Florida bar seeks to suspend lawyer sued over Dallas dog attack case

DALLAS -- The Florida bar has asked for an emergency suspension of the law license of an attorney who is being sued in Dallas over allegations that he and a Dallas City Council member improperly solicited legal business from the daughter of a fatal dog attack victim.

Christopher M. Chestnut did not respond to a phone message seeking comment late Wednesday.

On Aug. 23, Chestnut was sued along with Dallas City Councilwoman Tiffinni Young by Matisha Ward, daughter of Antoinette Brown. Brown died May 9, a week after she was attacked by a pack of dogs in southern Dallas.

In her lawsuit, Ward says that while her mother was hospitalized, Young texted her and requested to meet her. Ward alleges in her suit that after her mother died, Young and Chestnut solicited her by telephone.

Young and Chestnut have previously told News 8 that they did nothing wrong, and that they were only trying to help Ward.

In her lawsuit, Ward accused the pair of “barratry,” which is illegal solicitation of legal business, or, more commonly known as “ambulance chasing.” Barratry is a felony in Texas.

On Aug. 26, Ward and her attorney also filed an ethics complaint against Councilwoman Young with the city of Dallas. Ward and her attorney also filed complaints against Young with Dallas police and the Dallas County district attorney.

Chestnut sued Florida A&M University in the 2011 hazing death of drum major Robert Champion. Last year, the school settled.

On Wednesday, the Florida Bar cited Ward’s lawsuit, and Chestnut’s history of complaints in their state, as grounds for the emergency suspension of his law license. The matter is before Florida's Supreme Court.

Among the complaints Chestnut has faced in the past are that he allegedly solicited clients. In 2014, however, the Bar’s solicitation accusation was dismissed, but Chestnut was still publicly reprimanded for failing to keep a client informed about a case. In 2014, a jury found he overcharged a client, prompting another state bar complaint which is also pending before the Florida Supreme Court.

Email investigates@wfaa.com

Florida State Bar 2016.8.31 Emergency Suspension Christopher M. Chestnut by JasonTrahan on Scribd

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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