Monday, May 16, 2016

The latest Bar sanctions

The Mississippi Bar announced the following disciplinary actions in the Winter 2016 and Summer 2015 issues of  the Mississippi Lawyer. No disciplinary actions were published in the Fall 2015 issue.

1. The Bar suspended Donald Jason Embry (Long Beach) from the practice of law for three years.  The magazine reports:

Mr. Embry was hired to represent a client in an appeal of a DUI II conviction to the County Court of Harrison County, Mississippi. Mr. Embry entered his appearance in the appeal. However, Mr. Embry failed to advise the client of the court date for the trial. As a result, neither the client nor Mr. Embry appeared for the trial and the judge issued a writ of procedendo. The client was placed in jail. The client was then forced to hire another lawyer to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The new lawyer attempted to retrieve the file from Mr. Embry, but Mr. Embry failed or refused to communicate with the client or the new attorney. In essence, Mr. Embry abandoned his client.

Mr. Embry’s contract of representation with the client provided that he would represent him at a rate of $150.00 per hour and charge him for a nonrefundable retainer in the amount of $1,500.00. The funds received for the retainer should have been placed in Mr. Embry’s lawyer trust account and billed against at the hourly rate. On information and belief, Mr. Embry failed to put the retainer funds into his lawyer trust account. Further, Mr. Embry did not earn the amount of the fees received for the retainer.

Mr. Embry proceeded to blow off the bar complaint. He didn't respond to id and hung up on a Bar representative when he discovered the caller's identity. The notice does not state whether he attended the hearing.

2.  The bar suspended Booneville attorney Ronald Michael from the practice of law for three years:

Chancery Judge alleging Mr. Michael had taken an attorney’s fee in an estate matter without first obtaining approval from the Court. The Court subsequently declined to approve the fee and ordered the funds be returned to the estate. However, Mr. Michael had already converted the fee to his own use and was unable to pay the funds back. He subsequently filed a petition under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code...

Mr. Michael considered the fee earned in spite of his knowledge that he would have to return the fees to the estate in the event the Chancery Court failed to subsequently approve the fee. At the time Mr. Michael received the fee from his client, he was suffering from depression. The Complaint Tribunal found that there was no intent or selfish motive on the part of Mr. Michael to convert the funds. The Complaint Tribunal also found that since the attorneys’ fee was subject to the approval of the chancery judge, Mr. Michael did not own the funds. As such, the funds he received for his attorney fee should have been placed in his lawyer trust account and disbursed after the funds were approved by the Chancery Court.

The Bar said there is no intent element  so he was subject to sanctions. 

3. The Bar disbarred Joe Dale Walker of Monticello.  He pleaded guilty to one count of Obstruction of Justice.  The notice does not provide the name of the case. The reader would never know any details of this offense if he relied on the Mississippi Lawyer.  Heck, the notice doesn't even state that he is a judge. 

4. The Bar suspended Ridgeland attorney Robert Harrison for 180 days after he pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion. 

5.  Jackson attorney Ermea J. Russell was sent to the bench for ten months after the Bar determined she "committed seven violations".   She apparently went to work for the court of appeals and didn't clear out her cases within the required six months.  She didn't notify her clients that she could no longer represent them as well.  She also didn't respond to the seven bar complaints.

6. A private reprimand was issued against a lawyer for not properly withdrawing from a case after he was terminated by the client.  


Anonymous said...

That's all?

Lockmat said...

Is 'blowing off the bar complaint' a legal term?

Anonymous said...

Wish they would get rid of a lot more. They live off of other people's problems

Anonymous said...

Too bad about Ronald Michael. He's one of the Langston's buds from Booneville. His Facebook postings didn't indicate any depression, just spending time with his grandson.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the Bar (a) didn't mention he was a judge; and (b) gave no other pertinent details. But not surprising. If it had been a justice court judge, they'd have spent many paragraphs reciting the facts.

And reading the FBI release, it's apparent that the "grand jury witness" was wearing a wire during the conversation(s) with the judge.

Anonymous said...

The Walker case was one of the lowest things I've ever seen. He conspired with his nephew to build a house for a young woman with serious medical issues, using money set aside in a trust for her and that he had oversight of as a Chancellor in Covington County (there was a little chicanery there, too). The nephew (also convicted of a crime on this), who wasn't a qualified builder, submitted a bid and Walker told him it was too low and to raise it. After a few years, the house is falling apart and the young woman may not have anywhere else to go, but the money for a place to live is gone. Walker deserves to rot.

Anonymous said...

I am an attorney in the Jackson area who sues other firms for legal malpractice. It is very difficult to get the ball rolling, at all, on a Complaint with the Miss. Bar. I have several pending Complaint on behalf of my clients as I type this comment.

The Bar does not mess with larger firms, either. They typically only go after solo or small firm attorneys.

Anonymous said...

5:32, I am an attorney and I found out that the Bar will NOT act against certain attorneys/firms. I documented blatant violation of several Rules, as well as conduct that should have resulted in criminal charges. Bar rejected my complaint because a few of the violations were 3 years old. Plenty were within 3 year period and case was ongoing. The Bar is a joke, IMHO, as far as disciplinary actiion goes.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, is anyone really, truly, surprised that the Mississippi BAR is corrupt?

Who Knew? said...

I recently learned that the Mississippi Bar is a division of the State Department of Education.

Anonymous said...

8:57 has it figured out. He is 100% correct.

Anonymous said...

The Mississippi Bar is a joke. Sadly many members are a disgrace. If the Bar was doing it's job the list would be about 50 pages with Hinds and those counties on the coast having their own designation.

The old saying, when the revolution comes, it will be the lawyers that are the first casualty.

Franklin said...

"Wish they would get rid of a lot more. They live off of other people's problems"

I had a problem that lawyers did not create. I looked for a lawyer and hired one to help me solve it. He did. I am glad the lawyer I found helped me solve my problem.

Anonymous said...

"Wish they would get rid of a lot more. They live off of other people's problems."

That's what professionals do whether blue collar or white collar. If we eliminated all professionals who live off of other people's problems, we'd be left with telemarketers.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a shame that a lawyer like Robert Harrison can go to prison for tax evasion and then get out and go right back to loan closings. How can the Bar let him go back to practicing law where he handles large sums of money?!?

Kingfish said...

A good lawyer can also save you a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Russell was appointed to the court of appeals by Haley Barbour and no one was sad when she didn't retain her seat.

Anonymous said...

I also filed a complaint with the MS Bar about my attorney who signed off on an interim order against me that violated five sections of the MS Code. As this attorney is a past president of the Rankin County Bar, I was pretty sure not much would happen. I was, however, shocked at how rude the reply from Julie Ratliff was that pretty much said to go f*ck myself. It literally said don't write back, don't call, and don't ask questions, adding my complaint would be destroyed after one year.

They really cover for their buddies.

Anonymous said...

Like any industry, there are good lawyers and bad lawyers. Kingfish posted a report about the medical industry's state by state grades of doctor regulation. I wish that we had something similar for attorneys.

Mississippi certainly does have its share of bad attorneys. I'm licensed in multiple jurisdictions and litigate in Mississippi frequently. In those cases, I'm underwhelmed at how conventional and slow my attorney opponents are.

Anonymous said...

2:34, meet 5:32. If there's actually merit to your claims, perhaps you can disregard what you found to be rude behavior by the Bar, and go straight to the source.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Kirk Fordice appointed EJ Russell.

I'm 100% sure the Mississippi Bar doesn't give a damn about sole practitioners and small firms. And they absolutely play defense for the pricks at Butler Snow & Phelps Dunbar.

Anonymous said...

Fordice appointed Russell to circuit court. She then returned to private practice and was subsequently appointed by HB to COA.

Anonymous said...

Okay has anyone ever determined if ms state got their money from Murphy Adkins who was conservator and had the old be gentleman's will changed to leave an million dollars estate to him the lawyer was from Brandon

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Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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