Posted by: BPR Reports on May 1, 2021

Journal Issue Date: May-June 2021

Journal Name: Vol. 57 No. 3

REINSTATED

Williamson County lawyer Bradley Michael Carter was reinstated to the practice of law on Feb. 10 after four months of active suspension. He will serve two years on probation. The court also appointed Franklin lawyer Patricia McDade to serve as a practice monitor during the probation.

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated McNairy County lawyer Bobby Gene Gray to the practice of law on March 23. Gray was suspended on Jan. 7 for three years, with eight months to be served on active suspension and the remainder on probation, but the suspension was ordered to be retroactive to May 1, 2020.

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated Shelby County lawyer Scott Bradley Ostrow to the practice of law on March 10, retroactive to Feb. 23. The court took the action after Ostrow demonstrated that he paid the required reinstatement fee and all delinquent annual registration fees.

The following lawyers have been reinstated to the practice of law after being moved to inactive status more than five years ago:

Davidson County lawyer Joe Blackburn Brown was reinstated on March 10, retroactive to Feb. 12.

Davidson County lawyer Brien Philip Campbell was reinstated on March 10, retroactive to Feb. 22.

Sequatchie County lawyer Philip Andes Condra was reinstated on March 24, retroactive to March 8.

Anderson County lawyer Brian Jamie Hunt was reinstated on March 10, retroactive to Feb. 25.

REINSTATEMENT DENIED

Tracy Anne Eaton of Des Moines, Iowa, filed a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law in Tennessee on Nov. 2, 2020. On Nov. 17, 2020, the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education filed a response in opposition to the petition, citing Eaton’s failure to pay fees and establish compliance with mandatory CLE requirements for two compliance years. The commission sent two letters to Eaton notifying her of its position. She did not respond. The Tennessee Supreme Court dismissed her petition on Feb. 22 without prejudice.

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 11 denied a reinstatement petition filed by Shelby County lawyer Thomas Francis Jackson III and directed him to contact the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program for an evaluation within 30 days and to complete a mental capacity evaluation within six months. Jackson was suspended from the practice of law on Aug. 20, 2019, after he failed to comply with an order to contact TLAP. On August 19, 2020, Jackson filed a petition for dissolution of the suspension. After conducting a hearing, the Board of Professional Responsibility determined that he had not complied with the August 2019 order.

DISCIPLINARY
Disbarred

Davidson County Jason Wade Barnette was permanently disbarred from the practice of law on April 1. The Tennessee Supreme Court reports that Barnette consented to disbarment because he could not successfully defend himself against the disciplinary charges. The court found that Barnette failed to communicate with clients and inform clients that he had been suspended; allowed default judgments to be entered against clients; posted misleading information on his web page suggesting he was authorized to practice law in another state; and failed to disburse settlement funds to his client. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.15, 1.16, 5.5, 7.1, 8.1 and 8.4(a), (d) and (g).

Davidson County lawyer Judson Wheeler Phillips was permanently disbarred from the practice of law on Feb. 4. The Tennessee Supreme Court reports that Phillips consented to the disbarment because he could not successfully defend himself against the disciplinary charges. Phillips is not eligible for reinstatement in Tennessee, and must comply with the requirements of Rule 9, Section 28.

Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Mark Steven Graham from the practice of law on Feb. 11 for three years, retroactive to March 11, 2020, the date of his temporary suspension. The court found that while representing a foreign company involved in intellectual property litigation in the United States, Graham failed to pay an expert witness as agreed and instead used a portion of the funds to pay his own outstanding attorney fees. Graham will serve one year on active suspension and the remainder on probation. He also must obtain an evaluation with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, engage a practice monitor and pay restitution.

The Tennessee Supreme Court on March 11 suspended Albert Fitzpatrick Officer III from the practice of law for six years, with six months to be served on active suspension and the remainder on probation. Officer also was ordered to continue his monitoring agreement with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, engage the services of a practice monitor and pay restitution in the amount of $1,250. Officer pleaded guilty to the amended criminal charge of misdemeanor DUI. He also failed to advance a client’s case, advise his client in a matter that had been appealed, file appellate responses and deposit client funds into his trust account. The court found he also represented clients in court while administratively suspended.

The Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended Richard Louis Reynolds from the practice of law on March 1. Reynolds pled guilty and was convicted of misprision of a felony in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division. The court referred the matter to the Board of Professional Responsibility to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed.

Suspension Vacated

On April 1, the Tennessee Supreme Court vacated a suspension it imposed on Davidson County lawyer Charles Edward Walker on March 25. The court had suspended Walker for three years, with two years to be served on active suspension and one year on probation, and had directed him to engage a practice monitor. The court took the action believing that Walker had not appealed the Board of Professional Responsibility’s recommendation for discipline. The court says it since learned that Walker did file an appeal but filed it in the wrong court. The order also directs the Court of Appeals to transfer Walker’s appeal to it for consideration.

Censured

Shelby County lawyer Elbert Everett Edwards received a censure from the Supreme Court of Tennessee on March 17. The court conditioned the censure on Edwards attending the next Board of Professional Responsibility Ethics Workshop. The court found that while working as a contract attorney for a debt collection company, Edwards failed to contact a client, who was unaware of the representation. The client later objected to the contingency fee charged by Edwards after collecting the debt. Edwards agreed to a conditional guilty plea admitting his conduct violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2, 1.4 and 8.4.

The Tennessee Supreme Court censured Roane County lawyer Jason Ralph Hines on March 29. The court took the action after determining that Hines engaged in inappropriate text communications with a client, failed to deposit client funds into his trust account, provided inappropriate financial assistance to his client, and failed to promptly refund advance payment of unearned fees. He agreed to a conditional guilty plea admitting his conduct violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7(a), 1.15 (a), 1.8(3) and 1.16(d).

Benton County lawyer Phillip Gordon Hollis received a censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 9. The court found that Hollis failed to provide notice of his March 2020 administrative suspension to clients, opposing counsel and the courts, and failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing. Hollis informed the court that he had provided written notice of his suspension, but when asked to provide copies he could not. He later acknowledged he had not sent the letters. His actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 1.16(d), 3.2, 3.3, 3.4(c) and 8.4(a)(c)(d).

Referred to BPR

On Feb. 11, the Tennessee Supreme Court referred the case of Carter County lawyer Thomas Marion Gray to the Board of Professional Responsibility for whatever action the board deems warranted. On Oct. 19, 2020, Gray plead guilty to the theft of merchandise. The general sessions court imposed a year of probation and the requirement to complete an anti-theft class. Gray must return to court on Oct. 18 for a hearing on his compliance with those requirements.

On March 12, the Tennessee Supreme Court referred the case of Knox County lawyer Keri Elizabeth Rule to the Board of Professional Responsibility for whatever action the board deems warranted. The court took the step after learning that Rule had pleaded guilty to and was convicted of the charge of driving under the influence and two counts of reckless endangerment, in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. 39-13-103.

Administrative Suspensions

Notice of attorneys suspended for, and reinstated from, administrative violations — including failure to pay the Board of Professional Responsibility licensing and inactive fees, file the required IOLTA report, comply with continuing legal education requirements, and pay the Tennessee professional privilege tax — is on the TBA website at www.tba.org/administrative_suspensions.