Supreme Court Affirms Suspension of Nashville Attorney

April 28, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld a decision of the Chancery Court of Davidson County that suspended Nashville attorney George H. Thompson, III.

The sanction stems from Mr. Thompson’s representation of a client in her 2013 personal injury action.  After filing a nonsuit on his client’s behalf, Mr. Thompson failed to refile the client’s case in a timely manner, which resulted in the claim being barred by the applicable statute of limitations.  Mr. Thompson later paid the client a sum of money to settle her potential legal malpractice claim against him; however, he failed to advise the client in writing that she should seek independent legal counsel in reaching a settlement.

A Hearing Panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility determined that Mr. Thompson violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.8(h)(2) (Conflict of Interest), and 8.4(c) (Misconduct).  After considering applicable aggravating and mitigating factors, it imposed a sanction of a one-year suspension with 30 days to be served as an active suspension and the remainder to be served on probation with conditions.  The Chancery Court affirmed the Hearing Panel’s decision.  Mr. Thompson then sought the Supreme Court’s review of the appropriateness of the sanction imposed.

In its opinion, the Supreme Court upheld the sanction, particularly noting Mr. Thompson’s lengthy disciplinary history. Although Mr. Thompson asked the Court to consider additional mitigating factors, the Court explained that he had failed to demonstrate how their application would warrant a reduction in punishment.  The Court, therefore, concluded that Mr. Thompson failed to show that the imposed sanction was inappropriate.

To read the unanimous opinion in George H. Thompson, III v. Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, authored by Justice Roger A. Page, visit the opinions section of TNCourts.gov.