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Chattanooga attorney H. Owen Maddux has been handed a nine-month suspension by the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility for ethical misconduct, according to a news release.
The board release said Maddux was representing a Chattanooga couple, Theodore and Nancy Hayes, in a civil action regarding a business dispute with the husband's partner.
Trying to collect money owed to his client, Maddux sent letters to customers telling them to make payments to him and that he would deposit the money with the court while the dispute was resolved.
Instead, the release stated, he gave the money to Theodore Hayes and didn't tell the partner until after a motion was filed seeking the payment of money to the court.
His actions violated rules of professional conduct for safekeeping property; truthfulness and candor in statements to others; and misconduct, the release stated.
After a hearing, Maddux appealed the nine-month suspension to Chancery Court, then the Tennessee Supreme Court, but both ruled in favor of original decision.