Tennessee attorney, Elliott J. Schuchardt, has asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to modify its method of funding the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.
In the petition, Schuchardt argues that Tennessee's method of funding the Board is unconstitutional because the State imposes large "costs" upon attorneys seeking to defend their licenses to practice law in Tennessee. In Schuchardt's case, the Board has asked Schuchardt to pay at least $22,000 for the right to defend his license to practice law. Ultimately, these costs could be much higher.
Schuchardt argues that Tennessee's current method of funding the Board violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment because the exorbitant fees essentially "close the courthouse door" to good faith litigants. He also argues that Tennessee's high fees violate the Excessive Fines Clause of the Tennessee and United States constitutions. According to the Petition, virtually no other State allows large fines for attorney disciplinary matters. Instead, costs are generally capped at no more than $2,000. This allows the respondent attorney to make a good faith defense.
In the petition, Schuchardt says that the Board is filing serial petitions against his license to practice law, to generate large fees for the benefit of the Board's lawyers. Schuchardt has filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in Nashville, alleging harassment and political retaliation by the Board.
Tennessee's Supreme Court will now review the petition. Schuchardt will have the right to ask the United States Supreme Court to review the State's decision.
Schuchardt is a 1993 graduate of Columbia Law School, located in New York. For the first ten years of his practice, Schuchardt worked with large law firms in New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.
Schuchardt has spent much of the last ten years engaging in civil liberties work in the courts. In 2015, he obtained an injunction that prevented Sweet Briar College -- a women's college located in Amherst, Virginia -- from permanently closing its doors. Schuchardt has also sued the federal government, alleging unlawful collection of e-mail.
Elliott J. Schuchardt
8033 Ellisville Lane
Knoxville, TN 37909
Phone: (865) 304-4374
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