News

ABA Delegates OK Draft of Uniform Law on Virtual Currency

Delegates meeting at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver approved a draft uniform law regarding virtual currency businesses, the ABA Journal reports. Many involved with cryptocurrency “are not enamored much in the way of regulation,” according to Fred Miller, the chair of the committee at the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws that drafted the legislation. He says, however, that there is near unanimity from advocates, business people and lawyers regarding the need for this type of legislation. “We wanted to allow some regulation and allow some experimentation and innovation as well."

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TBA Gears Up for 2018 Mock Trial Tournament

The Tennessee Bar Association will host the upcoming Tennessee High School Mock Trial Tournament on March 23 and 24 in Nashville. The Mock Trial is a two-day, single-elimination bracket-style competition where 16 high schools face-off against each other in the Davidson County Courthouse. Each team is scored on their trial preparation and skills. 

We need TBA volunteers to help be bailiffs and jurors (scorers) for the event. After signing up, we will send you a Volunteer Memo with all the information you need for competition including; parking, hotel, downtown map, courthouse rules, and reimbursement information. Come be a part of the Young Lawyers Divisions’ March Madness! Feel free to contact YLD Director Stephanie Vonnahme with any questions.

To volunteer for this event, click here.

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Glen Campbell's Longtime Publicist Subpoenaed Regarding Contested Will

The longtime publicist of Glen Campbell, who passed away from Alzheimer's Disease last year, has been subpoenaed to testify regarding the late singer's competence when he signed a now-disputed will, according to The Tennessean.

Records in Davidson County Probate Court show a subpoena has been issued for Sanford Brokaw to appear for testimony in Nashville on Feb. 20. The subpoena calls on Brokaw to "provide proof of the decedent's capacity since 2002” and submit "all communications regarding the estate of the decedent."

The contention is regarding the exclusion of three of Campbell's children, who have been cut out of his estimated $50 million estate, according to a 13-page will filed by his widow in 2006, Rolling Stone reported. The will states that he was "specifically excluding" the three children from receiving anything under the will or a related trust, and names his wife, Kim, as executor. Court records indicate there was an earlier version of Campbell's will, dated in 2002.

This was not the first interfamilial feud, as Campbell’s eldest daughter Debby and son Travis previously won a legal victory after claiming that Kim Campbell was denying them the right to visit their father during his illness. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam subsequently signed a bill into law called the Campbell / Falk Act, which allows family members and close friends of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other disabilities to visit a loved one in person, or maintain contact with them by phone, email or mail, despite the stated wishes of a legally appointed conservator.

Campbell was first diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s in 2011 and died in August 2017. A Netflix film, "I’ll Be Me", details his diagnosis, final tour and his farewell to fans.

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Congress Delays 'Cadillac Tax' and Other ACA-Related Taxes and Fees

Congress on Monday passed the Federal Register Printing Savings Act, which temporarily continued funding federal government activity and appropriated funds to various health-related programs such as the Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and childhood obesity programs.
 
The Act also addressed the effective date for the controversial 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health care, commonly referred to as the "Cadillac Tax," which has been delayed until 2022. At a minimum, the new two-year delay gives employers and plan sponsors more time to adjust health plan design to avoid the Cadillac Tax, legislation that has been unpopular on both sides of the aisle.
 
The Cadillac tax was created as part of the Affordable Care Act largely to help fund benefits to the uninsured under the law. The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that delaying the medical device tax will lower revenue by $3.8 billion over a decade, delaying the Cadillac tax will cost $14.8 billion and suspending the health insurance tax will cost $12.7 billion.
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Don't Forget: Winter CLE Blast Just Around the Corner

Need CLE hours fast? We can help! The annual Winter CLE Blast is just a couple of weeks away. With this program, you can complete up to 11 hours of Dual CLE credit on your own time. Our registration desk will be open from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 21, providing you the flexibility to create your own schedule and take as many or as few hours as you need. Payment will be determined at checkout depending on the number of hours you attend. 

Highlights

  • Flexible to your schedule
  • Up to 11 Hours of CLE
  • Ethics Credits
  • Compliance CLE
  • Live Credit Hours

When: Feb. 21, registration begins at 7 a.m., CST

Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 4th Ave N., Nashville, TN 37219

 

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Don't Forget– Estate Planning & Probate Forum 2018 This Friday!

The Tennessee Bar Association will host the 2018 Estate Planning & Probate Forum at the Embassy Suites in Franklin on Friday. This event provides six hours of CLE, including an hour of dual credit, and will be focused on timely, relevant topics to help you stay on top of trends affecting this area of law. Legislative updates and the ever-popular Probate Panel will ensure that you leave with the knowledge necessary to advance your practice.
 
Do not miss this opportunity to fulfill CLE requirements while networking with attorneys who share your focus and cultivating relationships with fellow practitioners. Section members receive a discounted rate for the program. Here's the key info: 
 
When: Feb. 23, 2018; registration begins at 8 a.m., CDT
 
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Center Dr., Franklin, TN 37067
 
Topics include:
  • Family Law Issues
  • IRA Planning and Best Practices
  • Medicare Benefits
  • Legislative Updates
  • Probate Panel
 
Speakers/Producers include:
  • Jennifer Exum, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC, Chattanooga 
  • Jeffrey Atherton, Chancery Court, Chattanooga
  • Newman Bankston, Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, Knoxville 
  • Frank Cardenas, FEDlogic LLC, Nashville 
  • Donald Farinato, Hodges, Doughty & Carson PLLC, Knoxville 
  • Sandra Garrett, The Board of Professional Responsibility, Brentwood 
  • Kathleen Gomes, Probate Court of Shelby County-Division One, Memphis
  • David Parsons, Attorney At Law, Nashville 
  • Joel Roettger, Gentry, Tipton & McLemore, Knoxville 
  • Stacy Roettger, The Trust Company of Knoxville
  • Albert Secor, Southeastern Trust Company, Chattanooga

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Election Officials Say Tennessee Voting Records Secure

State election officials told a panel of state senators yesterday that Tennessee’s voting procedures are safe, but they are nonetheless preparing preventative measures to protect the vote, WPLN reports. The officials, led by Secretary of State Tre Hargett, noted that while most votes are cast via electronic machine, those machines are not hooked to the internet. Last year, state officials found about 40 potential cases of improper voting out of more than 4 million votes cast.

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SCOTUS Grants Review of SEC Judicial Appointment Process

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday accepted a challenge to the appointment process for administrative law judges at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the ABA Journal reports. SEC judges are selected by the chief judge and approved by the SEC personnel office. Lucia v. SEC questions whether the judges are actually “inferior officers” under the appointments clause and subject to appointment by the president, the head of a federal agency or a court. 
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Waller’s Nashville Office Hires Hospitality Team from Bone

The Nashville office of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP has hired a whole team of retail and hospitality attorneys from another prominent firm, the Nashville Business Journal reports. William Cheek, Robert Pinson, Olatayo Atanda and Kimberly Faye all departed Bone McAllester Norton PLLC for Waller. Cheek is known for his work in alcoholic beverage law, and is a founding member of the Alliance of Alcohol Industry Attorneys and Consultants.
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Court Rules Johnson City Won’t Have to Pay County for Liquor Taxes

An appellate court in Knoxville has reversed a lower court’s order that would have forced Johnson City to share years of liquor-by-the-drink tax revenue with Washington County, the Johnson City Press reports. The decision was issued on Wednesday by Judges Thomas Frierson, Michael Swiney and Richard Dinkins. The complaint, filed by Washington County, sought $3.4 million. While Johnson City passed a liquor-by-the-drink referendum in 1980, the county never passed a similar measure, making it ineligible for the tax collections.
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Visitation Today, Services Tomorrow for Nashville Attorney

Nashville lawyer Thaddeus Earl Watkins died on Nov. 19. He was 60. Born in Memphis, Watkins earned his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. During his 30-year career as an attorney for the State of Tennessee, he served as counsel for the State Fire Marshall’s Office, the State Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners, the Tennessee State Capitol Commission and the Department of Commerce and Insurance before being appointed to the Tennessee Department of General Services. Visitation will be held tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. at Marshall Donnelly Combs Funeral Home, 201 25th Ave N. A second visitation will be held tomorrow at 10 a.m., with services to follow at 11 a.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 900 Broadway. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) or a charity of choice.
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State Government Attorneys' Conference 2017

The State Government Attorneys' Conference will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center on Nov. 17. Conflicts of interest, updates from the hill and process of termination in connection to protecting your agency are addressed in this year's program. Lunch will be provided, allowing for networking. If you are interested in more topics, the Administrative Law Annual Forum will be held in the morning. 
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TBA Administrative Law Section to Host Annual Forum

A CLE on Administrative Law will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center on Nov. 17. Topics will include administrative hearings, negotiations and best practices. Attend and find out how to maintain regular and positive working relationships with statewide and local officeholders. Lunch will be provided, allowing for networking. If you are interested in more topics, the State Government Attorneys' Conference 2017 will be held in the afternoon. 
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Knoxville Lawyer Named Federal Administrative Law Judge

Knoxville attorney Benjamin Burton has been selected to serve as an administrative law judge with the Social Security Administration. He will serve at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in St. Louis. Burton worked for the Social Security Administration prior to entering private practice and is one of only 61 Board Certified Social Security Trial Specialists nationwide.
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Court Addresses TEAM Act

In 2012, the Tennessee General Assembly adopted the Tennessee Excellence, Accountability, and Management Act of 2012 (TEAM Act), which comprehensively addressed the hiring and termination of state employees. The TEAM Act replaced the prior Civil Service Act. The TEAM Act established two categories of state employees, executive service employees and preferred service employees. The Tennessee Supreme Court today has determined that the TEAM Act does not create a protected property interest for preferred service employees for continued employment in their positions and that preferred service employees challenging a dismissal bear the burden of proof during the appeals process.

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County Officials Hope for AOC Court Security Grant

At least two counties plan to apply for grants from the Administrative Office of the Courts to make improvements to courtroom security. Coffee County Justice Center, Coffee County Sheriff’s department is applying for a state court security grant to be used for installing a keycard system, ballistic glass panels and doors, according to Capt. Frank Watkins with the sheriff’s department, The Manchester Times reports. Putnam County officials are also hoping to be chosen for a grant, according to the Herald-Citizen. "Recent well-publicized security breaches in other courts in our state have lent particular urgency to these issues," Circuit Judge Amy Hollars said in a letter to county commissioners. The county commission Monday will consider approval for the court to submit a grant to purchase a new metal detector and additional security cameras for areas of the justice center that currently lack coverage. Learn more about the AOC's grant program. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 16.

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Government Lawyers Report Increased Pressures, Retirements

A recent survey shows that 67 percent of government lawyers say that scarce resources and tight budgets are adding pressure to their workloads. And 76 percent of the government lawyers surveyed in the Thomson Reuters study expect their workloads to increase in the next few years. The survey projects that nearly 50 percent of the full state and local government workforce will be eligible for retirement by 2019, and that about a third of all federal workers are eligible for retirement this year. The ABA Journal has more.

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Dunford: No Immediate Ban on Transgender People in Military

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says in a memo that there won’t be any immediate change in the policy regarding people who are transgender serving in the military, the ABA Journal reports. Gen. Joseph Dunford said the policy won’t change until the military receives President Donald Trump’s direction to change it and the military issues “implementation guidance.” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that transgender people will not be allowed to serve in the military in any capacity. A policy adopted last year allowed transgender recruits to enlist or be commissioned in the officer corps by July 1.

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Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

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Middle Tennessee U.S. Attorney Secures $2.7 Million False Claims Settlement

The acting U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee reached a settlement with Innovative Therapies and its parent company, Cardinal Health, in a $2.7 million False Claims Act case, the Nashville Post reports. The company was accused by a whistleblower of marketing and billing a product as “durable medical equipment,” even though the product did not meet standards for a durable device. The whistleblower in the case will receive $488,700 under the terms of the False Claims Act.
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Judge: Fall Creek Falls Privatization Records Must Be Made Public

The state must release records related to the privatization effort at Fall Creek Falls State Park, a judge ruled today in a case brought about by the Nashville Scene. Chancellor Bill Young ruled that the Open Records Act required the records to be released. The state had argued that because it received no bids on a proposal to rebuild the Inn at Fall Creek Falls, it did not have to release the records associated with the process. Deputy Attorney General Janet Kleinfelter said in court that the state may ask for a stay of Young's ruling, pending an appeal.
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Preparing for Appeals in the World of Administrative Law

Preparing for appeals starts at the beginning and should be part of your preparation for any administrative law case. Henry Phillips III will present a new webcast at noon CDT on June 21 to help you consider outcomes at the administrative level and how it will impact appeals.

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Durham Receives Record $465k in Fines

Former state representative Jeremy Durham will pay more than $465,000 in fines for his hundreds of campaign finance law violations, The Tennessean reports. The fine is the largest in the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance’s 26-year history. Durham’s attorney, Peter Strianse, said he plans to appeal the action in front of an administrative law judge and called the fines “clearly excessive.” (Strianse was profiled today by The Tennessean for his role in many high-profile cases defending clients like Durham, Casey Moreland and Cory Batey.)
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AG Slatery Joins Other States in Requesting Congressional Review of Federal Regulations

Attorney General Herbert Slatery III has joined a coalition of 16 state attorneys general in asking President Donald Trump to lead a regulatory reform effort against overreach from federal agencies. In a signed letter to Trump, the coalition, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, says reforms are necessary to bring the current federal regulatory process under the rule of law. The attorneys general write that Congress could call on federal agencies to send their rules and rule-like documents for congressional review. Under the proposal, all current regulations would remain in place pending congressional review.

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Tennessee AG Files Suit Against Network of Pain Management Clinics

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III has filed a lawsuit against a network of pain management clinics, alleging $7 million in fraudulent TennCare claims. The suit was filed in Williamson County Circuit Court against MMi Pain Clinics, owner Michael Kestner and business partner Dr. Lisabeth Williams, who operate 18 clinics across the state. According to the suit, the defendants regularly subjected patients to unnecessary medical procedures. Read the full complaint here.

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