Monday, December 1, 2014

Tennessee Ethics Board Sued

A news story from

A bombshell of a lawsuit goes in front of a Nashville  judge Thursday as a pair of Nashville lawyers are suing their own ethics board for what they call ethical violations and a cover-up.

That means they are suing the very people who punish lawyers for bad ethics.

It all started when one lawyer saw an email about his upcoming case sent to a judge without his knowledge.

When a lawyer is punished for some kind of ethical violation, it is the job of the Board of Professional Responsibility for the Supreme Court of Tennessee to hold a hearing and decide guilt or innocence.

However, when attorney Jim Roberts was looking  into defending himself, he saw an email from the board to the judge in his case describing the case.

It was a secret email he knew nothing about.

"We discovered that the Board of Professional Responsibility was systematically engaging in unethical conduct. They, on a regular basis, were having secret conversations with judges, and now they are trying to cover it up," Roberts said.

Attorney Connie Reguli made a Freedom of Information Act request for all emails regarding upcoming cases against lawyers.

"It's as if I would send a letter to a judge saying, 'judge, I'm coming into your courtroom tomorrow, and this guy is a real schmuck. And here is what I want you to do,'" Reguli said.

Reguli got the emails from the Board of Professional Responsibility, but there was a huge problem. There were at least 50 pages of redacted emails.

"They've taken it all out," Reguli said. "They've deleted everything else on that email, and it's high importance."

"There is no way that one side gets to have secret communications with a judge and the other side not know about it and not be told about it," Roberts said. "And we've caught them. We caught them red-handed, acting unethically, and they have to explain it."

Channel 4 News sought a statement from a representative for the Board of Professional Responsibility but we never heard back.

The issue goes to court Thursday, and Roberts and Reguli said they will demand unredacted, unerased emails.

(Mike Frisch)

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