Editor's note: The original news story reported on this website on February 13, 2012 incorrectly reversed certain events in the dispute between several Clarksville attorneys. The original web story has been removed from WSMV.com, and this corrected news story is intended to replace it. Two attorneys, Kimberly Turner and Melissa King, were terminated from the Clarksville law firm Gasaway, Farmer & Associates before they submitted a complaint to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility against attorney Carrie Gasaway. This corrected news story reports the sequence of events, and updates our viewers regarding an Order issued by the Circuit Court regarding a motion for recusal which had been filed by Ms. King, Ms. Turner, and another attorney. WSMV regrets the error, and apologizes to Ms. Gasaway and to its readers.
A Montgomery County circuit court judge issued an order on February 21, 2012, to transfer all cases that involve three attorneys who left a law firm where the judge's wife is a partner.
Circuit Court Judge John Gasaway III issued the order on Tuesday that all cases involving attorneys Kimberly Turner, Brian Hill and Melissa King would be transferred to another judge. The order states that transfers are appropriate because based upon filings made by those three lawyers, the judge's impartiality toward them might reasonably be questioned, so another judge should hear the cases in which they are involved.
According to court filings, in late December 2011 and early January 2012, Ms. King and Ms. Turner were terminated from the Clarksville law firm Gasaway, Farmer & Associates, where Carrie Gasaway, the judge's wife, is a partner. By mid-January, Ms. King and Ms. Turner, along with Mr. Hill, had left the law firm.
After their dismissal, also according to filings, Turner and King filed a complaint with the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, alleging misappropriation and abuse of trust fund accounts and other violations by Carrie Gasaway.
On January 27, Carrie Gasaway sued Turner, Hill and King, requesting a declaratory judgment for legal fees. Carrie Gasaway filed a notice of voluntary dismissal of her civil lawsuit on January 31, 2012.
On January 30, 2012, Turner filed an affidavit asking that Carrie Gasaway be charged with criminal harassment. Turner stated that she was texted and threatened by Carrie Gasaway.
On January 24, 2012, a complaint against Carrie Gasaway was submitted to the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility by Ms. Turner. According to court filings, a separate complaint to the Board of Professional Responsibility was filed against Ms. Gasaway by Ms. King. Those complaints are currently pending, and are being responded to by Ms. Gasaway and her counsel.
Although complaints to the Board of Professional Responsibility are confidential, those complaints along with other disputes were referred to in a motion to recuse filed by Turner, Hill and King which asked that Carrie Gasaway's husband, Circuit Judge Gasaway, recuse himself from cases they were involved. With the filing of the motion to recuse, the existence of the BPR complaints became public.
In the order issued Tuesday, Judge Gasaway denied the motion to recuse finding that recusal was not the proper remedy. The Court noted that there was only one pending case before him which involved only one of the three attorneys. However, Judge Gasaway did order that any case involving the three attorneys be transferred because he had determined that based on the conduct of the three attorneys, the Court's impartiality might be questioned.
According to the Order, Judge Gasaway took issue with the motion to recuse filed by the three attorneys. The court's order states that their motion was filed for improper reasons and that they violated their obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the Board of Professional Responsibility complaint.
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