News

Fall FastTrack Program Helps You Fulfill All of Your CLE Requirements for the Year

The TBA General–Solo Section will present its annual Fall FastTrack program in Nashville on Nov. 2. Produced by Jane Powers and Jim Romer of the section's executive council, this CLE opportunity is designed to provide you with up-to-date information on a diverse range of topics while allowing you to customize your learning to your schedule and fulfill all your Tennessee CLE requirements for the year. Topics and speakers for the Fall FastTrack program include:

  • Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins discussing sentencing reform.
  • Judge Brandon Gibson presenting appellate practice tips.
  • Judge Sheila Calloway discussing representing clients in juvenile court.
  • Joanna McCracken on well-being and mindfulness for lawyers
  • Sean Martin offering information on essential legal technology for solo and small firm practitioners
  • A representative for Clio discussing document automation
  • And more

General–Solo–Small Firm Section members receive a discount to attend. You can register for the program here.

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Memphis Attorney 'Not Guilty' of Rape, Sent to Jail for Lesser Charge

Memphis attorney Arthur "Art" Horne was sentenced on Thursday to 11 months and 29 days of probation and ordered to serve 30 days in jail on a misdemeanor assault conviction, after being found not guilty in August of rape and kidnapping accusations, the Commercial Appeal reports. Criminal Court Judge Jim Lammey said the jail time could be served on the weekends. Horne's attorney, Bill Massey, said they have not decided if they will appeal the ruling or file a motion for a new trial sentence.

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Police Support Victims During Domestic Violence Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and according to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year. This month, the lawn display at the Franklin Police Headquarters symbolizes the Department’s commitment to helping victims. Learn more in the Williamson Source.

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Court Hearing Oral Arguments this Week in Nashville

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear oral argument regarding a proposed new rule on collaborative family law from the Tennessee Bar Association when it convenes in Nashville this week. The court heard two cases today, including an appeal concerning the lethal injection that officials will use to kill death row inmate Edmund Zagorski in eight days, and will hear four cases on Thursday in addition to the new rule proposal. See the full lineup.

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Some Tennessee Counties Will See a Boost in Funding for Social Services Programs

Knox County will receive an 11 percent increase over last year’s budget in state funding for social services programs, The Knoxville News Sentinel reports. According to the Office of Legislative Budget Analysis’ county-by-county breakdown, the county will receive $1.9 billion 2018-19 fiscal year to support programs such as the Commission on Aging and Disability and the Department of Children’s Services, funding projects like the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and Child and Family Management Grants. Knox received the largest percentage increase of Tennessee four largest counties, with Davidson seeing a four percent increase, Hamilton a six percent increase and Shelby a one percent increase.

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West Tennessee Legal Services Seeking Volunteers for Obion County Clinic

The Pro Bono Project at West Tennessee Legal Services has scheduled a Free Legal Clinic on Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Troy United Methodist Church. The clinic will be held in the church’s Activities Building located at 226 W. Westbrook St., Troy, Tennessee, 38260. All lawyers are invited to help at this counsel and advice-only clinic. To volunteer or for more information contact Ginny Brimm, 731-426-1308, or go online here.
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ATJ Commission to Hold Family Law Summits Across Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission is sponsoring a series of Regional Family Law Summits. The summits will bring together judges, court clerks, lawyers, mediators, law students, educators, and anyone interested in innovative ways to help Tennesseans with family law issues. West Tennessee's will be held Sept. 24 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Public Library in Memphis from 2 - 5:30 p.m. Middle Tennessee's will be held Sept. 25 at Nashville School of Law from 1:30 - 5 p.m. East Tennessee's will be held at the United Way in Knoxville from 1:30 - 5 p.m.
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Animal Crackers Now Free to Roam in a Grocery Store Near You

After being caged for 116 years, Nabisco has decided to take a free-range approach to its childhood staple Animal Crackers, The Washington Post reports. The snack has been virtually unchanged since it hit the market in 1902, but with mounting pressure from animal advocacy groups and controversy surrounding treatment of circus animals, the company decided it was time to re-vamp its Barnum box. The new design ditches the circus theme and features the animals roaming the savanna. Nabisco has also produced limited edition redesigns to bring attention to animal-related issues and organizations, like the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the World Wildlife Fund.

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New Jersey Congressman Faces Criticism Over Gay Adoption Remarks

A New Jersey congressman came under fire last week for remarks he made about adoptions by gay couples, NJ.com reports. Rep. Chris Smith, R– New Jersey, was asked a series of questions on adoptions by gay parents during a high school forum earlier this year. Critics maintain he suggested orphanages as an alternative, but Smith says that the comment was taken out of context and that his one objection was that religious groups that oppose same-sex marriage were no longer being allowed to handle adoptions. Read more and watch the video from the forum. 

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Regional Family Law Summits to be Held Across Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission is sponsoring three regional Family Law Summits this month, focused on innovative ways to help Tennesseans who are experiencing family law issues either in the court system or about to enter the court system. Through the summit, the commission seeks to determine creative ways to address the growing need for pro bono and resources in family law. Area judges, court clerks, lawyers, mediators, law students, educators, librarians, faith leaders, social service providers, and other stakeholders are invited to attend these sessions. Here are the key details:

When: Monday, Sept. 24, 2 – 5:30 p.m., CDT
Where: Benjamin L. Hooks Public Library, Memphis
 
When: Tuesday, Sept. 25, 1:30 – 5 p.m., CDT
Where: Nashville School of Law, Nashville
 
When: Wednesday, Sept. 26, 1:30 – 5 p.m., EDT
Where: United Way, Knoxville
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Iowa Couple's Divorce Decree Vacated Due to Judge's Ghostwritten Rulings

A district judge in Iowa has vacated a couple’s divorce decree because it was ghostwritten by a lawyer without the knowledge of opposing counsel, The ABA Journal reports. A review of now-retired Judge Edward Jacobson’s decisions released in June had found he failed to notify opposing parties in at least 13 cases that he was using proposed rulings written by lawyers. Most of the rulings were in family law cases. Jacobson said in a deposition that he believed it was common practice to accept ghostwritten rulings in his district, but the June report said other judges in the district who asked for ghostwritten orders had notified all parties.
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Journal Profiles the Dangers Family Law Attorneys Face

The ABA Journal recently profiled the significant risk undertaken by attorneys who practice family law. A series of studies have shown that family lawyers face a disproportionate number of threats and violence compared to other lawyers. Many of the threats are quite disturbing in nature, and in extreme cases, attorneys have been murdered. Even paralegals at family law firms have been targeted. The article offers advice on how to protect yourself against violent clients.
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Court to Hear Arguments on TBA's Proposed Collaborative Family Law Rule

After receiving public comments on a proposed new rule to address “Collaborative Family Law,” the Tennessee Supreme Court has determined that it would be helpful to hear oral argument regarding the proposed changes. A hearing has been set for Oct. 4 on the court’s afternoon docket. The TBA, as the originating  organization for the proposed rule, has been directed to provide a presenter to speak on the topic.
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Kavanaugh Dodges Questions on Same-sex Marriage

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh referred to the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling when asked whether he supports same-sex marriage last Thursday, the Washington Blade reports. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked Kavanaugh whether he thinks the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was correctly decided, to which Kavanaugh responded by referencing five cases on LGBT rights written by former Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, among them the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision. After being further pressed regarding his feelings on the Obergefell decision, Kavanaugh continued to read a statement from the Masterpiece ruling, stating “In Masterpiece Cakeshop, and this is, I think, relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion joined by Chief Justice [John] Roberts and Justice [Samuel] Alito and Justice [Neil] Gorsuch and Justice [Stephen] Breyer, the days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over.” The Senate will vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation in the coming weeks.

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Your New TBJ: Child Visitation and Lots More

Miles Mason Sr. explains in the new Tennessee Bar Journal why separating or divorcing parents should not ask children what visitation they want, and Donna Harkness writes about why the concept of Supported Decision Making is becoming more a part of planning for clients with diminished capacity. TBA President Jason M. Pannu talks about the importance of effective government relations and how the association approaches it. Read these and more in the September issue.

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Court Seeks Comment on Proposed Rules Amendments

The Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure annually presents recommendations to the Tennessee Supreme Court to amend the Rules of Appellate, Civil, Criminal, and Juvenile Procedure, and the Tennessee Rules of Evidence. The court is now soliciting written comments from the bench, the bar, and the public concerning the recommendations. The deadline for submitting written comments is Oct. 30. Written comments may be emailed to appellatecourtclerk@tncourts.gov or mailed to James M. Hivner, Clerk, Re: 2019 Rules Package, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219-1407.

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DNA Match Leads to Reunion of Tennessee Family After 38 Years

After being given up for adoption 38 years ago, Bly Coddington never thought he’d meet his birth parents. In Tennessee, Keith Glover and Connie Scott-Fiveash never stopped thinking about the child they had given up when they were a couple in the 1970s. At that time, Scott-Fiveash's family took the 16-year-old to New Orleans to have the baby. She held him for a few hours, then he was whisked away to his new family. Now 38 years later, a DNA test brought them together with Coddington. The Commercial Appeal has the full story.

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On Adoption Day, Memphis Boy Learns He's Going to be Big Brother

On the day Jeremiah Dickerson was adopted he helped his family make a big announcement, he was going to be a big brother. Dickerson first met his new family while he was a patient at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. His soon to be mom was a pediatric nurse there when she fell in love with Jeremiah. It was a long journey that eventually led to the Dickerson’s getting to bring Jeremiah home. According to ABC News, on the same day the adoption was finalized Jeremiah joined his parents on the courthouse steps to make another big announcement, the sign read “Today I became a Dickerson up next… Big Brother”. 

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Judge: Absentee Father Not Entitled to Share of Son’s Wrongful Death Settlement

A Wisconsin judge ruled that an absentee father whose son was conceived with his 15-year-old cousin is not entitled to a portion of a settlement for the son’s wrongful death, the ABA Journal reports. Judge David Borowski said he would not allow “a six-figure windfall” to Marcus Crumble, whose son died at age 25 at a mental health facility in 2012. Giving Crumble half of the $837,000 settlement would amount to unjust enrichment, Borowski said.
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Put TBA UPS to Work

Have you enrolled in TBA’s UPS account for members? Visit UPS's TBA page and save up to 34 percent on UPS’s broad portfolio. Shipping services include next day air, international, ground and express.
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Law Office Management Tips on Shipping

If your law office uses shipping services, your TBA membership team can help you compare those costs to TBA’s UPS member benefit. Your firm office manager can work directly with TBA staff and UPS services to enroll or transfer shipping accounts. Members can save up to 34 percent on UPS’s broad portfolio of shipping services, including next day air, international, ground and express.
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Man Shoots Coach at Youth Football Game

Nashville police are looking for a man who allegedly shot a youth football coach during a dispute at a game, the Tennessean reports. The coach was shot twice in his right leg at Antioch High School after breaking up a fight between players. The suspect, upset about the fight, asked the coach to meet him under the bleachers. Once there, the coach said the man pulled a pistol and began shooting. Police said Sunday that the coach was recovering.

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23 Children Dead from Vehicular Heatstroke This Year

It’s a scenario we hear about every summer, a child gets left in a hot car and dies. Last year 43 kids died from being left in a hot car, this year that number is down to 23. The Chattanooga Times Free Press takes a look at this issues and steps that can be taken to prevent it.

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Responses Sought for Proposed Changes to Child Support Guidelines

The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines are being updated in order to comply with federal law changes, and the state Department of Human Service Child Support Program is currently soliciting feedback from across the state. Those interested in providing feedback should review the redlined copy of the proposed changes and complete a survey by Aug. 17.
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