TBA Law Blog


Posted by: BPR Reports on May 1, 2017

Journal Issue Date: May 2017

Journal Name: May 2017 - Vol. 53, No. 5

REINSTATED

Arkansas attorney Dannell L. Patrick was reinstated to the practice of law by the Board of Professional Responsibility on March 14. Patrick filed a petition for reinstatement on March 13, demonstrating that all delinquent annual registration fees were paid on Sept. 30, 2016.

Nashville lawyer Kevin William Teets Jr. was reinstated on March 22 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. Teets was suspended on March 3 for misappropriation and posing a threat of harm to the public. Teets is required to meet with a practice monitor biweekly, continue weekly mental health sessions, execute a HIPAA-compliant release authorizing his therapist to provide reports of treatment compliance, and must continue contact with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program.
 

DISABILITY INACTIVE

The licenses of the following lawyers have been transferred to disability inactive status by the Board of Professional Responsibility. They may not practice law while on this status, but may return upon showing evidence to the Tennessee Supreme Court that the disability has been removed and that they are fit to resume the practice of law. They are:

  • Kenneth Keenan Crites of Centerville, transferred on April 7, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9.
  • Davidson County lawyer Jeffrey Daniel Farris, transferred to disability inactive status on April 4, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9.
  • Nashville lawyer William Caldwell Hancock, transferred to disability inactive status on March 20, pursuant to Section 27.4 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. He has been suspended since Jan. 15, 2016.
  • Larry Bea Nolen of McMinn County, transferred to disability inactive status on March 10, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9.
  • Lauderdale County lawyer Herman Layne Reviere, transferred to disability inactive status on April 4, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9.

DISCIPLINARY

Censured

Knoxville lawyer Russell L. Egli received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on March 30. Egli made a false statement of fact in a written communication to a judge overseeing one of his cases. He was found in violation of Rule 3.3(a)(1) (candor to the tribunal) and 8.4(c) (misconduct). He entered a conditional guilty plea for his actions. This censure does not affect his ability to practice law.

Cleveland attorney John P. Fortuno was publicly censured on March 21 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. A petition for discipline was filed against Fortuno on Aug. 22, 2016, for exchanging a series of inappropriate text messages with a client he was appointed to represent, creating a potential conflict of interest. He was found in violation of Rule 1.7(a)(2) (conflicts of interest) and 8.4(a) (misconduct).

On April 4, Davidson County lawyer Robin Jeffery Gordon was censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility, in violation of Rule 1.3 (diligence) and 3.2 (expediting litigation). In 2014, Gordon was found to have failed to file a child support worksheet in a case, and one month later filed the worksheet but did not send it to the judge’s chambers. He failed to ensure that the proposed agreed order was signed by the judge in a timely fashion.

Nashville attorney James Gregory King was publicly censured on March 13 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. King deleted data from his cell phone required in a client’s divorce case before a final agreement was reached and presented to the court for approval. He was found in violation of Rule 3.4(a) (unlawful destruction of material having evidentiary value) and 3.4(c) (knowing disobedience to the rules of a tribunal). The censure is a public warning but does not affect King’s ability to practice law.

James Bryan Lewis of Nashville was publicly censured on March 21 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. A petition for discipline was filed against Lewis on April 27, 2015, alleging that he engaged in ex parte communication with a General Sessions judge in order to obtain a favorable result for his client. He was found in violation of Rule 3.5(b) (impartiality and decorum of the tribunal) and 8.4(a) (misconduct).

Johnny Quitman Rasberry Jr., an attorney in Shelby County, was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on April 4. Rasberry prepared a petition for the adoption of two children for a client, and the client signed it on March 26, 2015. Rasberry failed to file the petition until Oct. 6, 2016, causing significant delay in the adoption.

He also failed to respond to requests for information from his client on this matter. He was found in violation of Rule 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication), 3.2 (expediting litigation) and 8.4 (prejudice to the administration of justice).

Suspended

Charles Michael Clifford of Blount County was suspended from the practice of law on March 10, retroactive to March 9, 2016, by the Board of Professional Responsibility. Clifford was ordered to pay restitution of $1,500. Clifford was found to have failed to communicate adequately with his client, failed to notify his client of a hearing fate, failed to appear in court for the hearing and failed to respond to Disciplinary Counsel. He violated Rule 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication), 8.1(b) (disciplinary matters) and 8.4 (misconduct).

Campbell County attorney Donald Brent Gray was suspended from the practice of law on March 10 by the Board of Professional Responsibility, upon finding that he posed a threat of substantial harm to the public. He may not accept any new cases and was to have ceased representing clients by April 9.

Davidson County attorney Anton Lorenzo Jackson was suspended on March 21 from the practice of law by the Board of Professional Responsibility for three years, retroactive to Nov. 18, 2015. Filings against Jackson included six complaints alleging a failure to adequately communicate with his clients, lack of diligence in handling client matters and failure to adequately communicate with clients. He was found in violation of Rule 1.1 (diligence), 1.4 (communication), 3.2 (expediting litigation), 5.5 (unauthorized practice of law) and 8.4 (misconduct). Jackson must make restitution to two clients, and must pay the board’s costs, expenses and court costs.

Michael John McNulty of Davidson County was suspended from the practice of law on March 9 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. The board found that McNulty posed a threat of substantial harm to the public, and he was to stop accepting new cases immediately. He was to cease representing existing clients by April 8 and must notify all clients.

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Nashville General Sessions Judge Casey Eugene Moreland on April 6. Moreland had resigned his position March 31. Section 12.3 of Supreme Court Rule 9 provides for the immediate suspension of a license to practice law if an attorney poses threat of substantial harm to the public. Moreland may not use any indicia of lawyer, legal assistant or law clerk, or maintain a presence where the practice of law is conducted. Moreland also faces federal charges of obstructing criminal investigations, tampering with a witness, victim or an informant, as well as retaliating against a witness.

Decatur, Georgia, attorney Aschalew Guadie Nigussie, who is licensed to practice law in Tennessee, was suspended from practice on March 10 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility concerning a complaint filed against him. Nigussie was to cease representing existing clients by April 9 and is prohibited from taking on new ones.

Disbarred

Former Nashville lawyer Terence Joseph Fairfax was disbarred from the practice of law on March 29 by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Fairfax was previously suspended on Nov. 18, 2016, based on his conviction on two counts of felony theft. Fairfax misappropriated funds from two trusts for which he served as trustee. Fairfax entered a conditional guilty plea in which he admitted that he violated Rule 8.4(a), (b), (c) and (d) (misconduct).

Effective March 28, Campbell County lawyer Conrad Mark Troutman was disbarred from the practice of law by the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Troutman was found misappropriating approximately $200,000 in funds while serving as the closing attorney in a real estate transaction and misusing his trust account to pay personal and business expenses. Troutman executed a conditional guilty plea, acknowledging his unethical conduct. He was found in violation of Rule 1.15 (safekeeping property and funds) and 8.4 (a), (b), (c) and (d) (misconduct).


Compiled by Katharine Heriges 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.