News

Community Forum Explores Social Security Issues

The year’s first Community Legal Forum – a joint initiative of the Bradley County Bar Association, the Bradley Governmental Law Library Commission and the Cleveland/Bradley Public Library – will take place June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the library. Cleveland attorney Jack Tapper will lead the session, which is free and open to the public. The program will look at the basics of processing Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claims as well as ways to increase Social Security benefits for married, divorced and widowed spouses, the Cleveland Banner reports.

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Learn More About Pending Decision on Marriage Equality

Join us in person or via webcast on July 2 for a TBA CLE on the Tanco v. Haslam marriage recognition challenge. The presentation will include a discussion on how the U.S. Supreme Court's decision will affect Tennessee, as well as an overview of the background, parties and issues involved in the case. Register for the onsite program or for the webcast.

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B.B. King Family Loses Battle for Control

Family members of Blues legend B.B. King lost a bid to take control of their ailing father’s affairs in a Las Vegas courtroom on Thursday. Three of King’s 11 surviving children asked the court to take control from King’s longtime business manager because they said he was stealing money and neglecting King’s medical care. The judge ruled there was no evidence to back up the claims, WRCB-TV reports.

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TBJ Includes Fiduciaries, Constitutional Convention of 1870

In the May issue, Nashville lawyer Scott Pilkinton examines the question of whether or not a felon can be a fiduciary. Turns out, it’s not an easy answer. Chattanooga lawyer and former TBA President Sam Elliott looks at "the two great issues" of the state's Constitutional Convention of 1870 and how it is still relevant today.

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Hooker Weighs in as Committee Considers 'Death with Dignity'

This summer, state lawmakers will gather to discuss the controversial issue of death with dignity and whether or not those with a terminal illness have the right to decide when to die. Now John Jay Hooker, who has been diagnosed with terminal melanoma, is championing this cause and fighting for the right to die with dignity. “I think if a person is suffering wants to leave this earth that the government’s got no business to tell them that they got to suffer and stay,” he told WKRN.

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Alleged Victim On Stand in Lawyers' Extortion Trial

Defense attorneys for two lawyers charged with extortion began grilling the alleged victim on cross examination in Clarksville Wednesday morning, the Leaf Chronicle reports. Attorneys Carrie Gasaway and Fletcher Long are each charged with one count of extortion after allegedly pressuring a client, Michelle Langlois, to pay money she claims she didn't owe them, and then having her arrested. The lawyers were charged after a two-year review by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

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Steen: Bridge the Generation Gap With Clear Communication

In his Tennessee Bar Journal column about how different generations communicate, TBA President Jonathan Steen points out how important good communication skills are -- and why sending a text late at night to a senior partner may not be the best way to make contact. In the April issue's other columns, Eddy Smith covers IRA beneficiaries and creditor protection; Katy Edge explains how banking works for legal marijuana sales; and Bill Haltom comments on Justice Ginsburg’s recent nap before the president’s speech.

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Nashville Lawyers Form New Firm

Four Nashville lawyers have joined together to form the law firm of Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon. The firm will focus on personal injury, business and construction law, professional liability and insurance defense, and probate and conservatorship law. Joel Surber, Garrett Asher and Matt Moushon were formerly partners at Parker, Lawrence, Cantrell & Smith. Jennifer Surber formerly served as counsel to the Davidson County Probate Court and as Special Probate Master for the Seventh Circuit Court.

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House Panel Approves Digital Assets Bill

A state House subcommittee has approved legislation setting rules for access to digital information after death or disability, Humphrey on the Hill reports. The “Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act” has drawn opposition from representatives of Facebook, Google and Amazon on the grounds that it would declare company policies void if they conflict with state law. The bill gives the legal representative of a deceased or incapacitated person authority to decide how pictures and postings on a site will be disposed of, even though the user once gave the site the right to control such things. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur said many social media sites put such provisions in the fine print of their sign-up contracts, which has led to unfortunate situations. Knoxnews has the story.

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KBA Offers Community Law School This Weekend

The Knoxville Bar Association will offer its annual Community Law School this Friday at the O’Connor Senior Center, 611 Winona St., and on Saturday at Fellowship Church, 8000 Middlebrook Pike. On each day, volunteer lawyers will present a session on wills and estate planning from 9-10:45 a.m. and a session on consumer rights and responsibilities from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Pre-registration is not required but appreciated. Call (865) 522-6522 or register online for Friday or for Saturday's sessions.

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Don’t Miss Estate Planning & Probate Forum Friday

Make plans to attend the 10th Annual Estate Planning and Probate Forum, which will be held Friday at the Nashville Airport Marriott. During this year’s full-day program, lawyers will learn from some of Tennessee’s top estate and trust attorneys about cutting-edge estate planning techniques and probate considerations, and gain insights into new legislation and case law rulings affecting these areas. Learn more or register here.

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Attorneys Form Green Hills Law Firm

Three Nashville attorneys, including the former legal counsel to then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, have opened a law firm in the Green Hills area of the city. Trajan Carney, Steve Elkins and Leslie Curry have created Carney|Elkins|Curry PLC at 3817 Bedford Ave. in Bedford Commons. The firm will handle general civil litigation and appellate practice, with a focus on construction law, general business litigation, administrative and regulatory law, and labor and employment law. It also will offer estate planning and probate services. The Nashville Post has more on the story.

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Concubines and Dead Partners? TBJ Has Them This Month

The Standard of Clear and Convincing Evidence has never been so interesting, as when Judge Tom Wright and Ben Welch write about it, using concubines and dead partners as examples, in the February Tennessee Bar Journal. Also in this issue, Monica J. Franklin explains the ABLE Account, an alternative to special needs trusts, and Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow delve into wage and hour issues in the high court. Bill Haltom has in mind a perfect Valentine's gift for the lawyer on your list.

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Estate Planning Forum Offers Cutting-Edge Training

Planning for digital and retirement assets are two key issues that will be addressed at this year’s annual Estate Planning & Probate Forum set for Feb. 27 in Nashville. Connect with 150 lawyers from across the state and earn six hours of CLE. Learn more or register here.

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Upcoming Wills for Heroes Clinics (as of 1/30/15)

The YLD again this year is providing free wills and other end of life documents for first responders in Tennessee. Clinics have been scheduled across the state through this coming May. Please contact the event organizer for more details or to volunteer. The following clinics are scheduled in the next few months. See the list of all scheduled clinics.

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New App Helps with Health Care Decisions

A new smartphone app developed by the ABA’s Commission on Law and Aging allows individuals and families to manage and share their health care advance directives and related information. The app, which offers unlimited storage and management of personal and family profiles and documents, is the latest resources released by the commission to help individuals make health care decisions. Other tools include a multi-state health care power of attorney, a consumer’s toolkit for health care advance planning and a guide to making medical decisions for others.

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Vested Property Rights Act Leads December TBJ

In the December issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal, lawyers Jennifer Lacey and John Williams detail the Vested Property Rights Act of 2014 and how it has given more stability to developers. Bill Rutchow looks at employer protection of confidential business information through the Tennessee Uniform Trade Secrets Act. And in perhaps the best news of all, columnist Eddy Smith reports the demise of Circular 230 Disclosures in "How the IRS Saved the Planet and Returned 30 Minutes of Your Day."

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KBA Offers Free LawTalk Program

The Knoxville Barr Association will offer its 2014 LawTalk Program Nov. 7 and 8 for area residents. This year’s program will cover two topics: (1) wills and estate planning, and (2) legal protections for the elderly, disabled and their caregivers. On both days, the wills presentation will take place from 9 to 10:45 a.m. followed by the legal protections presentation from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. The first session will take place at the O’Connor Senior Center, 611 Winona St. The Nov. 8 session will be held at Fellowship Church, 8000 Middlebrook Pike. Free parking is available at both locations and handout material will be provided. Download a flyer with details.

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Living Will Presentation Set for Tomorrow

Two attorneys with the Murfreesboro office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will be giving a presentation on Living Wills tomorrow. Andrae Crismon, managing attorney of the office, and Aimee Luna will be at the Smyrna Senior Center, 100 Raikes Street, at 10 a.m. for this public program. See the list of all remaining pro bono events at http://www.tba.org/info/celebrate-pro-bono-month-2014

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Money, Money, Money in August TBJ

In the August Journal, get some pointers on how to "take charge of your own economy" that will help you and your law practice. Also, our columnists cover banking and estate planning: Kathryn Reed Edge gives you the history of money and Eddy Smith explains some new trust options for married clients.

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BPR Opinion Looks at Disclosure of Client Wills

A formal ethics opinion issued by the Board of Professional Responsibility on June 13 looks at whether a lawyer who represented a testator can refuse to disclose the will prior to the client’s death based on attorney-client privilege or confidentiality. The opinion was requested by an attorney who says it is becoming more common for courts to order wills and other testamentary documents drafted for competent clients be made available to guardians or conservators handling the affairs of the individual after he or she is no longer competent.

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Memphis Lawyer Dies

Memphis lawyer William Clary Lunsford died Sunday (June 8). Born in 1939, Lunsford received his law degree from Vanderbilt University and worked at Pete Marrick in Little Rock, Arkansas, before practicing Tax and Estate Law in Memphis at the old Montidonico Firm. Later he was a partner at Laughlin Halle Law Firm. Funeral services were held Monday. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Grace-St. Luke's Church in Memphis, Grace Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1791 in Anniston, Alabama, or to the charity of one's choice.

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Divorce, End-of-Life Care and Cybercriminals

In this issue, Helen Rogers and George Spanos outline strategies for the timing of filing for divorce in Tennessee and Eddy R. Smith discusses the painful topic of pregnancy and end-of-life care. If you weren't scared of people stealing your money electronically before, Kathryn Reed Edge's column on cybercriminals will send you running to change all your passwords and tighten your firm security.

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A Time to Be Born and a Time to Die: Pregnancy and End-of-Life Care

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die …”

— Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Two recent heart-wrenching news stories highlight the struggle between a woman’s constitutional right to refuse medical treatment and the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the life of her baby. The stories also serve as reminders of the importance of advance directives.

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Next 2 Weeks Critical for Legislators

The next two weeks could be crucial for the General Assembly, the Tennessean suggests, as big issues such as meth abuse, school vouchers, free tuition for community college students and in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants still face decisions in the House and Senate before they shut down. The TBA's package of bills continues to progress towards passage. The five-year statute of repose for legal malpractice passed the House Monday and is now headed to the Governor, as is the TBA's family law bill. However, the TBA has concerns about bills regarding patent litigation, employment discrimination, and confidentiality for victims of sexual offenses and has communicated these concerns to the legislature. These measures continue to move forward without changes. A bill on the issue of bad faith patent infringement (SB1967/HB2117) is ineffective, since any litigation would likely not survive a preemption challenge and existing case law effectively addresses these issues. Another bill (SB2126/HB1954) would gut protections for whistleblowers in employment discrimination cases, and only protects against retaliation if a report was in writing or email. Under the guise of keeping crime victim information confidential, SB2254/HB2361 would make it more difficult for defense attorneys to discuss identifying information about the victim with their client. TBAImpact has more.

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