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Board censures LaFollette lawyer

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By Susan Sharp

A courtroom ruckus has resulted in a LaFollette attorney being reprimanded by the board governing his profession.

J. Stephen Hurst was censured last week by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, according to documents released by the board.

The censure serves as a warning to Hurst and doesn’t affect his ability to practice law.

The censure is in response to a complaint filed by a Department of Children’s Services (DCS) employee. While the employee was not named in the censure, a police report taken in March 2008, after Hurst and a DCS staffer were involved in a conflict, says William C. Comer was the employee.

Hurst stepped on Comer’s toe and pointed his finger in the man’s face, the press release issued by the board said. He then bumped Comer and pushed him with his stomach, according to the release.

While it is not mentioned in the press release, the censure says Hurst also spat in Comer’s face.

Hurst had represented the parents of a child who had been placed in state’s custody. In an interview just after the incident, Hurst said Comer was disgruntled because he had been removed from the case at Hurst’s request.