Consumers who have filed complaints against a Nashville man, suspended for practicing law without a license, may be eligible for restitution, Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper and Gary Cordell, director of the Division of Consumer Affairs announced today.
Michael H. Sneed of Nashville, who has been found liable for the unauthorized practice of law and violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, has been ordered by the Davidson County Circuit Court to pay $18,372 to eligible consumers who used his services. The Tennessee Supreme Court ordered Sneed suspended from the practice of law on Feb. 24, 2009 for 18 months. He was later found to have continued representing multiple consumers acting as an attorney during his suspension.
Attorney General Cooper, on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs, brought a civil lawsuit against Sneed for the unauthorized practice of law following numerous complaints to the Division of Consumer Affairs. An ensuing investigation determined violation of state laws. The Court subsequently entered an injunction prohibiting Sneed from continuing to advertise or offer services as a licensed attorney. During a recent court hearing, Judge Joseph Binkley Jr. granted the state's request to compensate consumers harmed by Sneed. Additionally, consumers who come forward within six months of the Court's Order dated January 6, 2012 are eligible for restitution. Judge Binkley additionally awarded the State $77,000 in remedial civil penalties for violations under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, $77,000.00 in remedial civil penalties under the Unauthorized Practice of Law statutes, and attorney and court costs associated with the case.
"We are pleased with the Court's decision," Attorney General Cooper said. "We will not tolerate unauthorized practice of law in Tennessee, and encourage anyone who suspects such behavior to contact our office."
If you were represented by Michael H. Sneed as your attorney at any time after February 24, 2009, please contact the Tennessee Attorney General's Office at (615) 741-1671 or toll free within Tennessee at 1-877-275-7396. Because many of Sneed's clients are Hispanic and much of his advertisements were directed toward the Hispanic Community, the Attorney General's Office has a Spanish speaking staff member available to talk with Spanish speaking victims.
To find out if an attorney is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and is in good standing, call the Tennessee State Board of Professional Responsibility at (615) 361-7500 or visit their website at http://www.tbpr.org/.
Consumers with complaints about individuals or businesses engaged in unfair or deceptive trade practices should contact the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-342-8385 (toll free inside Tennessee) or (615) 741-4737.
To see a copy of the State's filings in the Sneed case, go to www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/ and click on Filings of Interest.