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Knox County lawyer suspended August 30th
August 31, 2021

KNOXVILLE - On August 30, 2021, the Supreme Court of Tennessee entered an order suspending Grace Ingrid Gardner from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years with four (4) months active suspension pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 12.2, and the remainder on probation pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 14.1. Ms. Gardner must pay the Board for all costs in the disciplinary proceeding in the amount of $2,391.03.

A Hearing Panel found that during representation of clients in Bankruptcy Court, Ms. Gardiner failed to comply with Rules of the Bankruptcy Court, including the following: 1) obtaining original “wet” signatures of clients on petitions and schedules; 2) permitting her name to be signed to a retainer agreement before she met the client; 3) presenting an agreed order continuing a hearing bearing the signature of the Chapter 13 Trustee who had not agreed to the continuance; 4) failing to take reasonable measures to ensure that her assistant complied with the Rules of the Bankruptcy Court; and 5) presenting to the Court a document bearing the forged signature of her client.

Ms. Gardiner violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 3.3 (candor toward the tribunal), 5.3 (responsibilities regarding nonlawyer assistants) and 8.4 (misconduct). Ms. Gardiner must comply with the requirements of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, Sections 28 and 30.4, regarding the obligations and responsibilities of suspended attorneys and the procedure for reinstatement.

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