News

BPR Seeking Disciplinary Counsel

The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility is seeking an attorney for the position of Disciplinary Counsel - Litigation Section, Appeals. The duties and responsibilities include: investigate and conduct discovery related to complaints of attorney misconduct; prepare pleadings and appear in disciplinary hearings before hearing panels; represent the board in appellate proceedings before special judges in trial courts and before the Tennessee Supreme Court; prepare and present continuing legal education; and other duties as assigned. Applicants must be licensed in Tennessee and have a minimum of seven years experience in the practice of law and practice before the Tennessee Supreme Court is preferred. Read more about the position on TBA's JobLink portal.
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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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Court: Funeral Homes Not Responsible for Mishandled Bodies

A Shelby County Chancery Court ruled in a class action lawsuit that funeral directors were not at fault for the mishandling of bodies at Galilee Memorial Gardens, and that the cemetery itself was 99 percent responsible for what happened, The Commercial Appeal reports. More than 1,200 plaintiffs, whose loved ones were buried in caskets one atop the other, took part in the suit. Cemetery owner Jemar Lambert in 2015 pleaded guilty to criminal charges, including charges of burying bodies on land the cemetery did not own.
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Walmart Changing Legal Operations

The Corporate Counsel blog takes a look at changes in Walmart's legal operations. At the recent annual Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Symposium in Philadelphia, Alan Bryan, senior associate general counsel for Walmart Inc. discussed Walmart’s new cost cutting measures. Walmart has entered into partnership with LegalMation and is using software to take complaints filed against the company, generally in tort and general litigation matters, then feeding them into the system. Within two minutes, the system kicks out an answer, a first set of interrogatories and a first set of requests for production. “We’ve found that it is saving 60 to 70 percent of the time that would normally take to review a complaint,” Bryan explained. 

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State Farm to Pay $250 Million for Secretly Funding Illinois Supreme Court Campaign

State Farm has agreed to pay $250 million to settle a class action claiming the insurer created a RICO enterprise to secretly fund the election of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier, who later voted to overturn a $1.05 billion verdict against the Illinois-based company, The Associated Press reports. The class-action lawsuit sought nearly $10 billion from State Farm in a trial that was scheduled to begin Tuesday. The allegations center around the 2005 case of Avery v. State Farm, Karmeier cast the deciding vote to reverse a $1.06 billion judgment in 1999 against State Farm for its use of aftermarket car parts in repairs. 
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Lawsuit: Nashville Surgeon Left Needle Inside Patient, Couldn’t Remove It

The family of a now-deceased man is suing TriStar Centennial hospital, claiming a surgeon left a needle inside his body and was unable to retrieve it in a second operation, The Tennessean reports. The man died a month after the surgery, with his health deteriorating after the needle was lost in his body. The lawsuit alleges that the man suffered in his final month and describes his death as “painful, unnecessary and wrongful.”
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Section Seeks Your Opinions on Upcoming Law Office Technology Forum

To help build programming for its upcoming Law Tech Forum, the TBA Law Office Technology and Management Executive Council is asking your opinions. Completing this brief web form will assist in ensuring the forum remains timely, relevant and on the cutting edge. Comments can be related to subject matter, length and location of the event. Please respond by Sept. 7. 

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Judge Overturns $19 Million Award to Nashville-based Company

A Nashville-based physician services company will not receive $19 million in damages from a rival company after a Tennessee Court of Appeals judge overturned a 2016 ruling, The Nashville Post reports. Nashville's SpecialtyCare sued Pennsylvania-based Medsurant in 2015 over Medsurant's alleged interference in SpecialtyCare's takeover of a smaller company. Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy cited Medsurant repeatedly for not cooperating in the discovery process, and eventually ruled against them on the basis of intentionally destroying evidence to avoid liability. Medsurant's attorneys - Brant Phillips, Russell Stair and Matt Sinback of Bass Berry & Sims; Bob Mendes of Waypoint Law and Richard Simins of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads - appealed, arguing that the chancellor had made numerous mistakes, the punitive damages were excessive and their clients had overall not received a fair hearing. Judge Kenny Armstrong agreed. "From the totality of the circumstances, we conclude that the grant of default judgment as a sanction for discovery abuses was error," Armstrong wrote.

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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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Toys ‘R’ Us Settlement Approved by Court

Toys “R” Us Inc. has come to a compromise with lenders and creditors it’s bankruptcy filing. Marketwatch reports that the settlement will pay 22 cents on the dollar to creditors. It will also shield lenders from future litigation. In March the retail chain abandon its plan to survive bankruptcy after lower than expected holiday sales.

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Article Examines Difficulties Faced by Female Trial Lawyers

Is it harder to be a trial lawyer if you are a woman? The Atlantic took a look into the question, examining personal stories, history and statistics about gender in the legal profession. One suggested cause for the difficulties faced by female lawyers was the lack of women in positions of power in the courtroom: women currently make up only 33 percent of federal trial-court judges.
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Tennessee Zipline Company Sued over Outbreak

CLIMB Works, a Gatlinburg ziplining company, is being sued after at least 548 people reported gastrointestinal illness after visiting the zipline tour this summer. The class action lawsuit alleges that the illness came from contaminated well water served out of coolers placed along the zip line course. WCAX reports that the suit is asking for compensatory damages for the members of the class. 

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9th Circuit Ruling Finds a Constitutional Right to Openly Carry a Gun

A panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the Second Amendment protects the right to openly carry a gun for self-defense outside of the home, the ABA Journal reports. The opinion said the Second Amendment’s right to bear as well as keep arms “implies some level of public carry in case of confrontation.”

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Destination CLE Survey

Let's take a trip! The TBA CLE Committee would like your feedback on destination CLE events. Taking a moment to complete this brief survey will greatly assist us in developing the best CLE experience for you. Please complete this survey by Aug. 10. We greatly appreciate your help with this endeavor.
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Class Action Suit Filed against VW

Jonathan Manlove, a 60-year-old former employee at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen. He alleges that the company is using a rebranding effort to discriminate against workers once they turn 50. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Manlove claims that Volkswagen is trying to rebrand itself into a "younger, sleeker company" after it was rocked by an emissions scandal in 2015.
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Tax Law Forum 2018

The annual Tax Law Forum will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville on Sept. 17. Sessions will focus on the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Topics include the new pass-through entity tax law, an overview of the changes to international tax law, corporate and other business tax changes as well as non-profit law changes.

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Doctors Nationwide are Suing Patients Who Post Negative Reviews Online

A nationwide trend is emerging among doctors and hospitals, who are increasingly taking patients to court for posting negative comments and reviews on social media, USA Today reports. Recent cases include a Cleveland, Ohio-based physician, who is suing a former patient for defamation after she posted negative reviews about her nose job, an Arizona medical practice that successfully sued a singer who used her own website to criticize her doctors and a Michigan hospital that sued an elderly patient’s daughters and granddaughter over a Facebook post.
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Witnesses, Circuits and Procrastination: TBJ Has It All

In this month's Tennessee Bar Journal, Knoxville lawyer Wade Davies writes about rules for non-sequestered witnesses. "I usually try to write this column about something to which I think I know the answer. I’m not sure about this one," he writes. "Is it still the law that if the prosecuting witness is not sequestered he or she has to testify first?" Read it and see. Chattanooga lawyer Russell Fowler looks at the history of the Circuit Court, starting with judges who rode their horses to make the rounds through the circuits. And we almost didn't get to this one ... bringing back the lost art of procrastination. Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom reminds us that the best counsel is not always the fastest answer. The July TBJ is here.

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Unsealed Documents Shed Light on State's Opioid Lawsuit

Documents regarding a lawsuit filed in Knox County Circuit Court, where Tennessee accuses Purdue Pharma of intentionally fueling the opioid epidemic, were unsealed last week shedding light on the state’s claim that the company intentionally and specifically targeted Tennessee’s most vulnerable medical providers and patients, including the elderly and veterans, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The lawsuit, filed by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, uses Purdue’s company records and its staffers’ own words to show the firm’s founders and executives pushed the prescription of highly addictive opioids, allegedly calling the pills “hope in a bottle.” You can view the complaint here.

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Ownership of State’s First Hemp Dispensary in Litigation

Just a month after Tennessee’s first hemp dispensary opened its doors, the business is in litigation over ownership, the Daily News Journal reports. Jason Chambers and Josh Henrick declared themselves the sole owners of the company in a statement yesterday. The litigation is against a “former associate that has falsely claimed to be the CEO and owner of our company.”
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Tennessee Woman Sues Dollywood Citing Injury

WJHL is reporting that Dollywood's parent company is being sued by a Tennessee woman claiming she suffered serious injuries at Splash Country. The lawsuit alleges when the raft reached the top of the ride's incline, she was reportedly propelled off the seat and back down into the raft causing her to suffer injuries to her spine. To learn more about this case click here.

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Dispute Over Tennessee's First Hemp Company Leads to Litigation

Tennessee's first hemp dispensary is in litigation over ownership issues. Jason Chambers and Josh Henrick have found themselves in court of a dispute of ownership of Tennessee Hemp Supply in Murfreesboro. The litigation is against "a former associate that has falsely claimed to be the CEO and owner of our company. The Daily News Journal takes a deeper look here.

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Schedule Time to Read Email

A Tip from the TBA Attorney Well-Being Committee

Rather than checking on every e-mail as it arrives, schedule time in your calendar for reading and managing e-mail (and leave e-mail notifications silent during the other times of the day). This will enable you to have focused time for given tasks without constant interruption and distraction.

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