News

Jennings Sues UT, Alleges Age and Sex Discrimination

Former University of Tennessee Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings has filed a lawsuit against the school and athletic director Dave Hart, saying that she was forced to retire because they wanted to remodel the athletic department as a “good ol’ boys” club while replacing her with a younger man. Jennings, who had been with UT for 35 years, filed the suit Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The Tennessean has the story

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Court: Employee Must Exhaust Benefit Review First

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today that in a workers’ compensation case, Lacey Chapman v. DaVita Inc., the employee must exhaust the benefit review conference process before filing suit as required by state law. Learn more from the court

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Court: Time Stamp Overrides in Workers’ Comp Cases

The Tennessee Supreme Court has reiterated that workers’ compensation lawsuits can be filed only after the state has officially declared that a formal review could not resolve the differences between employer and worker, according to the Nashville Post. The case in question stemmed from an employee who filed a suit two minutes before a Department of Labor workers’ comp specialist documented an impasse between the parties. Despite the difference in the time stamped on the two documents, the chancery court allowed the case to go forward based on plaintiff’s attorneys affidavits that the suit was filed after they received a copy of the state’s report. The high court said that was not sufficient and called on the legislature to address “the undignified spectacle of literally racing to secure perceived procedural advantages” in workers’ comp cases, and while doing so to also "resolve the issue of nonsynchronous clocks.”

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Federalist Society Hosts Labor Seminar

The Memphis Lawyers' Chapter of the Federalist Society will present a luncheon seminar on "Union Organizing Made Easier: The Obama NLRB" on Thursday, July 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Madison Hotel. The speaker will be Raymond J. LaJeunesse, vice president and legal director at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund. The cost is $25 for society members and $30 for non-members. To register contact Greg Grisham at (901) 462-2616 or gregory.grisham@jacksonlewis.com.

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'Forced' Retirement May Bring Discrimination Case Against UT

Knoxville lawyer David Burkhalter has asked the University of Tennessee to preserve all documents and e-mails concerning Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations Debby Jennings as she considers a possible discrimination/retaliation action. Jennings says she was forced to retire last week when the university's men's and women's athletic departments were combined. Jennings has worked with the Lady Vols and Pat Summitt for 35 years. WBIR reports

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Workers' Comp Changes Likely on Horizon

Tennessee companies could see a reduction in workers' compensation premiums later this year according to The Tennessean, depending on the outcome of complex negotiations over the rates doctors receive for treating workers' comp patients. Several business groups support the measure, saying that an overall rate reduction would help make Tennessee more competitive with neighboring states, but many in the health care community say cuts would hurt medical providers and even force some of them to stop treating patients. Gov. Bill Haslam chose not to tackle workers' compensation reform this year, but is exploring major changes. Many observers expect this will be a major issue for the legislature in 2013.

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Facebook 'Like' Doesn't Equal Speech

While public employees are allowed to speak as citizens on matters of public concern, U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson ruled that clicking Facebook's “like” button did not amount to expressive speech. In other words, it’s not the same as actually writing out a message and posting it on the site. The meaning of the word "like" in this context played a part in this Virginia case involving six people who say Sheriff B.J. Roberts fired them for supporting an opponent in his 2009 re-election bid, which he won. The workers who had "liked" the sheriff's opponent, sued, saying their First Amendment rights were violated. Jackson dismissed the workers' claims, granting summary judgment to Roberts. The First Amendment Center has this AP story

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New Non-Compete, Trade Secret Blog Launched

The Nashville law firm of Burr & Forman LLP has launched a new blog dedicated to non-compete and trade secret laws. See a list of blogs from Tennessee attorneys and others in all practice areas on the TBA website. If you or your firm authors a blog that is not listed please send the link to tbatoday@tnbar.org.

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House Panel Votes Down 'Guns in Trunks' Bill

A House committee voted Tuesday to kill a guns measure that has pitted firearms advocates against business groups. The bill, backed by the National Rifle Association, allows anyone with a handgun carry permit to store loaded guns in vehicles parked on company lots — regardless of employers' wishes. The committee voted 15-8 to send the measure to a summer study committee. Advocates of the bill, however, are pushing for a floor vote despite the move. The Tennessean has details

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DONNA CRAWFORD v. DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION and STATE OF TENNESSEE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

Corrected and we have a concurring, too

Appellant, a civil service employee with the State of Tennessee, appeals the trial court’s judgment affirming the decision of the Civil Service Commission terminating her employment. The Commission had affirmed the initial order by the Administrative Law Judge, who upheld the decision of the Department of Finance and Administration to terminate Appellant’s employment for the good of the service pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 8-30-326. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Attorney 1: 

Phillip Duane Barber and Mary Leech, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donna Crawford.

Attorney 2: 

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Bill Young, Solicitor General;

and Eugenie B. Whitesell, Senior Counsel, for appellee, Department of Finance and
Administration and State of Tennessee Civil Service Commission.

Judge: 
STAFFORD