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Posted by: BPR Reports on Jul 1, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Jul 2018

Journal Name: July 2018 - Vol. 54, No. 7

Reinstated

On May 14, the Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated Hawkins County lawyer Daniel Graham Boyd to the practice of law. Boyd was suspended on Jan. 10 for a period of 120 days. He filed a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law, and the Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory.

The Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated Putnam County lawyer Jaramiah Justin Hruska to the practice of law on May 21. Hruska had been suspended by the court on April 19 for a period of two years with 30 days to be served as an active suspension and the remainder served on probation. Hruska filed a petition for reinstatement and the Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory.

On May 11, the Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated Davidson County lawyer James Daniel Marshall to the practice of law. Marshall had been suspended on March 22 for a period of two years with a minimum of 30 days to be served as an active suspension and the remainder on probation. He satisfied the conditions of his suspension, filed a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law, and the Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory.

Disability Inactive

By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court, the licenses of the following lawyers have been transferred to disability inactive status. They cannot practice law while on disability inactive status, but may return to the practice of law after reinstatement by the Tennessee Supreme Court upon showing of clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed, and they are fit to resume the practice of law:

  • Davidson County lawyer William Dalton Castleman Sr., May 9, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9;
  • Hamblen County lawyer Richard Dale Darby, May 9,  pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9.
  • Madison County lawyer Walter French Eubanks Jr., May 25 for an indefinite period of time and until further orders of the Supreme Court;
  • Davidson County lawyer James Jasper Fason III, May 25 for an indefinite period of time and until further orders of the Supreme Court;
  • Chattanooga lawyer Terry Shane Hensley, May 16, pursuant to Section 27.4 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9;
  • Williamson County lawyer Patrick M. Kelley, May 30, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9;
  • North Carolina lawyer Roger Dale Oaks, June 5, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9.

Disciplinary

Disbarred

On May 10, Blount County lawyer Charles Michael Clifford was disbarred from the practice of law. In his representation of clients in a personal injury auto accident claim, Clifford failed to provide opposing counsel with his client’s authorization for release of records relevant to injuries sustained as promised and as ordered by the court. In addition, he and his clients failed to appear at a motion for pre-trial conference, and failed to appear for scheduled depositions. After opposing counsel filed a motion to dismiss, Clifford filed a notice of voluntary nonsuit with a proposed order before the motion could be heard. Clifford’s clients were not included on the certificate of service nor updated about the status of the case. The clients were unable to contact Clifford, which ultimately contributed to the clients’ statute of limitations for re-filing expiring. Clifford did not respond to this complaint. Clifford’s ethical misconduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2, scope of representation, 1.3, diligence, 1.4, communications, 3.2, expediting litigation, 8.1(b), disciplinary matters, 8.4(d), conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and 8.4(a), misconduct.

On May 8, Scott Eric Crawford, of Collierville, was disbarred from the practice of law by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court, effective May 18. As a condition of reinstatement, he must make restitution to one client. Crawford represented his client in a fire loss dispute with an insurance company. A hearing panel found that Crawford forged his client’s signature on the insurance payment checks, failed to deposit them into his trust account as required, failed to adequately communicate with his client, failed to maintain adequate records and to account for the distribution of funds, and failed to remit his client’s portion in a timely manner. In addition, Crawford was found to have concealed the payment of a portion of his fees by the insurance carrier when he was not entitled to any fees, and misappropriated an amount he claimed he was holding in escrow for the client’s payment of contractor expenses. Crawford’s ethical misconduct violates the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, competence, 1.3, diligence, 1.4, communication, 1.15(a) and 1.15(c), safekeeping client funds, 8.4(c), engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and  8.4(a), misconduct.

The Tennessee Supreme Court on May 18 disbarred Thomas Allen Crawford of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, retroactively to Nov. 14, 2017, by order of Reciprocal Discipline. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania had disbarred Crawford on Nov. 14, 2017, and on April 3, 2018, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered a notice of reciprocal discipline directing Crawford to inform the Tennessee court within 30 days why the discipline imposed by the Pennsylvania court should not be imposed in Tennessee. Crawford provided no response.

Wesley Lynn Hatmaker of Jacksboro was disbarred from the practice of law on May 22. As a condition of reinstatement, Hatmaker must make restitution to one former client. In his representation of one client, Hatmaker did not provide his client with a written fee agreement, failed to perform the work for which he was retained, abandoned his representation, failed to properly terminate the relationship, and failed to refund his client for the work he did not perform. With a second client, he took no further action in the case after receiving payment for his representation. He continued to invoice his client and told his client everything was fine; however, when the court placed the case on the trial calendar six years later, the client obtained new counsel who determined that Hatmaker had done nothing on behalf of the client. In both cases, Hatmaker failed to inform his clients that he had been suspended from the practice of law in January 2016. Hatmaker’s ethical misconduct violates Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, diligence, 1.4, communication, 1.16(d), terminating representation, 3.2, expediting litigation, 8.1(b), disciplinary matters, and 8.4 (a), (c), (d) and (g), misconduct.

Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court on June 5 suspended Casey Eugene Moreland of Nashville from the practice of law until further orders of the court. Moreland was suspended based upon pleading guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, victim or informant, conspiracy to commit theft, embezzlement or conversion of over $5,000 in funds from an organization receiving over $10,000 in federal benefits, destruction of records or documents with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, and tampering with a witness by corrupt persuasion. The court ordered the board to institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed as a result of Moreland being found guilty. 

Administrative Suspensions

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 on the TBA website at www.tba.org/directory-listing/administrative-suspension-lists.