Licensure & Dicipline

DISABILITY INACTIVE

The law license of Shelby County lawyer Deidre Lynn Smith was transferred to disability inactive status on Sept. 6. Smith may not practice law while on inactive status. She 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 she is fit to resume the practice of law.

REINSTATED

On Sept. 19, the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated the law license of Davidson County lawyer M. Andrew Holland. He had been suspended on March 9, 2018, for failure to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility. On July 10, 2018, the disciplinary complaint was resolved, negating the need to continue the suspension. The reinstatement was made retroactive to July 10, 2018.

Greene County lawyer Edward Lee Kershaw was reinstated to the practice of law on Sept. 6 after completing a four-month suspension. Kershaw served one month on active suspension and three months on probation. He then filed a petition for reinstatement, which the Tennessee Supreme Court found to be satisfactory.

San Mateo, California, lawyer Stephen Royce Mills was reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee on Sept. 27. Mills had taken inactive status in July 2009 and received a suspension in November 2018. He petitioned the court to reinstate him on Sept. 10. The Board of Professional Responsibility reported that Mills complied with all requirements for reinstatement and the petition was satisfactory. The reinstatement was made retroactive to Sept. 10.

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated the law license of Kurt Joseph Pomrenke on Sept. 27. Pomrenke had been suspended on March 15 after the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended him for nine months. Pomrenke filed a petition for reinstatement, which the Board of Professional Responsibility found satisfactory.

The state Supreme Court reinstated the law license of Rutherford County lawyer Walter Alan Rose on Sept. 27 with the condition that he enter into a monitoring agreement with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program, work with a practice monitor and complete six additional continuing education hours. Rose had been suspended in January 2017 for a period of three years, retroactive to Oct. 30, 2015.

DISCIPLINARY
Disbarred

The Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Jennifer Elizabeth Meehan on Sept. 20 based on her conviction for bank fraud in federal court. The court reports that Meehan served as president of a sorority’s housing board overseeing construction and furnishing of a new sorority house at the University of Alabama. During this work, she mishandled funds, including using false documents to open unauthorized banking accounts, submitting false invoices and moving funds to a personal account. After Meehan pleaded guilty to bank fraud, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama sentenced her to six months in prison and ordered her to pay restitution. The Tennessee Supreme Court initiated reciprocal action and the Board of Professional Responsibility recommended a disbarment. On appeal, the Davidson County Circuit Court held that the BPR’s decision was arbitrary and imposed a five-year suspension. The Supreme Court reversed that decision and affirmed the BPR’s recommendation.

On Sept. 25, the Tennessee Supreme Court prohibited Kentucky lawyer Cassidy Teater from practicing law in the state, a move the court called “tantamount to disbarment.” In addition, the court ordered her to pay restitution to two clients as a condition of reinstatement. While living in Nashville, Teater represented two individuals in the U.S. Immigration Court. After accepting payment for the cases, she ceased communicating with the clients and failed to perform the services for which she was paid. The court determined her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.16, 3.2 and 8.4(a).

Suspended

Knox County lawyer Thomas F. Mabry was suspended from the practice of law for two years on Sept. 23. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Mabry failed to communicate with clients and provide competent representation. The court determined that his actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 5.5(1) and 8.4.

Davidson County lawyer Andrew Harrison Maloney was immediately suspended from the practice of law on Sept. 18 after the Tennessee Supreme Court found he misappropriated funds and posed a threat of substantial harm to the public. The court also precluded Maloney from accessing any of his trust accounts or opening any new trust accounts. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolution or modification by the court. Maloney may for good cause request dissolution or modification of the suspension.

Censured

The Tennessee Supreme Court censured Davidson County lawyer Scott David Johannessen on Oct. 1. The court found that after Johannessen assisted a client in preparing an appellate brief to be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, he filed pleadings on behalf of a second client that had interests materially adverse to those of the first client. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.9(a) and 8.4(a).

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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