Licensure & Dicipline

DISABILITY INACTIVE

The Tennessee Supreme Court transferred the law license of Florida lawyer Robert Mark Morgan to disability inactive status on March 20. Morgan may not practice law while on inactive status. He may return to the practice of law after reinstatement, which requires a 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 Davidson County lawyer Lawrence Doyle Wilson was transferred to disability inactive status on March 12 after the Tennessee Supreme Court found he was incapacitated from continuing the practice of law. Wilson may not practice law while on inactive status. He may return to the practice of law after reinstatement, which requires a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law.

REINSTATED

Atlanta attorney Aminah Maurita Collick was reinstated to the practice of law on Feb. 14. Collick filed a petition for reinstatement after being on inactive status since May 15, 2013. The Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory and recommended that the court reinstate Collick. The court issued the reinstatement order on March 8.

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated Shelby County lawyer Gerald Stanley Green to the practice of law effective Feb. 24. Green was suspended on Jan. 24 for six months, with 30 days to be served on active suspension and the remainder to be served on probation with conditions. Green subsequently filed a petition for reinstatement and the Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory. The court issued the reinstatement order on March 15. He will remain on probation until July 24, during which time he must engage a practice monitor and take a minimum of eight hours of continuing legal education on the topics of law office management, client communication and client relations.

Alabama attorney Alice Howze Martin was reinstated to the practice of law on March 18 after being on inactive status since Feb. 11, 2013. Martin filed a petition for reinstatement on March 18 and the Board of Professional Responsibility found the petition satisfactory. The court issued the reinstatement order on March 28.

DISCIPLINARY
Disbarred

Florida lawyer Thomas Patrick Cooper was disbarred from the practice of law on March 5. In July 2018, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Cooper after his plea of nolo contendere to one count of grand theft and one count of defrauding a financial institution in Broward County, Florida. On Aug. 9, 2018, the Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for final discipline recommending disbarment. In imposing the discipline, the court found that
Cooper violated Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(a), (b), (c) and (d). The court also stipulated that Cooper must comply with the conditions imposed on him in the Florida case before seeking reinstatement.

On March 29, the Tennessee Supreme Court ordered the disbarment of Jason R. Grubb, an attorney licensed in Tennessee and West Virginia, retroactive to May 18, 2016. The court imposed the discipline following similar action by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. The West Virginia court acted after Grubb pleaded guilty to violating federal laws requiring the collection, accounting and paying of employment taxes. On Feb. 8, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered a notice of reciprocal discipline directing Grubb to demonstrate why the discipline imposed in West Virginia should not be imposed in Tennessee. Grubb filed a response, but according to the court, failed to demonstrate that reciprocal discipline was unwarranted.

Shelby County lawyer Martin Alan Weiss was disbarred on March 26 for misappropriating funds from 18 personal injury settlements. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that when distributing settlement funds to clients, Weiss withheld funds to pay what each client owed to the clinic where they had been treated. But then, instead of paying the money to the clinic, Weiss kept the money for his personal use. Weiss entered a conditional guilty plea admitting that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(a), 1.4, 1.5(c), 1.15(a) and (d), 8.1(b) and 8.4(a) and (c). In addition to imposing the discipline, the court ordered Weiss to make restitution in the amount of $57,769, obtain an evaluation by the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, and enter into a TLAP monitoring agreement if appropriate. In light of the disbarment, the court dissolved a temporary suspension imposed on Weiss in June 2018 for posing a threat of substantial harm to the public.

Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Kurt Joseph Pomrenke on March 15 for a period of nine months. The action was taken after similar discipline was imposed by the Disciplinary Board of the Virginia State Bar. Pomrenke, a Virginia juvenile and domestic relations district court judge, was charged with violating Canons 1, 2A and 2B of the Virginia Code of Judicial Ethics for engaging in conduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law. Pomrenke also was found guilty of criminal contempt of court and served a two-month prison sentence. His actions related to attempts to influence witnesses in a criminal trial involving his wife. On March 12, the Tennessee court entered a notice of reciprocal discipline directing Pomrenke to demonstrate why the discipline imposed in Virginia should not be imposed in Tennessee. On March 14, Pomrenke responded that he would not contest the discipline.

Censured

On March 25, Davidson County lawyer Erich Webb Bailey was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court for failing to (1) communicate with a client and (2) appear in court when the matter was set for a hearing. Bailey entered a conditional guilty plea admitting violations of Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4 and 8.4. In addition to imposing the censure, the court directed Bailey to enter into a monitoring agreement with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. Bailey had been suspended in July 2017 for noncompliance with a previous TLAP monitoring agreement. After imposing the censure and conditions, the court lifted the suspension and reinstated Bailey to the practice of law.

Jerry D. Holmes Jr., a Tennessee licensed attorney residing in North Carolina, was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on March 28. The Board of Professional Responsibility filed a petition for discipline concerning one complaint of misconduct after finding that Holmes prepared and sent an email in which he improperly designated himself as an attorney while administratively suspended in Tennessee. Holmes agreed to a conditional guilty plea acknowledging his conduct violated Rules of Professional Conduct 7.1 and 8.4.

Florida lawyer Thomas W. Thompson was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on March 25 for practicing law while suspended. Thompson was suspended in August 2016 for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements. While suspended, four lawsuits were filed in Tennessee naming him as attorney for the plaintiffs. The lawsuits were prepared and filed by Thompson’s nonlawyer staff without his knowledge. Thompson entered a conditional guilty plea admitting that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 5.5(a) and 8.4. As a condition of the censure, Thompson agreed to withdraw from all Tennessee cases.

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/directory-listing/administrative-suspension-lists.

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