Posted by: News Sources on Feb 1, 2020

Journal Issue Date: Feb. 2020

Journal Name: Vol. 56 No. 2

REINSTATED

Shelby County lawyer Clinton Daniel Hermes was reinstated to the practice of law on Dec. 5, 2019. He was placed on inactive status on May 10, 2013. Hermes petitioned the court for reinstatement and the court found his petition to be satisfactory and reinstatement to be appropriate. The court issued the order on Dec. 20, 2019.

Georgia lawyer Chuck Richard Pardue was reinstated to the practice of law on Dec. 16, 2019. He had been placed on inactive status in June 2012. Pardue petitioned the court for reinstatement and the court found his petition to be satisfactory and reinstatement to be appropriate. The court issued the order on Dec. 30, 2019.

The law license of Davidson County lawyer Michael Leonard Underhill was transferred from disability inactive status to active status on Dec. 10, 2019. Underhill was placed on disability inactive status in September 2018. He filed a petition for transfer to active status on Nov. 15, 2019.

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated Bedford lawyer Christopher Paul Westmoreland to active practice on Dec. 6, 2019, provided he retains a practice monitor during his remaining probationary period and does not incur any new complaints of misconduct. Westmoreland had been suspended on Oct. 16, 2019, for a period of nine months, with one month to be served on active suspension and the remainder on probation.

REINSTATEMENT 

Denied

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Jan. 2 denied a third petition from Davidson County lawyer Brian Phillip Manookian to dissolve a suspension re-imposed on him on May 17, 2019, after he failed to comply with requirements for probation. Manookian filed, and the court denied, two previous petitions for dissolution this past fall. The third petition, filed on Dec. 13, 2019, argued that the Board of Professional Responsibility had failed to proceed with “all due speed” in his case. The court again denied the petition, saying that Manookian continues to pose a threat of substantial harm to the public and has failed to establish good cause for dissolution or modification of the suspension.

DISCIPLINARY

Suspended

Davidson County lawyer Erica May Lotz was suspended Dec. 20, 2019, following suspension by the Supreme Court of Louisiana in September. Lotz was suspended by the Louisiana court for one year and one day for mismanaging her client trust account. All but 30 days of the suspension was deferred and the active suspension is to be followed by two years of unsupervised probation. The Tennessee Supreme Court imposed identical terms and conditions.

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Davidson County lawyer John Ryan Poole on Dec. 17, 2019, after finding that he failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility, misappropriated funds and posed a threat of substantial harm to the public. The suspension requires Poole to immediately stop accepting cases and cease representing current clients by Jan. 6. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.

Censured

Georgia lawyer Eric Jason Byrd received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court on Dec. 26, 2019. Byrd began working remotely for a Tennessee law firm in late 2018. In January 2019, he moved to Nashville and began working in the law firm’s Nashville office. However, he did not file an application for comity admission in Tennessee until May 16, 2019. In addition, his website and the letterhead used by the firm failed to indicate that he was not yet licensed in Tennessee. His actions were found to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 5.5 and 7.1.

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 https://www.tba.org/index.cfm?pg=administrative-suspension-lists.