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Licensure & Discipline
The following attorneys have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Supreme Court Rule 21, which requires mandatory continuing legal education:
Anne Bowles Ferrell, Crossville
Parish Blake Stanton, Nashville
Richard Scott Pietrowski of Biloxi, Miss., has 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 to the Board of Professional Responsibility.
By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court entered March 16, the law license of Nashville lawyer James A. Hewitt was transferred to disability inactive status. Hewitt cannot practice law while on inactive status. He may return to the practice of law after reinstatement by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Reinstatement requires him to show by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law.
Memphis lawyer Homer L. Cody was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on March 16 for representing two parties in the same action that had adverse interests against one another. Both the Tennessee Court of Appeals and the trial court ordered Cody to refrain from representation of either party, but he continued to provide legal services to one of the parties. The Supreme Court determined that the representation caused a direct conflict of interest and violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7, 3.1 and 8.4.
Montgomery County lawyer Christopher Wayne Barber received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court on March 19 for practicing law while his license was suspended, charging an unreasonable fee, failing to notify his client that his license had been suspended, and failing to respond to requests for information from the Board of Professional Responsibility. The court found these actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 5.5 and 8.1(b)
The Tennessee Supreme Court on March 9 suspended Nashville lawyer David E. Danner for 30 days, ordered him to pay $2,500 in restitution to a client, and directed him to complete an ethics course within 18 months. The court found that Danner failed to provide competent representation to a client in a federal discrimination case, failed to act in a diligent manner and failed to adequately communicate with his client. In addition, the court found that after withdrawing from the case, Danner failed to promptly return unearned fees to his client. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.16. The court also directed him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
Lance W. Parr, formerly of Athens, was suspended on March 23 for one year by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court also directed that he must be evaluated by the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP) and comply with all TLAP’s recommendations as a condition for any reinstatement. The court found that Parr represented a client in a divorce proceeding with whom he was having an affair, and that he failed to adequately advise the client of the conflict or obtain a waiver of the conflict. Parr also was found to have moved to quash a subpoena for text messages claiming attorney-client privilege, although that privilege did not apply. Finally, the court found that he forged a client’s signature to a document, notarized the signature and submitted the document to the court. When discovered, Parr submitted an amended document but misrepresented to the court that the only change was the corrected signature. The court determined that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7, 3.1, 3.3 and 8.4. It also directed him to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Knoxville attorney John O. Threadgill on March 30 based on a guilty plea to the serious crime of theft. The court also ordered the Board of Professional Responsibility to institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed as a result of the conviction. The suspension remains in effect until it is dissolved or amended by order of the court.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order on April 5 summarily and temporarily suspending Memphis lawyer Karen Wilson Tyler from the practice of law after finding that she failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.
Court of the Judiciary
The Court of the Judiciary issued a public reprimand to Obion County General Sessions Court Judge Jimmy C. Smith on April 9. The move came in response to a complaint filed against the judge. The reprimand relates to his decision on Oct. 15, 2011, to order the release of his son who had been arrested for driving under the influence in Obion County. Judge Smith maintained that he had no intention of hearing the case against his son and had asked for a special judge to be appointed. However, the court found that his participation in any matter involving his son was a violation of Canon 2A and Canon 3E(l)(d)(i) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
2012 Fee & IOLTA Suspensions
On March 12 and 27 the Tennessee Supreme Court issued orders suspending Tennessee-licensed attorneys who did not pay their 2012 registration fee to the Board of Professional Responsibility and/or did not file a mandatory compliance statement that eligible client funds are held in accounts participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program.
Beginning in January 2012, the court began entering suspension orders on a monthly basis, based on attorney birthdates. Suspension lists will be issued each month for those attorneys who do not meet filing requirements for that month. This list reflects attorneys with birthdates in January and February. Those who have complied with the rules since the orders were issued are noted as reinstated.
Failure to File Annual Fee & IOLTA Report
Chattanooga: Bonny Elizabeth Roderick.
Knoxville: Erin Marie Schad, Ronald A. Rayson (reinstated).
Memphis: Richard Eugene Duerr Jr. (reinstated), Mary Camille Hickerson, Sally French Paulson.
Mount Juliet: Patricia Lynne Stolinsky (reinstated).
Nashville: Natasha Love Blackshear, William Lynn Campbell Jr., Paul Alan Robertson, Joverne Allred Trotter.
Riceville: William Lance Parr.
Alabama: John Robert Chiles.
Arkansas: John Deloy Thomas Jr.
Florida: Ruth Helen Delange, Paul Douglas Morrison.
Georgia: Matthew Christopher Brown, Robert Tudor Strang III, Charles Lochridge Weatherly.
Kentucky: Dwight Montae Burton.
Louisiana: Robert Peter Cuccia.
Maine: Thomas Henry Scott.
Mississippi: Vallrie Lanette Dorsey, Kate Mauldin Embry (reinstated).
North Carolina: Beverly Joyce Jones.
Washington: Linda Diane Walton.
Failure to Pay Annual Fee
Alabama: Clinton Chadwell Carter.
Georgia: Scot Craig Allen.
Failure to File IOLTA Report
Somerville: Robert Stephen Butler.
Florida: Harold Scott Bates (reinstated).