TBA Law Blog


Posted by: BPR Reports on Apr 1, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Apr 2018

Journal Name: April 2018 - Vol. 54, No. 4

REINSTATED

The Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated Hamilton County lawyer Lisa Zarzour Bowman to the practice of law, effective March 5. Bowman was suspended by the Supreme Court on Jan. 22, for one year with a minimum active suspension of 30 days and the remainder served on probation. Bowman filed a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law on Feb. 8.

In March, Nashville lawyer Dennis Wayne Gregory was reinstated to the practice of law by the Tennessee Supreme Court. In February, he sought reinstatement from inactive status, which he had been on for five years.

Knox County attorney Brennan Patrick Lenihan has been reinstated to the practice of law by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court entered Feb. 27. Lenihan is ordered to pay the board’s costs in this matter. Lenihan was temporarily suspended from the practice of law by the Supreme Court on Jan. 30 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. On Jan. 31, Lenihan filed a petition for dissolution of temporary suspension, and on Feb. 16, a board panel entered a recommendation that the temporary suspension be dissolved.

The Supreme Court on Feb. 8 reinstated Davidson County attorney George Avery Mott to the practice of law. Mott had been suspended on Dec. 27, 2017, for one year, with 30 days to be served as an active suspension and the remaining time on probation. Mott now begins his probationary period.

On Feb. 23, the Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated Davidson County lawyer Paul Julius Walwyn to the practice of law. Walwyn had been suspended by the Supreme Court of Tennessee on Aug. 4, 2017, for a period of six months. Walwyn filed a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law, and the board found that the petition was satisfactory and submitted an order of reinstatement to the court.

DISABILITY INTERACTIVE

On Nov. 17, 2017, the law license of Nashville attorney David Dwayne Harris was transferred to disability inactive status for an indefinite period. The court referred the matter to a hearing panel for a formal hearing to determine Harris’s capacity to continue to practice law and to respond to or defend against disciplinary complaints. On Feb. 21, the court entered an order finding that Harris should remain on disability inactive status. He 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.

By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court entered March 9, the law license of Davidson County lawyer Hugh C. Howser was transferred to disability inactive status pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. Howser cannot practice law while on disability inactive status. He 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 he is fit to resume the practice of law.

The law license of Knox County lawyer Willis B. Jackson Jr. was transferred to disability inactive status March , pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. Jackson is prohibited from practicing law while on disability inactive status. He 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.

By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court entered March 2, the law license of Davidson County lawyer Nathaniel H. Koenig was transferred to disability inactive status pursuant to Section 27.4 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. Koenig cannot practice law while on disability inactive status. He 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 he is fit to resume the practice of law.

DISCIPLINARY

Disbarred

Robin K. Barry, formerly of Nashville and now of Richmond, Texas, was disbarred from the practice of law by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 16. Barry received $100,000 of client funds pending the resolution of her client’s lawsuit. A hearing panel found that she knowingly converted more than $14,000 of those funds while they were being held in her trust account. In addition, she commingled her personal funds in the trust account in order to replace the funds she converted. While the case was pending, Barry moved to Texas and began practicing law there but failed to tell her client that she had moved. She avoided her client’s efforts to communicate with her, and misled her in an effort to conceal the fact that the balance of the funds that should have remained after the conclusion of the lawsuit was missing from her trust account. Barry’s ethical misconduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4, communication; 1.15(a) and (d), safekeeping property and funds; and 8.4(a) and (c), misconduct.

On Feb. 23, the Supreme Court of Tennessee disbarred Sullivan County attorney Don W. Cooper from the practice of law, retroactive to Aug. 18, 2017, for misappropriating funds while serving as personal representative of an estate. Cooper is required to pay restitution to the estate in the amount of $57,000. The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Cooper on Aug. 18, 2017 based upon his entry of Alford/Best Interest pleas to 10 counts of theft. The Board of Professional Responsibility instituted a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed. Cooper’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(a) and (d), safekeeping property and funds, and 8.4(a), (b) and (c), misconduct.

Sean K. Hornbeck of Nashville was disbarred from the practice of law by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 16. Hornbeck convinced an investor to entrust him with between $5 million and $5.5 million on the basis that he would hold the money in his trust account, it would never be at risk and the investor would reap substantial dividends. Instead, Hornbeck released most of the money to unknown third parties and/or misappropriated it to his own use. In an effort to conceal his actions, Hornbeck submitted falsified bank records and false testimony in Chancery Court. He also failed to diligently represent two clients and failed to adequately communicate with them. While Hornbeck was temporarily suspended, he also engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while in the employ of an attorney, and engaged in a scheme to misappropriate funds from a client of that attorney. Hornbeck’s ethical misconduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, diligence; 1.4, communication, 1.8(h); conflict of interest, 1.15(a), safekeeping property and funds; 1.16(d), declining and terminating representation; 3.2 expediting litigation; 5.5, unauthorized practice of law; and 8.4(a), (b), (c), (d) and (g), misconduct.

Davidson County lawyer Michael John McNulty was disbarred from the practice of law on Feb. 15. He must make restitution to two clients as a condition of reinstatement, and pay the board’s costs and expenses. McNulty signed two clients’ names to settlement checks without their permission, misappropriated the settlement funds and made misrepresentations to the clients that the checks had not been received. In several matters, McNulty did not represent clients diligently, did not communicate with them and did not respond to the board’s requests for information. McNulty’s ethical misconduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, competence; 1.2, scope of representation; 1.3, diligence; 1.4, communication; 1.5, fees, 1.15, safekeeping property and funds; 1.16, declining and terminating representation; 3.2, expediting litigation; 8.1, bar admission and disciplinary matters; and 8.4(a), (b), (c) and (g), misconduct. 

Suspended

The Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended M. Andrew Holland March 9 from the practice of law upon finding that he failed to respond to the board regarding a complaint of misconduct. Section 12.3 of Supreme Court Rule 9 provides for the immediate summary suspension of an attorney’s license to practice law in cases of an attorney’s failure to respond to the board regarding a complaint of misconduct.

On March 1, the Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended Hamilton County lawyer James Thomas Neal from the practice of law upon finding that Neal misappropriated funds and poses a threat of substantial harm to the public. Neal also represented a client in a medical malpractice case that was dismissed. Instead of telling the client that the case had been dismissed, he falsely stated that the case had settled and gave the client a worthless check for the client’s share of the fictitious settlement. Section 12.3 of Supreme Court Rule 9 provides for the immediate summary suspension of an attorney’s license to practice law in cases of an attorney misappropriating funds or otherwise posing a threat of substantial harm to the public.

The Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended Shelby County lawyer TeShaun David Moore from the practice of law March 7 upon finding that Moore misappropriated client funds and poses a threat of substantial harm to the public. Section 12.3 of Supreme Court Rule 9 provides for the immediate summary suspension of an attorney’s license to practice law where an attorney has misappropriated funds or otherwise poses a threat of substantial harm to the public.

Censured

Shelby County lawyer John Edward Dunlap received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court on Jan. 19. Dunlap represented a client in a bankruptcy that was dismissed for failure to provide documentation. He failed to respond to his client’s requests for information for two months. In another client matter, Dunlap received a personal injury settlement for his client that he properly held in his trust account. However, the client passed away, and Dunlap mistakenly believed that he complied with a court order to release a portion of the funds to pay a subrogation claim. More than two years later, a third party filed a lawsuit to collect the funds, and Dunlap remitted payment. Dunlap violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4, communication; 1.1, competence; and 1.15, safekeeping property.

Davidson County lawyer Jefre Scot Goldtrap received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court on Jan. 22. Goldtrap failed to prepare written discovery requests on behalf of his client despite the client’s requests on a number of occasions for him to do so. Goldtrap also failed to adequately communicate with his client about the status of his case and the status of attorney fees; additionally his billing invoice, which included only four entries over a six-month period, was inadequate and billed for time that should not have been billed. Goldtrap has violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, diligence; 1.4, communication; 1.5, fees; and 3.2, expediting litigation.

TeShaun David Moore of Shelby County was publicly censured on Jan. 22 by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The court further ordered him to pay restitution to his client and to pay costs and expenses to the Board of Professional Responsibility. On Feb. 2, 2017, a petition for discipline was filed against Moore. Prior to the final hearing, Moore executed a conditional guilty plea acknowledging he unreasonably delayed retaining an expert, failed to notify his client of the motion hearing date, failed to consult with the client prior to entering a nonsuit of the case and unreasonably delayed notifying his client of the dismissal of the case without prejudice. Moore’s conduct violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2, scope of representation; 1.3, diligence; 1.4, communication; 1.5, fees; and 3.2, expediting litigation.

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.


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