An attorney’s anxiety and suicidal ideation weren’t enough to halt disciplinary proceedings against him, the Tennessee Supreme Court said Dec. 4.

He didn’t show that these mental health issues made it impossible to defend himself, the court said.

Thomas Mabry was suspended from practicing law for failure to act diligently in the representation of a client. He testified that he had experienced suicidal thoughts in the run up to his disciplinary hearing, and submitted medical records indicating he suffered from generalized anxiety disorder.

Under Tennessee Supreme Court rules, an attorney seeking to suspend disciplinary proceedings must prove by a preponderance of the evidence not only that he has a physical or mental disability, or a drug or alcohol addiction, but also that this condition makes it impossible for him to respond to or defend against disciplinary complaints.

Mabry failed to submit any evidence that his anxiety or suicidal thoughts actually made it impossible for him to respond to his disciplinary complaint. He therefore failed to meet his burden, the court said.

Mabry’s suspension therefore “remains in full force and effect,” and any pending disciplinary proceedings must be resolved before he can be reinstated, the court said.

The case is Mabry v. Bd. of Prof’l Responsibility, Tenn., No. E2018-00204-SC-R3-BP, 12/4/18.