News

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. 
read more »

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. 
read more »

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.
read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.  

read more »

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.
read more »

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.
read more »

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.

read more »

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.)
read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

read more »

Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

read more »

Check Out New 1-Click CLE Offerings

Gain fast and easy access to annual updates with TBA's 1-Click CLE options. New packages offer recent programming in real estate, administrative law, and appellate practice.  
read more »

Beavers Calls for Attorney General Elections

A Tennessee lawmaker wants the state attorney general to be elected by voters by 2024, the Lebanon Democrat reports. Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, has sponsored a joint resolution to amend the state’s Constitution to make the change, and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved it. In Tennessee the attorney general is appointed by the state Supreme Court for an eight-year term.
read more »

Deadline to Apply for Claims Commissioner is March 31

The Tennessee Claims Commission is accepting applications to fill the office of Commissioner for the Eastern Grand Division, because of the expiration of William Shults’ term. The position will be for eight years beginning June 30. A qualified applicant will have resided in the Eastern Grand Division for at least one year prior to appointment, resided in Tennessee for at least five years prior and has been licensed to practice law in Tennessee for five years. The deadline to apply is March 31. Read more here.
read more »

From Fees to Dogs in Court, March TBJ Has It

In the March Tennessee Bar Journal, Tim Warnock explains last year's Supreme Court decision about assessing fee applications. Commissioner Robert Hibbett and Justin Hickerson give you the scoop on a "court" you may not even know the state has: the Tennessee Claims Commission. On its 190th anniversary, Russell Fowler looks back at how Chancery Court got started in Tennessee, and Wade Davies explains using the summary rule to advance your trial theory. Humor columnist Bill Haltom recalls a dog who presided over a courtroom, and considers taking his own dogs with him to try his next case.

read more »

TBA Mashup and Mini Legal Hackathon this Friday

In conjunction with the Law Tech UnConference CLE this Friday, the TBA is also offering a variety of free events and programs for lawyers we’re calling a Mashup. One program will teach you about Legal Hackathons and see one in action. A Legal Hackathon is a collaborative effort of experts in the legal profession collaborating with a computer programmer to find a technology assisted solution to a problem in the legal industry. Join the TBA Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market for a mini legal hackathon that will demonstrate the power of collaborative minds at work. We will have tasty beverages and snacks to help you get your collaborative juices flowing.  
 
Other programs that will be a part of the Mashup include Pro Bono In Action which will show you various pro bono programs you can participate in to help your fellow Tennesseans and Member Benefit Programs that will provide you information on  Fastcase 7, health insurance options for small firms, ABA retirement funds and professional liability insurance.
 
Please sign up now to let us know you are coming.

read more »

Have You Heard About the TBA Mashup?

Interested in observing a legal hackathon or getting a hands-on demonstration of the new Fastcase 7 platform? Both will be part of the first TBA Mashup, a full-day of activities and free programming set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Bar Center in conjunction with the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program.

In addition to the hackathon and Fastcase 7 demo, the TBA Mashup will feature sessions on: 

  • Current State of Health Insurance for the Small Firms
  • Professional Liability Insurance - What to look for in YOUR Policy
  • A Demo of Fastcase TopForm, a powerful bankruptcy filing software
  • Retirement Planning Guidance from the ABA Retirement Funds
  • Pro Bono in Action: How to help with pro bono events and how to take part in online options

At the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program, you can take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout based on the hours you need. Topics will include: 

  • Bill & Phil Tech Show
  • Ethical Considerations for Cyber Security in Law
  • Evolution of the Legal Marketplace
  • Making e-Discovery Affordable 
  • Drone Law
  • Encryption for Lawyers

read more »

All 3 Constitutional Officers Seeking New Terms

The state’s three constitutional officers – Comptroller Justin Wilson, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Treasurer David Lillard – are all planning to seek new terms in office when the Tennessee General Assembly votes to fill the positions in January, Knoxnews reports. All three were elected to office in 2009 when Republicans first gained a majority of seats in the state legislature and are unlikely to face opposition according to the paper. Under the state constitution, the comptroller and treasurer serve two-year terms while the secretary of state serves a four-year term.

read more »

Services Set for Retired Col. Les Barham

Retired Colonel Leslie Webb Barham of Jackson died Sept. 30 at the age of 79. A graduate of the Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, he practiced law for many years in Jackson before taking the position of judge advocate general for the Tennessee Army National Guard headquarters in Nashville. He retired after 38 years of honorable service, after which he served as an administrative law judge for the state of Tennessee. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be directed to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the Jackson-Madison County Humane Society. Visitation will be Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Lawrence-Sorensen Funeral Home, with military graveside services Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at Hollywood Cemetery. Read his obituary.

read more »

Court Square Series: Sept. 15 in Dyersburg

The TBA’s 2016 Court Square series continues with a session in Dyersburg on Sept. 15. The course will be held at the Farms Golf Club. Sarah Day, Jennifer Vallor Ivy and Judge Steven Stafford will address changes in summary judgment law; Judge Jim Hamilton will provide a basic overview of the Tennessee Claims Commission; and Laura Chastain with the Board of Professional Responsibility will present an ethics session.

read more »