Supreme Court Upholds Suspension Of Attorney Owen Maddux

Friday, August 9, 2013

In a unanimous Opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has affirmed the nine-month suspension of a Chattanooga attorney’s law license for violation of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct in his representation of two clients. 

H. Owen Maddux, a solo practitioner, represented a Hamilton County mother and son in a dispute with a business associate. As part of that proceeding, Mr. Maddux collected funds owed to the business by various customers. Despite sending a letter to customers stating the funds would be deposited with the court while the legal case played out, Mr. Maddux released more than $35,000 of the collected funds to his client the son, without notifying any other parties, including the customers, the mother, the court, or the business associate.

 An attorney for the business associate filed a complaint with the Board of Professional Responsibility, citing Mr. Maddux’s actions regarding the funds in question. After an investigation, a petition for discipline was filed, but Mr. Maddux failed to answer.

 A board panel then filed a default judgment against Mr. Maddux, which he later sought to set aside. In a hearing, Mr. Maddux stipulated to the facts regarding his work, but disputed the appropriateness of the nine-month suspension the board’s panel imposed.

 The board upheld the nine-month suspension, which Mr. Maddux appealed to the Hamilton County Circuit Court, which also affirmed. Mr. Maddux then brought his appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

 The Court found that the hearing panel’s imposition of a nine-month suspension was not arbitrary and was supported by the evidence. The Court determined that the punishment was appropriate considering Mr. Maddux’s violation of duties owed to his client, to third persons, and to the legal profession, as well as Mr. Maddux’s experience, failure to answer the petition filed against him, and his disciplinary history, which includes two prior suspensions of his law license.

 To read the H. Owen Maddux v. Board of Professional Responsibility Opinion, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit TNCourts.gov.

 

 



Alexander Says Bipartisan Bill Will Help Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Market, Then Lower Premiums

Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander announced on Tuesday he and Senator Patty Murray (R-Wa.) have reached a short-term deal to offer bipartisan legislation to stabilize the individual health insurance market and begin to lower the costs of premiums, so all Americans have access to health insurance. “Our legislation is based on the four bipartisan hearings and ... (click for more)

Richard P. McKenney Joins U.S. Bancorp Board Of Directors

U.S. Bancorp announced Tuesday its Board of Directors has elected Richard P. McKenney as a director of the company, effective immediately.   Mr. McKenney, 48, is the president and chief executive officer of Chattanooga based Unum Group, a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the workplace, including disability, life, dental, and voluntary benefits.  ... (click for more)

City Council Rejects Share Of Big City Contract Recommended By Berke Administration For Start-Up Staffing Firm

The City Council on Tuesday night rejected awarding a share of a big contract for a start-up staffing firm that had been pushed by the Berke administration. Councilman Chip Henderson made a motion to approve "for the purpose of discussion" on the plan to give Msi Workforce Solutions part of the work along with a North Chattanooga firm that has had the contract for temporary staffing ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport To Go "Off The Grid" After Final Phase Of Solar Panel Installations

The Chattanooga Airport is embarking on the third and final phase of its solar farm, which when completed will allow the Airport to "go off the grid." John Naylor, Airport vice president, said, "This will give us all the power we need to run the Airport." He said EPB will assist with installation of a power storage unit and a micro-grid controller to make the change-over possible. ... (click for more)

Vote No On The Rezoning For A New Landfill In Harrison - And Response (3)

County Commissioners, please consider the following facts when voting on the rezoning request for a new privately-owned C&D landfill in Harrison.  Use of this property for a landfill has been rejected by the county three times in the past (1971, 1984 and 2007).  In 1971 and 2007 the County Commissioners unanimously rejected the proposal.  In 1984 the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘Mom Don’t Have…I Do’

It’s hard to know what goes through the mind of a five-year-old, particularly one who watches her mom go in and out of jail due to drug addiction. But little Sunshine Oelfke is obviously being raised right by her grandmother because the other morning, the five-year-old came into the kitchen before leaving for kindergarten with a baggie full of coins from her piggy bank. “I asked ... (click for more)