Supreme Court Rejects Clarksville Lawyer's Claim That Disciplinary Process Violates Constitution

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the professional discipline of a public censure upon Clarksville-based attorney Fletcher Whaley Long and rejected his constitutional challenges to the Court’s disciplinary enforcement rule. 

A hearing panel had determined that Mr. Long violated four provisions of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct that arose over his failure to provide an accounting of his fees, deposit a retainer fee in his trust account, refund unearned fees and adhere to disciplinary rules. The Montgomery County Chancery Court affirmed the hearing panel’s decision and the public censure for Mr. Long. 

On appeal, Mr. Long challenged the constitutionality of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, governing disciplinary enforcement of attorneys. Mr. Long contended in part that the Rule violated due process, because it combines investigative, enforcement, and adjudicative authority in the same agency, the Board of Professional Responsibility. 

The Tennessee Supreme Court rejected Mr. Long’s constitutional challenges, including his due-process argument. Justice Sharon G. Lee explained in the opinion that the Board’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel investigates allegations and institutes disciplinary proceedings if necessary. However, hearing panels composed of independent attorneys appointed by the Board then adjudicate the proceedings. 

“Because the investigatory/enforcement responsibilities and the adjudicative responsibilities are functionally separate within the Board, Rule 9 does not violate due process principles,” wrote Justice Lee. 

To read the opinion in Long v. Board of Professional Responsibility, authored by Justice Lee, visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.

Local Utilities Raise Awareness Of Utility Worker Imposters

Tennessee American Water, Chattanooga Gas and EPB are raising awareness of utility worker imposters. Imposters may try to scam customers either in-person at their home or business or by phone.  When coming to a private residence or business to perform work, legitimate utility workers with Chattanooga Gas, EPB and Tennessee American Water always will wear a uniform ... (click for more)

Airnet Group Named Microsoft 2016 U.S. Education Rising Star Partner Of The Year

Airnet Group, Inc. announced it has been named the 2016 U.S. Education Rising Star Partner of the Year by Microsoft.  The U.S. Public Sector Partner of the Year awards were presented during Microsoft’s US Public Sector Industry Solution University yearly event, where Microsoft’s Public Sector executive team was on site to congratulate Airnet for its achievements. Winners ... (click for more)

2 Shot Tuesday Afternoon On Windsor Street

Chattanooga Police responded on Tuesday to the 2100 block of Windsor Street, on a report that two people had been shot.   Upon arrival, officers located two victims suffering from gunshot wounds. Their injuries are non-life threatening at this time. Both victims were transported to a local hospital by Hamilton County EMS.   Two suspects were reported to police. ... (click for more)

Erlanger Reports Dramatic Increase In Flu-Like Illnesses

The number of influenza-like illnesses treated at Erlanger Health System shows a dramatic increase compared to this time last year.  Erlanger reported treating 156 patients with flu like illnesses between Feb. 12 and 18 of this year. This represents a significant increase from the seven cases reported during the same week last year and 15 cases reported approximately a month ... (click for more)

Judge Doug Meyer Lived A Full Life Helping Many

I was sadden to learn of the death of Judge Doug Meyer.  Judge Meyer retired from the Criminal Court bench here in 2006.  Prior to that he had been the Chattanooga city judge for several years.  As a young attorney I tried many cases in front of Judge Meyer.  Also while I was awaiting my case to be tried, I would observe him on the bench.  Judge Meyer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Blackburn Good As Gone

I didn’t know until I read John Adams’ column in the Knoxville News-Sentinel that one person who doesn't personally know UTC Athletic Director David Blackburn said he heard he has a drinking problem. I also didn’t know that “the best thing to ever happen to UTC athletics” had health problems, according to a second person who does not personally know him. It is also being said David ... (click for more)