News

Prosecutors Say Bookkeeper for Christian Group Stole $394K

The bookkeeper for Titus International, a Christian organization based in Chattanooga, stole $394,000 from the group, Chattanoogan.com reports. Gwen Lively has agreed to plead guilty to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. She had been with Titus since 2010, and federal prosecutors accused her of beginning the scheme shortly after she joined. She used two methods to defraud the group: transferring funds from the Titus account into one controlled by her, and using pre-signed checks with the director’s name to make them payable to herself.
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Pilot Flying J Trial: Former President on Tape Making ‘Inflammatory Racial Epithets’

As a part of an investigation into the Pilot Flying J fraud scandal, former president Mark Hazelwood was captured on tape making what a judge called “vile, despicable, inflammatory racial” comments, Knoxnews reports. U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier said that if the tapes had been made public while Hazelwood was still president, black employees who had been fired would have cause to sue. Collier said he will allow the recordings to be heard by the jury in the case against Hazelwood and three other former employees.
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December Issue Covers Pirates, Trusts, Banks and Shopping for Toys

Glasby's Fortune by Brentwood lawyer James H. Drescher, a novel about a pirate, is reviewed by the Tennessee Bar Journal's resident "pirate law scholar" Russell Fowler in the December issue. Columnist Eddy R. Smith asks if most trusts should last indefinitely, and Kathryn Reed Edge explains the phases of banking law: good economic times, recessionary times ... and "wedding season." Humor columnist Bill Haltom reminisces over Christmases Past. The bankruptcy of Toys 'R' Us has him feeling guilty for not shopping there anymore now that his kids are grown.

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Tennessee Uniform Limited Partnership Act of 2017

Attorneys Lee Popkin and Thomas Norris Jr. address the Tennessee Uniform Limited Partnership Act of 2017, which will apply to all new limited partnerships formed on or after Jan. 1, 2018, and limited partnerships created before Jan. 1, 2018, that elected to be covered under the new Act. This one-hour webcast will be replayed Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. and is also available on demand.

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Lawsuit to Challenge Nashville Home Business Ban

Nashville record producer Lij Shaw and cosmetologist Pat Raynor are suing the Metro Nashville government to challenge a ban on home businesses, The Tennessean reports. Both Shaw and Raynor previously saw special zoning exemption applications for their small in-home businesses denied by the Metro Council this year. The council has attempted to change the ban multiple times over the years, but neighborhood advocates have argued that home businesses create nuisances, such as noise, and take up street parking.

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Haslam Identified on Secret Pilot Flying J Recording

In the trial of Pilot Flying J executives accused of a scheme to rip off small trucking companies, the subject has turned to whether CEO Jimmy Haslam knew of the dealings, Knoxnews reports. For the first time, Haslam was identified as one of the participants in a conversation that was secretly recorded and included references to the name “Manuel,” which has been shown in testimony as a code word for the fraud.

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Tennessee Supreme Court Answers Question from Federal Court on Collection of Airplane Repair Bill

The Tennessee Supreme Court addressed a certified question from a federal district court on an aircraft maintenance company’s effort to collect a bill for work done on a commercial airplane. Nashville-based Embraer Aircraft Services performed maintenance work on a plane leased by Colgan Air but owned by AeroCentury Corporation. Embraer acquired a repairman’s lein on a the plane itself in case of nonpayment. Colgan never paid after the work was completed, and later went bankrupt. Embraer then filed a lawsuit against AeroCentury in effort to collect the money owed. The federal district court handling the case asked the Tennessee Supreme Court whether a repairman’s lien under the statute can be enforced by a method other than allowing the creditor to take possession of the property and sell it to pay the debt. The Supreme Court held that it only allows creditors to enforce a repairman’s lien by sale of the lien-subject property, which in this case, is the airplane.

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AT&T, Time Warner Merger Sets Stage for Antitrust Lawsuit

The Justice Department might seek to block a planned merger between AT&T and Time Warner, setting the stage for “the antitrust case of the decade,” The New York Times reports. The DOJ demanded that AT&T sell either DirecTV or Turner Broadcasting to gain approval for the deal. Antitrust professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law Maurice Stucke noted that there has been a growing sense that antitrust enforcement has been too lenient in recent years.
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Transactional Practice CLE in Memphis Tomorrow

CLE on transactional practice will be held tomorrow at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology. Sessions will provide lawyers with the information, tools and tips needed to successfully handle transactional, business and probate matters. Speakers will cover practical approaches for handling mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions and title concerns.  
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Pilot Flying J Fraud Conspiracy Trial Postponed

A federal judge has delayed the upcoming trial of four former Pilot Flying J executives charged in a scam to defraud trucking firms, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The trial will now begin on Nov. 6. The entry revealing the trial delay is labeled as a “notice of hearing,” however, no such hearing notice appeared on the publicly available docket.
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CLE Webcast on Principles of Practice: Business Law

Joan Heminway, William Kent and Taylor Wirth are presenting an online CLE on the basics of business law for Tennessee practitioners. Topics will include common pitfalls, what issues are likely to end up in court, challenges and rewards, and additional practice pointers. If you are unavailable to attend at 3 p.m. on Nov. 14, the webcast will be available online for up to one year.

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Global & Tennessee Specific Trade & Investment Perspectives & Policies for 2018 & Beyond

 
The International Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association is sponsoring a free seminar “Global & Tennessee Specific Trade & Investment Perspectives & Policies for 2018 & Beyond” to be held on Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Nashville School of Law, Appellate Courtroom, 4013 Armory Oaks Drive, Nashville, Tenn. 
 
The speakers on the panel include:
  • Terry Olsen, Chair of the TBA International Law Section, as Moderator
  • Clay Banks, Regional Director of Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development
  • James Forde, Prosperity and Economics Officer of British Consulate General, Atlanta
  • Ms. Joanne Chu, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (New York)
  • Mr. Michael Kwan, Deputy Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (New York)
The seminar will provide an overview of the global & U.S. trade & investment landscape as it concerns Tennessee for 2018 & beyond, and both policy & legal views of the ever-changing global standard of Tennessee in the international investment environment.
 
Attendees will also have the opportunity to have direct interactive discussions with the speakers at the end of the seminar.
 
The panel discussion will last from 6pm thru 7pm, and then followed with a FAQ session for attendees, along with a light reception of beverage & desserts. 
 
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Pinnacle, First Tennessee Resolve Legal Battle

Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners and Memphis-based First Tennessee Bank have ended their long-standing legal feud over recruitment, the Nashville Business Journal reports. It is unknown at this time whether Pinnacle paid any damages. The dispute began when First Tennessee sued a former employee who had defected to Pinnacle, shortly after Pinnacle entered the Memphis market, alleging that he recruited his former coworkers to Pinnacle while still employed by First Tennessee.
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Tenn. AG: Nearly Half of Tennessee Residents Affected by Equifax Breach

In a letter to Equifax, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office revealed that more than 3 million residents had personal information stolen through the company’s data breach, The Tennessean reports. In a news release, Attorney General Herbert Slatery called the breach “distressing” and said that while it is important for consumers to monitor their financial accounts, Equifax must “actively assist” consumers in doing so. He also advised Equifax to extend the free credit freezes past the current Nov. 21 deadline.
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Chatbot Allows Users to Sue Equifax Without Lawyer

Legal chatbot DoNotPay is now allowing users to file suits against credit-reporting agency Equifax, in light of last week’s news of a massive data breach, the ABA Journal reports. The online platform can help file negligence claims by walking users through a set of questions that generates a PDF they can file in small claims court. The service is free and available to the public in all 50 states. "It is particularly exciting that a lawyer is never needed in the process," Joshua Browder of DoNotPay said. "The class action lawsuit against the company will only give successful consumers around $500 (with the rest going to greedy lawyers in commissions). I hope that my product will replace those lawyers, and, with enough success, bankrupt Equifax.”

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CLE Transactional Practice Memphis

A CLE on transactional practice will be held at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology on Oct. 27. Sessions will provide lawyers with the information, tools and tips needed to successfully handle transactional, business and probate matters. Speakers will cover practical approaches for handling mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions and title concerns.

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Class Action Suit Filed Over Equifax Data Breach

Following a data breach that may have affected 143 million people, a class action lawsuit has been filed against credit-reporting agency Equifax, the ABA Journal reports. Mary McHill of Portland, Oregon, and Brook Reinhard of Eugene, Oregon, filed the suit in federal court yesterday. The breach exposed names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, driver’s license data and addresses. 209,000 people also had their credit card numbers hacked. 
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Counsel on Call Acquires Nashville E-Discovery Firm

Brentwood-based Counsel On Call, an on-demand legal services company, has bought Nashville based DSicovery LLC (DSi), which offers digital forensics and e-discovery services, the Nashville Business Journal reports. Counsel On Call will operate DSi out of its current Nashville officers. Both companies will continue to conduct business under their current names.
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Former CEO, Legislator Gets 21 Years, Ordered to Pay $21 Million

A former CEO and Tennessee state legislator was sentenced today to 21 years in prison for his role in a financial scheme, the Commercial Appeal reports. Larry Bates, alongside his sons and daughter-in-law, was convicted in a precious metals Ponzi scheme that impacted more than 360 people. Bates was ordered to pay more than $21 million in restitution. 
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Inventor Business & Legal Bootcamp Set for Sept. 20

 
Save the date now for the upcoming Inventor Business & Legal Bootcamp on Sept. 20.
 
Because intellectual property ("IP") owned by individuals and small businesses is a key component and contributor to the Tennessee and U.S. economy, the Tennessee Bar Association will conduct an Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp to educate all attendees about the legal and business aspects of Intellectual Property and its role in starting a business. This program is designed for those that create or own intellectual property (inventors, makers, artists, licensing organizations, etc.) and the attorneys that represent them.
 
Find out more or sign up for CLE credit on the CLE course detail page.
 
Immediately following the CLE program, join your fellow attendees for a light reception and connect with the panelists, attorneys, makers, inventors, entrepreneurs and community leaders. TBA staff will be on hand to share more information about the TBA patent pro bono program.
 
Please contact Jarod Word, Sections & Committees Coordinator with any future Section Connect ideas, or Legal Practice Tips you feel may be beneficial to other Section members.
 
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LAVPA Presents Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp in Knoxville

Save The Date

LAVPA, the patent pro bono program of the Tennessee Bar Association, is joining forces with the Knoxville Business Support Network to present an Inventor Legal & Business Bootcamp for students, makers, inventors, artisans, small businesses and the attorneys who represent them. The program will feature attorneys, business representatives, professors, community business leaders and the director of the regional office of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The program will be held in Knoxville on Sept. 20, as part of Innov865 Start Up Week. The program will focus on the invention process, business organizations, business plans and investing, including crowdfunding. It is open to the public and free to attend. You may register through Eventbrite. Attorneys who want to receive CLE credit may register and pay for CLE through the TBA

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Tennessee and Federal Tax Law Annual Forum 2017

Make plan now to join us for this year’s tax forum. It will focus on both Tennessee and federal tax issues. We will have representatives from the Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service to provide in-person updates on current topics. Topics to be covered during the forum include an introduction to international tax issues, tax issues in hiring family members, lien subordination issues, and licensing and taxing issues in a multi-state practice. Click here to sign up today.

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‘Architect’ of Pilot Flying J Scam, 3 Others Plead Guilty

The man called the “architect” of the Pilot Flying J diesel fuel rebate scam and three other ex-employees of the company have struck a deal with authorities to plead guilty and cooperate in the ongoing investigation, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Ringleader John “Stick” Freeman, John Spiewak, Vicki Borden and Katy Bibee signed plea agreements today admitting to their involvement in the multi-million dollar scam in which smaller trucking companies were promised certain rebates but were paid much less.
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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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Business Law Section to Meet at TBA Convention

Please make plans to join the TBA Business Law Section for a business meeting that will be held in conjunction with 2017 Tennessee Bar Association Convention. The TBA Tax Law Section meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date/Time:

Friday, June 16, 2017
 2 – 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Location:

Meadowview Marriott
, 1901 Meadowview Parkway, Kingsport, TN 37660
 (423) 578-6600

Room Location – Holston-Watauga Room

A conference call will be available for those unable to join us in person. The following are the instructions for joining the call:

You will dial in on the following number: 1-855-795-9620

You will then be prompted to enter the following conference ID number, followed by the pound (#) sign: 4424167#

 

Items for discussion include:

  1. Ideas for CLE programming and webcasts
  2. Pro Bono Opportunities
  3. What items would you like to see in your inbox?  Getting the most out of your Section Connects.
  4. Networking and Mentoring within the Section
     

Advance registration for the TBA Convention is now closed, however, you can still register at the event.

You do not have to be registered for convention to attend this cection meeting. We hope to see you there!

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