TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Tba People on Sep 7, 2011

Journal Issue Date: Aug 2011

Journal Name: August 2011 - Vol. 47, No. 8

Knox County Law Director Joe Jarret has been appointed to the board of directors of the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council and as the judge advocate for American Legion Post #2 in Knoxville.

Hixson lawyers Martin L. Pierce and Jodi Harris Schaffer have established a law practice under the new name of Pierce & Schaffer Attorneys at Law. Their practice will include estate planning, probate, elder law, employee benefit plans and corporate law. Pierce was formerly a partner with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC and Husch & Eppenberger LLC. Harris Schaffer was formerly the executive coordinator of estate planning and vice president for the Church of God Foundation. She also taught business law at Lee University. The new office is located at 4513 Hixson Pike, Suite 109, Hixson 37343. It may be reached at (423) 648-4303.

L. Gino Marchetti Jr. has been elected president of Lawyers for Civil Justice, a national organization of major corporations’ corporate counsel and defense counsel who work with legislatures and the judiciary for civil justice reform. Marchetti is the managing member at Taylor, Pigue, Marchetti & Mink PLLC in Nashville where he focuses on commercial and business litigation, employment law, bankruptcy, creditors rights and tax-exempt entities.

Memphis lawyer Rebecca Adelman, a principal of Adelman Law Firm, launched a new mediation practice in May. The Conflict Resolution Center of the Mid-South will provide conflict resolution services as well as resources for the community.

Stites & Harbison PLLC has hired attorney Brian Neal as an associate in its Nashville office. Neal joins the Business Litigation and the Torts & Insurance Groups, where he will focus on complex commercial disputes, bad-faith insurance defense, product liability, workers’ compensation and general litigation. Neal formerly served with Frost Brown Todd LLC for eight years. He received a master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

In other news from the firm, member Julian Bibb has been awarded the Shelby Foote Preservation Legacy Award from the Civil War Trust — America’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization — for exceptional merit in battlefield preservation. For the last seven years Bibb has led a team of attorneys and staff at the firm who have worked to acquire and preserve battlefield acreage in Middle Tennessee. During that time, the firm has donated over $1 million in pro bono services.

With the induction of Nashville attorney Kevin Sharp to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, his former law firm has changed its name from Drescher & Sharp PC to Drescher Heller Pieper Martin PC. The new name reflects the addition of David E. Heller, Sean J. Martin and Bryan E. Pieper as members.

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC has named J. Brook Lathram as a new partner in its Memphis office. He joins the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice after serving 38 years at Burch, Porter & Johnson PLLC. He will focus his work on high-stakes commercial litigation, white-collar crime, antitrust and internal investigations. Lathram is chair of the Tennessee Supreme Court Advisory Commission on Tennessee Rules of Evidence and Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. He also is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He earned his law degree from Columbia University in 1972.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee held its annual Pro Bono Night on May 26 to honor Chattanooga lawyers and law firms for their pro bono contributions. The firm of McWilliams & Gold was named Pro Bono Firm of the Year. Husch Blackwell LLP attorney Joseph Simpson was named Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year. Judge Jeffrey Hollingsworth was presented with the Equal Access to Justice Award. Amanda Branam Rogers with Luther Anderson PLLP received the organization’s Pro Bono Excellence Award.

Frost Brown Todd LLC has named Mekesha Montgomery as the new member-in-charge of its Nashville office. In her new role, Montgomery will be responsible for client development initiatives, civic and charitable involvement, and community outreach. She also will continue practicing in the firm’s labor and employment group, focusing on employment discrimination and wrongful discharge cases. Montgomery also serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee and Steering Committee.

The firm also has announced that partner Bobby Guy is the author of a new book: Distress to Success: A Survival Handbook for Struggling Businesses and Buyers of Distressed Opportunities, published by Frenetic Market Press. The book is written for the business leader struggling to restore a company’s financial health as well as the savvy buyer looking for acquisition opportunities. In connection with the book, the firm and the author have launched a new blog at www.distresstosuccessblog.com, which will focus on distressed investing, the acquisition market and restructuring issues.

Finally, the firm was recently recognized by The Women in Law Empowerment Forum with the group’s Gold Standard Certification Award for integrating women into the firm’s highest leadership positions.  

Jennie Latta, a federal judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Tennessee, has been reappointed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to another 14-year term. Latta joined the court in 1997, when she began a 14-year term that ended this year. Her new term will expire in March 2025.

Nashville lawyer Kent M. Weeks has authored a new book, In Search of Civility: Confronting Incivility on the College Campus, published by Morgan James Publishing. The book weaves current civility research with engaging student stories to illustrate how incivility affects students and the community. Weeks is a principal at Weeks & Anderson, where he focuses on higher education. He earned his law degree from Duke University and a Ph.D in political science from Case Western Reserve University.

The ARC of Anderson County, a United Way agency, recently honored Theresa-Vay Smith as one of four recipients of its 2011 Dove Award. Smith is an attorney with the Oak Ridge office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. The annual award recognizes individuals in the community who have gone above and beyond in their assistance to children or adults with cognitive or developmental disabilities.

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP recently announced the addition of two new associates in its Nashville office. Clint C. Cromwell joins the firm, having previously worked as an associate with Miller & Martin PLLC. He will focus on transactional matters, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, securities and corporate finance matters. He holds a law degree from Emory University School of Law. Travis G. Lloyd joins the firm, having previously worked at Buerger, Moseley & Carson PLC. He will focus on health care law, advising providers on a wide range of regulatory, operational and transactional matters. He earned his law degree from Georgia State University College of Law and a master of public health from Harvard University.

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) presented its highest national award for historic preservation to Judge Jon P. McCalla of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. McCalla received the honor for his work in preserving the oral history of small communities as editor-in-chief of the book An Illustrated History of the People and Towns of Northeast Shelby County and South Central Tipton County.

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has honored Jeffrey C. Smith, partner in charge of the Memphis office of Adams and Reese LLP, as its Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Smith was honored for his work handling pro bono TennCare cases and for setting up a partnership between his firm, TJC and the University of Memphis School of Law to serve the needs of low-income families on TennCare. Smith joined the firm in 2006. He received his law degree from the University of Mississippi. The center also recognized the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis PLLC as its Pro Bono Firm of the Year. The firm was honored for contributing hundreds of hours of pro bono legal services to TJC clients. The awards were presented during a June 17 reception at Legal Aid Society of East Tennessee in Chattanooga.

Nashville attorney Matt Haskell has joined the litigation group at Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin. He previously worked at the Tennessee Attorney General’s office as an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Justice Division.

New members recently were appointed to the Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission. TBA members among them are Sammie Leo Arnold with Ashley, Ashley & Arnold in Dyersburg; Elizabeth T. Collins with Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell PLLC in Memphis; and Michael Spitzer with the Spitzer Firm in Hohenwald.

Bill Hubbard and Marc Jenkins, partners with Hubbard, Berry & Harris PLLC, have formed Hubbard & Jenkins Electronic Discovery Solutions. The new firm will focus on providing legal counsel in the areas of electronic discovery and electronic records management. It also will serve as electronic discovery special masters for courts in the state.

The Chattanooga Bar Association recently held its annual meeting and presented a number of awards to local attorneys. The Ralph K. Kelley Humanitarian Award was given to Richard Buhrman with Buhrman & Associates PC. The Harry Weill Zealous Practice of Law Award went to Alan L. Cates with Husch Blackwell LLP. The Albert L. Hodge Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Sheri A. Fox with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. In addition, Richard S. Ruth with Home Health Care of East Tennessee was named the first recipient of the new Jac Chambliss Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes excellence in the profession and service to both the legal and local community. Finally, the President’s Award was given to Patricia Vital with the Vital Law Office & Dispute Resolution Service, and the Young Lawyer Division Volunteer of the Year Award went to Jason D. Demastus with the Office of the District Attorney.

Barry P. Staubus has been named Sullivan County District Attorney General following the retirement of H. Greeley Wells Jr. He will complete Wells’ term, which expires in 2014. Staubus has worked in the Sullivan County District Attorney’s office since 1994, serving as deputy district attorney since 2002.

Chattanooga lawyer and Husch Blackwell LLP partner David T. Lewis has been re-named to a leadership position in the American Health Lawyers Association. For the second year in a row, Lewis will serve as vice chair of the Physicians and Physician Organizations Practice Group. He also serves as co-chair of the Contracting Committee of the association’s Accountable Care Organizations Task Force. Lewis works in the firm’s Chattanooga office. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1984.

Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC has added Amanda E. Kelley to its Chattanooga office. She will serve a wide range of clients in the area of insurance defense litigation as well as handle workers’ compensation, product liability and employment defense. Kelley is admitted to practice in Illinois as well as Tennessee. She earned her law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law.

The Tennessee Association for Justice (TAJ) has honored TBA members Randy Kinnard, founding partner of Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge in Nashville, and Bruce Fox, partner and co-founder of Fox & Farley in Clinton, with its TAJ Paladin Award. The award recognizes TAJ members who achieve outstanding results for a client despite great obstacles, and who work to protect the civil justice system.

Lisa Ramsay Cole, an attorney with Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC for more than 18 years, has been named managing partner of the firm’s Nashville office. Cole practices in the areas of employment law, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice and general casualty defense. She joined the firm after her first year of law school and has remained with Lewis King since she graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1993. Cole is a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation and a graduate of the TBA’s Leadership Law Program.

Charles Key, a member of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs’ Health Care Practice, recently was installed as chairman of the Tennessee Bar Foundation. Key has more than 25 years of legal experience in the areas of general health law, including regulation of provider conduct, Medicare reimbursement, antitrust, insurance, privacy of health information, medical peer review, managed care and licensing.

A group of six attorneys formerly with Nashville’s Lassiter, Tidwell, Davis, Keller & Hogan have formed the new entertainment law firm of Keller Turner Ruth Andrews Ghanem & Heller. The firm will focus on transactional and litigation services for entertainment and sports clients as well as real estate, corporate, tax and estate planning. Principals are William J. Christopher Andrews, Jennifer Ghanem, Jaime Heller, Jordan Keller, T.D. Ruth and Jason Turner. The firm is located at 700 12th Avenue South, Suite 302, Nashville 37203 and can be reached at (615) 244-7600 or online at www.ktrlawgroup.com.

Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner PC has announced that Jonathan Stanley has been named a shareholder of the firm. Stanley focuses his practice on corporate and securities law and mergers and acquisitions for emerging and growth private and public companies. Stanley earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2004.


JUDGE THOMAS M. “T. MACK” BLACKBURN of Athens died June 26 at the age of 91. After serving in World War II, Blackburn attended and graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law. His long career included service as Knox County assistant district attorney, director of law for the city of Knoxville, Knox County chancellor, executive secretary and special judge for the Tennessee Supreme Court, and a Tennessee Court of Appeals judge. Following his judicial retirement, he served as mayor of Brentwood. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Mars Hill Presbyterian Church, 205 N. Jackson Street, Athens 37303 or to The American Rose Society, P.O. Box 30000, Shreveport, LA 71130.

Memphis lawyer STEPHEN P. HALE, 54, died May 27. He was managing member of The Hale Law Group, which specializes in consumer and commercial bankruptcies and commercial litigation. Hale earned his law degree from the University of Memphis in 1982 and began his career as a prosecutor in Arkansas. He returned to Memphis in 1984, practiced with several firms and then formed The Hale Law Group. The family requests that donations be sent to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South, 1780 Moriah Woods Blvd., Suite 10,; Memphis 38117 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place,; Memphis 38105.

Lebanon attorney ROBERT TIM HATTON died on June 18 at the age of 52. He was traveling from Tennessee to Florida for a vacation when the plane he was piloting crashed in Guntersville, Ala. Hatton earned his law degree from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1984. He relocated to Tennessee and was licensed to practice law in the state in 2006.

Jackson lawyer GEORGE L. MORRISON III died June 30 at the age of 56. Originally from Humboldt, Morrison settled in Jackson and became active in the Jackson-Madison County Bar Association. He served as a past hearing committee member for the Board of Professional Responsibility and served on the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Civil Service Commission. He was a 1982 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be directed to Youth Town, 3641 Youth Town Road, Pinson 38366; Hospice of West Tennessee, 1804 Highway 45 By-pass, Suite 100, Jackson 38305; or any other charitable organization.

Chattanooga lawyer GEORGE BOWMAN “BO” LENOIR, 56, died June 1. LeNoir earned master’s and law degrees from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., but returned to Chattanooga to practice private law. He later joined the juvenile court system and was serving as director of legal services for the Hamilton County Juvenile Court at the time of his death. The family reports that memorial donations may be made to the Memorial Hospital Cancer Resource Center, 2525 Desales Ave., Chattanooga 37404.