June, 2010

Cover Story

Stay Current with These Updates to Copyright Law

The essential elements of a copyright-infringement case are ownership and copying.[1] Courts in 2009 addressed a number of issues that affect both of those elements as well as defenses, such as both express and implied license, fair use and fee awards. Reviewing these cases does not necessarily...

President's Perspective

On Sunday, May 2, I received an urgent e-mail message from Matt Potempa, the American Bar Association/Young Lawyers Division (ABA/YLD) district representative for Tennessee, regarding the imminent flooding disaster underway that day in Nashville. The ABA/YLD has an agreement with FEMA to support legal assistance efforts following a disaster, and Matt was...

History's Verdict

The Tennessee Bar Journal welcomes a new column this month. Russell Fowler will look to the past to help inform the practice of today in “History’s Verdict.” His column will appear three times a year.

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. It is time to pause and ponder its importance and plan how to commemorate this...

Senior Moments

"Once-revered South Carolina lawmaker freezes to death." The article was buried on the back page of my Sunday newspaper.  Juanita Goggins  at age 75 froze to death in her home. She had been dead for  over a week before a concerned neighbor contacted the landlord who then called authorities. She had dementia.


The Tennessee Bar Association was recognized in October with three Luminary Awards from the National Association of Bar Executives. The Tennessee Bar Journal earned a Luminary Award for The Law Launch Project, which followed 15 law students through their last year of school.


Arbitrator/Architect Retiring

Tennessee state architect and lawyer Mike Fitts is leaving his post effective June 1 after serving 45 years in state government. He was appointed as state architect in 1971 and earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law in 1980. He has handled arbitration work on the side while working...


The Flood and How We Responded

The 'volunteer spirit' was never more evident than in West and Middle Tennessee in the days and weeks following the May 1-2 storms that dumped flood-level water on the state. The Tennessee Bar Association, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS), and many other organizations quickly became a clearinghouse...


Former Criminal Court Judge and TBA senior counselor FRED A. KELLY died Sept. 27 at the age of 93. Kelly graduated from the University of Tennessee and later served in World War II, earning the rank of captain. He graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1948 and began practicing law in Gallatin. A native of the city, he went...

Licensure & Discipline


Clinton E. Hagaman, formerly of Knox County, was reinstated to the practice of law on March 29 after being on disability inactive status.

Nashville attorney Mary Belle Langford was reinstated to the practice of law on March 30. She had been suspended on March 10 for failing to respond to a...

The Law at Work

In my 32 years as an employment lawyer, I have written a slew of articles on silly or uninformed actions by employers that resulted in large verdicts. This article analyzes a different situation — behavior by a separating employee so objectionable that it resulted in a large verdict, including exemplary damages. The decision in this case places value on...

Crime & Punishment

Corporate crime is big news. Lawyers practicing in Tennessee face an increasing likelihood of being asked to assist business clients in responding to an allegation of criminal wrongdoing. To protect the business and to avoid inadvertent harm to others (and your license), counsel must both understand the attorney-client privilege of an organization.

Paine on Procedure

In criminal trials Rule 29.1 governs the issue of waiving closing argument. Part (a) applies to the state's first argument. Only if both prosecutor and defense counsel jointly agree can that argument and all others be waived. Part (b) applies to the defense argument. It contains this sentence: "If the defendant waives this closing argument, the state is...

But Seriously, Folks

It was a lawsuit that was quickly going downhill for the defendant. And when I say downhill, I mean downhill. But then defense counsel Arnie Becker flew in from Hollywood to save the day. And now the story of the lawsuit may soon be a major motion picture.

The lawsuit at issue is First Metro Corporation vs. All-American Soap Box Derby....