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Legal Ethics

Lawyer Fails to Obtain Injunction Barring Baker & Donelson from Monitoring His Conduct

Posted Jul 20, 2011 10:47 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Tennessee lawyer Herb Moncier doesn’t think he should have to pay Baker & Donelson to monitor his court appearances during a 10-month probationary period imposed by lawyer ethics regulators.

On Tuesday, a federal judge refused to grant an injunction overturning the requirement, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. A disciplinary hearing panel had imposed a 45-day suspension, probation and the court-monitor requirement after Moncier was found in contempt of court for repeatedly interrupting a judge.

Moncier had contended the practice monitor requirement was imposed by the hearing panel on its own initiative, and he never got a chance to contest it. He says the ethics proceedings against him were quasi-criminal in nature, and they should have been conducted in conformity with constitutional due process.

U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan ruled (PDF) that the state of Tennessee and the Board of Professional Responsibility had Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit, and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine likely barred him from considering the claims.

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