Tennessee Supreme Court Affirms Suspension of Knoxville Attorney, Modifies Sanction

June 8, 2018

The Tennessee Supreme Court has affirmed the suspension of Knoxville attorney Charles Edward Daniel from the practice of law, but modified the probated three-year suspension to include one year of active suspension. 

Mr. Daniel made unauthorized deposits of funds from his law partnership into his personal account over a three-year period while he managed the partnership’s accounting books.  Mr. Daniel claimed that his partners were aware of these deposits and that he was entitled to all of the funds that he took because of expense advances he had made to the partnership. 

A hearing panel found that Mr. Daniel intentionally concealed the transactions from his law partners and misappropriated funds from his law firm partnership.  The Board of Professional Responsibility took the position that Mr. Daniel should be disbarred.  The hearing panel instead imposed a three-year suspension from the practice of law on Mr. Daniel for his professional misconduct and ordered that the entire period be served on probation.  The Board appealed the hearing panel’s decision to the Chancery Court for Knox County and the decision was affirmed.  The Board then appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. 

The Tennessee Supreme Court reviewed and analyzed the decision to suspend rather than disbar Mr. Daniel from the practice of law and concluded that suspension was within the range of appropriate sanctions in this case.  However, the Court determined that the decision to probate the entirety of Mr. Daniel’s suspension was out of line with similar attorney disciplinary sanctions.  The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the Chancery Court’s ruling, but modified the sanction against Mr. Daniel to include one year of active suspension from the practice of law with the remainder of the three-year suspension to be served on probation. 

To read the unanimous opinion in Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee v. Charles Edward Daniel, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, go to the opinions section of TNCourts.gov.