On Thursday, July 13, 2023, the Supreme Court of Tennessee publicly censured attorney Kristi L. Norris Johnson for filing a nonsuit in a case without notifying or obtaining consent from clients.
The case is titled “In the Matter of Kristi L. Norris Johnson” with case no. 72111-1-ES.
The charges cited Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct Rules 1.2 (scope of representation), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication), 3.2(expediting litigation), and 8.4(d)(prejudice to the administration of justice).
Ms. Johnson’s actions revolved around a car accident case she undertook for clients in January 2016. After filing a lawsuit on January 30, 2017, the trial dates were postponed multiple times – initially set for 2019 and 2020. Unexpectedly, on December 1, 2021, Ms. Johnson unilaterally filed a nonsuit without notifying or obtaining consent from the clients, who were taken by surprise upon discovering this decision in June 2022. Her subsequent communication, where she assured the clients of rescheduling the trial, further complicated matters. As a result of these actions, the Board of Professional Responsibility imposed discipline on Ms. Johnson.
Upon reviewing the aforementioned actions, the court reached the determination that Johnson had indeed breached the ethical standards outlined in the referenced rules of professional conduct. As a consequence of this finding, the court proceeded to issue an official order publicly reprimanding Johnson for her transgressions.
As of today, attorney Johnson is listed in the law firm Dugger & Cole, as an associate. She attended the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law, graduating in 1999. She practices in Elizabethton, Tennessee. She is licensed in Tennessee. Her info can be found on martindale.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.