By William W. “Tripp” Hunt, III
Disciplinary Actions (July-December, 2004):
William A. Cohn (Shelby County) (90 days suspension) — For
seven years, Mr. Cohn collected post-confirmation attorney fees from his debtor
clients using a creditors’ procedure which the Bankruptcy Court found improper
— by filing creditors’ proofs of claim for such fees rather than detailed fee
requests. Mr. Cohn thereby had no prior approval by the Chapter 13 trustee of
these fees and as a result subverted the controlling principle inherent in all
the workings of the bankruptcy court to the effect that a full review of all
attorney fees sought must occur. He utilized this procedure to surreptitiously
avoid scrutiny. Mr. Cohn was further ordered to disgorge to the bankruptcy
court the post-confirmation fees charged to the 61 clients included in this
Scott Eric Crawford (Shelby County) (9 month suspension) — In
a divorce case, Mr. Crawford defrauded both his client and the opposing pro se
party by filing with the court a Final Decree inconsistent with the terms of
the marital dissolution agreement. In a second case Mr. Crawford assisted an
unlicensed attorney in the unauthorized practice of law.
Christopher Robin Fox (Davidson County) (6 months suspension)
— Mr. Fox received a six months suspension to run consecutively with his Feb.
6, 2004 disbarment. He continued to practice law after he was temporarily
Thomas Keith McAlexander (Shelby County) (2 year suspension)
— In one case, Mr. McAlexander prepared a fictitious court order purporting to
award $170,000 to his client when there was no such order. In a second matter,
Mr. McAlexander falsely informed his client that he had prepared a motion to
set aside the dismissal of that matter when no such motion had been prepared.
He further mailed to his client a fictitious motion with a false certificate of
service to all parties.
H. Owen Maddux (Hamilton County) (30 days suspension plus one
year probation) — Mr. Maddux converted to his own use partnership fees, income,
and/or client payments belonging to his law firm over a three year period. Mr.
Maddux was found to have defrauded the partnership.
Tom Anthony Nacarato (Henderson County) (3 years suspension)
— Mr. Nacarato neglected two matters. His neglect was aggravated by various
matters, i.e. his past disciplinary history, his failure to appear at hearings,
his failure to make restitution, etc.
David Randolph Ray (Shelby County/Florida) (2 years
suspension) — Mr. Ray neglected a client’s real estate matter causing the
client to suffer actual damages. This suspension was required to be served
consecutively to a disbarment that he received in another case.
Robert Rosenbush (Shelby County) (disbarment) — Mr. Rosenbush
misappropriated clients’ monies and abandoned his practice.
Gordon M. Wasson (Arizona) (reciprocal discipline) — Mr.
Wasson’s Arizona law license was indefinitely suspended as a result of his
having been convicted of aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating
liquor or drugs. His Tennessee law license was reciprocally suspended for the
length of time his Arizona law license is suspended.
Edward A. Slavin, Jr. (Florida) (2 years suspension) — The
Supreme Court held that Mr. Slavin showed a lack of respect for the courts, was
unprofessional, used the peer review process to harass judges, filed pleadings
replete with frivolous and irrelevant claims, made offensive charges against
various judges, made false statements regarding a client, failed to communicate
with his clients, failed to return his clients’ files and made disparaging
comments about a fellow attorney.
Carroll Thomas Strohm (Davidson County) (Disbarment) — Mr.
Strohm filed an affidavit consenting to disbarment. Mr. Strohm’s affidavit is
confidential pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 9, Sec. 15.3.
Sean Kendrick Allen (Davidson County) — Mr. Allen was
censured for continuing to practice law while his law license was
administratively suspended because of his failure to comply with his Continuing
Legal Education requirements.
Donald Lee Arkovitz (Davidson County) — Mr. Arkovitz filed a
Petition for Appointment of a Conservator which was found to contain inaccurate
statements. The Chancellor in the underlying case found that Mr. Arkovitz had
failed to file proper notice and failed to include information in the Petition
as required by statutory law.
Rebecca C. Arnold (Shelby County) — Ms. Arnold neglected a
client’s bankruptcy matter, failed to move in her representation of clients
with reasonable diligence and promptness, failed to properly communicate with
her client and deceived her client by falsely telling her client that she had
filed a motion, when she had not done so.
William C. Barnes, Jr. (Maury County) — Mr. Barnes neglected
his client’s legal matter and failed to adequately communicate with his client.
The case was dismissed as a result of Mr. Barnes’ failure to prosecute.
Henry Clay Barry (Wilson County) — Mr. Barry’s advertisement
of quick divorces “usually within 24 hours if no children involved, both agree,
sign and stipulate grounds, with children it may require 2-3 days...” was found
to be misleading. Furthermore Mr. Barry was found in this ad to have improperly
exhorted unrepresented defendants to conclude matters quickly.
Richard D. Cartwright (Tipton County) — Mr. Cartwright
neglected two clients’ legal matters and failed to adequately communicate with
them. He also was found in contempt by the Court of Criminal Appeals for
failure to comply with its rules.
Helen Loftin Cornell (Davidson County) — Ms. Cornell
transferred her mother’s home to herself by power of attorney without the
knowledge of her mother, which act required litigation by her mother to regain
legal title to her home. As a mitigating factor, the trial judge found no fraud
on the part of Ms. Cornell.
Ernest Lee Edwards, III (Davidson County) — Mr. Edwards was
guilty of neglect and failure to properly prepare a divorce case. He also
failed to complete the estates of decedents.
Claiborne H. Ferguson (Shelby County) — Mr. Ferguson
improperly threatened to file criminal charges of theft of services against a
client who had not paid all attorney fees due. The Board found that Mr.
Ferguson should have pursued civil remedies alone. The Board further found that
Mr. Ferguson’s threats of criminal prosecution were made improperly to gain an
advantage in his civil dispute with his client.
Curtis D. Johnson (Shelby County) — Mr. Johnson was negligent
in the handling of client matters, charged an excessive fee and failed to
adequately communicate with his clients.
Mary Forester King (Shelby County) — Ms. King entered into
corporate business transactions with long-standing former clients where her
interest clearly differed from those of her former clients and where it was
clear that the former clients still considered her to be their lawyer. Ms. King
further failed to make a full disclosure of her differing interests and
represented one of her own family members in a fashion adverse to the interests
of her former clients. Mitigating factors included her lack of understanding of
the disciplinary rules relative to business transactions with client, her
remorse, and her good faith cooperation with Disciplinary Counsel.
Jerry L. Maynard, II (Davidson County) — Mr. Maynard was
censured because of his continuing to practice law while his law license was
administratively suspended for failing to comply with Continuing Legal
Education and registration fee requirements.
James A. Meaney III (Hamilton County) — Mr. Meaney made
sexually explicit statements to a client, neglected another client’s case by
failing to file his lawsuit within the statute of limitations, and failed to
adequately communicate with his client.
Loren E. Mulraine (Davidson County) — Mr. Mulraine continued
to practice law while his law license was administratively suspended due to his
failure to pay his registration fee.
Samuel Perkins (Shelby County) — In a criminal case, Mr.
Perkins failed to render effective assistance of counsel to his client by
failing to discover a material witness, by not calling such witness to testify
at trial and by losing all record of the witness. The client later filed a
petition for post-conviction relief on the basis of ineffective assistance of
counsel. The petition was granted. Mr. Perkins was further required to
cooperate with a practice assistance monitor.
Michael W. Ritter (Anderson County) — Mr. Ritter was guilty
of several acts of neglect and failing to communicate with his client in an
administrative hearing. In this case, he failed to meet scheduling deadlines,
failed to advise his client of these deadlines, failed to return the hearing
officer’s phone calls, failed to return his client’s phone calls and was
unprepared for the hearing.
Cyburn Hilliard Sullivan, III (Tipton County) — The Court of
Criminal Appeals entered an order finding that Mr. Sullivan “flagrantly
disregarded the three previous orders of the Court.” The Court found Mr.
Sullivan in criminal contempt.
Paul J. Walwyn (Davidson County) — Mr. Walwyn neglected a
child support and custody matter and failed to prepare a court order as
directed by the court for 8 months. In the appeal of a criminal matter, Mr.
Walwyn filed both the notice of appeal and his brief late. He also failed to
file a timely petition to the Supreme Court.
John A. Willis (Knox County) — Mr. Willis was guilty of a
number of acts of neglect related to his representation of an insurance
company.An opposing counsel agreed to mediation subject to Mr. Willis’ client
agreeing to dismiss its action. Mr. Willis submitted a dismissal without
consulting with his client. He was unprepared for the subsequent mediation and
failed to advise his client that mediation was taking place. He made offers of
settlement without the permission of his client. After the mediation, Mr.
Willis attempted to obtain settlement authority from his client by falsely
advising his client that mediation had been scheduled but had not taken place.
Charles Ford Galbreath (Davidson County) —Mr. Galbreath’s
license was transferred to disability inactive status as a result of a medical
condition that incapacitated him from continuing to practice law.
Howard Lee Barnwell (Hamilton County) —Mr. Barnwell’s law
license was summarily suspended as a result of his failure to respond to a
Troy Lee Brooks (Wilson County) — Mr. Brooks’ law license was
summarily suspended upon a finding that he had misappropriated funds to his own
use and that he posed a threat of irreparable harm to the public.
Shannon Leigh Clark (Hamilton County) — Ms. Clark pled guilty
in U.S. District Court to bankruptcy fraud. Her license was subsequently
Warner Hodges III (Shelby County) — Mr. Hodges was considered
a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public in that he was in
noncompliance with his contract with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program
and that he was discharged from the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program
Monitoring and Advocacy Program for non- compliance. The Board had previously
issued a public censure with the condition that any non-compliance with TLAP
would be grounds for an immediate summary suspension.
David James, Jr. (Shelby County) — Mr. James was summarily
suspended as a result of his failure to respond to a complaint as to him.
Douglas P. Nanney (Hickman County) — Mr. Nanney’s law license
was summarily suspended as a result of his guilty plea to the criminal offense
of the Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
John H. Parker (Shelby County) — Mr. Parker’s law license was
summarily suspended as a result of his misappropriation of client funds and a
finding that he poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public.
Vaughan Eugene Reid (Shelby County) — Mr. Reid’s law license
was summarily suspended as a result of his failure to respond to a complaint.
Paul Allan Terry, II (Overton County) — Mr. Terry’s law
license was summarily suspended as a result of his failure to respond to a
Howard Brownlow Barnwell (Hamilton County) — Mr. Barnwell’s
law license had been suspended as a result of his failure to answer a complaint
(See the above section). He subsequently filed a response and after a hearing,
a hearing panel recommended his law license be reinstated.
Stanley D. Darnell (Montgomery County) — Mr. Darnell’s
license was restored subject to his entering into a practice monitoring
agreement with another attorney and to his practice of law being limited to a
D. Michael Van Sant (Davidson County) — Mr. Van Sant’s
license had been summarily suspended as a result of his failure to respond to a
complaint. After responding to the complaint, he had his license restored
subject to his having a law practice management consultation.