Licensure & Discipline

Reinstatements

The following attorneys were reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Supreme Court Rule 21, which requires mandatory continuing legal education:
Andrew Jackson Dancy, Nashville
Kent Meyer Lashley, Edmond, Okla.
Kevin James Moore, Albuquerque, N.M.
Verni Owen Nerren, Orrville, Ohio
Stephen Kenneth Perry, Knoxville
Daniel Ray Woodlief Jr., Germantown, Tenn.

Rita Mae Trumble of Lilburn, Ga., was 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.

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 Rule 43, which requires certification that funds are held in an account participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program:
Lori Liane Long, Murphy, Texas
Kandy L. Williams, Irvine, Calif.

Hawkins County lawyer John Douglas Godbee was reinstated to the practice of law on Feb. 28 after being temporarily suspended on Jan. 24 for noncompliance with his Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Monitoring Agreement.

Disciplinary Actions

Suspended
Cleveland lawyer Sherman Ames III was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 14 for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. The court found that Ames was practicing law in Montana and Washington by signing settlement documents, using letterhead stating he was an attorney with addresses in Montana, and using a bank account in the name of his solo practice, despite not being licensed to practice in those states and being suspended from the practice of law in Tennessee. The court suspended him for six months but gave him credit for 21 days, representing the time that elapsed between termination of disability inactive status and the hearing of his case. The court also directed him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

His actions were found to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 4.1(a), 5.5(a), 5.7, 7.1(a), 7.5(a) and 8.4(a) and (c).

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 23 entered an order of reciprocal discipline suspending Arkansas lawyer Scott Douglas Fletcher from the practice of law in Tennessee for five years.

The court took the action after the Arkansas Supreme Court suspended Fletcher’s license for the same period of time. The Tennessee court also directed Fletcher to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

Georgia lawyer James A. Meaney was suspended from the practice of law in Tennessee on March 6 after he failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. The suspension remains in effect until dissolved or modified by the court.

Disbarred
The Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Knoxville lawyer James L. Rather on Feb. 9 following his disbarment by the Supreme Court of California. The court in California imposed the discipline after finding that Rather misappropriated funds that had been given to him to hold in trust and failed to return unearned legal fees. He was disbarred in Tennessee pursuant to Tenn. Supreme Court Rule 9, §17.4.

Court of the Judiciary Actions

The Court of the Judiciary issued a public reprimand to Cocke County General Sessions Court Judge John Bell on Feb. 23 in response to two complaints. The first complaint centered on the use of an unauthorized substitute judge while Bell was on active military duty. Prior to Bell leaving for military service, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order naming the judges to be utilized as substitute judges during his absence. While the order was in force, Bell allowed an individual not authorized by the court to sit as a substitute judge. The second complaint alleged that Bell continued to set bonds in D.U.I. cases while he was overseas by communicating with his staff and jail personnel via email. Because of this arrangement, the setting of bonds was delayed in some cases. The Court of the Judiciary found that these actions violated Canon 2A of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which requires that judges respect and comply with the law and at all times act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Bell admitted his actions were inappropriate in both cases.