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The following attorneys have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Supreme Court Rule 21, which requires mandatory continuing legal education:
Gary S. Genovese, Weston, Fla.
Chelli Runelle Jones, Nashville
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:
Michael H. Jackson Born, Denver, Colo.
Martha Joiner King, Encinitas, Calif.
Stanley R. Barnett of Alcoa was reinstated to the practice of law on April 7 after being suspended for three years.
Nathanael Ellis Anderson was suspended on Sept. 17, 2007, for failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements. On April 25, the Tennessee Commission on Legal Education and Specialization reported that he had fulfilled those requirements. Anderson remains suspended, however, based on a March 19 order from the state Supreme Court. The court found that he poses a threat of substantial harm to the public for continuing to practice law while suspended.
A censure declares conduct improper but does not limit the right to practice law.
On March 17, Memphis lawyer Richard Brian Fields was censured based on complaints from two clients. In the first complaint, Fields informed the court that he would dismiss a case but failed to do so, resulting in a show cause order. In the same matter, he failed to inform his client that he was dismissing the case and misrepresented the case's status. He also neglected to provide the client with the case file. In a second complaint, a client alleged that Fields neglected his case, failed to respond to inquiries in a regular and timely manner, failed to withdraw when requested and failed to provide the case file when requested. The state Supreme Court determined that Fields' actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.15 and 8.4.
On March 27, Nashville attorney Gary D. Copas received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court for neglecting a client's case and failing to respond to a client's inquiries. Copas submitted a conditional guilty plea, which included accepting the censure and agreeing to refund the client $2,500. The court found that Copas' actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3-1.6 and 8.4.
Johnson City lawyer Mitchell Stanley Givens was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on April 7. The court based its decision on Givens's failure to adequately communicate with clients on several critical issues (including the viability of an appeal and timely closure of an estate), failed to return phone calls to counsel on another estate matter and failed to inform the Court of Appeals that he was no longer representing a client. Givens submitted a conditional guilty plea and accepted the censure. The court found that his actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a) and (b) and 8.4. In addition to imposing the censure, the court ordered Givens to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility for the cost of his disciplinary proceeding.
Ramsdale O'DeNeal of Goodlettsville was censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on April 7. The court found that he failed to keep adequate trust account records " a violation of Rules 1.15 and 8.4(a) of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct. O'DeNeal submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to the censure.
On April 7, Brett Stein of Memphis received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court based its decision on Stein's failure to (1) call his client as a witness at a transfer hearing and (2) challenge the state's case or present available evidence that would have protected his client's interests in determining whether the client was to be tried as an adult. Stein submitted a conditional guilty plea and accepted the censure. The court found that his actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3 and 8.4(a) and (d). In addition to imposing the censure, the court ordered Stein to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility for the cost of his disciplinary proceeding.
On April 17, Memphis lawyer John Edward Dunlap was censured for failing to comply with local rules before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, failing to comply with several orders and instructions from the court, and demonstrating a pattern of dilatoriness in cases before the court. Dunlap submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to the censure. The state Supreme Court found that his actions violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.16(a)(1), 5.5(a) and 8.4(a) and (d). In addition to imposing the censure, the court ordered Dunlap to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility for the cost of his disciplinary proceeding.
Trenton lawyer Jeffrey A. Smith was publicly censured on April 18 for failing to adequately supervise an employee, thus allowing him to participate in the unauthorized practice of law.
Smith submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to the censure. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that his actions violated Rule 5.3 of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
Suspension is effective 10 days after issuance, except where immediate suspension is necessary to protect the public. A suspended lawyer may not accept new clients but may continue representing current clients for 30 days. The lawyer must notify all clients, co-counsel and opposing counsel of the suspension order; return to clients any papers or property to which they are entitled; not use the indicia of lawyer, legal assistant or law clerk; and not maintain a presence where the practice of law is conducted. An attorney suspended for one year or more must prove by clear and convincing evidence that he has the moral qualifications, competency and learning required for admission to the practice of law, and that resumption of his practice would not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar or the administration of justice, nor be subversive to the public interest. An attorney suspended for less than one year with conditions may resume practice after complying with those conditions. An attorney suspended for less than one year with no conditions may resume practice without reinstatement.
On March 31, the Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order temporarily suspending Knoxville lawyer Aubrey Lewis Davis pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 4.3. The suspension remains in effect until dissolved or modified by the court.
Several years ago, James S. Evans " who last practiced law in Knoxville and now resides in Florida " requested the transfer of his law license to disability inactive status. The request was granted and disciplinary proceedings against him were halted. In August 2006, Evans petitioned the court for reinstatement of his license. The hearing panel in the case recommended that Evans be reinstated subject to several conditions. The court approved the panel's recommendation on April 3. Under the court's order, Evans was reinstated and then immediately suspended for five years based on charges of illegal drugs and theft of client monies. The court, however, made the suspension retroactive to July 8, 1997 " the date his license was transferred to disability inactive status. Evans now must prove at a separate hearing that he should be reinstated from the suspension. The court also stipulated that he successfully complete either the Florida bar examination or the written portion of the Tennessee bar examination, and be monitored by a supervising attorney as a condition of reinstatement.
On March 5, 1993, Richard Alan Counts transferred his law license to disability inactive status, resulting in a halt of disciplinary proceedings against him. He returned to active status in 2004 and filed a conditional guilty plea to having charged an excessive fee. The plea provides that he be suspended for 30 days, but that the suspension be retroactive to March 5, 1993 " the date his license was transferred to disability inactive status. The state Supreme Court approved the plea agreement on April 7.
The Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Timothy R. Balducci on April 10 after he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of an elected state official " a violation of 18 U.S.C. §371. The court also ordered the Board of Professional Responsibility to institute a formal proceeding to determine the final discipline to be imposed on Balducci as a result of the conviction.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended Nashville lawyer David H. Hornik on April 10 for his failure to respond to a complaint of misconduct filed with the Board of Professional Responsibility. The court took the action pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 4.3, which provides for immediate summary suspension for failing to respond to the board.
Disability inactive status precludes an attorney from practicing law in the state immediately. The designation remains in effect until further order of the court, however the attorney is entitled to petition the court for reinstatement to active status once a year (or at shorter intervals if the court allows). To return to active status, the attorney must show by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and that he or she is fit to resume the practice of law.
On March 17, the Supreme Court of Tennessee transferred the law license of Craig J. Donaldson to disability inactive status. Donaldson, who last practiced law in Loudon County, alleged that he is incapacitated from continuing to practice. The court agreed and approved the transfer pursuant to Rule 9, Section 21.2 of the Rules of the Supreme Court.
By order of the state Supreme Court entered April 7, the law license of Memphis attorney Joseph Richard Rossie was transferred to disability inactive status.