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Licensure & Discipline
Knoxville assistant district attorney Ta Kisha Fitzgerald received a public censure on April 16 for failing to timely disclose to opposing counsel the existence of letters and phone calls from a defendant. Fitzgerald submitted a conditional guilty plea acknowledging violations of Rules 3.4(d), 3.8(d) and 8.4(a) and (d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Henderson County lawyer Bradley Glenn Kirk received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on April 18 after the board found he abandoned a client’s case and failed to return a client’s file. In 2010, a client retained Kirk to represent him in a personal injury case. After several months, the client contacted the court clerk’s office and learned that apart from filing the complaint, Kirk had taken no additional action on the case. The client attempted to contact Kirk, but his calls went unreturned. The board determined that Kirk’s actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.16 and 8.4.
The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Nashville lawyer Ashley Denise Preston on April 17 for one year, but allowed her to serve the entire suspension on probation so long as she meets certain conditions, including engaging a practice monitor and participating in the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. The court also allowed her to continue practicing law during the probationary period. The discipline was taken in response to complaints that Preston neglected clients’ cases, failed to communicate with clients and the Board of Professional Responsibility, and failed to respond to court orders after failing to file a brief in a criminal case. The court found that her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 3.2, 8.1 and 8.4. Preston entered a guilty plea to the charges.
The Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Knoxville lawyer Whitney Suzanne Bailey on April 26 after she failed to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct.
Memphis lawyer William Leon Hendricks Jr. was summarily and temporarily suspended from the practice of law on April 30 after the Tennessee Supreme Court found he posed a threat of substantial harm to the public.
The state Supreme Court summarily and temporarily suspended Washington County lawyer Bryan Bradley Martin on April 30 after finding that he failed to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct.
Memphis lawyer Charlotte Prather Milton was summarily and temporarily suspended from the practice of law on April 30 after she failed to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.
The Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Shelby County lawyer David J. Johnson on April 22, retroactive to a previous disbarment imposed on Nov. 25, 2011. The current disbarment was imposed after Johnson was convicted on federal wire fraud charges and the court found that his actions violated Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Johnson consented to the disbarment after determining he could not defend himself against the disciplinary charges.
BOARD OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT
The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct issued a public reprimand to Rhea County General Sessions Judge James McKenzie on April 15 based on two incidents in late 2012. One incident involved comments made about an attorney appearing in McKenzie’s courtroom, while another involved comments made in the presence of a courtroom employee’s spouse and others outside the courtroom. The board determined that the conduct violated Rule 1.2 of Canon 1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
ADMINISTRATIVE SUSPENSIONS NOW ONLINE
Notice of attorneys suspended for, and reinstated from, administrative violations — including failure to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility fee, file the IOLTA report, comply with continuing legal education requirements and pay the Tennessee professional privilege tax — is now available exclusively on the TBA website.
Visit http://www.tba.org/directory-listing/administrative-suspension-lists to see administrative suspensions imposed since 2006.
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/consumers/attorneysearch.