News

Court Rules Relief Offer Does Not Moot Class-Action Suits

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that businesses cannot stop a class-action lawsuit by offering to pay the full amount sought by the original plaintiff, The Hill reports. The 6-3 decision stems from a suit in which Jose Gomez said Detroit-based Campbell Ewald Co. violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act when it sent messages to young adults about the U.S. Navy. Chief Justice John Roberts filed a dissenting opinion.

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Crowdfunding Article, Forum Tackle Trends in Early-Stage Capital Raising

This story from Law Practice Today lays out the potential growth of capital development through crowdfunding. "As each country develops and implements regulations around this new industry and general awareness grows," the magazine reports, "estimates from a variety of sources indicate that the yearly total market potential of the crowdfunding industry could average around $300 billion by 2025."

The TBA Business Law Section will cover recent trends and related legal issues in early-stage capital raising at its upcoming Business Law Forum on May 20 in Nashville.

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Lawsuit Claims Logan's Roadhouse Stiffed Employees

At least half a dozen Chattanooga-area current and former employees of Logan’s Roadhouse have joined a class-action lawsuit against the Nashville-based restaurant chain. The employees, along with more than 3,000 nationwide, say Logan’s stiffed them by having them spend more than 20 percent of their time doing non-tipped side work while clocked in as tipped employees. The employees say they were only paid $2.13 an hour and claim the company forced them to falsely report “phantom tips” to make it look like they were being paid the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Logan’s denies the lawsuit’s allegations, the Times Free Press reports

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Ethical Campaign Courses Online

Ethical campaign courses are now available online from the Tennessee Bar Association. The TBA CLE programs offer guidance for state and local lawmakers, judges, candidates for executive, judicial or legislative positions, and campaign chairs and their counsel. Topics include finance compliance, election law and ethics.

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ABA Business Law Section Hosts Student Writing Contest

The 2016 Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest, hosted by the American Bar Association Business Law Section, is accepting entries. Authors must be a student enrolled at an ABA-accredited law school at the time of submission and papers must have been written in the 2015-2016 or current academic year. Submissions are due Jan. 15, 2016. Prizes include up to $2,500 and an all-expense paid trip to attend the ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting in Montreal, Canada.

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Opinion Explains When Out-of-Sate Businesses Can be Sued in Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an opinion on Dec. 14 explaining when out-of-state businesses may be sued in Tennessee. The unanimous opinion follows First Community Bank suing several in-state and out-of-state financial service providers after the bank lost millions of dollars in investments. The court found that First Community was unable to establish that Tennessee courts have jurisdiction over certain out-of-state providers. However, it sent the case back to trial court for First Community to conduct additional discovery under new guidelines outlined in the opinion. Read more from the court.

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Columns: Evolving Legal Markets, Robin Williams, Banking and Fred Thompson

In this issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, TBA President Bill Harbison writes about the "disruptive changes" that are occurring in the delivery of legal services. Columnist Eddy Smith details the genius of Robin Williams' estate plan and Kathryn Reed Edge covers banking and the U.S. Supreme Court. In his column, Bill Haltom remembers Sen. Fred Thompson and his tremendous contributions to the law and history.

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Business Court Shares Results at 6-Month Mark

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s business litigation pilot project granted review to 28 cases in the program’s first six months. The business court, located in Davidson County, also achieved expedited results: six cases were resolved and the time to finalize them ranged from between 30 days to just 164 days. In Georgia, the average time of resolution is 608 days. “Although it’s still early in the process, these preliminary reports underscore that this specialized docket is meeting the litigation needs of the business and legal community and that our case management plan is working,” Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee said. "We appreciate Davidson County Chancery Court being willing to serve as the pilot for this innovation in our ongoing efforts to streamline the judiciary."

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Bloomberg Write-On Competition Accepting Articles

The 2016 Bloomberg Law Write-On Competition is open for submissions on topics impacting the legal landscape. Ten winners will have their articles published in a national Bloomberg BNA Law Report and receive $2,500. Submissions must be received by Feb. 17.

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New For-Profit Benefit Corporation Act, 3 Hours of CLE

Learn about Tennessee's new For-Profit Benefit Corporation Act, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, at a CLE on Dec. 7. Hear from a panel of TBA members who drafted the legislation at a live program or via a live webcast. The course is approved for three CLE credits.

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Program to Look at Predatory Lending

Chattanooga’s Covenant College and the Center for Public Justice are co-hosting a program on predatory payday lending next Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. in Covenant's chapel, the Chattanoogan reports. Michael Gerson, syndicated columnist and former speech writer for President George W. Bush, will deliver the keynote address, offering a biblical perspective on payday loans and how Christians can respond to this growing issue of injustice.

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AG Announces Settlement with Elavon

Elavon Inc. – a global credit card transaction processor with offices in Knoxville – is now required to clearly disclose the primary terms of its offers to customers, according to a settlement announced today by Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III. The company was accused of misrepresenting its cancellation policy among other items in its offers.

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Helpful Business Law Resources

The TBA Business Law Section Executive Council has worked extremely hard to add helpful resources to the section's web page.  Take a few minutes to check out these great resources!

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Hot Topics in Business Law: Tennessee’s New For-Profit Benefit Corporation Act

This program will discuss Tennessee's new For-Profit Benefit Corporation Act that goes into effect January 1, 2016. You can take part in person or through webcast.

A panel of TBA members who drafted the legislation will talk about the Act and offer advice about the use of the Act in organizing Tennessee social enterprise businesses. The discussion will:

• Address how the Act came to be enacted (including, in the process, common questions about the Act and benefit corporation legislation generally)
• Clarify director duties and other governance matters under the Act
• Make observations about the possible advantages in organizing a social enterprise business as a Tennessee for-profit benefit corporation
• Offer advice about drafting organizational documents under the Act

Hot Topics in Business Law: Tennessee’s New For-Profit Benefit Corporation Act

Hot Topics in Business Law: Tennessee’s New For-Profit Benefit Corporation Act [Webcast Version]

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Bradley Arant is a Top Charitable Giver

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings was recently recognized by Law360 as one of the nation’s 10 most charitable law firms, making donations of more than $1.15 million in 2014. According to a Law360 survey, these firms gave back to their communities "by funneling millions of dollars into worthy organizations and programs to fund legal aid efforts, education programs and services for the disadvantaged." See the list and learn more.

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Former Erlanger CEO Receives Settlement in Termination Suit

Former Erlanger interim chief executive officer Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson will receive $600,000 to settle a wrongful-termination lawsuit she filed against the Chattanooga hospital more than two years ago, the Times Free Press reports. Woodard-Thompson claimed that she was the target of racial remarks and e-mail hacks when she filed a $25 million lawsuit after being terminated while on medical leave. “This settlement is comparable to what Erlanger had agreed to pay Woodard-Thompson more than two years ago, but was refused by her at that time,” Pat Charles, an Erlanger spokeswoman, said.

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Discussion of VW Clawbacks is 'Hypothetical'

The Tennessean reports that currently there are no plans to take away incentives or grants from Volkswagen following the company’s admission to cheating in order to pass emissions tests. "Any discussion of clawbacks is hypothetical. We have assurances directly from company executives that Volkswagen's expansion remains on track," said Clint Brewer, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

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Court Adds 13 Cases to October Docket

The U.S. Supreme Court today added 13 new cases to its argument docket for the term that begins Oct. 5. Issues include questions of employee free speech rights, application of U.S. anti-racketeering law overseas, use of Iranian assets in the United States to compensate victims of terrorism and one hunter’s challenge to federal regulations on moose hunting. Justices did not act on a case dealing with abortion clinic regulations and one dealing with contraceptive mandates in the Affordable Care Act.  The National Journal and the Washington Post have wrap up stories of the court's actions.

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Cooper to Lead New Nonprofit Practice Group

Former Tennessee Attorney General Bob Copper will lead Bass, Berry & Sims' new practice group focused on nonprofits, Memphis Daily News reports. “We want clients to know that we can be a one-stop shop for all the unique issues nonprofits face, whether they’re in tax, litigation, regulation – whatever it is,” Cooper said. The practice group, which will primarily focus on health care within nonprofits, will also counsel organizations on corporate governance, employment, compensation and business transactions.

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Senator Wants Hearings On Volkswagen Scandal

Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Bo Watson, R-Hixson, called for legislative hearings over the Volkswagen emissions scandal to be held in Tennessee, the home of the German automaker's massive facility in Chattanooga, The Tennessean reports. Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said that the company intentionally installed software that allowed its cars to cheat in emissions tests. "While all of the relevant facts may remain unreported at this time, I am very concerned as to the financial impact these violations could present to the state of Tennessee," Watson said.

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Chancellor Lyle to Speak on New Business Court

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Lyle will speak about the Tennessee Business Court at Memphis Law School on Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. Chancellor Lyle is the first judge of the new business court, a pilot project to centralize certain business-related cases in a court of specialized jurisdiction and knowledge. RSVP by Sept. 22.

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Department of Justice Prioritizes Prosecution of Corporate Execs

The Justice Department issued new policies Wednesday that press for prosecution of Wall Street individuals -- not just their companies -- and push corporations to turn over evidence against their executives, CNBC reports. "Corporations can only commit crimes through flesh-and-blood people," Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates said. "The public needs to have confidence that there is one system of justice and it applies equally regardless of whether that crime occurs on a street corner or in a boardroom."

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Nashville Partners to Chair Practice Groups

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP appointed Nashville partners Emily Hatch Bowman and Ty E. Howard as new practice group chairs within the firm. Bowman represents financial institutions and corporate clients in a variety of commercial and real estate lending matters. Howard represents organizations and individuals in government and internal investigations, compliance matters and related civil or criminal litigation. “Bradley Arant’s practice leaders hold a crucial and respected role, as they work to guide their colleagues in a trajectory that benefits our clients and the firm as a whole,” firm chairman Beau Grenier said.

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Attorney General Negotiates Settlement with Car Dealership

Mathews Volkswagen/Kia of Clarksville was fined $30,000 by the state after sending misleading advertising scratch-off mailers to consumers in 2013-14, The Leaf-Chronicle reports. General Manager Terry Corbin Yarbrough said the mailers originated out of an Oklahoma company and he did not realize they were misleading upon approving their distribution. According to the office of Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery, the state accepted a negotiated settlement following an investigation by the Division of Consumer Affairs.

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State's New Business Court, Design Patent Law Featured

The new issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal is out today, featuring everything you need to know about Tennessee’s new Business Court. Chief Justice Sharon Lee and Justin Seamon give you the details. Also, get up to speed on the design patent awards under "Apple v. Samsung” in an article by Nashville lawyers James M. Starling, Seth R. Ogden and Ryan D. Levy. Find out what else is in the September issue.

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