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In Re: Joseph H. Crabtree, Jr., BPR #011451

Case Number: M2022-00339-SC-BAR-BP
This is an attorney discipline proceeding concerning Tennessee attorney Joseph H.
Crabtree, Jr. and his representation of several clients with varying legal issues. The Board
of Professional Responsibility ("the Boare) filed formal petitions for discipline against
Mr. Crabtree in February 2019. A Hearing Panel of the Board ("Hearing Panel")
adjudicated the petitions and rendered a judgment suspending Mr. Crabtree for two years
and ordering him to serve six months as active suspension and the remainder on probation.
It also directed Mr. Crabtree to pay restitution to two clients, to reimburse one client for
any costs assessed against her upon the dismissal of her case, and to reimburse the
Tennessee Lawyers Fund for Client Protection ("TLFCP") for any money it pays to the
complainants in this matter. Mr. Crabtree failed to perfect an appeal from the Hearing
Panel's decision, and the Board petitioned this Court for an order enforcing the Hearing
Panel's judgment. Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, sections 15.4(d) and (e),
we determined that the punishment imposed by the Hearing Panel appeared inadequate.
Thus, we proposed to increase it. Based on our careful consideration of the entire record,
"with a view to attaining uniformity of punishment throughout the State and
appropriateness of punishment under the circumstances of each particular case," we modify
the judgment of the Hearing Panel to impose a three-year suspension, with one year served
as active suspension and the remainder on probation. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, § 15.4(b), (d).
During the first year of the probationary period, Mr. Crabtree shall engage a practice
monitor at his own expense to supervise his compliance with trust account rules and office
management procedures in accordance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, section
12.9. Finally, as a condition of reinstatement, Mr. Crabtree shall complete twelve hours of
continuing legal education ("CLE"), with six hours focused on ethics and six hours on law
office management, in addition to the annual fifteen-hour CLE requirement. In all other
respects, including payment of restitution to his clients and reimbursement to TLFCP, the
decision of the Hearing Panel is affirmed.
Authoring Judge: Chief Justice Roger A. Page
Originating Judge: Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Panel
Case Name: In Re: Joseph H. Crabtree, Jr., BPR #011451
Date Filed:
Dissent: No
Download PDF Version: crabtree_-_opinion.pdf1.11 MB