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Licensure & Discipline
The following attorneys returned to the active practice of law during the month of November: James Walter McDonnell Jr., Memphis and C. Allen Yates, Lawrenceville, Ga.
The following attorneys have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Supreme Court Rule 21, which requires mandatory continuing legal education: Joseph James Doherty, Morristown; David R. Huggins, Memphis; Lionel Rickey Joiner, Huntsville, Ala.; Seo Young Kim, Korea; Hyun Jin Lee, Korea; Eldwin Ashford Nichols, Fairfield, Iowa; Lawrence E. Nicola, Jackson; Matthew Charles O’Connell, Cleveland; James Horner Ortale, Nashville; Laura Hope Richards, Maitland, Fla.; Corey James Stringer, Troy, Mich.
The following attorneys have 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: Anne LeSuer Cornelius, Bethesda, Md., and Hugh Parmenas Taylor, White Pine.
Memphis lawyer John Michael Bailey was reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Supreme Court Rule 43, which requires certification that a lawyer’s funds are held in an account participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program.
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 Supreme Court Rule 43, which requires certification that a lawyer’s funds are held in an account participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program: Larry Gene Bryant, McMinnville; Elizabeth M. Cooper, Memphis; Terry Carroll Frye, Bristol, Va.; William Noble Hulsey III, Austin, Texas; Benjamin Franklin Parrish Jr., Brentwood; Amy Marie Robertson, Memphis; Arne B. Thompson Jr., Memphis; Lauren Price Whitley, Fairfax, Va.
Nashville lawyer Bradley H. Frakes was reinstated to the practice of law by order of the Supreme Court on Nov. 27. His reinstatement is subject to several conditions, including restitution to a former client and use of a practice monitor. In Nov. 2011, Frakes was suspended for one year, retroactive to a temporary suspension imposed in November 2010. He petitioned the court for reinstatement in April 2012.
Hamilton County lawyer James W. Clements was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Nov. 5, 2012. In an incident involving a possible claim against a nursing home for neglect of a client’s relative, the board found that Clements failed to (1) have the medical record promptly reviewed by an appropriate expert, (2) monitor the expert’s review, (3) provide material information to the client regarding the statute of limitations, (4) respond to phone calls from the client, and (5) provide material information to the client. The board determined that these actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 8.4.
Davidson County lawyer Hugh Edward Garrett received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on Nov. 6, 2012, for failing to render competent representation, act with reasonable diligence, maintain reasonable communication with his client and take reasonable steps to expedite litigation. The board found that he essentially abandoned his client’s case on appeal and ignored requests from the Court of Criminal Appeals to file a brief or dismiss the matter. By these acts, Garrett violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 3.2 and 8.4(d).
Sumner County lawyer Michael Scott Collins was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Nov. 13, 2012. Collins entered into a representation agreement with a client that was vague, ambiguous and without sufficient clarity for the client to understand the scope of the representation. He also billed the client for work performed by a paralegal without first obtaining the client’s consent. The board determined that these actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2, 1.5 and 8.4(a).
On Nov. 20, 2012, Memphis lawyer Valerie Corder was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility after submitting a conditional guilty plea acknowledging violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The court found that Corder did not promptly withdraw from representation after her client testified falsely at a deposition, and that at a subsequent hearing, Corder did not correct the deposition testimony because the hearing was unexpectedly adjourned prior to completion. Her actions were found to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6 and 8.4.
Terry D. Dycus, a Fayette County lawyer and prosecutor in the local district attorney’s office, was suspended Nov. 27, 2012, for one year, with 45 days to be served on active suspension and the remainder to be served on probation. The Tennessee Supreme Court also ordered him to perform 10 hours of pro bono service, complete additional continuing legal education and contact the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. Dycus entered into a conditional guilty plea that he violated Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2 and 8.4(a) and (d) by engaging in conversation of a sexual nature with two criminal defendants being prosecuted by his office. He was not the attorney assigned to the cases, but both defendants were represented by counsel so he should not have spoken to them. In addition, the court determined that the conversations that occurred were inappropriate and raised a potential risk for conflict of interest and abuse of power.
Hawkins County attorney John Douglas Godbee was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Nov. 15, 2012, after the court found that he solicited and/or received sexual favors from female defendants in exchange for consideration in their cases. Godbee, an assistant district attorney, submitted a conditional guilty plea for violating Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2 and 8.4. The court also ordered him to pay the cost of the disciplinary proceeding.
The Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Knox County lawyer M. Josiah Hoover on Nov. 16, 2012, after finding that he knowingly failed to perform services for his clients and violated his professional duties, causing serious or potential serious injuries to his clients and to the legal system. Specific complaints filed against Hoover included allegations of negligence, incompetence, failure to communicate with clients, failure to comply with court orders and rules, and filing frivolous litigation.
Elizabethton lawyer Thomas E. Cowan Jr. was disbarred on Nov. 19, 2012, based on his plea of guilty to a serious crime. In 2009, Cowan pleaded guilty to the willful attempt to defeat or evade the payment of taxes. He was sentenced to one year in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution. In imposing the disbarment, the court noted that Cowan had never acknowledged the seriousness of his misconduct and had a history of ethical violations, including two suspensions, three public reprimands and 15 private admonishments.
Bobby Dean Davis of Nashville was disbarred on Nov. 20, 2012, by the Tennessee Supreme Court for abandoning his practice. The court also ordered him to pay restitution to four clients. The court found that in four cases, clients paid fees to Davis though he did little or no legal work. In addition, in one of the cases, Davis’ failure to communicate with his client resulted in a default judgment being entered against the client. Davis did not respond to the petition for discipline and did not appear for the final hearing, despite having notice of both. His conduct was determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5(a), 1.16(d), 3.2, 8.1(b) and 8.4(a) and (d).
On Nov. 30, 2012, Sullivan County attorney David Garrett Mullins was disbarred for neglect, failure to communicate with clients, practicing law while suspended, and accepting fees then abandoning clients’ cases. The court also ordered him to pay $15,445 in restitution to former clients.
2012 Fee & IOLTA Suspensions
On Nov. 28, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an additional order 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. Those who have complied with the rules since the orders were issued, and for whom notification of a status change was received from the Board of Professional Responsibility prior to press time, are noted as reinstated. For the most current information visit http://www.tba.org/info/2012-fee-iolta-suspensions
Collierville: LaTrena Davis Ingram
Germantown: Earl Frank Johnson
Kingsport: James Harrison Beeler Jr. (reinstated)
Knoxville: Robert Lawson Cheek Jr., Robert Alma Matson
Maryville: James Guy Rickman
Memphis: Lauren Elizabeth Abernathy, Miranda Renee Baker, Robert Larry Brown, Ronald Spearman Johnson, Israel C. Katz, Emily How Walker
Nashville: Daniel Durand Hite, Orvil L. Orr (reinstated), Greer Courley Tidwell Jr., Christopher Dale Van Atta
Winchester: Joseph Scott Bean Jr. (reinstated)
OUT OF STATE
Arkansas: Susan Nichols Estes
District of Columbia: Rahkel Bouchet
Georgia: Kristy Georgette Offitt
Michigan: Evette Elizabeth Dukes
Mississippi: Mark Ivey Burton
Virginia: Patrick Dion White
2012 Professional Privilege Tax Suspensions
The following attorneys were suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Nov. 29 for failing to pay the state professional privilege tax as required by Tennessee Code Annotated 67-4-1702. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 32, attorneys who fail to pay the fee for at least two consecutive years, are summarily suspended.
Chattanooga: Hannah Christine Stokes (reinstated)
Clinton: Roger Anthony Miller (reinsated)
Collierville: Johnnie Raymond Candy
Franklin: John Jay Clark (reinstated)
Germantown: Tamra Jean Sikkink, Keith Von Moore
Knoxville: Thomas Francis Dilustro (reinstated), Vanessa Lynn Lemons, D’Artagnan Honre Perry
Memphis: John Bernard Bartels, Kerri Gail Campbell, Larry Allan Diamond, Ronald Spearman Johnson, William Shawn Lynch, Ruchee Janardan Patel (reinstated), Katherine Evett Smith, David Marshall Wray
Millington: Vicki Lynn Green (reinsated)
Nashville: Kahliel R. Barlowe, Mark Edward Chapman (reinstated), William Claude Collins Jr. (reinstated), Mickie Smith Daugherty, Scott David Johannessen, Charles Edwin Reed (reinstated)
Smyrna: Joseph Edward Beecham
OUT OF STATE
Alabama: W. Clyde Harr III, Philip Thomas Shanks III
California: G. Wynn Smith Jr.
Colorado: Dixie White Ishee
Florida: Robert F. Hedgepath, James Edward Moon
Georgia: Andrew Charles Matteson, Josephine Latasha Walker
Illinois: Patricia Ann Hardiman
Maryland: John Craig Shiffman
Mississippi: William Wells Berry III, Jennifer Lynn Musselwhite, James William Williams, Robert Paul Williams
Texas: Christine Peterson Nevitt
Wisconsin: Randy Steven Gardner