News

Tennessee Fashion Law: Protecting Brands and More

The TBA will offer a first-of-its-kind Tennessee Fashion Law CLE on March 31 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Topics include protecting fashion brands through copyright, regulations that govern merchandize labeling and disclosure, and employment issues unique to fashion law. The course, scheduled from 1 to 4:15 p.m., is approved for three CLE credits.

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Tennessee Oncology Files Lawsuit Over Cancer Drug

Nashville-based Tennessee Oncology is suing Genentech for false representation in the packaging of its cancer drug Herceptin, The Tennessean reports. Tennessee Oncology, represented by Bass Berry & Sims, claims the label on the drug misrepresents the amount of product after following the approved preparation instructions for the freeze-dried powder. Similar lawsuits are pending in six other states.

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Former Pilot President Arraigned on Fraud Charges

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports Former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood was arraigned today on charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud following a three-year investigation. Hazelwood joins seven others accused in a diesel fuel rebate fraud. Ten former Pilot employees have already pleaded guilty.

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Ethics Programs Planned Across Tennessee

Live programs in The Business of Lawyering Series and other ethics credits programs are planned this month in Memphis, Chattanooga, Nashville and Knoxville. The programs offer three hours of dual credit. Sessions include managing yourself and your support staff, engaging clients, ending the client relationship ethically and using social media to advertise. Online courses are also available on accounting basics, the state Department of Revenue and popular financial issues.

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AG Announces Settlement with Mortgage Lender

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today announced a $470 million joint state-federal settlement with HSBC, a mortgage lender and servicer. The settlement, which includes 48 other states and the District of Columbia, requires the company to provide 2,600 Tennessee borrowers with loan modifications or other relief. It also requires HSBC to change how it services mortgage loans, handles foreclosures and ensures the accuracy of information provided in federal bankruptcy court.

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Attorney, Distillery Owner to Speak About Entrepreneurship

Health care attorney and distillery owner Heath Clark will share “The Pitfalls of First-Year Entrepreneurship” on Feb. 5 at Williamson County’s First Friday breakfast program. Clark, a shareholder at Clark Business & Health Law, is the owner of H. Clark Distillery located in Thompson’s Station. According to Brentwood Home Page, the free program will be held from 7:30-9 a.m. at E|SPACES, 1550 West McEwen Drive, Suite 300 in Franklin. Register online.

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$6M Lawsuit Filed Against Former Miller Energy CEO

Deloy and Sharon Miller, founder of Miller Energy Resources, filed a lawsuit against former president and CEO Scott M. Boruff. The couple claims Boruff borrowed $6 million from them and has not repaid it. The company, formerly of Knoxville but now based in Houston, is going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in Alaska. Read more form the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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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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