The Supreme Court of Tennessee has issued an order refusing to allow an attorney to present evidence to defend his license to practice law.
The attorney, Elliott J. Schuchardt, had filed papers with the Supreme Court alleging that two attorneys at the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility were using their employment with the state to engage in material misconduct.
Schuchardt alleged that the attorneys – chief counsel Sandy Garrett and staff attorney Andrew Campbell – were using their positions with the Board to file intentionally false pleadings. Schuchardt also claimed that Garrett and Campbell used their regulatory authority at the state to cause at least one Tennessee-licensed attorney to file a false affidavit with the court.
When Schuchardt sought discovery in connection with the affidavit, Garrett obtained an order preventing Schuchardt from obtaining evidence on the issue. The order also preventing Schuchardt from testifying that the affidavit was false.
Garrett's employer -- the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility -- then asked the Tennessee Supreme Court for an order suspending Schuchardt's license to practice law in Tennessee, on an emergency basis. Schuchardt received no notice of the request, and had no opportunity to appear and defend the issue.
On September 21, 2022, the Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order immediately barring Schuchardt from practicing law in Tennessee. The court acted without notice to Schuchardt.
According to the court's rules, Schuchardt is entitled to a hearing on the Board's request to suspend his law license. Schuchardt asked for a hearing earlier this year. In his papers, Schuchardt alleged that the Board's request to suspend his license was made in bad faith, to cover up evidence of misconduct by the Board's own attorneys, namely Garrett and Campbell.
Tennessee's ethics board responded by asking the Tennessee Supreme Court to deny Schuchardt a hearing on the Board's request to suspend Schuchardt's law license.
On January 30, 2022, the Tennessee Supreme Court granted the Board's request, and denied Schuchardt a hearing. The court also summarily dismissed Schuchardt's petition to be reinstated. As of this date, no court or governmental body has heard any testimony in connection with this matter. However, Schuchardt has been unable to practice law since September.
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.
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