Nashville – A Chattanooga jury has unanimously declared a Texas law firm, its owner and agents responsible for consumer protection violations and unauthorized practice of law resulting from their actions in soliciting the families of the fatal Chattanooga school bus crash of 2016.
On November 12, 2021, the jury ruled in favor of the state and against the Witherspoon Law Group, owner Nuru Witherspoon and law firm representatives Glenn Smith and Alphonso McClendon.
Mr. Smith and Mr. McClendon, who are not certified lawyers, both approached parents whose children had died in accidents. Mr. McClendon also falsely presented himself as a lawyer.
Mr. Witherspoon has been held responsible for the conduct of his cabinet officials.
The defendants also violated Tennessee Consumer Protection Act for confusing their services, their association with lenders, and for contacting consumers at a funeral home while they made final arrangements for their services. children.
For these violations, the jury ordered civil penalties against the defendants:
- $ 90,000 for unauthorized exercise of law
- $ 6,000 for Tennessee Consumer Protection Act violations
“These people, who did not even live or work in Tennessee, preyed on the families of the victims during the darkest days of their mourning,” General Slatery said. “We appreciate the unanimous jury decision in this case and our team of lawyers who have worked to hold the accused accountable for the past five years. This should send a message: portraying yourself in a false light and attempting to practice law when you are not authorized to practice here will not be tolerated. From the start, we were determined to bring this to justice. We will do the same again if we are faced with this type of behavior.
The state also filed a motion for a permanent injunction and a petition for attorney fees.
# 21-51: Jury finds Texas law firm illegally solicited families in fatal Chattanooga school bus crash