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Licensure & Discipline
The following lawyers were transferred to disability inactive status pursuant to Section 21 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. They may not practice law while on disability inactive status but may petition the Tennessee Supreme Court for reinstatement upon showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and they are fit to resume the practice of law.
Samuel Wilson Bartholomew Jr., Nashville
Cindy Lynn Burgess, Napa, Calif.
Robert David Strickland, Dyersburg
Knox County lawyer Vanessa Lynn Lemons received a public censure on June 21 for not appearing for court hearings or communicating with a client she was appointed to defend in several criminal cases. Lemons was removed from the case. She also failed to respond to a complaint of misconduct regarding her representation. The Board of Professional Responsibility reports that Lemons is currently serving a four-year suspension imposed on Jan. 25. The board determined that her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.16 and 8.1.
Knox County lawyer Chadwick Barry Tindell received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on June 28 after pleading guilty to facilitation of official misconduct. The conviction was based on Tindell’s involvement in the Knox County Trustee giving unauthorized bonuses to employees. His actions were determined to violate Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(b).
On June 14, the Supreme Court of Tennessee immediately and temporarily suspended Gibson County lawyer Gregory Wayne Minton from the practice of law after finding that he failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.
Memphis lawyer Karen Wilson Tyler was suspended on June 19 for one year retroactive to April 5, 2012, when she was temporarily suspended for failure to respond to a complaint. She also was directed to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility’s costs in the matter. The complaint filed against Tyler alleged that she failed to competently and diligently handle the administration of an estate, failed to respond to a request for information from the board, and made a statement against the integrity of a chancellor. Her actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(b), 1.16(c), 3.2, 3.4(c), 8.1(b), 8.2(a)(1) and 8.4(d).
The Supreme Court of Tennessee immediately and temporarily suspended Memphis lawyer Christopher Lee Brown from the practice of law on June 21 after finding that he misappropriated funds for his own use and that his continued practice of law posed a threat of substantial harm to the public. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.
On June 25, Humphreys County lawyer James Phillips Bradley was suspended from the practice of law for 30 days and ordered to attend an ethics seminar. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Bradley signed his client’s name to a petition in a child-endangerment matter and notarized the signature. He then filed the petition with the trial court and obtained an ex parte custody order. The trial court dismissed the petition after learning that Bradley had signed the client’s name. Bradley self-reported his conduct, cooperated with the Board of Professional Responsibility and entered a conditional guilty plea admitting to the misconduct. The court determined that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3, 3.4 and 8.4.
Williamson County lawyer Thomas Holland McKinnie Jr. was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court for two years on June 28. McKinnie submitted a conditional guilty plea that he violated court rules by (1) knowingly writing himself a check from his trust account that created an overdraft, (2) failing to account for a portion of the money that he paid himself and (3) not adequately responding to requests from the Board of Professional Responsibility. The court determined that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15, 8.1(b) and 8.4(a).
The Tennessee Supreme Court on May 21 disbarred former Memphis lawyer William T. Winchester and ordered him to pay restitution to five clients. Since August 2011, Winchester has been serving a two-year suspension in another case of misconduct. He also was suspended in 2010 for failure to pay his professional privilege tax and in 2011 for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements. The latest action was taken in response to 10 complaints of ethical misconduct alleging lack of diligence, lack of communication, incompetent representation, abandoning a law practice, and misrepresentations to clients, other lawyers and the Board of Professional Responsibility. The court found that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.15, 1.16, 8.1 and 8.4.
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/consumers/attorneysearch.