NASHVILLE, Tenn. (REPRINTED) – In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the disbarment of Knoxville attorney M. Josiah Hoover, III by the Board of Professional Responsibility.
In five separate cases, Hoover was found to be negligent in the representation of his clients or otherwise in violation of his professional obligations. In one instance he filed a proof of claim in a bankruptcy case without ascertaining the status of the proceeding, and the client later discovered that the bankruptcy had been discharged before Hoover filed the claim. In another, his failure to file a brief resulted in the dismissal of an appeal. In the third, Hoover neglected to communicate with his client and failed to prepare for a key deposition. In the fourth, Hoover brought suit in a federal court in West Virginia, and was found to have violated court orders or procedural rules on twelve separate occasions.
Afterward, the West Virginia court barred Hoover from bringing any future cases in that district and imposed monetary sanctions, which Hoover failed to pay. In the final instance, the Circuit Court for Blount County imposed sanctions against Hoover for filing a frivolous claim on his own behalf.
Hoover’s prior disciplinary record included eight instances of misconduct, including a 30-day suspension in 2008 for failure to perform services in a timely manner and failure to communicate with his client.
The Supreme Court concluded that disbarment was an appropriate sanction, finding that Hoover had caused serious injury both to his clients and the legal system by repeatedly failing to perform services for his clients and violating his professional duties.