Licensure & Discipline

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.

REINSTATED

The Tennessee Supreme Court on April 14 reinstated Martin Lynn Howie to the practice of law subject to several conditions, including the use of a practice monitor and continued compliance with his Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program monitoring agreement. Howie had been suspended for three years, retroactive to Feb. 8, 2011, with one year to be served on active suspension.

DISCIPLINARY

Censured
The Tennessee Supreme Court censured Davidson County lawyer Robert Allen Doll III on April 14 after finding that he failed to render competent representation, failed to act with reasonable diligence and failed to expedite litigation. The court also found that Doll failed to attend hearings and comply with court orders, for which he was ultimately held in contempt. The court determined that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 3.2 and 8.4.

On April 15, Bedford County lawyer Christopher Paul Westmoreland was censured for depositing client settlement funds into his operating account instead of his trust account on five separate occasions between March and December 2012. In the first instance, the client funds remained in Westmoreland’s operating account for more than three months. In each of the other instances, the client funds remained in his operating account for less than one month. The court found that his actions resulted in the commingling of client funds with Westmoreland’s funds, a violation of Rule 1.15 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Suspended
Knoxville lawyer Roger David Hyman was suspended from the practice of law for six months on March 31 after the Tennessee Supreme Court determined he communicated with a person represented by counsel, threatened a litigant, filed a lien against a litigant that was later declared void, failed to appear at a hearing and failed to timely pay sanctions required by a court order. Following the Board of Professional Responsibility hearing panel’s recommendation that a suspension be imposed, Hyman appealed the decision to the Knox County Circuit Court and the Tennessee Supreme Court. Both courts found that Hyman violated Rules of Professional Conduct 3.1, 3.4, 3.5(e), 4.2, 4.4(a) and 8.4(a) and (d) and upheld the recommended discipline.

On April 7, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Jackson lawyer Angela Joy Hopson for one year. However, the court allowed her to serve the time on probation so long as she pays restitution in the amount of $2,760 and engages the services of a practice monitor. Hobson was retained to represent clients in the adoption of a minor child.  After determining the child’s parents would not consent to the adoption, she failed to timely prepare the required petition to terminate parental rights and did not properly communicate with her clients. After the clients retained a new attorney, Hopson delayed the transfer of the client’s file and failed to promptly refund the fee paid to her. Hopson entered into a conditional guilty plea admitting she violated Rules of Professional Responsibility 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.16 and 8.4.

Wilson County lawyer Nathan Scott Moore was suspended April 14 for two years, but was allowed to serve 21 months on suspension after three months of active suspension, so long as he pays restitution within a year. The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Moore after finding that he failed to pay restitution as ordered in January 2011, accepted fees and failed to perform services for clients and neglected to communicate with clients. Moore entered a conditional guilty plea admitting he violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 8.4.

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Putnam County lawyer Samuel Joseph Harris from the practice of law on May 2 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. He may for good cause request such action by petition to the court.

Disbarred
Nashville lawyer John E. Clemmons was disbarred on May 5, retroactive to April 2, 2013, the date on which he was temporarily suspended. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Clemmons misappropriated money from several wards for whom he had been appointed conservator, and had been convicted of four counts of theft in amounts over $60,000, aggravated perjury and Tenn-Care fraud. The court found that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.15, 3.4 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.