TBA Law Blog


Posted by: BPR Reports on Sep 1, 2016

Journal Issue Date: Sep 2016

Journal Name: September 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 9

REINSTATED

Davidson County lawyer Joseph Paul Calandriello was reinstated to the practice of law on July 8. He had been suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court on April 1, 2015, for a period of three years — 11 months and 29 days to be served on active suspension with the remainder to be served on probation. Calandriello filed a petition for reinstatement on April 1.

Disability Inactive

The law licenses of the following lawyers were transfered to disability inactive status. They may not practice law while on inactive status, but may return to the practice of law by showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and that they are fit to resume the practice of law:

  • Sevier County lawyer Ross Brent Gray was transferred to disability inactive status on July 11.
  • Washington County lawyer Charles Pittman Cole Jr. was transferred to disability inactive status on July 22.
  • Sullivan County lawyer Wendal Douglas Jackson was transferred to disability inactive status on July 28. However, on Aug. 1, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Jackson from the practice of law until further notice. See the suspension notice below.

DISCIPLINARY

Censured

The Tennessee Supreme Court censured Sullivan County lawyer Thomas Martin Browder Jr. on July 12 after finding that he presented an oral argument to the Tennessee Court of Appeals while his license was administratively suspended. That action caused the court to strike his oral argument from the record. In another matter, the court found that Browder continued to represent a client after the client sued him for legal malpractice. His actions were found to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7, 5.5 and 8.4(d).

The Tennessee Supreme Court censured lawyer Trippe Steven Fried on July 12 after finding that he performed law-related services for a client without taking reasonable measures to inform the client that the services were not legal services or offering protections afforded by an attorney/client relationship. The court also found that Fried held himself out to be a legal officer in New York State and displayed web-based information that gave the appearance that he was licensed to practice law in that state although he was not. His actions were found to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 5.7 and 7.1.

The Tennessee Supreme Court censured Hamilton County lawyer Richard Korsakov on July 12 after finding that he failed to diligently represent a client in a divorce action, failed to adequately communicate with his client during representation and failed to appear in court for a scheduled hearing, which resulted in an adverse ruling against his client. His actions were found to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4 and 8.4(d).

The Tennessee Supreme Court censured Washington County lawyer Donald Edwin Spurrell on July 12 after finding that he failed to obtain a written agreement from his client in a contingent fee matter, collected an unreasonable fee and failed to supervise a paralegal who commingled trust funds with the firm’s operating account. His actions were found to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5, 1.15 and 5.3.

Alabama lawyer John Hollis McElheny was censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on July 18. The court found that McElheny provided financial assistance to his client on two occasions prior to resolution of the case and failed to safeguard a client settlement check by failing to deposit the check in his trust account. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.8(e) and 1.15.

Shelby County lawyer Johnny Quitman Rasberry Jr. was censured on July 18. Rasberry was hired by a client in a divorce case and received a marital dissolution agreement signed by both parties in June 2014. However, he failed to file the motion until February 2015, at which point the agreement was stale. The client filed a disciplinary complaint, but Rasberry failed to respond in a timely manner. The Tennessee Supreme Court found his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 3.2, 8.1 and 8.4.

Davidson County lawyer Ronald Andre Stewart was censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on July 18 after the court found he unreasonably delayed taking action in two cases and failed to notify clients that their cases were subsequently dismissed. In one case, Stewart failed to respond to a motion to dismiss and failed to appear at the motion hearing, which led to the dismissal of two defendants with prejudice. In the second matter, Stewart filed a voluntary dismissal with regard to two defendants while another motion to dismiss — based on his failure to respond to written discovery — was pending. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3 and 1.4.

Alabama lawyer Lance William Parr was censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on July 22 after the court found that he failed to provide the client file or promptly refund unearned fees to a client after his representation was discontinued because of his prior disbarment. The court also found that he failed to respond to a disciplinary complaint filed against him. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.16(d) and 8.1(b).

Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Sullivan County lawyer Everett Hoge Mechem from the practice of law on July 11 after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud, Supplemental Security Income fraud, making a false statement and theft of public money. The court directed the Board of Professional Responsibility to begin formal proceedings to determine the extent of final discipline.

Sullivan County lawyer Thomas Alan Snapp was suspended from the practice of law for five years on July 21 based on two complaints of misconduct alleging misappropriation, unauthorized practice of law and misconduct. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Snapp undertook representation in a personal injury/wrongful death suit while administratively suspended and did not tell his client or another lawyer assisting with the case about the suspension. After the case settled, Snapp misappropriated $50,000 from his client and led co-counsel to believe that the client had been paid in full. Several months later, co-counsel discovered the truth and confronted Snapp, who re-paid the client’s settlement funds and legal fees. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15, 5.5 and 8.4(c).

Florida lawyer Frank Alfred Baker was suspended from the practice of law on July 25. The Tennessee Supreme Court took the action after Baker was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, two counts of making a false statement to the FDIC and making a false claim against the United States. The court ordered the Board of Professional Responsibility to institute a formal proceeding to determine final discipline.

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Wendal Douglas Jackson from the practice of law on Aug. 1. The court took the action based on Jackson’s conviction for the serious crime of attempted extortion. The court previously had transferred Jackson’s license to disability inactive status on July 28 and suspended him on June 17 after determining that he posed a threat of harm to the public. The new order directs the Board of Professional Responsibility to conduct a formal proceeding to determine what discipline should be imposed if and when the disability status is removed.

Disbarment

Memphis lawyer Christopher Lee Brown was disbarred from the practice of law on July 12. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Brown failed to perform work for which he was retained, failed to refund an unearned fee, failed to advise a client of his prior suspensions, and abandoned his law practice. He also failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility’s request for information. The court found that he violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.16, 8.1 and 8.4(a) and (g), and directed him to make restitution as a condition of any future reinstatement. Brown was suspended for three years in October 2013 and disbarred in July 2015 and again in March 2016. He has not been reinstated from these actions.

Shelby County lawyer Keith Lamonte Dobbs was disbarred on July 21 by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court reported that Dobbs consented to the disbarment because he could not successfully defend himself on charges that he violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 23, requires that his consent be maintained under seal.

Nashville lawyer Leroy Cain Jr. was disbarred on July 27 after he failed to remit the full amount of a settlement to a client. In imposing the discipline, the state Supreme Court also directed Cain to pay restitution to his client or to the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection. After settling his client’s case through mediation, Cain received a settlement check for $8,250. He gave $1,200 to his client. The client complained and at a fee dispute arbitration, Cain was ordered to remit the entire amount of the settlement to the client. However, he failed to do so. The court determined that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15 and 8.4 (a) (b) and (c).


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.