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TN Supreme Court Affirms Disciplinary Costs Owed by Attorney

Press release from the Tennessee Courts System; May 24, 2013:

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today that Knoxville attorney Herbert S. Moncier must pay the costs incurred prosecuting the disciplinary proceeding that resulted in his one-year suspension from the practice of law in Tennessee.

On June 1, 2011, the Supreme Court assessed costs totaling $22,038.32 against Mr. Moncier. Afterward, Mr. Moncier petitioned for relief from costs, arguing that the disciplinary proceedings resulting in his suspension were unfair and unconstitutional.

A three-member panel of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) refused to grant him relief from costs. Mr. Moncier appealed to the Supreme Court, again arguing that he should not be required to pay costs because the disciplinary proceedings that resulted in his suspension were unfair and unconstitutional. Mr. Moncier also argued that the members of the BPR panel assigned to hear his petition for relief from costs were biased against him.

The Supreme Court addressed and rejected Mr. Moncier’s arguments and affirmed the BPR panel’s decision denying him relief from costs. Among other things, the Court concluded that Tennessee’s attorney-disciplinary procedure is consistent with the due process requirements of the Tennessee and United States constitutions and that disqualification standards applicable to judges do not apply to members of the Board of Professional Responsibility.

To read Herbert S. Moncier v. Board of Professional Responsibility Opinion, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit the Opinions section.

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State Lifts Suspension on Admissions for Center on Aging & Health

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; August 31, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health announces that the suspension of admissions at Center on Aging and Health has been lifted effective Aug. 27, 2012. The facility is a 120-bed licensed nursing home located at 880 South Mohawk Drive in Erwin.

The department confirmed the facility has returned to substantial compliance for state licensing purposes. The state deficiencies that led to the suspension of admissions have been corrected as stated in the facility’s approved plan of correction, which was approved and verified by state authorities.

On Aug. 16, the nursing home was ordered not to admit any new residents based on conditions found during a complaint investigation conducted July 16 through Aug. 6, 2012. During the inspection, surveyors found violations of the following standards: administration, performance improvement and nursing services.

For more information, visit the Department of Health online newsroom at http://news.tn.gov/node/9464.

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State Suspends Admissions to Center for Aging & Health

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; August 24, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, has suspended new admissions of residents to the Center for Aging and Health effective Aug. 16, 2012, and imposed a one-time state civil monetary penalty of $5,000. A federal civil penalty has also been imposed at $3,050 a day until the violations are corrected. A special monitor has been appointed to review the facility’s operations.

Center for Aging and Health, a 120-bed licensed nursing home located at 880 South Mohawk Drive in Erwin, was ordered not to admit any new residents based on conditions found during a complaint investigation conducted July 16 through Aug. 6, 2012. The investigation was completed Aug. 16. During the inspection, surveyors found violations of the following standards: administration, performance improvement and nursing services.

The Commissioner of Health may suspend admissions to a nursing home when conditions are determined to be, or are likely to be, detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the residents. The order to suspend admissions remains effective until conditions have been and continue to remain corrected. A copy of the order must be posted at the public entrance where it can be plainly seen.

The nursing home has the right to a hearing regarding the suspension of admissions before the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities or an administrative judge.

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Knoxville Attorney’s Reinstatement Reversed by State Supreme Court

Press release from the Tennessee Courts System; July 3, 2012:

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Supreme Court has reversed a lower court’s decision and reinstated a Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (TBPR) hearing panel’s ruling suspending a Knoxville attorney due to misconduct.

While working at the Knoxville law firm of Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley, William S. Lockett, Jr. received payments for legal services and failed to remit those payments to the firm as required by his employment agreement. Lockett pleaded guilty to theft and to willful failure to file income tax returns. After considering all aggravating and mitigating factors, a TBPR hearing panel found that Lockett should be suspended for four years and, if reinstated, should be supervised for one year.

Lockett appealed to the Chancery Court of Knox County. Following oral argument, the chancery court applied additional mitigating factors and reduced the suspension to two years.

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the chancery court’s decision, holding that the chancery court failed to base its discipline modification on any of the criteria set forth in Supreme Court Rule 9, section 1.3. The Court conducted its own review of the hearing panel’s decision and agreed that the four-year suspension was consistent with sanctions imposed on other attorneys for similar criminal conduct.

To read the William S. Lockett, Jr. v. Board of Professional Responsibility opinion authored by Justice Janice M. Holder, visit http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/lockettwsopn.pdf.

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State Health Dept. Lifts Bristol Nursing Home Admissions Ban

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Health; April 18, 2012:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Health announces that the suspension of admissions at Bristol Nursing Home has been lifted effective April 18, 2012. The facility is a 120-bed licensed nursing home located at 261 North Street in Bristol.

The department confirmed the facility has returned to substantial compliance for state licensing purposes. The federal conditions of participation that led to the immediate jeopardy citations have been corrected as stated in the facility’s approved plan of correction, which was approved by federal and state authorities.

On April 13, the nursing home was ordered not to admit any new residents based on conditions found during a complaint investigation and annual survey conducted March 26 – March 31, 2012. During the inspection, surveyors found violations of the following standards: administration, performance improvement, nursing services and resident rights.

For more information, visit the Department of Health online newsroom at http://news.tn.gov/node/8678.