Friday, November 19, 2021

Concurrent Sanctions Affirmed

The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the imposition of a three-year suspension with the final year stayed with probation

After an evidentiary hearing, a Board hearing panel found that Mr. Walker had violated Rules of Professional Conduct 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, and 4.1 by his conduct in the chancery court tax sale redemption proceeding and should be suspended for three years; that he had violated Rule 8.4(c) and (d) by not complying with a chancery court injunction and should be suspended for three years; that he had violated Rule 3.3 by omitting his disciplinary history in the pro hac vice application and should be suspended for two years; and that he violated Rule 8.4(a) by his misconduct. The hearing panel also found that Mr. Walker’s suspensions should be served concurrently for an effective suspension of three years, with two years on active suspension and one year on probation supervised by a practice monitor.

The pro hac disclosure issue

The hearing panel also found that Mr. Walker should be disciplined based on his failure to make certain disclosures in his August 2017 pro hac vice application filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas at Austin. The application asked whether he had “been subject to grievance proceedings or involuntary removal proceedings while a member of the bar” and whether he had “been charged, arrested, or convicted of a criminal offense.” In answering these questions, Mr. Walker failed to
disclose his prior disciplinary history, his pending disciplinary complaints, and that he had been found guilty of criminal contempt of court for disobeying an order of the Davidson County Chancery Court in August 2016.

On review

We affirm the decision of the hearing panel and the judgment of the trial court that Mr. Walker violated Rules 3.1, 3.3, and 3.4 arising from his conduct while representing REO Holdings in a chancery court proceeding involving the redemption of property sold at a tax sale. The hearing panel’s decision was supported by substantial and material evidence and was neither arbitrary nor an abuse of discretion.

(Mike Frisch)

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