TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Oct 30, 2018

Journal Issue Date: Nov 2018

Journal Name: Vol 54 No 11

Knoxville lawyer Monica J. Franklin has stepped down as the Tennessee Bar Journal’s elder law columnist and from the practice of law, taking inactive status in October. She has written nearly 30 installments of “Senior Moments” regularly since 2009. The Tennessee Bar Association awarded her the Justice W. Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing for her 2006 article, “Securing Momma’s Home.” She is a former chair of the TBA’s Elder Law Section and a certified elder law attorney. She founded the Elder Law Practice of Monica Franklin, which is now Franklin & Kyle Elder Law. Franklin’s popular booklet, Saving Momma’s Home: 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Nursing Home Medicaid, remains available for download at www.franklinkyle.com/resources. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of law, cum laude, she has practiced law for 18 years, developing “a team of attorneys, social workers and public benefits coordinators to provide a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to help families navigate the long-term care maze.”

Franklin has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) secondary to young-onset Alzheimer’s disease. “I have enjoyed a wonderful career in elder law,” she says. “I have thrived on helping people and seeking justice for them. Life has presented me with new challenges, but I am focused on living a healthy lifestyle by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet, exercise, socializing with family, friends and pets, and connecting with and supporting other professionals who have been diagnosed with young-onset MCI.”

The Journal is indebted to Monica Franklin for bringing elder law issues and solutions to our readers for these many years.

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Nashville lawyer Marissa Moses Russ, a partner at MTR Family Law, has been elected president of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Nashville. CASA’s mission is to advocate for hope, healing and permanency for abused and neglected children in juvenile court by providing trained volunteer advocates.

Burr & Forman partner Jerry Taylor was recently appointed to the board of directors for the Nashville Health Care Council. Taylor focuses his practice in the areas of health care and administrative regulation. He has more than 25 years of legal experience in government service and private practice.

Memphis attorney Jason M. Goldstein has joined the law firm of Harkavy Shainberg Kaplan & Dunstan. He will handle civil litigation, landlord and tenant representation, estate planning and real estate. Goldstein earned his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 2011.

Memphis lawyer C. Michael Adams Jr. has joined the law firm of Evans Petree as a shareholder. He will focus his practice in the areas of estate planning and probate, wills and trusts and taxation. Adams previously worked as a partner at Williams McDaniel.

Memphis attorney Herman Morris has been named the new settlement coordinator for Shelby County. He will replace the current coordinator, retired judge Paul Summers, when the county’s current contract expires. The position monitors the federal agreement between the county, the juvenile court system and the U.S. Department of Justice.

David Jones has been appointed the new managing partner of the Memphis office of Fisher Phillips. Jones has been with the firm since 2016. He practices in the field of immigration employment and compliance. Jones takes over from Jeff Weintraub, who has served in the role for six years.

Judge John Everett Williams, presiding judge of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, has been named 2018 Outstanding Citizen by the city of Huntingdon as part of the city’s 26th Annual Heritage Festival. Judge Williams was appointed to the court in 1998 after practicing law in Huntingdon for 17 years. He was recognized for his service to the community, including support for the Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center, the Carroll County 1,000 Acre Recreation Lake and the Huntingdon Lions Club.

Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Gary W. Starnes has been elected president of the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference for the 2018-2019 year. The conference supports 185 general sessions court judges across the state. Starnes has served as a general sessions judge since 2012.

Jonathan Skeeters, a partner in the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, has been named chairman and managing partner of the firm. Bradley, which is based in Birmingham, Alabama, has nine offices across the southeast. Skeeters focuses on complex business transactions in the health care industry. Lela Hollabaugh remains managing partner of the Nashville office. The firm also reported that David W. Stempel, a partner in the Nashville office, recently received M&A Advisor’s 9th Annual Emerging Leaders Award. The award recognizes the achievements of young M&A, financing and turnaround professionals who have made a notable contribution to their industry and community. Stempel handles mergers, acquisitions, sales, joint ventures and capital raising.

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III has named David M. Rudolph as assistant attorney general for the Memphis office. Rudolph previously served as a circuit court judge in the 30th Judicial District and as a member of the Memphis law firm of Bourland, Heflin, Alvarez, Minor & Matthews.

New Orleans-based law firm of McGlinchey Stafford has expanded into Tennessee with the opening of a new office at 424 Church St., Ste. 2000 in Nashville. Three attorneys will represent clients in all areas of litigation and commercial practice. Member Shaun K. Ramey is licensed to practice in Tennessee, Alabama and Florida and has extensive experience with financial services litigation, unfair competition, trademark infringement and business partnership disputes. Member John T. Rouse, who works in the Nashville and Jackson, Mississippi, offices, handles complex civil litigation in the financial, automotive and insurance industries. Associate Jessica B. Spade works in the firm’s Nashville and Birmingham, Alabama, offices. She practices in the areas of commercial and financial services litigation, insurance defense and products liability.

Henry County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Vicki Snyder is the new president of the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. The council represents 98 courts across the state with juvenile court jurisdiction and provides training for judicial officers and technical advice for court staff.

Mississippi lawyer and TBA Senior Counselor Joe Ragland has released several new books, which tell the story of the birth and death of Christ. The three – The Sound of Christmas Music, Hallelujah and Love & War – are available on amazon.com. Ragland earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1967. He runs the Ragland Law Firm and Ragland Ministries in Jackson.

Nashville Criminal Court Judge Seth Norman was honored at a retirement reception in October. He stepped down from the bench at the end of August after 28 years, but will continue to be involved in the Davidson County Drug Court. Norman was one of the leading voices for drug courts in Tennessee. He founded the Nashville court in 1995.

Three attorneys have joined the Knoxville office of Lewis Thomason as special counsel. David A. Chapman defends local and national transportation companies, commercial motor vehicle drivers and motor carriers. Adam F. Rust focuses his practice on civil litigation, including employment law, premises liability, transportation, construction, professional liability, workers’ compensation and real estate. Tyler D. Smith has extensive experience representing employers, insurance carriers, and third-party administrators in the defense of workers’ compensation claims through trial and administrative hearings.

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has promoted Emma Sholl to managing attorney of its Nashville office. Sholl has been a staff attorney at the firm since 2014 focusing on health, benefits and special education issues. She co-chairs the Gilbert Family Fellowship program. Prior to joining the firm, she worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center in New Orleans. She earned her law degree from Tulane University Law School.

Idaho-based attorney and author Lee Holcomb has published Lifestyle Lawyer (www.lifestyleforlawyers.com), a new book designed to encourage women lawyers to think about how technology is changing the legal landscape and how this change can play to their advantage. She also helps female attorneys evaluate less traditional legal jobs, which often are less stressful, allow for more family time, and provide opportunities to focus on meaningful projects.


Judge SUE MCKNIGHT EVANS of Old Hickory died on Oct. 8. She was 85. Evans began her career as a teacher, going on to earn her law degree from Nashville School of Law, and entering into private practice in Nashville. She was elected General Sessions Judge for Division IX in 1996, was reelected twice, and completed her service on the bench in 2014 at the end of her term. Evans was appointed to the Court of the Judiciary where she served two terms from 1999 until 2007. In 2010, she was recognized by the National Association of Women Judges. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Father Ryan High School Library, in Nashville.

Nashville judge THOMAS AQUINAS HIGGINS died on Sept. 11 at the age of 86. A native of Nashville and a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, Higgins served three years on active duty in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps after graduation. Following his military service, he returned to Nashville and formed the firm of Willis and Higgins, and later became a partner with the law firm of Cornelius, Collins, Higgins and White. In 1984, he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan for a seat on the U.S. District Court for Middle District of Tennessee and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October of that year. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Cathedral of the Incarnation, The Ladies of Charity or the St. Cecilia Congregation of The Dominican Sisters, all in Nashville.

JAMES “JIM” SPRAY KIDD died Sept. 28 in Fayetteville at the age of 89. Kidd graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in business administration and a law degree the same year. He practiced law from 1951 to  2018 and had an active career in public service, including as circuit court clerk and district attorney general for Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties from 1966 to 1990. Kidd was a member of the TBA Pro Bono Committee, Legal Services of South Central Tennessee and Tennessee Commission for Children and Youth. Growing up on a farm, he continued raising cattle and crops throughout his life and was a longtime member of the Farm Bureau. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Fayetteville Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church or Gideons International.

JOHN CHARLES MCCAULEY died Sept. 9 at his home on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Originally from New Jersey, McCauley’s work took him to Louisville, Kentucky; Macon, Georgia; and Nashville. He enjoyed a distinguished career as an insurance/risk management professional. In the Nashville area, he served on the board of directors for the American Service Group and the American Retirement Corporation, both in Brentwood. He also served on numerous nonprofit boards, including Mental Health America and St. Bernard Academy. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of the Golden Isles in Brunswick, Georgia, or the American Red Cross, Nashville Chapter.

LEANN MYNATT, a shareholder in Baker Donelson’s Knoxville office, died Oct. 3 following a long battle with ovarian cancer. A well-known environmental law attorney, Mynatt was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. Since that time she was actively involved in advocacy for ovarian cancer awareness, hosting the Comedy for a Cause event, as well as leading a team of runners at road races. In her professional life, Mynatt served as the co-chair of the Knoxville Bar Association Environmental Section for many years and was a past chair of the TBA Environmental Law Section. She was a fellow of both the Knoxville Bar and Tennessee Bar foundations, founder and chair of her firm’s BakerGreen Committee, mentor coordinator for Baker’s Women’s Initiative and recruiting chair of the Knoxville office. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to West Hills Baptist Church or the Gynecologic Cancers Education Fund (checks payable to UT Medical Center, c/o Development Office, 2121 Medical Center Way, Knoxville, TN 37920, with memo to Gyn Cancer Education).