2018, has been dissolved in light of the disbarment.

Suspended

Rutherford County lawyer John Paul Doyle was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on July 31. The Tennessee Supreme Court took the action after finding that Doyle failed to respond to a complaint of misconduct. Doyle must comply with all requirements of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9 regarding the responsibilities of temporarily suspended attorneys. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.

The Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Shelby County lawyer Thomas Francis Jackson III on Aug. 20. The court took the action after finding that Jackson failed to comply with its May 3 order directing him to contact the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program within 10 days for an evaluation to determine his capacity to practice law and defend himself against pending disciplinary complaints. Jackson must comply with all requirements of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9 regarding the responsibilities of temporarily suspended attorneys. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.

On Aug. 2, the Supreme Court of Tennessee suspended Greene County lawyer Edward Lee Kershaw from the practice of law for four months, with 30 days to be served on active suspension and the remaining three months to be served on probation pursuant to three conditions: (1) that he contact the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP) for an evaluation, (2) that he comply with the terms and conditions of any TLAP monitoring agreement, and (3) that he incur no new complaints of misconduct during the probationary time. The court took the action after finding that Kershaw made comments toward the court and asked questions of a witness that were intended for no other purpose than to embarrass the witness and disrupt the judicial proceedings. The court also found that he published statements in a local newspaper about the court which he knew were untrue and were intended to call into question the judge’s qualifications and integrity, and published statements on social media that were made with reckless disregard and called into question the qualifications and integrity of all judges in the county. Kershaw’s actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 3.5, 4.4, 8.2 and 8.4.

Administrative Suspension

Notice of attorneys suspended for, and reinstated from, administrative violations – including failure to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility licensing and inactive fees, file the required IOLTA report, comply with continuing legal education requirements, and pay the Tennessee professional privilege tax – is on the TBA website at www.tba.org/directory-listing/administrative-suspension-lists.

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