Reported Check Scam Appears in Tennessee

Tennessee attorneys should be on the lookout for an email check scam that at least one Nashville firm has reported encountering. The deception involves an overseas caller or emailer claiming to be a real person and asking about a breach of contract issue. A preliminary web search about the "client" would likely return real results, creating the appearance of validity. The North Carolina Bar Association has more information and examples of materials likely used by the scammer. The NCBA advises caution when dealing with any debt collection case initiated by an overseas “client.”
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Filing Deadline Changed for Certain State Tax Returns

The due date for certain Tennessee franchise and excise tax returns, business tax returns and Hall income tax returns will be April 18, instead of April 15, to be consistent with the Internal Revenue Service federal income tax filing deadline, the state Department of Revenue says. For more information, please see the department's website.

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TBA Mashup and Mini Legal Hackathon this Friday

In conjunction with the Law Tech UnConference CLE this Friday, the TBA is also offering a variety of free events and programs for lawyers we’re calling a Mashup. One program will teach you about Legal Hackathons and see one in action. A Legal Hackathon is a collaborative effort of experts in the legal profession collaborating with a computer programmer to find a technology assisted solution to a problem in the legal industry. Join the TBA Special Committee on the Evolving Legal Market for a mini legal hackathon that will demonstrate the power of collaborative minds at work. We will have tasty beverages and snacks to help you get your collaborative juices flowing.  
Other programs that will be a part of the Mashup include Pro Bono In Action which will show you various pro bono programs you can participate in to help your fellow Tennesseans and Member Benefit Programs that will provide you information on  Fastcase 7, health insurance options for small firms, ABA retirement funds and professional liability insurance.
Please sign up now to let us know you are coming.

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Settlement Requires Western Union to Develop Anti-Fraud Program

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced today a multistate settlement with the Western Union Company, following an investigation which focused on complaints from consumers who used Western Union’s services to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers. The settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action an anti-fraud program. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia participated in this settlement. Read more here.
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Credit Reporting Companies Settle Federal Case

Credit reporting companies Equifax and TransUnion have agreed to pay more than $23 million to resolve claims they misled consumers and lured them into paying monthly fees for credit-related products, the ABA Journal reports. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced the settlement this week. According to regulators, the companies touted free or $1 credit scores while enrolling people in automatic renewal programs that cost $16 or more a month, and falsely portrayed the credit scores marketed to consumers as the same scores used by lenders for credit decisions. In reality, lenders use a variety of credit scores, which can vary by provider and target industry.

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Have You Heard About the TBA Mashup?

Interested in observing a legal hackathon or getting a hands-on demonstration of the new Fastcase 7 platform? Both will be part of the first TBA Mashup, a full-day of activities and free programming set for Feb. 17 at the Tennessee Bar Center in conjunction with the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program.

In addition to the hackathon and Fastcase 7 demo, the TBA Mashup will feature sessions on: 

  • Current State of Health Insurance for the Small Firms
  • Professional Liability Insurance - What to look for in YOUR Policy
  • A Demo of Fastcase TopForm, a powerful bankruptcy filing software
  • Retirement Planning Guidance from the ABA Retirement Funds
  • Pro Bono in Action: How to help with pro bono events and how to take part in online options

At the annual TBA Law Tech UnConference CLE program, you can take as many or as few hours as you need. Registration will be open all day. Payment will be determined at checkout based on the hours you need. Topics will include: 

  • Bill & Phil Tech Show
  • Ethical Considerations for Cyber Security in Law
  • Evolution of the Legal Marketplace
  • Making e-Discovery Affordable 
  • Drone Law
  • Encryption for Lawyers

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BancorpSouth Fined for ‘Redlining’ in Memphis

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have fined Mississippi-based BancorpSouth $10.6 million for deliberately discriminating against minorities in its lending practices. The action alleges the bank avoided construction of branches in minority neighborhoods in Memphis and charged higher interest rates on loans made to minorities than to non-minorities. The Daily Times has more from the AP.

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Senate, House Pass Bill on Continuing 6-Month Garnishments

Continuing six-month garnishments will now reach individuals who are paid by commission or otherwise, and will be treated as employer garnishments under TBA-sponsored legislation. The measure – SB1969 / HB1775 by Shelbyville Republicans Sen. Jim Tracy and Rep. Pat Marsh – as amended today passed the Senate with a 32-0 vote and the House with a vote of 91-0. Read the amendment that makes the bill.

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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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Bill Addressing Garnishments from Individual Debtor Approved

Legislation proposed by the TBA Creditor’s Practice Section to address garnishments to collect from an individual debtor, no matter whether the debtor is an employee or independent contractor, cleared committees in the House and Senate today. The bill (HB1775 / SB1969), sponsored by Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, and Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, as amended heads to the floor for final action.

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Complaints for Relief from Elavon Due Feb. 27

Eligible Tennesseans who seek relief from Elavon Inc., following a settlement between the global credit card transaction processor and Attorney General Herbert Slatery, must file a complaint by Feb. 27. The settlement, reached November 2015, resolved allegations that the company was misrepresenting its cancellation policy and other items. Complaints may be filed online or by phone at (615) 741-4737.

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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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Opinion: Bitcoin Poses Unique Challenges for Lawyers

Because of their unique attributes, bitcoin and other virtual currencies present challenges for lawyers who wish to locate and collect against assets, a contributor to the Nashville Business Journal argues. Andrew Hinkes with the Florida business law firm Berger Singerman says the movement of money “almost instantly, without payment of fees and with minimal records” seriously complicates the tracing of assets. He encourages lawyers to understand how these systems work.

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Creditors Practice Forum, 3 Hours of CLE

TBA’s Creditor’s Practice Section will offer current developments in this area of law at the upcoming Creditors Pratice Forum, Sept. 23 at the TBA in Nashville. Topics to be discussed include recent actions of the Consumer Financial Bureau and a discussion of the growing issues and ethics surrounding debt management/settlement companies. The course is worth three hours of CLE.

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AG Announces $136M Chase Bank Settlement

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, along with 46 other states and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced a $136 million settlement with Chase Bank USA N.A. and Chase Bankcard Services Inc. The deal settles claims that Chase subjected consumers to inaccurate credit reporting, unlawful judgments, inaccuracies in debt collection suits, re-sale of uncollectable debts, use of false and deceptive affidavits and robo-signing. As part of the deal, Chase will spend $50 million to make restitution to consumers and will be barred from reselling consumer debts to other purchasers.

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AG Reaches Settlement with Middle Tennessee Auto Dealer

Middle Tennessee auto dealer Wholesale Inc. has agreed to immediately change its advertising practices and pay the State of Tennessee $50,000, Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced today. The state alleged that the defendant made numerous false representations in violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, including use of a fictitious lender called “CreditAble Auto Funding” claimed to be “by military, for military,” offering a limited amount of loans to military personnel. "Our men and women in uniform deserve to be told the truth when considering a consumer purchase," Slatery said.

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Supreme Court Rules Hospitals Can’t Maintain Liens After Bills Paid in Full

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has decided that hospitals are required to release their hospital lien against a patient as soon as the patient and the patient’s insurance company have paid the full amount of the hospital charges. In West v.Shelby County Healthcare Corp., three patients who received treatment at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis’ (Med) emergency room filed suit in the Circuit Court for Shelby County challenging the Med’s practice of filing liens against its patients and declining to release these liens after they had been paid. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit, but the Court of Appeals reversed. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the Med’s appeal, ruling that neither the laws authorizing hospital liens nor the Med’s contract with health insurance companies permitted the Med to maintain its lien after the patient’s debt to the Med has been fully extinguished with payments from the patient and the patient’s insurance company. The AOC has more.

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Circuits Split on Definition of ‘Applicant’

In her Journal column this month, Kathryn Reed Edge makes a prediction: "As the financial crisis wanes and fewer banks are plagued by their borrowers’ credit problems, we in the business are seeing the federal banking agencies gear up for an energetic assault on consumer compliance violations." And adding to the confusion that many bank compliance officers have in interpreting the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, she writes that two judicial circuits, the 6th and the 8th, "have split on a seemingly simple issue of the definition of 'applicant' under the ECOA." She explains the important differences and advises readers of her column "Bank On It" to watch the U.S. Supreme Court for an answer.

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Court to Consider When 2nd Mortgage Can Be Void

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will decide whether homeowners who declare bankruptcy can void a second mortgage if the home’s market value has dropped below the amount they owe on the first mortgage, the Memphis Daily News reports. The case involves Florida homeowners who were allowed to nullify second loans held by Bank of America. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed both cases, but Bank of America says the rulings conflict with Supreme Court precedent and the rulings of other appellate courts that have considered the issue.

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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 To have an announcement placed in the April issue, please contact her before Feb. 18.

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Memphis Homeless Clinic Moved to Sept. 19

The Project Homeless Connect legal clinic originally scheduled for August in Memphis has been moved to Sept. 19. The event, which brings together a variety of resources and services in one place for the day, will include a “street clinic” offered by the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office to help those with unpaid court costs and fines, and a civil legal clinic to help those with child support, collections and landlord/tenant issues. For more information or to volunteer contact the Memphis Bar Association at (901) 527-3575 or

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Volunteers Needed for Memphis Homeless Clinic

Volunteer lawyers are needed to help with two initiatives at the next Project Homeless Connect in Memphis. The event, which brings together a variety of resources and services in one place for the day, will include a “street clinic” offered by the Shelby County Public Defender’s Office to help those with unpaid court costs and fines, and a civil legal clinic to help those with child support, collections and landlord/tenant issues. The event takes place Aug. 22 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. For more information or to volunteer contact the Memphis Bar Association at (901) 527-3575 or

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Federal Program Helps Tennessee Homeowners

Tennesseans unable to make their mortgage payments and in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure can get help from Keep My Tennessee Home, a program administered by the Tennessee Housing Development agency to provide loans to unemployed or substantially underemployed homeowners. Tennessee is one of 18 states plus Washington DC that are receiving the Federal Hardest Hit Funds due to having an unemployment rate higher than the national average. Homeowners who qualify for financial assistance may received up to 36 months of monthly mortgage payments and/or funds to pay past due payments. To learn more, download the brochure or visit www.

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Court Adopts Forms for General Sessions Courts

The Tennessee Supreme Court today adopted a set of six forms for use in General Sessions Courts. The forms were first proposed by the General Sessions Judges Conference in June 2011 after consultation and assistance from the Tennessee Bar Association Creditor’s Practice Section. The court’s Access to Justice Commission provided more review during the public comment period and later worked with the Commission on further revisions. The order today includes an appendix with forms for:
1. Protected Income and Assets (Affidavit of Claim Exemptions)
2. Request to Make Payments (Motion and Affidavit for Installment Payment and Order)
3. Request Not to Pay Fees for Appeal (Pauper’s Oath in Lieu of Appeal Bond)
4. Request to Postpone Filing Fees and Order (Uniform Civil Affidavit of Indigency)
5. Request to Protect Income and Assets (Motion to Quash Garnishment/Execution and Claim Exemption Rights)
6. Sworn Denial (Sworn Denial on Account)

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