News

Phillips to Lead Bass, Berry & Sims Litigation Group

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC announced that W. Brantley Phillips Jr. was appointed to serve as chair of the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution practice group, the Nashville Post reports. Phillips will oversee more than 100 attorneys and staff working in Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Washington, D.C. Phillips joined Bass in 1998 and has been serving as co-chair of the firm’s securities and shareholder litigation practice group.

read more »

Confidential Settlement Reached in Erin Andrews Case

Television personality Erin Andrews reached a settlement today in her lawsuit against West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital Group, the hotel owner and operator that allowed a stalker to secretly record her naked though a peephole. The Tennessean reports the terms of the agreement are confidential. A Nashville jury awarded Andrews $55 million in March and said Andrews’ stalker, Michael David Barrett, was responsible for $28 million of that. Attorney Randall Kinnard, who represented Andrews, had asked the judge to hold the hotel responsible for the full $55 million. 

read more »

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.

read more »

PD Group Seeks to Fill Retiring Executive Director Position

The Tennessee Public Defender’s Conference announces an upcoming vacancy for executive director. The position is currently held by Jeff Henry, who in February announced his retirement effective at the end of his current term in June. Interested parties should address resumes and any other documents to search committee chair Tom Marshall at 127 N. Main Street, Clinton, TN 37716, and to conference president Jeff Harmon at P.O. Box 220, Jasper, TN 37347. The deadline to apply is April 22.

read more »

LAET Names Director of Litigation and Advocacy

Russell Fowler was named director of litigation and advocacy for the Legal Aid of East Tennessee. Fowler teaches constitutional law at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and writes the “History’s Verdict” column for the Tennessee Bar Journal. He is a member of the executive council of the TBA Litigation Law Section.

read more »

Old Hickory Neighbors File Suit to Block Rock Quarry

The Tennessean reports a group of Old Hickory residents filed a lawsuit yesterday in an effort to stop Metro government from issuing future permits for a limestone rock quarry project. The suit points to legislation the Metro Council passed in November that created new buffer zones to prevent mineral extraction activity immediately near residential homes in Nashville. The suit also names Industrial Land Developers as a defendant.

read more »

$10M Suit Filed Against Bus Driver Charged With Rape

A $10 million lawsuit was filed Thursday against a Hamilton County bus driver charged with the 2015 rape of a teenage student, the Times Free Press reports. The teen’s guardians are seeking the amount in punitive and compensatory damages and have requested a jury trial.

read more »

Depositions, Workers' Comp Claims Court in March Issue

Depositions are a basic tool for many trials, but are you using them in the most effective way possible? Dan Berexa looks at best practices for depositions in this issue of the Journal. Judge Kenneth Switzer and Jane Pribek Salem explain what you need to know about Tennessee’s Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. For instance, at the trial level an average of 52 days pass from the time a mediator certifies a dispute until a workers’ compensation judge issues an order. Judge Pamela B. Johnson tells you the do's and don'ts of how to practice in the relatively new court. Read these stories and more in the March Journal.

read more »

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.

read more »

In This Issue: Retaliatory Discharge, Advanced Care Planning and Dale Bumpers

This month the Tennessee Bar Journal's employment law column by Edward Phillips and Brandon Morrow covers retaliatory discharge in "Badges and Blown Whistles: Recent Retaliatory Discharge Actions in Tennessee." Monica Franklin collaborates with Dr. Gregory Phelps in her elder law column, "Advanced Care Planning: When Law and Medicine Intersect."  Humor columnist Bill Haltom writes about the late Dale Bumpers, the small-town lawyer who defended Bill Clinton before the Senate in the 1999 impeachment trial. Read these and the rest of the February issue.

read more »

Nashville Attorney Joins Steering Committee in Volkswagen Suit

Nashville attorney Gerard Stranch IV, a partner in Branstetter Stranch & Jennings, was appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee that will coordinate the multidistrict litigation against Volkswagen. The automaker is facing more than 175 class actions in 32 states, including Tennessee, after the company admitted to installing “defeat devices” in certain vehicles in order to pass emission tests. Stranch joins 22 attorneys on the steering committee appointed by Judge Charles R. Breyer of California’s Northern District Court.

read more »

BlueCross BlueShield to Appeal Breach of Contract Ruling

The Tennessean reports BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is appealing a recent decision by the Chancery Court for Tennessee's 20th Judicial District that says BCBST breached a contract with a general insurance agent. The court recently awarded James Walker, the president and owner of Individual Healthcare Specialists, $2.1 million after BCBST was found to have breached a commissions contract. BCBST argued that changes to the contract and commission structure on renewals were due to the Affordable Care Act.

read more »

Computers in Self-Driving Cars 'Count as Humans'

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month determined that the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law. Reuters reports the decision comes after Google in November submitted a proposed design for a self-driving car that has "no need for a human driver." "We agree with Google its (self-driving car) will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years,” NHTSA's letter said.

read more »

Suit Claims UT Football Players Assaulted Teammate for Helping Rape Victim

A federal lawsuit filed yesterday against the University of Tennessee alleges that university football players twice assaulted fellow teammate Drae Bowles for assisting the woman who accused former players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams of rape in 2014. Bowles, who transferred to Chattanooga after the 2014 season, received a subpoena to testify. The alleged female assault victim is one of six unnamed women who filed the suit. Read more from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

read more »

Tennessee Oncology Files Lawsuit Over Cancer Drug

Nashville-based Tennessee Oncology is suing Genentech for false representation in the packaging of its cancer drug Herceptin, The Tennessean reports. Tennessee Oncology, represented by Bass Berry & Sims, claims the label on the drug misrepresents the amount of product after following the approved preparation instructions for the freeze-dried powder. Similar lawsuits are pending in six other states.

read more »

Bass Berry Acquires H3GM Group in Nashville

Bass Berry & Sims, the largest law firm in Nashville, acquired 10 Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner shareholders along with five associates and additional staff members from the firm. The merger, expected to be completed in mid-March, dissolves HG3M, which had been home to 26 attorneys. Eight shareholders did not make the move but say they don't plan to stay together.  Read more from Nashville Post.

read more »

Former School Employees Receive $55K in Lawsuit

Judge Larry Wallace ruled three former Cheatham County school employees will receive back pay from the school district after they were removed from their administrative positions and reassigned to classrooms. The Tennessean reports the amounts to be received total $55,772.76.

read more »

Discrimination Suit Against Farmers Granted Class Action Status

A California federal judge certified a class action status to a discrimination suit in which a group of female current and former attorneys of Farmers Insurance claim the company paid men higher salaries. Lynne Coates, who had worked for Farmers for a total of nine years, filed the original complaint in which she alleged Farmers was paying less-experienced male employees a larger salary than her own. Twelve attorneys have joined the suit. Read more from the Insurance Journal.

read more »

UT Reaches $750K Settlement in Discrimination Lawsuit

The University of Tennessee announced Monday it had reached a $750,000 settlement with its former associate director of sports medicine and two ex-Lady Volunteers strength coaches in a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. Jenny Moshak, Heather Mason and Collin Schlosser claimed in the 2012 lawsuit that they received less compensation than employees holding similar positions and performing comparable tasks for men's teams. School officials said that "the university unequivocally denies that any of the three former employees suffered any discrimination or retaliation." Read more from the Associated Press.

read more »

Court Date Set for Franklin Man Accused of Fraud in Wellness Company

George David George, who is accused of devising a stock scheme and stealing millions of dollars from a Brentwood wellness company, is scheduled to appear in federal court on Jan. 12. The Franklin resident was charged with four felonies and is accused of collecting $2.25 million in investments from WellCity Foundation. "We don't subscribe to the notion that it was a Ponzi scheme," George's attorney Peter Strianse said. "The company provided real services, and was used by a lot of school districts and things like that. We insist it wasn't a facade." Read more from the Franklin Home Page.

read more »

Supreme Court Denies Tire Company Dismissal Request

The Tennessee Supreme Court denied Bridgestone entities’ request to dismiss a case because of lost evidence and a request for summary judgment. The decision affirmed a trial court ruling in the case in which a woman’s car was totaled in an accident after it appeared that a tire may have failed and the wrecking service later destroyed her car. The Court also reviewed the defendants’ additional reasons for requesting summary judgment, conducting the analysis under the Court’s recent opinion in Rye v. Women’s Care Center of Memphis. Justice Gary R. Wade wrote a concurring opinion, in which he disagreed with the new summary judgment standard, but reached the same conclusion under a different analysis. Read the opinion authored by Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins.  

read more »

ESPN Star Seeks $75M in Peephole Suit

Former ESPN personality Erin Andrews is seeking $75 million in a lawsuit tied to an incident where she says a stalker filmed her through a peephole in a Nashville hotel, new court documents say. The Tennessean reports that Andrews’ Nashville attorney, Randall Kinnard, filed a revised version of her lawsuit earlier this week in Davidson County Circuit Court. The previous lawsuit sought $10 million for similar claims.

read more »

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.

read more »

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.

read more »

Metro Schools Can Fire Non-teaching Staff Without Appeals Hearing

Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Ellen Lyle said Metro’s director of schools has the power to dismiss non-teaching staffers without giving them an appeals hearing, The Tennessean reports. Lyle said in her ruling that state law “supersedes the Metro Charter’ and allows for a board to create policies detailing the process in which the director hires and fires personnel.

read more »