TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Tba People on Oct 4, 2011

Journal Issue Date: Oct 2011

Journal Name: October 2011 - Vol. 47, No. 10

Kentucky and Tennessee lawyer William T. (Bill) Robinson III is the new president of the American Bar Association (ABA). Robinson is the member-in-charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Florence, Ky., office where he practices civil litigation with a focus on commercial, product liability, environmental and medical malpractice cases. An ABA member for more than 35 years, and former treasurer and House of Delegates member, Robinson plans to use his year in office to focus on issues related to state court funding, volunteerism, membership and diversity in the profession. He earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2004.

The Knoxville law firm of Ritchie, Dillard & Davies PC has announced the change of its name to Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson PC to reflect the addition of Stephen Ross Johnson as a named partner. Johnson has been a partner with the firm since 2008. He practices white collar and general criminal defense. In other personnel news, the firm announced that Anne E. Passino, a 2008 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, has been promoted to senior associate and Rachel M. Stevens and Brian J. Wanamaker have been hired as associate attorneys. Passino and Wanamaker, a 2003 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, focus their work in the area of criminal defense. Stevens, a 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, practices in the area of civil litigation.

Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus was sworn into office in August, replacing Greeley Wells, who retired in July after 18 years on the job. Staubus is only the third person to hold the office in the last 45 years.

William Trumpeter, a member in the Chattanooga office of Miller & Martin PLLC, has been named a Rule 31 listed general civil mediator. Trumpeter focuses his practice on traditional labor law, equal employment opportunity litigation and Federal Labor Standards Act matters. He is licensed to practice in Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey appointed Memphis attorney J. Gregory Grisham to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission in August. Grisham, a partner at Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC, practices labor and employment law, defending employers in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge and whistleblower claims. He also advises and defends employers in Wage & Hour matters, unfair labor practices and union representation. He is a 1989 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law.

Bradley County lawyer Richard Fisher received a 2011 Achievement Award from Public Justice, a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C. Fisher, a solo practioner in Cleveland, was recognized for his work on behalf of tens of thousands of North Carolinians who were charged illegal fees and interest rates by three payday lending companies. Working as part of a team of lawyers, Fisher and his colleagues secured a $45 million judgment for the victims who were overcharged.

Knoxville attorney and Tennessee Supreme Court listed mediator Karen V. Fair has been appointed to the Tennessee Valley Mediation Association Board of Directors and elected vice president of the East Tennessee West Point Society. Fair recently retired from the U.S. Army after achieving the rank of colonel. During her 25 years with the Department of Defense, Fair was associate general counsel to the secretary of the Army and chief strategist to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Fair deployed to three combat zones, and recently earned the Bronze Star for her service during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In her new role, she is focusing on alternative dispute resolution and civic development and serving as a consultant and facilitator for corporations, school districts and nonprofit organizations. Fair earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a master of laws in international law from the Judge Advocate General’s School at the University of Virginia Law School.

Robert Nadler, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, has written A Practitioner’s Guide to Innocent Spouse Relief: Proven Strategies for Winning Section 6015 Tax Cases. The book provides a start-to-finish review of innocent spouse cases, including issues related to dealing with the IRS and handling judicial proceedings, to help taxpayers who claim innocent spouse relief. The American Bar Association Tax Section published the book.

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) recently announced that David Cañas was elected chair of its board of governors. A shareholder with the Nashville firm of Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner PC, Cañas represents clients in commercial litigation, dispute resolution and bankruptcy matters. He earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1994. Also serving on the TJC board for the 2011-2012 year are Gail Vaughn Ashworth, Wiseman Ashworth Law Group, Nashville; Carl Carter, International Paper, Memphis; David R. Esquivel, Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, Nashville; Alexandra MacKay, Stites & Harbison PLLC, Nashville; Nancy Fraas MacLean, Thomson West, Nashville; A. Gregory Ramos, North, Pursell, Ramos & Jameson PLC, Nashville; Cynthia Wyrick, Ogle, Gass & Richardson, Sevierville; and Ellen Vergos, Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP, Memphis.

Two attorneys in the Chattanooga office of Husch Blackwell recently were selected to participate in local leadership programs. Shelton Swafford Chambers was selected by the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute to participate in its mentoring program. Chambers practices in the areas of trusts and estates, non-profit organizations and tax law. In addition, Laura Ketcham was selected by the Chattanooga Chamber Foundation to participate in its Leadership Chattanooga class. Ketcham practices insolvency law, representing banks and creditors in commercial bankruptcy cases, loan workouts, foreclosures, lien disputes and actions before the American Arbitration Association. She graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2005.

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft was elected presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary in August. He replaces Judge Don R. Ash, who served in the role for the past four years. Craft was appointed to the Shelby County Criminal Court in 1994 and was elected to the position in 1996. He earned his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1978.

Jaimee Johnson has joined the Nashville office of Hall Booth Smith & Slover, where she will focus on general civil litigation, personal injury cases and premises and products liability. Prior to joining the firm, Johnson practiced with Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin in Tampa, Fla. She also previously worked as a senior trial attorney in the Nashville office of Allstate Insurance Co. Johnson earned her law degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law. She is licensed to practice in Tennessee and Florida.

Leadership Franklin has named a new class of 20 that includes Stites & Harbison member Joe Jensen, who practices in the firm’s Real Estate & Banking Service Group. He earned his law degree in 1984 from the Valparaiso University School of Law.

Tennessee Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association has elected Meagan Frazier Grosvenor as president and Kevin Balkwill as vice president of its 2011-2012 board of directors. Grosvenor is a lobbyist and lawyer at Smith Harris & Carr in Nashville. She graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 2007. Balkwill is a disciplinary counsel at the Board of Professional Responsibility. He earned his law degree from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1999.

The Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC recently announced that shareholder Maurice Wexler was named a member of the board of the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, which leads the association’s efforts to address critical issues such as human trafficking, business ethics and the teaching of human rights in the school systems. Wexler practices in the areas of labor and employment and general corporate law. The firm also announced that Meredith L. Williams received a 2011 Distinguished Peer Award from the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) and was elected to a two-year term on the ILTA Board of Directors. As the firm’s chief knowledge management officer, Williams oversees BakerNet, the firm’s intranet, and coordinates strategic growth in knowledge management, competitive intelligence and technology. She earned her law degree in 2002 from the University of Memphis School of Law. Also, the firm announced that shareholder David Bearman has been named its pro bono attorney of the year. Bearman, who practices in the firm’s business litigation group, recorded more than 200 hours of pro bono work in 2010 representing clients in landlord-tenant disputes, contract disputes, will contests, employment disputes, wrongful death actions and child-support and custody matters.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam recently announced new appointments to several state boards and commissions. TBA members among the group are Wadrick Hinton with Volkswagon Group of America in Chattanooga, who was named to the Tenneessee Motor Vehicle Commission, and Brian Ragan with Reynolds, Potter, Ragan & Vandivort PLC in Dickson, who was named to the Civil Service Commission.

Blount County Clerk and Master Stephen S. Ogle was elected secretary of the Tennessee Court Clerks Conference (Eastern Division) at the group’s August meeting in Morristown. The conference provides a forum for court clerks to share information and fellowship, as well as receive training. He will serve as secretary for one year.

Chattanooga employment attorney John Bartlett Quinn has been named to fill the Judicial Nominating Commission seat vacated by William “Bill” E. Young, who was selected as the state’s new solicitor general. Quinn, a shareholder at Chambliss Bahner & Stophel PC, was named to the post by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. Young had been serving as general counsel for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in Chattanooga.

Memphis lawyer Al Harvey, a partner with Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell, has been named a Paul Harris Fellow of the Midtown Memphis Rotary Club — the highest honor a club can bestow on one of its members. Harvey practices in federal and state court defending doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and other professionals. He also lectures, teaches and consults with clients in national security and governmental affairs. In his honor, the club donated $1,000 to the Foundation of Rotary International. Harvey was president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 2002-2003.

The Knoxville Bar Foundation recently inducted its 2011 class of fellows at its annual dinner. TBA members among the group are Tasha C. Blakney, Eldridge & Blakney PC; Wynne du Mariau Caffey, Ramsey Elmore Stone & Caffey PLLC; S. Dawn Coppock, attorney at law; Robert A. Crawford, Kramer Rayson LLP; Wade V. Davies, Ritchie, Dillard, Davies & Johnson PC; Samuel C. Doak, Arnett, Draper & Hagood; Michael J. King, Woolf, McClane, Bright, Allen & Carpenter PLLC; Jason H. Long, London & Amburn PC; Jack H. “Nick” McCall, Tennessee Valley Authority; Mary LeAnn Mynatt, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC; Carl A. Pierce, University of Tennessee College of Law; Rick L. Powers, Arnett, Draper & Hagood; Mary Ann Stackhouse, Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC; David N. Wedekind, Hodges, Doughty & Carson PLLC; and Circuit Court Judge Dale C. Workman, 6th Judicial District.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward G. Bryant recently completed a book on the history of the federal court in Jackson that chronicles the court from its inception and profiles the 22 judges who have sat on the bench. A History of the Federal Court in Jackson was published by Main Street Publishing.


Retired Washington County General Sessions Court Judge STEWART “BUDDY” CANNON died Aug. 8 at age 84. A native of Blowing Rock, N.C., Cannon lived most of his life in Johnson City and served on the court for 29 years. He retired from the bench in 1998 and served as an adjunct professor at East Tennessee State University in the field of criminal justice. Memorials may be made to Central Baptist Church Music Department, 300 North Roan St., Johnson City 37601; or the Johnson City Community Theatre, 600 East Main St., Johnson City 37601.

Memphis lawyer EUGENE L. “BUCKY” HEFFERNAN died Aug. 5 at the age of 88. A graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, Heffernan was licensed in 1949 and began his legal career as an assistant city attorney in Memphis. He later joined the Federal Housing Administration and served there for 28 years. The family suggests that memorials be sent to the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA), 910 Vance Ave., Memphis 38126; Germantown Presbyterian Church, 2363 Germantown Rd. S., Germantown 38138; or the Church Health Center, 1210 Peabody Ave., Memphis 38104.