News

TBA President Urges Unity, Consensus Building in Profession

In the new Tennessee Bar Journal, President Jason Long discusses our divided country after the recent election, urging lawyers to be “united now more than ever in our commitment to the profession and its bedrock principles.” He writes that “we can provide that opportunity in a controlled and structured environment, operating within the framework of our democratic institutions. If there is an opportunity for consensus building and unity in today’s political climate, the legal profession can and should facilitate that.” Also in this issue, learn if you are protecting your clients’ electronic information enough, in the cover article by Trey Forgety. Brian Dobbs writes to help you understand the law of construction in Tennessee. Read the December issue.

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Bradley Expands to Southwest

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP is opening its first Southwest office in Houston, the Birmingham-based firm announced today. “Our new Houston colleagues are recognized for their quality and service within the construction industry,” Bradley board chair and managing partner Beau Grenier said, “and they will be a solid anchor for us as we serve clients across many practice areas throughout the state from our new location.” Bradley operates eight offices in the Southeast, including one in Nashville.

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Court to Hear 7 New Cases

The Tennessee Supreme Court recently granted review of seven new cases dealing with a range of issues, including length of jury deliberations, identity of criminal offenses, repairmen’s liens, GTLA liability, ecclesiastical abstention and vicarious liability. The Raybin Supreme Court Hotlist reviews the cases and offers a prediction as to how each case may be decided.

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Road Building Company Agrees to $2.2M Fine in Fraud Suit

Mountain State Contractors, one of the state’s largest road building companies, agreed to pay a $2.25 million fine to settle fraud claims regarding minority contract work. The company is a subsidiary of Mt. Juliet-based Jones Brothers. An investigation was launched after a Jones Brothers executive claimed he was told to falsify documents to make it seem as if a minority contractor was doing work that was actually performed by Jones Brothers. Federal contracting laws require that a percentage of federally funded road projects go to small, minority or women-owned firms. Read more from The Tennessean

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New UT Program to Combine Law, Construction

The University of Tennessee’s College of Law is joining with its College of Engineering to develop a new graduate certificate program for students interested in the intersections of construction, engineering and law, The Daily Beacon reports. The 15-hour program is “designed to give lawyers a background in construction and engineering and to give engineers and construction professionals a background in law, specifically contract law.” Learn more about admission requirements and programming.

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Register Today for the 135th Annual TBA Convention

Join us on June 15-18 in Nashville for the 135th Annual Convention! Registration for the 2016 TBA Convention includes:

  • free access to all TBA CLE programming;
  • the Opening Reception;
  • the Bench Bar Programming and Luncheon;
  • Law School and general breakfasts;
  • the Lawyers Luncheon;
  • the Thursday evening Joint (TBA/TLAW/TABL) Reception;
  • the Thursday night dinner and entertainment at the George Jones Museum;
  • and the Friday night Dance Party.

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Diversity Scholarships Available for ABA Construction Law Forum in Nashville

The American Bar Association Forum on Construction law will be coming to Nashville April 28 – 30. Six diversity scholarships will be available to cover the cost of registration for women and minority construction lawyers, construction lawyers with disabilities and construction lawyers from the LGBT community, whose practices are based in Tennessee. Read more about the program and the details of the scholarship opportunity.

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UT Law Offers Grad Certificate in Engineering, Construction

The University of Tennessee College of Law launched its new Graduate Certificate in Contractual and Legal Affairs in Engineering and Construction. The 15-credit-hour graduate certificate is offered in conjunction with the UT College of Engineering. The program is designed to give lawyers a background in construction and engineering. “Law students will gain a greater perspective by taking classes with engineering students and individuals currently working in the construction field,” said Alex B. Long, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law.

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Licensing Issues for Tennessee Contractors and Owners

Construction lawyers from across the state will meet tomorrow at the TBA Bar Center for a program focused on Licensing Issues for Tennessee Contractors and Owners. The forum is sponsored by the TBA’s Construction Law Section. Topics include licensing for commercial and residential contractors, dealing with the board for licensing and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The forum will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 1p.m., providing 6.25 CLE credits.

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Madison County Closer to Jail Expansion Project

The Madison County Correction Partnership Committee unanimously approved the beginning stages of collecting bids for a future expansion of the county jail, The Jackson Sun reports. The request for qualifications will allow architecture firms to submit plans for expanding the Jackson-Madison County Criminal Justice Complex.

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Madison County Jail Expansion Considered

The city of Jackson could help finance a portion of a Madison County Criminal Justice Complex expansion in order for the building to house the Jackson City Court, according to the city and county mayors. Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist said talks are in the early phases because the county has not yet decided what it will do with the jail. The jail has undergone numerous studies from outside organizations to find a workable solution to its overcrowding problem, the Jackson Sun reports.

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A Look Back on the 'Days of the Dam and the Darter'

Cleveland Daily Banner writer Larry Bowers recalls the legal ins and outs of the snail darter controversy that involved the delay of construction of the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River in 1973. Learn more about the little fish and the big dam in this 2009 Tennessee Bar Journal article.

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AG Says Nashville’s Local-Hire Rule Violates State Law

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery ruled yesterday that Nashville's local-hire mandate, which voters approved in August, is invalid because it violates state law, the Nashville Business Journal reports. According to Slatery, the city rule violates the Contractors Licensing Act of 1994, which prohibits municipalities and counties from imposing on state-licensed contractors any requirements in addition to those imposed by act. The same law also prohibits localities from discriminating against contractors licensed by the state “on the basis of the licensee’s nonresidency within the county or municipality.” Read the opinion.

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5 Lawyers Recognized for Service During Bar Year

Awards presented at TBA Convention in Memphis

NASHVILLE, June 29, 2015 – The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) recognized five lawyers who provided especially distinguished service to the legal community during the past year. Each was recognized by then President Jonathan Steen.

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Hamilton County Jury Awards $20 Million to Developers

A Hamilton County Circuit Court jury today awarded $20,599,000 to the developers of Canyon Ridge on Lookout Mountain against a financial firm that allegedly secretly started working on a rival project. The jury also said the plaintiffs are due punitive damages. Attorneys tell Chattanoogan.com that it is believed to be the largest verdict award in Hamilton County history.

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Nashville Lawyers Form New Firm

Four Nashville lawyers have joined together to form the law firm of Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon. The firm will focus on personal injury, business and construction law, professional liability and insurance defense, and probate and conservatorship law. Joel Surber, Garrett Asher and Matt Moushon were formerly partners at Parker, Lawrence, Cantrell & Smith. Jennifer Surber formerly served as counsel to the Davidson County Probate Court and as Special Probate Master for the Seventh Circuit Court.

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Governor Signs 2 TBA Bills

Two pieces of the TBA’s legislative package were signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last week. SB877/HB1183, which originated with the TBA’s Construction Law Section, makes changes to two sections of the Mechanics’ and Materialmen’s Liens statute that are clerical and procedural in nature. SB144/HB620, which proposed technical changes to the for-profit and non-profit corporations code, was signed into law and has been enacted as Public Chapter 60.

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New Flipping Houses CLE

If the house your client flips floods, creaks or fails code violations, make sure you are ready to help. The new Flipping Houses CLE on May 18 will feature presentations from attorneys well versed on construction law and local government practice along with Cynthia Gibson, the executive vice president and chief legal officer at Scripts Networking Interactive, the company behind many popular DIY programs.

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TBA Legislative Initiatives Head to Governor for Signature

SB877/HB1183 passed the House chamber this week and is headed to the governor’s desk for signature. The bill makes changes to two sections of the Mechanics’ and Materialmen’s Liens statute that are clerical and procedural in nature. The proposal originated with the TBA’s Construction Law Section. In addition, SB144/HB620, which proposed technical changes to the for-profit and non-profit corporations code, passed both chambers this week. Finally, SB161/HB609, which would treat pension benefits the same as other marital property in divorce proceedings, passed the Senate and is set for a House vote on April 1. Find out more about important bills in the legislature at TBAImpact.

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Attorneys Form Green Hills Law Firm

Three Nashville attorneys, including the former legal counsel to then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, have opened a law firm in the Green Hills area of the city. Trajan Carney, Steve Elkins and Leslie Curry have created Carney|Elkins|Curry PLC at 3817 Bedford Ave. in Bedford Commons. The firm will handle general civil litigation and appellate practice, with a focus on construction law, general business litigation, administrative and regulatory law, and labor and employment law. It also will offer estate planning and probate services. The Nashville Post has more on the story.

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Vested Property Rights Act Leads December TBJ

In the December issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, lawyers Jennifer Lacey and John Williams detail the Vested Property Rights Act of 2014 and how it has given more stability to developers. Bill Rutchow looks at employer protection of confidential business information through the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. And in perhaps the best news of all, columnist Eddy Smith reports the demise of Circular 230 Disclosures in "How the IRS Saved the Planet and Returned 30 Minutes of Your Day."

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November TBJ Covers a Variety of Topics

In the latest issue of the Journal, Murfreesboro lawyer Josh McCreary writes about "The Viability of a Regulatory Takings Claim Under Phillips v. Montgomery County." In his column, Knoxville lawyer Wade Davies helps you understand diminished capacity, and two books are reviewed. Nashville lawyer David Raybin explores a book by noted death penalty scholar Austin Sarat, Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America's Death Penalty (there were several in Tennessee over the years, including an elephant) and Chattanooga lawyer John B. Phillips reviews H. Graham Swafford Jr.'s memoir, Go to the Pound and Get a Dog ... Then Learn to Fly an Airplane: Life's Lessons Acquired by a Country Lawyer.

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Corlew Recuses Himself from New Mosque Suit

Chancellor Robert Corlew III on Monday recused himself from hearing a lawsuit challenging construction of a cemetery at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, the Daily News Journal reports. Attorneys for the center argued Corlew should not hear the case since he previously ruled against the mosque in a decision regarding whether adequate public notice was given before the center received approval for construction. Corlew, who has announced his retirement, defended his track record in the construction case saying he tried it in a fair and impartial way. The new suit seeks to halt construction of a cemetery approved in January by the zoning board, arguing the center has not presented new soil and traffic studies as directed.

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If You Did It, Flaunt It With a TBJ Announcement

The Tennessee Bar Journal has a new opportunity for lawyers and firms to promote outstanding achievements, new associates, new partners, mergers, awards and any changes within the firm. Now, Professional Announcements are available at special, lower-rate pricing. You can tell more than 12,000 of your peers about your accomplishments by placing an announcement in the Journal. For information or to place an announcement, contact Debbie Taylor at 503-445-2231 or Debbie@llm.com. To have an announcement placed in the April issue, please contact her before Feb. 18.

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Appeals Court Rules Notice OK for Mosque Project

An appeals court ruled this week that the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission provided proper public notice before approving construction plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro mosque in 2010, the Tennessean reports. The appeals court reversed Chancellor Robert Corlew III’s decision that the county’s public notice in The Murfreesboro Post about the meeting time, date and location without an agenda, didn’t reach enough people before planning commissioners approved the mosque plans. The plaintiffs’ attorney Joe Brandon said Thursday that the Tennessee Supreme Court will be asked to reverse the ruling.

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