TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Tba People on Jul 1, 2013

Journal Issue Date: Jul 2013

Journal Name: July 2013 - Vol. 49, No. 7

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz recently elevated four lawyers to shareholder status. Ben Bodzy, who works in the firm’s Nashville office, represents management in labor and employment litigation. He earned his law degree in 2004 from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University. The others, Jay Ebelhar, Jason Strain and Robert Tom, work in the firm’s Memphis office. Ebelhar handles employment law and financial services matters with a focus on defending mortgage lending and servicing claims. He graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law in 2003. Strain focuses on real estate acquisitions, sales, financing, development and leasing. He earned his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2003. Tom handles litigation involving commercial, real estate and mortgage disputes. He is a 2004 graduate of Tulane University Law School.

The firm also recently announced that Chattanooga attorney Carl E. Hartley has stepped down as head of its Tax Department after serving in the position for 10 years. A shareholder in the firm, Hartley will continue to focus on federal, state and local taxation, as well as corporate law and non-profit organization matters. A 1973 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Hartley also previously served as chair of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Tax Section.

Waller has added 10 new attorneys to its Nashville office. Mark D. Folk joins the firm as a partner after serving with Shutts & Bowen in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He holds a law degree from Stanford Law School and has 25 years’ experience in health care law. David P. Wright joins the firm as of counsel with over a decade of experience in the real estate field. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Wright previously worked for Wagner, Myers & Sanger in Knoxville.

Eight others join the firm as associates. They are: G. Tyson Bickley, a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, who will handle health care, mergers, joint ventures and venture capital matters; Cory A. Brown, a graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law and former associate with Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, who will assist health care clients with regulatory compliance; Caitlyn W. Davie, a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, who will assist clients with Medicare and Medicaid, facility licensing, health care mergers, syndications, joint ventures, divestitures and restructuring; Erin Phillips Hughes, a graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law and former associate with Farris, Bobango & Branan, who will help health care clients with leasing and transactional matters; Alexandria V. Lee, a graduate of Harvard Law School, who will handle general litigation, labor and employment matters, government investigations and white collar actions; Kevin Page, a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and former associate with Wagner, Myers & Sanger in Knoxville, who will focus on Medicare and Medicaid, privacy and security issues, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures; Dustin S. Timblin, a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School and formerly with Allen & Overy in New York City, who will assist health care clients with financing and bankruptcy matters; and Lin Ye, a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and former associate at Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada and Miller & Martin in Nashville, who will advise health care clients on mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. She also holds a master of laws from China University of Political Science and Law.

Miller & Martin attorney Travis McDonough has been named chief of staff and counselor for new Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. McDonough, who was chair of the firm’s litigation practice, also previously served as chair of the TBA’s Litigation Section.

Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop has named Nashville attorney Lisa Ramsay Cole president and managing shareholder of the firm. Cole has been managing partner of the firm’s Nashville office since mid-2011 and will continue in that role. She succeeds Deborah C. Stevens of Knoxville, who left the firm after being appointed 6th Judicial District Circuit Court judge.

The firm also named Rodney A. Fields as managing partner of the Knoxville office. Fields joined the firm in 1991. He serves on the board of directors and manages the Business Practice Group.

Finally, the firm recently announced that Nashville lawyer Mary Beth Haltom has been elected to the leadership of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD). She will take office in August as District 16 Representative, representing both Tennessee and Kentucky on the ABA YLD Council. Haltom, a shareholder at the firm, focuses her practice in the areas of commercial and business litigation. She has been active in the ABA as a Tennessee delegate to the ABA YLD Assembly and a member of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS).

The Hamilton County Commission has appointed Robert D. Philyaw as the county’s new juvenile judge. Formerly a solo practioner and municipal judge in Graysville, Philyaw will serve until the next general election in August 2014. A 2001 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, Philyaw has focused his practice on estate and probate cases, litigation and criminal defense. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee and co-chair of its Hometown Support Subcommittee.

Chattanooga attorney James T. Williams has been appointed to serve as chair of Miller & Martin’s litigation department. He practices in the areas of insurance, ERISA, construction and franchise law. His colleague Alison B. Martin, also in the Chattanooga office, will take on the role of vice-chair. She focuses her work in the areas of health care and product liability litigation.

Mark Chalos of Leiff Cabraser Heinmann & Bernstein has been appointed federal-state-liaison counsel for the product liability lawsuit pending against the New England Compounding Pharmacy, which is alleged to have shipped tainted steroid shots that led to an outbreak of fungal meningitis. He will coordinate communication with attorneys handling cases against the company. He also has been named to a seven-member plaintiff’s steering committee, which will coordinate pretrial discovery on behalf of the plaintiffs. Fellow Nashville lawyer Gerard Stranch, a member at Branstetter Stranch & Jennings, also has been named to the committee.

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) recently named Ann Pruitt as its new executive director. Pruitt earned her law degree from University of Tennessee, worked for several years in private practice, and then joined Dell Inc. as senior managing counsel in 1999. She later was named executive director of ethics investigations and operations. While at Dell, Pruitt served on the TALS Board of Directors and organized a number of pro bono events.

Deborah Herzel, a staff attorney with Legal Aid of East Tennessee, has earned this year’s Duncan Award for embodying the legacy of the late U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Sr., in the “professional” category. The award was presented by Senior Citizens Information and Referral Service May 2 in Knoxville.

Elizabethton attorney Stacy Street was appointed to the First Judicial District Criminal Court, succeeding Judge Lynn W. Brown, who retired March 31. Most recently, Street worked as a solo practitioner focusing on criminal law. He previously was a partner with Hampton & Street and an associate with Hampton & Hampton. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1992.

The law firm of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough has expanded its Tennessee presence with two new attorneys in its Nashville office. Kevin Doherty joins the firm as a partner and will practice in the area of insurance regulatory law. He also represents music clients in industry agreements and transactions. Cynthia Wiel joins the firm as of counsel. She will handle insurance, business, health care and municipal utility law as well as alcohol regulation. Both have played major roles in the development of captive insurance law in Tennessee: Doherty helped rewrite the law in 2011, while Wiel drafted the 2013 amendment and successfully lobbied it through the General Assembly.

Franklin lawyer Shauna Billingsley was awarded the Williamson County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award during the group’s Law Day celebration. Billingsley was recognized for her work promoting a better understanding of and respect for the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. At the same meeting she also was elected treasurer of the bar association. Billingsley is an attorney for the city of Franklin. The association also awarded Mary Catherine Kelly its Professionalism Award for a high level of professionalism in the practice of law. Kelly is a sole practioner in Franklin.

The Bradley County Bar Association recently announced new officers for the 2013-2014 term.  TBA members among them are President Jack W. Tapper, Vice President Ashley L. Ownby and Treasurer Rex A. Wagner. All attorneys have law offices in Cleveland.

Nashville attorney Matthew DeVries has been named a new board member of the Exchange Club Family Center, which works to prevent child abuse in Middle Tennessee. A member at Stites & Harbison, DeVries focuses on construction and business litigation.

Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs has named James C. Bradshaw III as the partner in charge of its Nashville office. Bradshaw has been practicing law in Nashville for 25 years and has been a partner at Wyatt since 1994. His practice focuses on commercial and intellectual property litigation, business disputes, products liability and employment law. 

The Murfreesboro law firm of Cope, Hudson, Reed & McCreary recently announced the addition of two new associates. Blake Garner, a 2012 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, will focus on general civil litigation matters, including governmental law, insurance defense and employment law. Nicholas Christiansen joins the firm after completing a judicial clerkship with Circuit Court Judge J. Mark Rogers in Murfreesboro. He will handle general civil, business and bankruptcy cases. Christiansen earned his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law.

Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada has added three attorneys to its offices. Two lawyers, George Crawford III and David Lewis, join the Nashville office and will work in the Business Services Practice Group. A third attorney, Brian Kimball, joins the firm’s Ridgeland, Miss., office. He will work in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group.

Knoxville attorney Karen G. Crutchfield has been selected to participate in the International Nuclear Advanced Law Program in Paris, France, in October. Crutchfield, a member of Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan, handles civil litigation. The international program is designed to encourage cooperation in the development of safe, peaceful, environmentally friendly and economical uses of nuclear energy. Crutchfield earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1994.

Nashville lawyer Carol Owen has joined Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz as a shareholder and a member of the Government Regulatory Actions Group. Owen, who has experience in the environmental, health care and financial services industries, will focus her work on complex litigation and operations/risk management. Owen also serves as pro bono counsel to Jane Doe 2 in U.S. v. Adan, one of the largest sex-trafficking prosecutions in U.S. history. Owen eared her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.

The Jackson law firm of Purcell, Sellers & Craig Inc. recently hired Kasey Washburn as an associate. She will practice in the areas of employment, education and family law, and general civil litigation. Washburn previously worked for the Office of the 26th Judicial District Attorney General. She is a 2012 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law.

John R. LaBar has been awarded a Master of Laws in Real Property and Development from the University of Miami School of Law. LaBar graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law and is currently a named partner at Henry, McCord, Bean, Miller, Gabriel & LaBar in Tullahoma. He has spent 13 years working in the areas of business and commercial transaction, real property, employment law, intellectual property and estate planning.


Nashville lawyer and TBA Senior Counselor ALFRED T. ADAMS JR. died May 21 at the age of 85. A 1952 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Adams practiced law in Nashville with the firm of Robinson Reagan & Young. He was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 1953. He retired in 2002 and moved to Beersheba Springs where he took up residential construction, surveying, farming and beekeeping. Adams was a charter member of the Nashville City Club, director and general council of the Nashville Union Rescue Mission, and deacon and elder of the Downtown Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Memphis attorney and TBA Senior Counselor BILL C. CLIFTON died May 15 at the age of 79. A graduate of Memphis State University and Southern Law School, Clifton briefly worked as an attorney for the IRS and then became a partner in the law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson. Clifton later opened his own law firm and maintained it until his retirement in the late 1990s. During his career, Clifton handled complicated criminal tax defense and had many celebrated cases, including defending the entertainer Jerry Lee Lewis. He spent the last 10 years of his life traveling the world with his wife.

Memphis lawyer ELIZABETH T. COLLINS, a partner with Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell, died May 23 after a long struggle with cancer. She was 50. Collins was a member of the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission, a strong supporter of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program and a master in the Leo Bearman Sr. American Inn of Court. In 2011, she became the youngest person ever to receive the Jerome Turner Lawyer’s Lawyer Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Memphis Bar Association. She also received the Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award for service to the legal profession and community. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Camp DeSoto, a camp for girls that Collins supported and represented as legal counsel. Checks should be made payable to the ACA Camper Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 432, Mentone, AL 35984 and include a note that the donation is for “Camp DeSoto-Collins.”

Columbia lawyer GLENN LEE COX died May 23 after a battle with cancer. He was 65. Cox earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1978 and established his own law firm with a focus on creditors’ rights. He faced cancer four times — in 1991, 2008, 2012 and 2013 — and was said to have battled the disease with the same strength and passion that he applied to representing his clients. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society or to the Macular Degeneration Foundation.

Nashville area lawyer and TBA senior counselor CARROL DUANE KILGORE died March 26 at the age of 86. Kilgore served in the Navy and the Pacific Theater in World War II. Following the war, he graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School and spent two years serving as an assistant attorney general during the John F. Kennedy Administration. He later moved to private practice and spent more than 60 years practicing law in Nashville. During this time, Kilgore authored two books: Judicial Tyranny and Restoring the Constitution. He was living in Franklin at the time of his death.

Compiled by Linda Murphy and Stacey Shrader Joslin Tennessee Bar Association members may send information about job changes, awards and work-related news. Send it to PEOPLE, c/o The Journal at 221 Fourth Ave. N., Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219-2198, or email to lmurphy@tnbar.org. Submissions are subject to editing. Pictures are used on a space-available basis and cannot be returned. Electronic photos must be saved as a tiff or jpeg (with no compression), minimum resolution 200 dpi, and at least 1"x1.5" or they will not be used.