Licensure & Discipline

Administrative Suspensions Online

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 now available exclusively on the TBA website.

Visit http://www.tba.org/directory-listing/ administrative-suspension-lists to see administrative suspensions imposed since 2006.

Disability Inactive
The law license of Ronald E. Aronds was transferred to disability inactive status on Aug. 3, pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. Aronds may apply to return to active status upon showing clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law.

DISCIPLINARY

Reinstated
Alisa Lashelle Simmons of Shelby County was reinstated Sept. 5 by the Tennessee Supreme Court, after being suspended in October 2011. She will be required to have a practice monitor for 12 months. Simmons was found by a hearing panel to have shown clear and convincing evidence that she is fit to resume the practice of law.

Suspended
Memphis lawyer Homer L. Cody was suspended for two years on Aug. 11 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. Cody violated an order to stay away from a case in which he had a conflict of interest, writing two appellate briefs for plaintiffs who then signed and filed the briefs as if they were not represented by an attorney. He was suspended in July 2016 for this action, but was not deterred — Cody wrote three more briefs for the same plaintiffs after his suspension. Cody’s actions violated the following the Rules of Professional Conduct 3.4(c), fairness to opposing party, and 8.4(a), (c) and (d), misconduct.

Sullivan County attorney Don W. Cooper was suspended from the practice of law on Aug. 18, pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 22.3. Cooper was suspended based upon entering “best interest” pleas to 10 counts of theft. He was previously disbarred on Feb. 23 of this year. The Tennessee Supreme Court ordered a new formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed on Cooper.

Williamson County lawyer R. W. Hardison was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Aug. 29, upon the discovery that Hardison misappropriated funds for his own use and poses a substantial threat of 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 in cases of an attorney’s misappropriation of funds. He was to cease representing clients by Sept. 28, and his suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the Supreme Court.

Davidson County lawyer Jennifer Elizabeth Jones was temporarily suspended by the Board of Professional Responsibility on July 31 for failing to respond to the board regarding complaints of misconduct. Section 12.3 of Supreme Court Rule 9 provides for the immediate temporary 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. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Robert Lee Marlow of Bedford County was temporarily suspended by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Aug. 25 for failing to respond to a complaint of misconduct. Marlow was to cease representing clients by Sept. 24. 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. His suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Sean Gardner Saxon of Arvada, Colorado, was suspended for three years from practicing law in Tennessee on Aug. 11 via a reciprocal order of discipline. The suspension is retroactive to Dec. 28, 2016. Saxon was subject to discipline in Colorado, and was sent notice from the Tennessee Supreme Court to demonstrate why reciprocal discipline should not be imposed in Tennessee. Saxon failed to respond to the notice and was therefore suspended. The Colorado Hearing Board found that Saxon violated the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 3.4 (c), disobeying an obligation of a tribunal; 8.4(b), criminal acts; and, 8.4(h), conduct that wrongfully harms others and reflects adversely on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law.

Shelby County attorney Gerald Denny Waggoner Jr. was suspended from the practice of law for three years by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Aug. 1. Waggoner received a statutory award of attorney fees in an ERISA case. Although required by a written contingency fee agreement to credit any fee received toward that owed by the client, Waggoner demanded a 40 percent contingency fee upon settlement of the case. Without the knowledge or consent of his client, he removed the disputed fees from his trust account and converted them to his personal and business use, and failed to provide his client with a detailed accounting of the funds received. Waggoner’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4, communication; 1.5(a) and (b), fees; 1.15(a), (b), (d) and (e), safekeeping property and funds; 8.1(a) and (b), bar admissions and disciplinary matters; and 8.4(a), (b), (c) & (d) (misconduct).

Disbarrred
Williamson County attorney John Jay Clark was disbarred Aug. 9 by the Tennessee Supreme Court, effective immediately. Clark was suspended last year based upon his conviction for forgery. Clark was found to have forged the signature of a judge on documents used in an uncontested divorce case, passing those documents along to his clients and leading them to believe they were divorced. In one case, one spouse remarried based upon the belief he was divorced. Clark’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4 (a), (b), and (c) misconduct. In an unrelated case, Clark was previously disbarred in December 2016.

Jacksboro attorney Wesley Lynn Hatmaker was disbarred from the practice of law Aug. 10 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. Hatmaker was found to have misappropriated client funds; he pled guilty to four counts of theft over $60,000 and two counts of theft over $10,000. He was also found to have failed to communicate with and diligently represent clients, failed to properly terminate his relationship with clients, practiced law while temporarily suspended and failed to respond to requests for information from the board. Hatmaker’s conduct violates the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, diligence; 1.4(a), communication; 1.15(a) and (d), safekeeping property and funds; 1.16(d), declining and terminating representation; 5.5(a), unauthorized practice of law; 8.1(b), bar admission and disciplinary matters; and 8.4(a), (b), (c) and (g), misconduct. Hatmaker was previously disbarred in October 2016, which remains in effect.

Memphis attorney Timothy Allen Price was disbarred from the practice of law on Aug. 25 by the Board of Professional Responsibility. Price prepared a fraudulent divorce decree and misrepresented to his client that she was divorced. The client did not learn of the fraud until six years later. Price was previously suspended in 2011 and was never reinstated from his previous suspension. Price was found to have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, competence; 1.3, diligence; 1.4, communication; 1.5, unreasonable fee; 3.2, expediting litigation; 8.1, disciplinary matters; and 8.4(c) and (d), conduct involving fraud and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.


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/consumers/attorneysearch.

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