By William W. “Tripp” Hunt, III
Disciplinary Actions (July-December, 2005):
Cynthia N. Asbury Podis (Davidson County) (6 Months Suspension)
— Ms. Podis failed to adequately prepare legal matters, neglected legal
matters, failed to act with diligence, and failed to adequately communicate
with her clients.
David D. James, Jr. (Shelby County) (1 Year Suspension) — Mr.
James failed to communicate with his client, neglected his client’s legal
matter and misappropriated his client’s fees. He further failed to answer the
complaint and did not appear at the disciplinary hearing.
Marcus B. Potter (Kansas) (Indefinite Suspension) — Mr.
Potter’s Kansas law license was indefinitely suspended as a result of his
neglect of clients’ cases, failure to adequately communicate with clients,
failing to refund unearned fees and placing unearned fees in his personal
accounts, rather than a trust account.
Alan J. Pyron (Shelby County) (Disbarment) — In one matter Mr.
Pyron took a client’s case on a contingency basis and when Mr. Pyron could not
obtain pain medication from the complainant, Mr. Pyron dropped her case. In a
second matter, Mr. Pyron helped his client obtain $22,389 from the complainant
in an investment scheme whereby complainant loaned money and wired it to Mr.
Pyron’s trust account. Neither Respondent nor his client repaid this money and
Respondent failed to produce the loan agreement or his trust account records as
requested by Disciplinary Counsel.
Kevin L. Ritchey (Pennsylvania) (Disbarment) — Mr. Ritchie was
disbarred as a result of his conviction in Pennsylvania for indecent exposure.
Mark D. Talley (Shelby County) (5 Years Suspension plus
Indefinite Suspension Until Restitution Is Made (All the time is
suspended except for six months. The non-suspended time is considered as
probation.) — Mr. Talley allowed his client to use Mr. Talley’s capacity as a
lawyer and escrow agent to provide credibility to an investment scheme which
unknown to Mr. Talley would ultimately defraud investors.
Paul Allan Terry (Overton County) (Disbarment) — Mr. Terry did
not pursue a personal injury case resulting in the dismissal of his client’s
case. Mr. Terry did not file an answer to the complaint, nor did he file an
answer to the Petition for Discipline. He further did not appear at the
Gordon M. Wasson (Arizona) (2 Years Suspension, followed by 2
Years Probation) — Mr. Wasson was convicted of drug and felony driving under
the influence offenses.
Lawrence A. Welch, Jr. (Greene County) (3 Years Suspension) —
Mr. Welch solicited and accepted a $6000 fee as a payment for Mr. Welch’s
providing financial advice to a client, even though Mr. Welch had not training
to do so. Moreover Mr. Welch structured the agreement so that he would be able
to keep this money even if he provided no services. Mr. Welch in fact did not
render any financial assistance.
Joe G. Bagwell (Sevier County) — Mr. Bagwell was found guilty
of failing to adequately supervise his non-lawyer assistants and failing to
keep adequate escrow records.
Rodger N. Bowman (Montgomery County) — Mr. Bowman neglected to
close an estate for approximately 5 years with the result that his client had
been held in contempt in the estate matter for not appearing to answer motions
that had been reset multiple times with the consent and knowledge of Bowman.
Spence R. Bruner (Roane County) — Mr. Bruner failed to provide
a client timely notice of the resolution of the client’s appeal before the
Court of Criminal Appeals and failed to file a timely motion to withdraw in
that case. In a second case, Mr. Bruner also made a unilateral decision not to
cross-examine an adverse witness without consulting his client and failed to
pursue the appeal desired by that client. In a third case, Mr. Bruner failed to
adequately respond to his clients’ requests for information, failed to take
requested and necessary action on their case and failed to appear at a hearing.
Mr. Bruner further failed in these matters to respond to requests for
additional information from Disciplinary Counsel.
Kirk Lee Clements (Sumner County) — Mr. Clements represented a
client on criminal misdemeanor charges and in a custody case. He became
sexually involved with this client.
Helen L. Cornell (Davidson County) — Ms. Cornell pursued a
client’s invasion of privacy claim without factual basis and/or fabricated
evidence. An independent contractor employed by Ms. Cornell telephoned the
opposing party during the litigation, even though this party was represented by
Charles David Deas (Blount County) — Mr. Deas pled guilty in
Blount County General Sessions Court to two counts of driving under the
influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all but 4 days of
which were suspended. Mr. Deas failed to respond to Disciplinary Counsel to
requests for additional information.
Thomas F. DiLustro (Knox County) — Mr. DiLustro had a sexual
relationship with his client, whom he represented in a dependency and neglect
proceeding relative to her daughter. Mr. DiLustro denied the relationship to
the judge, but he later confessed the truth.
Jacques B. Glassman (Madison County) — Mr. Glassman was
retained to represent a client in a civil rights case. Glassman was instructed
specifically by his client on more than one occasion to file a complaint in the
Federal District Court and not with the Tennessee Claims Commission. Despite
this instruction, Mr. Glassman filed a complaint with both the Claims
Commission and Federal Court. The Federal Judge dismissed the court case on the
grounds that a complaint had been filed with the Claims Commission.
Debra Fannin Graham (Anderson County) — Ms. Graham was retained
to represent a juvenile, but failed to appear at the juvenile’s hearing. She
did refund the fee. In a separate matter, Ms. Graham failed to promptly file a
petition for custody as requested and failed to adequately communicate with the
William Anthony Helm (Shelby County) — Mr. Helm seriously
neglected two clients’ legal matters, was persistently dilatory in meeting his
commitments to clients and to the Board and failed to promptly refund a fee to
one client which he acknowledged was unearned. Mr. Helm further represented two
clients with conflicting interests in an irreconcilable differences divorce for
several months where he knew, or should have known that disagreements had
arisen between these clients over the provisions of the marital dissolution
agreement, and he negligently allowed his former secretary to alter the content
of pleadings filed with the court bearing his signature. The Board found as
mitigating circumstances his discharge of the secretary, the parties’ entry
into an amended dissolution agreement resolving the conflict and the Court’s
grant of permission for him to file an amended divorce complaint to prevent the
effect of the prior alteration of documents.
William A. Lockett (Hamilton County) — Mr. Lockett made a
misrepresentation regarding the condition of his mother’s health to adversary
counsel and to the court in order to obtain a continuance of a trial. Mr.
Lockett reported the misrepresentation to the adversary counsel and to the
court and paid fees to adversary counsel as ordered by the court. In another
matter Mr. Lockett made a misrepresentation to adversary counsel’s office in
order to secure postponement of party depositions and did not pursue the
representation with competence and diligence.
Bruce E. Poston (Knox County) — Mr. Poston represented a client
in a criminal mater. His client was convicted and requested Mr. Poston to file
an appeal. Mr. Poston failed to do so. Mr. Poston promised to file for a late
appeal, but failed to do so. He further failed to respond to inquiries by
Disciplinary Counsel as to the status of the matter.
C. LeAnn Smith (Davidson County) — Ms. Smith failed to file a
timely notice of appeal for her client in a criminal case. She obtained
permission to file a late notice of appeal, but still failed to timely do so.
As a result, her client lost an appeal of right.
Paul Richard Talley (Jefferson County) — Mr. Talley represented
two clients charged with illegal alcohol sales. The DA offered one of the
clients a diversion. That client rejected the offer, but Mr. Talley informed
the court that the offer has been selected. Mr. Talley was found in contempt of
Robert E. Tribble (Shelby County) — Mr. Tribble engaged in the
unauthorized practice of law by practicing when his license was
administratively suspended on the account of his failure to comply with CLE
David Lloyd Goad (Rutherford County) — Mr. Goad’s law license
was transferred to disability inactive status.
Christopher Paul Renard (Shelby County) — Mr. Renard’s law
license was transferred to disability inactive status.
Clark L. Shaw (Davidson County) —Mr. Shaw’s law license was
transferred to disability inactive status.
Howard Brownlow Barnwell (Hamilton County) — Respondent’s law
license was temporarily suspended for his failure to file a response to a
complaint and for his posing a threat of irreparable harm to the public.
Scott Eric Crawford (Shelby County — Mr. Crawford’s law license
was suspended upon his plea of guilty in U.S. District Court to laundering drug
money, bribery, possessing an illegal handgun and obstruction of justice.
Sheryl Clark Rollins (Knox County) — Ms. Rollin’saw license was
suspended for substantially failing to comply with a contract with the
Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program and posing a threat of irreparable harm to
Jane J. Buffaloe (Davidson County) — Ms. Buffaloe’s law license
was reinstated subject to her compliance with conditions which include her
entering into a monitoring contract with the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance
Program and maintaining a trust account monitor, as well as a law office
practice monitor. Her license had been suspended for 3 years as a result of
trust account violations and her neglect of legal matters.
Herman Andrew Crisler, Jr. (Shelby County) — Mr. Crisler’s law
license was reinstated to the practice of law subject to his passing the
Tennessee Bar Exam and his entering into a monitoring contract with the
Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. Mr. Crisler had been disbarred as a
result of a number of ethics violations, including conversion of client monies
and abandonment of clients.
Charles Mark Pullen (Madison County) — Mr. Pullen’s law license
had been suspended for his failure to comply with his monitoring agreement with
the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. His license was reinstated subject to
his compliance with a new Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program contract which
was extended for 5 years, to obtaining a law office practice and trust account
monitor and to his not entering into solo practice for at least one year.