News

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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Transactional Practice in Nashville and Memphis; 6 Hours of CLE

Transactional practice programs in Memphis on Oct. 2 and in Nashville on Oct. 30, will provide lawyers with the information, tools and tips needed to successfully handle transactional and traditional business matters. The courses, providing six CLE credits each, will offer practical approaches to handling probate matters, real estate transactions, wills, trusts and more.

Need CLE Hours?

Need a couple CLE hours?  Did you miss a CLE that you were hoping to take?  Check out these CLE's you may have missed for business law.

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Court of Appeals Affirms Ruling in Property Lawsuit

The Tennessee Court of Appeals is affirming an Aug. 14 court ruling that determined the statute of limitations did not run out for a Rutherford County resident to sue a gun manufacturer over a land-sale breach-of-contract argument. Brenda Benz sued Ronnie Barrett in 2008 for failing to provide access to her land three years after she sold him the property for the expansion of Barrett Firearms. "It's been a long and arduous process, but the court got it right from the very beginning," Benz said in the Murfreesboro Post. The Court of Appeals also decided Benz never wavered in her request for land to provide access to her property.

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New Issue of ‘Transactions’ Available

The latest issue of “Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law” is out today with articles on registering trademarks in Tennessee, using accountants in federal securities cases, teaching transactional law in Australia and case commentaries. The journal is published by the University of Tennessee College of Law.

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Texas AG Indicted on Felony Charges

Ken Paxton, the Republican attorney general of Texas and a former state legislator, has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of securities fraud and of failing to register with the state securities board, officials said. The charges — two counts of first-degree securities fraud and one count of third-degree failure to register — are tied to Paxton’s work soliciting clients and investors for two companies while he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives, before he was elected attorney general in November. The New York Times has the story.

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Chief Justice: Business Court is Open for Business

Tennessee Chief Justice Sharon Lee tells Knoxville area businesses about the establishment of a new business court in a column in the Knoxville News Sentinel. She writes that the court will better meet the needs of existing and future businesses, without any additional cost to taxpayers. The court handles only complex commercial disputes and provides expedited resolution by a judge who has experience and expertise in handling these difficult cases. Learn more about the business court.

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U.S. to Appeal Major Insider Trading Case

Seeking to overturn a major setback in its power to punish the trading of stocks based on insider tips, the Obama administration today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive one of the highest profile Wall Street prosecutions in years, SCOTUSblog reports. The case grew out of federal prosecutors’ broad investigation into suspected insider trading at hedge funds. In the specific case at issue, two hedge fund managers were convicted of securities fraud after their trades in technology company stocks -- allegedly based on a chain of tips containing insider information -- resulted in gains close to $72 million. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals previously overturned the convictions.

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Tennessee Court to Serve Litigation Needs of Business Community

When business disputes cannot be resolved by negotiation or arbitration, the parties involved often turn to litigation. To better serve the litigation needs of Tennessee businesses, the Tennessee Supreme Court recently joined 26 other states in creating Tennessee’s first Business Court to focus exclusively on such difficult and complex business litigation. Attorney Matthew M. Lubozynski of Wyatt, Tarrant and Combs talks about further benefits of the court in the Memphis Daily News.

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Appeals Court Revives Walmart Class Action Suit

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a gender discrimination lawsuit filed in Nashville by female employees of Walmart. Barring an appeal, the ruling allows the case to continue as a class-action lawsuit, the Tennessean reports. The women had been part of a national suit against the company but the U.S. Supreme Court found that the group did not qualify for class-action status. The appeals court said they allowed the suit to continue because the women narrowed their case.

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Class Action Suit Filed Over Train Derailment

The first lawsuit against CSX has been filed in Maryville, WATE reports. The suit alleges that CSX was “negligent and caused a nuisance” when its train carrying toxic, flammable liquid derailed and caused thousands to be evacuated. Maryville attorney Kevin W. Shepherd said he filed the suit with the Tucson, Arizona, law firm of Bellovin and Karnas, because of that firm's experience with toxic chemical tort litigation.

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