Join Us Today: LAW TECH

Today's the day! Discover the newest technology for your law practice and law office at this year's Law Tech Blast at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville!

The flexible open house format allows you to create your own schedule. You can attend CLE sessions, enter to win prizes, network with attendees, visit with sponsors and interact with speakers. Take as many or as few CLE hours as you need. Only those seeking to be awarded CLE Credit will be charged. The registration desk will be open all day, so you can come and go for the hours you need when it is convenient for you. Attendees can earn up to 6.5 hours of Dual CLE credit.

  • GDPR, Cloud and Technological Competency
  • The Bill and Phil Tech Show 2019: BEAT THE CLOCK
  • Best Practices: Information Security for Firms
  • Judicial Panel: Technology in the Courtroom
  • Know When to Hold 'Em
  • Digital Evidence – A Technical Life Raft for the Legal Mind
  • Make it Rain: Ethics Guidelines and Practice Essentials

ATTEND TO WIN: Attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including an iPad Pro. The tech prize drawing will be held at the 10:30 a.m. break. Must be present to win.

TAKE A LYFT: TBA has partnered with Lyft to offer attendees a discounted ride.

  • New to Lyft?: Get $5 off 2 rides at or download the app and enter code LAWTECH5
  • Already Have Lyft?: Save 10% off 2 rides to or from Law Tech Blast with code LAWTECH



read more »

Give the Gift of TBA Membership

Give yourself (or a friend) the gift that keeps giving — one-year of unlimited access to professional development opportunities and a number of programs and services designed to help you become a better practitioner. Founded in 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association is dedicated to enhancing fellowship among members of the state's legal community. Oh, and did we mention some of the benefits? Earn three pre-paid credits to use on any live or online course featured in the 12-days of CLE. Join now!

read more »

Services for Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley on Saturday

Services for Sevierville Mayor Bryan Atchley, who passed away last week from cancer, are set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 at the First Baptist Church Sevierville, with a visitation on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Atchley’s Funeral Home, WBIR reports. Atchley, who had served as mayor since 1995, was instrumental in the growth of Sevierville, building a new City Hall and police station, Smokies Stadium, convention center, expanding the greenway system, even bringing a double-A minor league baseball team to the city. “Mayor Atchley was Sevierville to the core,” said Sevierville City Administrator Russell Treadway. “From coaching youth baseball to being Mayor, and everything in between, he exemplified public service and proved there are hundreds of ways to serve one’s community.” Vice Mayor Robbie Fox will serve as Mayor until the next election in May 2019.

read more »

Governor Haslam, Governor-elect Lee Oppose Closed Primaries

Governor Bill Haslam and Governor-elect Bill Lee both have voiced opposition to a closed primary resolution put forth by the GOP's state executive committee earlier this month, the Tennessean reports. The resolution asks the General Assembly to "address the issue of 'cross-over' voting in Tennessee’s primary elections," to prevent concerns of an opposing party influencing the other’s election. Gov. Haslam when speaking to the crowd at a Nashville Rotary meeting said “I am strongly opposed to that … If you're a Republican, I think it's a silly proposal." Lee made similar comments, saying “I would be willing to look at whatever the legislature says, but on the surface, I don’t see a reason to make a change.” Closed primaries have been a contentious issue in the state for decades and a similar resolution was voted down by the executive committee in 2015.

read more »

Woman Files Lawsuit Against Rutherford County Regarding Guilty Plea in Child Abuse Case

A woman who pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse in 2007 is suing the Murfreesboro Police Department and Rutherford County, claiming the plea was made under duress, The Daily News Journal reports. Catherin Funk-Vaughn filed the pro se lawsuit in federal court on Nov. 28, asking for $9.9 million, alleging she thought that she was pleading to a diversion charge — not a guilty plea — and that her attorney told her the only way she would see her children again was if she pleaded guilty. She also says her name was misspelled as “Catherine” on court documents, making them void and claims violations against several of her constitutional rights. Funk-Vaughn has also filed a separate suit against the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

read more »

Tennessee AG's Office Names New Chief Deputy

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced Jonathan T. Skrmetti will join the attorney general’s office as the Chief Deputy in January. In his new role, Skrmetti will coordinate and oversee the substantive legal work of all five sections of the office. Skrmetti joins the office from Memphis where he has been a partner with Butler Snow LLP, an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.  In that role he investigated and prosecuted civil rights crimes and white-collar offenses.
read more »

Casino Planned for Tennessee, Virginia Border

Private investors intend to convert a failing Bristol, Virginia, shopping mall into a casino, resort and convention center, The Business Journal reports. The city built The Falls shopping center with taxpayer dollars in hopes to compete with the booming retail sector of its sister city in Tennessee, adding $48 million to the city’s debt and creating a heavy bond-debt. Investors believe the project will be a boon to the local economy, creating somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 jobs in the area. The total conversion is expected to cost $300 million to $400 million.

read more »

Downtown Memphis Development Board Approves First TIF Property

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp., a state-chartered industrial development board in Memphis, recently approved its first tax increment financing initiative, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The Union Row project will develop around 800 apartments, 200 hotel rooms and 460,000 square feet of mixed-use office and retail space in a location between South City and Downtown. Construction is set to start in June 2019, with the first phase scheduled for completion by June 2021.

read more »

Meigs County Landowners Fight TVA Land Access

A Meigs County landowner is fighting back on TVA’s plans to run a high-voltage transmission line across his property, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Georgetown farmer Greg Vital has filed a suit contesting U.S. District Court Judge Sandy Mattice's grant of a temporary easement allowing access to several properties to survey potential tower sites for the transmission line, which will serve the organization's new 185,000-square-foot power control center in Chattanooga. TVA maintains that it chose the rural Meigs County site to provide greater security and make it less vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse attacks or other potential threats to TVA's power grid.

read more »

Nashville Passes Ordinance Limiting Use of Proceeds From Property Sales

The Nashville Metro Council voted 34-0 last week to prohibit the sale of real property owned by Metro government to pay for city operating expenses, the Tennessean reports. Mayor David Briley had proposed the sale of three Metro properties in June, with the proceeds going to the 2018-19 city budget, however, those sales did not materialize. Under the new ordinance, revenue from the sale of city-owned properties will go toward paying off the city’s debt.

read more »

Cottrell Named First Nashville Chief Compliance Officer

Former Court of Appeals judge and onetime Nashville law director Patricia Cottrell is now set to become the city's first-ever chief compliance officer, The Tennessean reports. An appeals court judge from 1998 to 2014, Cottrell was announced today as Mayor David Briley's pick for a new position that will oversee a "comprehensive review" of ethics regulations in the city's procurement process — and whether they're being followed — among other responsibilities.
read more »

Lawsuit Brews Over Memphis Council Member Walkout

The Memphis City Council’s impasse over appointing a new member is on its way to Chancery Court after four of the 10 council members walked out of Tuesday's meeting, leaving the body without the necessary quorum to vote on anything, The Daily Memphian reports. Four council members walked out after the council deadlocked through two more rounds of voting over an appointment to fill the District 1 seat. Council member Worth Morgan made the motion Tuesday to go to court "to compel attendance of absent council members to conduct the city's essential business."
read more »

Governor-elect Lee Names Agriculture Commissioner

Governor-elect Bill Lee on Monday named his pick for agriculture commissioner, selecting current state veterinarian and Middle Tennessee dairy farmer Charlie Hatcher, the Tennessean reports. The announcement was made at the annual Tennessee Farm Bureau convention in Franklin, where Lee said, “Charlie brings tremendous perspective about our state’s rural resources and agricultural way of life … What happens in rural Tennessee matters to all Tennesseans, and Charlie has the experience to carry out the administration’s key priorities in agriculture and rural economic development.”  As state veterinarian, Lee enforced animal health standards for livestock products and worked with federal officials to accredit Tennessee's practicing veterinarians.

read more »

TVA Seeks Public Input on Future of Coal Ash at Allen Fossil Plant

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is currently accepting public input regarding options for the closure of its coal ash storage areas at the former Allen Fossil Plant near Memphis to assist in developing an environmental impact statement, according to a press release on its website. TVA estimates that almost 3 million cubic yards of coal ash and other coal combustion residuals remain in the ash impoundments at the site, which was closed in March. 
Comments may be submitted online, or sent by email or mail to Ashley Farless, NEPA Compliance Specialist, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market Street, BR4A-C, Chattanooga, TN 37402. To be considered, comments must be received no later than Jan. 4, 2019. All comments will become part of the project's administrative record, including the names and addresses of those who participate.
read more »

Former Rutherford Judicial Building Could House Police, City Court

The former Rutherford County Judicial Building could soon be home to a Murfreesboro City Court and a police precinct, The Daily News Journal reports. Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland said that the current City Hall is out of space, and the old county judicial building could help alleviate the problem. County officials are also exploring new uses for the building, which is located on the city square and was replaced by the new Judicial Center earlier this year.
read more »

Germantown Mayoral Candidate Files Complaint Over Election Results

John Barzizza, a Germantown alderman who ran for mayor, has a filed a complaint asking for a recount of the results of the Nov. 6 election, The Commercial Appeal reports. The complaint was filed against the Shelby County Election Commission and administrator Linda Phillips, claiming that the election commission failed to distribute, allow, verify and tally absentee and provisional ballots properly. Barzizza challenged Mayor Mike Palazzolo for Germantown's highest seat and lost by 120 votes, according to the results certified by the election commission on Nov. 26. 
read more »

Local Government Forum 2019

The TBA Local Government Section will host its annual forum on Thursday, March 28 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. This seminal seminar has become the must-see, must-do event for municipal leaders across the state, offering guidance and insight on timely topics affecting Tennessee’s communities. This year’s forum will feature presentations on ABC laws, government employment laws, legal ethics in a government setting and more. Attendees and section members will be invited to a social event following the program (more details to come). Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and engage with community leaders and attorneys of a similar focus. Here are the key details:
When: Thursday, March 28, 2019 – Registration begins at 8 a.m., CST
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville
read more »

Rutherford County Industrial Development Board Member Faces Federal Fraud Charges

Rutherford County Industrial Development Board (IDB) member and former chairman of the Rutherford County Republican Party Nate Schott has resigned from the board after being indicted on federal fraud charges, The Daily News Journal reports. Schott is accused of using his dental practice to defraud TennCare, DentaQuest, Delta Dental and Cigna by having employees submit false and fraudulent claims. An IDB steering committee will begin reviewing applicants for the vacancy in January; interested parties can apply at the mayor's office on the first floor of the County Courthouse in Murfreesboro.

read more »

Former Accountant Accused of Stealing Nearly $1 Million from Energy Provider

A former accountant for the Meigs County-based Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) has been charged with stealing nearly $1 million from the organization, The Times Free Press reports. Jason Kittle was indicted by a Meigs County grand jury on a charge of theft over $25,000 after an investigation by the State Comptroller's Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which were probing suspicious transactions reported by the cooperative. According to the comptroller's office, Kittle stole $735,318 by making 242 transfers from a VEC account to his personal bank account, with another $229,293 stolen by making 204 payments to his personal credit card account. Kittle is claimed to have hidden the embezzlement by recording the fraudulent transactions in VEC's accounting system as online payment fees, returns, or similar transactions, according to auditors. VEC services 115,000 customers in Tennessee, including the communities of Benton, Cleveland, Georgetown, Decatur, Spring City, Crossville, Monterey, Jamestown and Byrdstown.

read more »

Ohio Now Accepts Bitcoin as Tax Payment

Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel said this week that businesses operating in the state will be able to pay for 23 different types of taxes using bitcoin, Huffington Post reports. Businesses will need to register for the program through a website that utilizes a third-party processor, BitPay. The digital currency is converted into dollars and deposited in the state’s account. Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency currently accepted, but Mandel is looking to add others in the future. This Forbes article analyzes the tax implications for business that choose to use this type of payment, including triggering tax gains and losses.

read more »

House Speaker Nominee Casada Wants to Reinstate Key Oversight Committees

Tennessee Speaker of the House nominee Glen Casada on Wednesday said he wants to revamp the committee system by bringing back House oversight committees regarding "prisons, children and family, and TennCare,” The Tennessean reports. There were 11 joint oversight committees eliminated in 2011 to save on staffing costs, including those overseeing the aforementioned areas. A bill was introduced in 2016 to create a 17-member correction oversight committee, however, the legislation failed to get out of committees in both chambers. Casada said the re-created committees will only be in the House, therefore will not need Senate approval. He is expected to assume speakership in January.

read more »

Audit Reveals Shortcomings with Tennessee Elevator Permits and Inspections

The recently released performance audit report of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development revealed errors made by the Elevator Unit, The Tennessean reports. The unit is responsible for awarding permits and conducting twice-yearly required inspections on the state’s public elevators, escalators, aerial trams and moving walkways, excluding those in Memphis. This results in an estimated 22,000 yearly inspections. Inspectors are able to issue warnings, citations, and even shut down elevators when code violations are found. However, the audit revealed that operating permits were often awarded to owners of elevators with code violations without notice from the owner that the defects had been repaired. Additionally, proof of repairs from the owners were not required and the department failed to conduct follow-up inspections. Auditors found that over half of a random sample of 50 inspections were conducted late by an average of 74 days. Officials from the department say they have made changes to correct these shortcomings, including the implementation of a new permit tracking system and additional staff training.

read more »

Nashville Mayor Halts Public Works Contracts Over Audit Findings

Nashville Mayor David Briley today halted five upcoming public works contracts for capital projects amid questions raised in a recent audit about the department’s close relationship with an engineering contractor, The Tennessean reports. The audit detailed photos showing Brentwood-based Collier Engineering entertaining city officials inside a company suite during sporting events in which the employees did not appear to pay for tickets, violating Metro’s code of ethics on accepting gifts. Briley’s administration further announced plans to hire the city’s first-ever chief compliance officer to review ethics in the city’s procurement process.
read more »

December CLE in 6 Cities

TBA offers CLE in six locations during December. See offerings in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Johnson City and Jackson. Find last-minute by the hour through Dec. 31 or take any of the TBA's online CLE packages.
read more »

Brown Named as Recipient of McCutchen Award

Twenty-eighth Judicial District Attorney General Garry G. Brown last week was honored as the recipient of this year’s McCutchen Award, The Jackson Sun reports. Established in 2000 in memory of Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference Director Pat McCutchen, the award is given to a prosecutor who has made a significant effort in the advancement of justice to Tennesseans. Brown is a graduate of the University of Memphis Law School; served as an Assistant District Attorney in the 28th District from 1989 to 1996 and was elected General Sessions Judge in 1998. He became District Attorney in 2000, with subsequent elections in 2002, 2006 and 2014.

read more »