By William W. “Tripp” Hunt, III
Disciplinary Actions (January-June, 2005):
Emilia Green Ballentine (Shelby County) (1 year) —
Ms. Ballentine continued to practice law even
though her law license had been suspended for
over a year for failure to comply with Continuing
Legal Education requirements. She further failed
to respond to a complaint of misconduct and to the
petition for discipline. The hearing panel found
that her failure to update address information with
the Board and in her evading properly addressed
mail and service of process were aggravating
Stanley R. Barnett (Knox County) (3 years) — Mr.
Barnett failed to comply with court-ordered
conditions on an earlier reinstatement, failed to
refund unearned fees, failed to appear at scheduled
court dates, neglected cases, failed to adequately
communicate with clients, failed to return a
client’s files and failed to respond to requests from
Gloria Jean Brown (Knox County) (1 year) — Ms.
Brown neglected a criminal matter and failed to
adequately communicate with her client. She was
cited in contempt for her failure to appear at a
court hearing. She also failed to appear in a second
civil matter and opposing counsel was unable to
communicate with her. She filed a frivolous action
again employees of a domestic violence crisis center
and acted in a bizarre manner screaming and/or
cursing these employees and employees of the
Disciplinary Counsel’s office.
Leroy Cain, Jr. (Davidson County) (9 months) — Mr.
Cain continued to practice law while his law
license was suspended for non-compliance with
his continuing legal education requirements. He
further made misrepresentations to clients; failed
to adequately communicate with clients, courts,
opposing counsel and the Board; disclosed client
confidences; and neglected client matters.
Warner Hodges, III (Shelby County) (1 year) — Mr.
Hodges practiced law after his law license had
been suspended by the Supreme Court. He also
was out of compliance with the Tennessee
Lawyers Assistance Program.
Charles B. Hill, II (Roane County) (1 year) — Mr.
Hill allowed a statute of limitations to expire in a
car accident case without filing a complaint. He
did not tell his clients, but created a fictitious
document purporting to award his clients $2800
and provided this document to his clients. He also
non-suited another case without telling his client.
Joseph L. Hornick (Dickson County) (45 days) —
Mr. Hornick neglected a client’s divorce case . He
paid the client’s court costs, but misinformed his
client regarding the payment of his client’s court
costs. He further made false and misleading statements
to the Board.
David D. James, Jr. (Shelby County/Mississippi) (1
year) — Mr. James acknowledged receipt of $250
in attorney fees from a client for him to add a
creditor to her prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Mr. James
did not file the requested Motion to Reopen
the client’s bankruptcy matter, but kept the $250
paid to him. The hearing panel also found he
evaded properly addressed certified mail, failed to
cooperate, answer or defend himself in his
disciplinary matter, and was indifferent to making
restitution to his client.
James L. Kennedy (Knox County) (90 days) — Mr.
Kennedy failed to act with reasonable diligence
and promptness in representing a client with
regard to an estate and failed to keep the client
reasonably informed regarding that matter. He
also had continued to practice law while his law
license was suspended for non-compliance with
Continuing Legal Education requirements.
John Carlin Mask (Hardeman County) (Disbarment)
— Mr. Mask misappropriated client funds,
abandoned his practice, and engaged in the
unauthorized practice of law. Aggravating factors
included Mr. Mask’s dishonesty and his failure to
James L. Milligan, Jr. (Knox County) (2 years) —
Mr. Milligan misappropriated trust funds. In one
year, he overdrew his trust account 24 times. He
also signed his clients’ name to a release and had
the signatures falsely notarized. The Supreme
Court found the fact that ultimately no client lost
any funds to be a mitigating circumstance.
Douglas P. Nanney (Hickman County) (2 years plus
indefinite suspension until probation conditions
completed) — Mr. Nanney’s suspension resulted
from his guilty plea to a violation of TCA Sec. 40-
35-313 (possession of drug paraphernalia).
Steven Monroe Temple (Shelby County) (1 year plus
restitution) — Mr. Temple abandoned his law
practice without notice to his clients, charged
excessive fees, failed to withdraw from his clients’
cases when he could no longer represent them,
failed to adequately communicate with his clients
and failed to return unused portions of retainer
Thomas L. Whiteside (Williamson County)
(Disbarment) — Mr. Whiteside abandoned his law
practice, knowingly failed to perform services to
clients and neglected legal matters of clients
causing serious injury to the clients. He also took
client funds under false pretenses and deceived his
Harold Brownlow Barnwell (Hamilton County) —
Mr. Barnwell voluntarily dismissed a case for
which he was representing a client. Mr. Barnwell
failed to re-file the case within the one year
permitted by the savings statute.
Arch B. Boyd (Shelby County) — Mr. Boyd
neglected a legal matter, failed to adequately
communicate with his client and failed to refund
any monies after his client terminated his employment.
Nan Shelby Calloway (Montgomery County) — Ms.
Calloway failed to adequately communicate with
her client resulting in the client’s decision to hire
another attorney to complete her legal matter. Ms.
Calloway and her client could not agree on the
amount of refund. She did not timely resolve this
issue with the Nashville Bar Association Fee
Christine Zellar Church (Montgomery County) -—
Respondent made unclear statements and failed to
clarify facts to the complainant’s current employer
regarding whether the complainant had been fired
by her two previous employers.
Denvil F. Crowe, Jr. (Davidson County) — Mr.
Crowe failed to contact his bankruptcy clients
directly to inform them how to contact him after
closing his Nashville office.
James B. Fisher, Jr. (Shelby County) — Mr. Fisher
consistently used his IOLTA escrow account for a
very large number of personal transactions unrelated
to his law practice for over a 6 year period.
The Board found no actual misappropriation of
entrusted funds on Fisher’s part and found a
mitigating circumstance to be his acceptance of
responsibility and his acknowledgment that such
commingling was ethically improper. Fisher’s 27
years of practice in Tennessee was considered an
aggravating circumstance in the matter.
Michael D. Fitzgerald (Shelby County) — Mr.
Fitzgerald failed to keep adequate trust account
William Eugene Jessup (Hamilton County) — Ajury,
which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals,
found that Mr. Jessup attempted to collect a
clearly excessive fee.
Michael J. LaGuardia (Sullivan County) — Mr.
LaGuardia testified incorrectly in a deposition.
He later admitted his error and self-reported to the
Robert Lee Martin (Davidson County) — Mr. Martin
was censured for improper advertising. His targeted
direct mail advertising to prospective clients
in the area of DUI defense did not include the
required wording “THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT”
in a conspicuous print size relative
to the other print in the ad. He also did not deliver
to the Board a copy of the letter and the mailing
list to whom the advertising was sent. Mr. Martin’s
characterization of the DUI report enclosed with
the advertising contained words which were likely
to create in the minds of potential clients an unjustified
expectation about results, such as “DUI TOP
GUN”, “a true DUI pro”, and a”guarantee” to
clients of a “First Offender Satisfaction Package.”
Martin’s description of other lawyers as “incompetent”
individuals who “rip off the public” and
only “dabble” in DUI cases and his argument that
DUI clients are “merely the products of overzealous
police and bad public policy decisions”
were found to be claims which could not be justified.
Furthermore, Martin claimed to be “specializing”
in DUI defense, when he had not been
certified as a specialist.
James L. Rather (Knox County) — Mr. Rather was
employed as an in-house attorney for an estate
planning company. Mr. Rather prepared various
trust documents at the instructions of the company.
He prepared the documents without consulting
with the customer. He thereby was guilty of
assisting in the unauthorized practice of law.
Earle J. Schwarz (Shelby County) — Mr. Schwarz
neglected his client’s legal matter in an Alabama
death penalty case, in which he was admitted pro
hac vice. He did not notify his client of the denial
by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, failed
to file a notice of appeal with the Alabama
Supreme Court and failed to file a notice of withdrawal.
He had no contact with his client after the
denial of the appeal and did not inform his client
he was no longer representing him.
Clark L. Shaw (Davidson County) — Mr. Shaw
failed to take prompt action on behalf of a client’s
request for a restraining order. He further failed to
promptly address a problem with an order that was
contrary to the Court’s original order. He also
failed to timely respond to his client’s request for
information and to provide his client with a
requested itemization of his bill.
Jeffrey Andrew Stinnett (Hamilton County) — Mr.
Stinnett engaged in the practice of law during a
period after his license to practice law was administratively
suspended for failure to comply with
continuing legal education requirements.
David E. Woodby (Sullivan County) — Mr. Woodby
continued to practice law while his law license
was suspended for noncompliance with the CLE
requirements. He indicated to the bankruptcy
court that he was in the process of obtaining a
certificate of good standing from the State of
Tennessee when he did not do so.
Stephen B. Catron (Kentucky) — Mr. Catron’s law
license was transferred to disability inactive status
upon his petition for such transfer.
Rebecca C. Arnold (Shelby County) — Ms. Arnold’s
law license was temporarily suspended as a result
of her failure to substantially comply with a contract
she entered into with the Tennessee Lawyers
Scott Eric Crawford (Shelby County) — Mr.
Crawford’s law license was summarily suspended
as a result of his plea of guilty in Federal court to
the crimes of laundering drug money through his
law practice, bribery, possessing an illegal
handgun, and obstruction of justice.
John Louis Dolan, Jr. (Shelby County) — Mr.
Dolan’s law license was temporarily suspended as
a result of his failure to respond to a complaint of
Michael E. Gilmer (Maury County) — Mr. Gilmer’s
law license was suspended because he failed to
respond to two complaints of misconduct.
David L. Goad (Rutherford County) — Mr. Goad’s
law license was temporarily suspended upon a
finding that Mr. Goad posed a threat of irreparable
harm to the public.
David Alan Gold (Davidson County) — Mr. Gold’s
law license was summarily suspended after he
pled guilty to the crime of accessory after the fact
of especially aggravated robbery.
Floyd Nolton Price (Davidson County) — Mr.
Price’s law license was temporarily suspended as
a result of his failure to timely respond to complaints.
John Earl Rainwater (Knox County) — Mr.
Rainwater’s law license was temporarily suspended
as a result of his failure to respond to a
complaint of misconduct. (In July 2005, his
license was reinstated.)
Susanna Laws Thomas (Cocke County) — Ms.
Thomas’ law license was suspended for her failure
to respond to two complaints against misconduct.
* Temporary suspensions are summary suspensions
pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9,
Section 4.3 and in some instances may be subject
to reinstatement subject to certain conditions or in
some instances remain in effect pending final
Albert F. Officer, III (Putnam County) — Mr.
Officer’s law license had been suspended for 3
years as a result of an illegal drug conviction, his
neglect of a client’s case and his failure to
adequately communicate with his client. His
license was reinstated subject to his entering into
and complying with a contract with the Tennessee
Lawyers Assistance Program and his retention of a
law practice monitor/mentor.
Timothy Joseph Richter (Robertson County) — Mr.
Richter’s law license was reinstated from disability
inactive status subject to his compliance with
Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program requirements
and his obtaining a practice monitor.
Byron R. Simpson (Williamson County) — Mr.
Simpson’s law license was reinstated from disability
inactive status subject to his retention of a
practice monitor and the successful completion of
a criminal diversionary program.
Christopher P. Renard (Shelby County) — Mr.
Renard’s law license was temporarily suspended
on May 21, 2004 and has never been reinstated.
After that date, he continued to provide legal services
to a former client and held himself out to
opposing counsel and the general public as a practicing
attorney. He had also consistently failed to
provide notice to his former clients of his suspension
as required by Supreme Court rules. Mr.
Renard expressed remorse for his actions and the
Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program intervened.
He was ordered to pay fine of $100. He
was not imprisoned in order to allow him to obtain
treatment for the impairments which afflict him.
Edward A. Slavin, Jr. (Florida) — Mr. Slavins’ law
license was suspended on August 27, 2004 for two
years. Mr. Slavin continued to represent clients
after his license was suspended, and he failed to
file the affidavit required by the Supreme Court of
attorneys. He also failed to notify opposing
counsel and his clients about his suspension. He
was sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined $50.