February 2014 - Vol. 50, No. 2

Pet or Pro?

Service Animals, Therapy Animals and Pets Are Not the Same

A woman, her horse and her attorney walk into a bar.
“Dear lady, you can’t bring that foul-smelling ass into this establishment!” says the barkeeper.
“How dare you! This is my seeing-eye horse!” says the woman.
“Of course, I realize that,” replies the barkeep, “but the lawyer has to go!”

* * *

read more »

Rescuing the Oppressed

The Equities of Business Dissolution and Oppressive Conduct in Closely Held Corporations

It is likely true that most small business owners intend, in good faith, to fulfill their fiduciary obligations to the entity and their co-owners. For that reason, the “business judgment rule” shields many decisions from a meddling court.[1] But in the event of financial distress, a controlling owner might simply reach for the nearest pot of money or take other unseemly actions to be sure the business survives. Even the most well-intentioned and informed majority or controlling owner could at some point be accused of oppressive conduct toward the minority owners.

read more »

Attorney General Selection Process Works, Should Be Retained

We are now in the heart of the legislative session, and once again efforts to change the way that we select our attorney general are underway. Every time the issue is raised, those raising it cite as their primary support the fact that no other state selects their attorney general in the same manner as Tennessee. Boiled down to its essence, the argument is that if everybody else is doing it differently, Tennessee’s selection method must be flawed.

read more »

New Resource Educates Voters About Judicial System

Tennessee Is a Pilot Site

A new campaign to educate voters about the judicial system, the importance of fair and impartial judicial elections and how to evaluate judicial candidates launched in mid-January with a live webcast and video presentation by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

read more »

People

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch Jr. recently announced he would retire in July to become dean of the Nashville School of Law. His announcement came at the same time that current Nashville School of Law Dean Joe C. Loser Jr. said he would retire in 2014. Koch has served on the Supreme Court since 2007. He previously was a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals for 23 years, was counsel and commissioner of personnel to then Gov. Lamar Alexander, and served as the state’s deputy attorney general.

read more »

Licensure & Discipline

REINSTATED

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated the law license of James A. Meaney III of Ringgold, Ga., on Dec. 23, 2013, after he responded to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct.

read more »

Law Student Kills Medical Student: The Trial of James Clark Thornton III

In the spring of 1983 Jim Thornton was finishing his second year at Memphis State Law School. He was living in an apartment, separated for a couple of months from his wife Lavinia Johnston Thornton and their young son Will, 3. The latter occupied a nice house a short distance away in the Germantown area.

On Tuesday, May 3, the threesome went to an early supper at Houlihan’s. Lavinia announced to Jim that she had met a man and planned to date him. In truth she met medical student Mark Allen McConkey the previous Saturday and had been hosting nightly sex.

read more »

The Evolution of ‘Abadeer’: The General Assembly’s Clarification of the Wage Regulations Act

In the arena of wage and hour litigation, it has become more and more common for plaintiffs to append state law causes of action (under various theories) to their federal claims. The primary benefit to the plaintiffs is that state law claims potentially carry a longer statute of limitations, and, thus a greater look-back period for damages. In Tennessee, we have seen this tactic result, in at least one case, in an effort to state a private right of action under the Tennessee Wage Regulations Act (TWRA).[1] One section of the TWRA, Tenn.

read more »

When Should I Apply for Social Security?

This seemingly simple question can lead to hours of research, confusion and frustration. The issue is usually whether one should start receiving Social Security (SS) retirement benefits at age 62, one’s “full retirement age,” or at age 70. Important factors to be taken into consideration are life expectancy, accustomed standard of living, savings, debt and other income.

read more »