JACKSONVILLE — After being accused of
illegally seeking business after a Texas woman's death,
attorney Christopher M. Chestnut has been allowed to retain his
license to practice law in Florida.
According to the Gainesville
Sun, the Florida Supreme
Court denied a request by the State Bar of Florida for an emergency
suspension of Chestnut's law license.
The request for the suspension of Chestnut's license
came after Chestnut and Dallas City Councilwoman Tiffinni Young were
accused of illegally soliciting legal business, a practice commonly
known as “ambulance chasing.” The accusations
were brought forward by Matisha Ward, the daughter of Antoinette
Brown, who died
last May after being attacked by a pack of dogs and being bit more
than 100 times in southern Dallas, DallasNews.com reported.
A report on wfaa.com said Ward filed
a lawsuit against Chestnut and also filed an ethics complaint against
Young on Aug. 26, claiming that Young sent her text messages
requesting to meet with her while her mother was hospitalized shortly
after the attack; and that according to text messages and phone-call
recordings, both Young and Chestnut solicited her for legal business
four days after the death of her mother.
The request for emergency suspension of Chestnut's
license by the Florida Bar, which followed the Dallas lawsuit, cited
nine bar disciplinary issues while arguing that Chestnut was guilty
of accusations that included litigation, civil conspiracy and illegal solicitation.
Chestnut and Young both denied any wrongdoing in the
case filed by Ward. Both claimed that they were simply trying to help
Ward in a time of need.
The Gainesville Sun that
he felt “justice does exist” after the Florida Supreme
Court's decision to deny the Florida Bar's request for emergency
suspension of Chestnut's license.
Chestnut also told The
Gainesville Sun that he was grateful for the decision and that
he thought that the petition was baseless.
“It's what I've maintained the entire time. There's
no merit,” he said.
The suit filed by Ward, as well as another
case against Chestnut, is still pending. The case also included
allegations that Chestnut committed violations such as practicing law
in states where he was not licensed.
According to Chestnut's profile page
on the Florida Bar website, he was admitted to the state bar in April
2006. He is listed as a “member in good standing” on the page, and his address is listed in Jacksonville.
on the website of his firm,
The Chestnut Firm, stated that he was named one of the nation's top
100 lawyers in 2012 by the media company On Being A Black Lawyer. In
2010, he was recognized as “The
Nation's Best Advocate” in the National Bar Association's National
Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 awards ceremony.
His firm has three offices in Florida, and one each in
Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina.