Licensure & Discipline

DISABILITY INACTIVE

Stewart County lawyer Billy Dudley Cobb was placed on disability inactive status by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Jan. 25 for an indefinite period of time. Cobb 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.

Davidson County lawyer John Lee Kennedy was placed on disability inactive status by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Jan. 25 for an indefinite period of time. Kennedy 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 Sullivan County lawyer Cherie S. Monson was placed on disability inactive status on Jan. 25 for an indefinite period of time. Monson 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.

The Tennessee Supreme Court approved the transfer of Davidson County lawyer Grant Wells Smith’s law license to disability inactive status on Jan. 16 for an indefinite period of time. Smith 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

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated Maury County lawyer William Clark Barnes Jr. to the practice of law on Jan. 25. Barnes was suspended on March 31, 2015, for three years with six months to be served on active suspension and the remainder to be served on probation with conditions. Barnes filed a petition for reinstatement and a hearing panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility found that he had complied with the terms and conditions of the suspension. As a condition of reinstatement, the court directed Barnes to engage a practice monitor for one year and enter into a new, two-year monitoring agreement with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program.

On Jan. 23, the Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated Davidson County lawyer Jamaal L. Boykin to the practice of law. Boykin was suspended on June 19, 2018, for two years with six months to be served on active suspension and the remainder to be served on probation. Boykin filed a petition for reinstatement on Dec. 28, 2018. The Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory and recommended that the court reinstate him.

Williamson County lawyer Stephen Paul Brink was reinstated to the practice of law on Jan. 4 after being on inactive status since Dec. 17, 2013. The Board of Professional Responsibility found that the petition was satisfactory and recommended that the court reinstate him. The court issued the reinstatement order on Jan. 23.

DISCIPLINARY

Disbarred

Lewis County lawyer Larry Joe Hinson Jr. was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Jan. 9. The order also dissolved a temporary suspension entered against him on Oct. 18, 2018. The court noted that Hinton acknowledged his misconduct and consented to disbarment.

William Lawrence McKinney, a resident of Los Angeles, was disbarred from practicing law in Tennessee on Jan. 4 following disbarment by the Supreme Court of California. The Tennessee Supreme Court directed McKinney to show why reciprocal discipline should not be imposed in Tennessee. He did not respond. The court determined that McKinney should be disbarred and made the action retroactive to June 23, 2017 – the date the California court imposed disbarment.

Suspended

On Jan. 24, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Memphis attorney Gerald Stanley Green from the practice of law for six months, with 30 days to be served on active suspension and the remaining five months to be served on probation. As a condition of probation, Green must complete certain continuing legal education and engage the services of a practice monitor. The court suspended Green based on three complaints that he did not adequately communicate with clients, failed to diligently represent clients and practiced law in Mississippi without complying with that state’s pro hac vice admission rules. The court found that he violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.4, 5.5, and 8.4(a) and (d). Green had appealed the Board of Professional Responsibility’s disbarment recommendation to the Supreme Court, but the court upheld the action based on Green’s long history of disciplinary problems.

Censured

On Jan. 16, William Jeffrey Barnes of Boca Raton, Florida, received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court for actions taken between May 2011 and August 2017. In nine foreclosure actions in state and federal courts in Tennessee, Barnes filed an affidavit that he was admitted to practice pro hac vice and had sent copies of the court filings to the Board of Professional Responsibility. However, the materials were not sent and the pro hac vice registration fee was not paid on time. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3, 3.4(c) and 8.4(c).

Campbell County lawyer Donald Brent Gray was censured on Jan. 23 for actions associated with representation of an indigent criminal client. Gray was appointed to the case and was required to represent the client throughout the proceedings, including any appeals, until the case had been concluded or he was granted permission to withdraw. Following the general session court proceedings, Gray improperly advised the client that he could no longer represent him unless a $10,000 retainer fee was paid. The client paid $2,750 toward the fee though no written fee agreement was signed, and Gray did not deposit the funds into his trust account. Gray also failed to inform the circuit court that he had been appointed to represent the client. The Board of Professional Responsibility determined that he violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.4, 1.5, 1.15, 1.16(c), 3.3 and 8.4(a)(c)(d). He also was directed to reimburse the client the $2,750 fee.

Knox County lawyer Jere F. Ownby received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on Jan. 14 for failing to respond to a disciplinary complaint and not timely notifying a client, opposing counsel or the court that he had been suspended on July 7, 2017. The board determined that this conduct resulted in harm to all parties. His actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(d), 8.4(g) and 8.1.

On Jan. 23, Davidson County lawyer Pamela Anderson Taylor received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for failing to respond to requests for information, comply with discovery deadlines and expedite litigation. She also was found to have issued a subpoena in noncompliance with applicable law. Her actions were determined to violate Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 3.2, 3.4(c) and 8.1(b).

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.


Compiled by Stacey Shrader Joslin 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/for-the-public/online-attorney-directory.

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