TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 21, 2021

Johnson City lawyer T. Craig Smith died Jan. 8 at 54. A 2003 graduate of the Nashville School of Law, Smith practiced as a criminal law attorney in Nashville and Johnson City. He also served in the Tennessee National Guard with the 176th Maintenance Battalion and served with his unit during Operation Desert Storm. A committal service with military honors was held last week at Tetrick Funeral Services in Johnson City. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.tetrickfuneralhome.com.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin & Chelsea Bennett on Jan 21, 2021

The 2021 Virtual Construction Forum is on tap for tomorrow. This year's forum includes an in-depth analysis of recent construction legislation, including important changes to the Prompt Pay Act and construction lien laws; sessions on remote hearings, depositions and mediations; and a review of ethical considerations for navigating virtual court proceedings. The half-day program offers four hours of CLE credit, including one hour of dual credit.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

Nashville lawyer Lawrence Buford Hammet II received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court today. The court found that Hammet withdrew disputed funds from his client trust account and paid himself a fee that exceeded the amount his client allegedly agreed on. The client filed a civil suit against Hammet that was appealed after trial. The appeals court found that Hammet failed to keep the disputed funds in his trust account until the dispute was resolved and that he improperly calculated his fees which were unreasonable. The appeals court awarded judgment to the client in the amount of $67,335.69 and remanded the case to the trial court for a determination of pre-judgment interest. The trial court subsequently awarded pre-judgment interest of $22,092.10. As a condition of the censure, Hammet must satisfy the judgments against him on or before Jan. 19, 2021. His actions were determined to violated Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5 and 1.15(e).

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

Hamilton County lawyer Wilfred Shawn Clelland received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court today. In 2017, Clelland settled a client’s personal injury claim and received settlement funds, but the proceeds were subject to outstanding medical bills and/or liens. The court found that Clelland performed little, if any, work in negotiating the liens for over three years, and (1) failed to provide updates to the client, (2) held settlement funds in his IOLTA account for three years, and (3) provided false or misleading statements to his client. These actions violated the following Rules of Professional Conduct: 1.3, 1.4 (a)(3), 1.15 and 8.4.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

Charles “Chuck” Edward Racine of Gallatin died Dec. 28 at 83. Originally from Chicago, Racine earned his law degree from the University of Toledo Law School in 1967 and started his career with the former First National Bank of Toledo. He and his family later moved to Gallatin where he opened a private practice. A private family interment was conducted in Toledo. A celebration of life service will be held Jan. 28 at 11 a.m. CST at the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, 106 Bluegrass Commons Blvd., Hendersonville, TN 37075. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and Secretary of State Tre Hargett have announced a lawsuit against three Michigan-based companies — Labor Law Poster Service, Council for Corporations and ANS Inc. — and several family members that operate the entities based on claims that the companies have harmed Tennessee businesses. The state alleges the entities send mailers that look like invoices, threaten penalties, and demand a large fee for the filing of annual reports, something that business owners can easily do themselves online for a nominal fee. The companies previously settled with the state but are accused of continuing to send the phony mailings.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund recently announced a $40 million scholarship program to support a new generation of civil rights lawyers who will pursue racial justice across the South following law school graduation. Recipients of the new Marshall-Motley Scholars Program will have their legal education fully funded, then complete a two-year fellowship and spend at least eight years doing racial justice and civil rights work in the South. The program, made possible by the generosity of a single anonymous donor, envisions supporting 50 students. USA Today has the story from the Associated Press.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, is back in Nashville after battles with COVID-19 and pancreatic cancer, Chattanoogan.com reports. Carter, an attorney and former judge who was diagnosed with the cancer last fall, recently spent several days in the hospital after getting the coronavirus. He will serve as chair of the House Civil Justice Committee for the new session. Speaking about his return to Nashville, Carter said, “I feel blessed to be back in Nashville representing the people of District 29,” and “honored that Speaker Sexton has entrusted me to serve in this important role."

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

A recent study by ALM revealed that 74% of attorneys polled said the legal profession has had a negative impact on their mental health over time, while 56% said mental health problems and substance abuse are worse in the legal industry than in other industries, and 41% think these issues are at a “crisis level” in the legal industry. The suicide death of Sidley Austin partner Gabe MacConaill made these numbers more personal, Above the Law reports, while MacConaill's widow's op-ed “Big Law Killed My Husband” struck a nerve with lawyers everywhere. Another Sidley Austin partner, Kent Halkett, recently opened up about his struggles with mental illness in the January/February 2021 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal. He urges the legal industry to “create a culture where all attorneys ‘feel safe’ to reach out to their family, friends or professional colleagues another attorney or, as appropriate, their firm or local bar association.”

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jan 20, 2021

The Appellate Court Clerk's office is experiencing intermittent issues with its phone system in Nashville, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced this week. Those unable to reach the clerk's office by phone can reach out via email or by calling the Knoxville office at 865-594-6700 or the Jackson office at 731-423-5840. The Nashville Supreme Court Building was without phone service for a week after the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville and continues to experience unpredictable outages as repair work continues, the AOC said.


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