TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 13, 2021

The 2021 TBA Annual Convention, presented this year as both an in-person and virtual event, offers eight hours of CLE credit. One of the key offerings will be the annual Bench/Bar Program, which will include three distinct presentations this year. The first session will focus on neurodiversity in the courtroom. The second session will focus on vicarious trauma and secondary PTSD. Buddy Stockwell, executive director of the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP), will provide an overview of “compassion fatigue” and talk about how he dealt with distressing situations as a family law practitioner. Then TLAP Clinical Director Holly Wade will discuss even more debilitating levels of distress such as PTSD and what therapy and recovery look like for those cases. The program is designed to equip participants to recognize symptoms in themselves and others for early intervention and best outcomes. See all CLE programs being offered during the convention and register here.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 13, 2021

The TBA’s Tax Law Section continues its Tax Law CLE Series 2021 with a session on State Tax Remedies: The Informal Conference Process on May 26 from noon to 1 p.m. CDT.  The program will cover the informal conference process, an alternative to court for taxpayers who want to challenge a proposed assessment issued by the Tennessee Department of Revenue. The department holds about 350 informal conferences a year! Renew your TBA membership and get three prepaid CLE credits to use on this program.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

Clarksville lawyer and former TBA President F. Evans Harvill died Monday at 95. A graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Harvill first practiced law at a Clarksville firm that would later became Daniel, Harvill, Batson & Nolan and then Batson Nolan PLC. Another TBA president, Dan Nolan, still practices at the firm. Harvill served as TBA president from 1979-1980. He also spent decades promoting Austin Peay State University as one of its most trusted ambassadors and advisors, the Leaf Chronicle reports. He helped launch the Mabry Concert Hall project, raised more than $500,000 for fine arts, and established several endowed scholarships in the arts. His connection to the school began when his father joined the faculty to teach history. He later went on to serve as president of the school. Visitation will be held Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Monday from noon to 1 p.m. at Madison Street United Methodist Church of Clarksville. A Celebration of Life Service will follow visitation on Monday at the church. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

The Chattanooga and Nashville chapters of the Federalist Society will host a free webinar May 19 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. EST on “The Free Exercise Clause in 2021.” The program will explore two key court cases on the topic: Employment Division v. Smith and Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Speakers include Lori Windham, with The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; Notre Dame Law School Professor Richard W. Garnett; and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Professor Kody Cooper. Judge Katherine A. Crytzer of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee will moderate the program.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

Six leaders of the Asian American legal community will discuss the legacy of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the American justice system at a virtual program hosted by the American Bar Association Judicial Division. A Journey Through America’s Silent History: A Discussion Highlighting Asian American and Pacific Islanders’ Contributions to the Advancement of America Amid Exclusion and Invisibility” will be held May 21 at 11 a.m. CDT. Panelists will discuss legal issues arising from Asian American life in the United States, including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Korematsu v. United States. Register here.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

Gov. Bill Lee last night signed legislation that will allow Tennessee collegiate athletes to earn money off their name, image and likeness, the Tennessean reports. Under the measure, schools will be required to conduct a financial literacy workshop for new athletes and students will be prohibited from endorsing gambling, alcohol, tobacco or adult entertainment products. The bill will take effect Jan. 1, 2022. Tennessee is the 15th state to pass such legislation, joining Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and New Mexico, where laws take effect July 1.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

Less than 24 hours after the Davidson County Election Commission voted to place the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act’s referendum on taxes on the ballot, a second group has filed suit against the effort. The Nashville Business Coalition joins Metro Nashville in challenging the referendum, Tennessee Star reports. The coalition is seeking to invalidate the signatures collected to put the referendum on the ballot, arguing that election commissioners verified hundreds of signatures from voters who no longer live in Davidson County or signed for their spouse or partner. The suit also argues that the Davidson County Election Commission does not have authority to determine if certain ballot provisions are legally valid.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

Two former Tennessee Supreme Court justices are calling on Gov. Bill Lee to veto legislation setting up three-judge panels to hear constitutional challenges, Tennessee Lookout reports. William “Muecke” Barker, a former chief justice who served on the court from 1998 to 2008, and Penny White, who served from 1994 to 1996, say the plan adopted by the legislature last week is unworkable, unnecessary and politically motivated. “I am very, very disappointed that legislation was passed. It just reeked of partisanship. For years and years we’ve had the system that does work,” said Barker, now an attorney with Chambliss Bahner & Stophel in Chattanooga. Likewise, White, a University of Tennessee School of Law professor, believes the plan will cause inefficiency, delay and higher costs. In addition to the former justices, Chattanooga attorney Lee Davis is leading a statewide effort to urge the governor to veto the bill. He argues the new process will result in a “nightmare” of logistical problems.  The TBA provided continuous feedback to the legislators working on the bill and expressed members' concerns throughout the legislative process. It is still extremely concerned with the compromise bill that was passed. Yesterday, Lee said he plans to sign the bill. The budget approved by the legislature and signed by Lee also contains $2.4 million to set up the court.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

Rep. Jason Potts, a Democrat representing a portion of Nashville in the state House, announced this week that he will not seek re-election in 2022, the Tennessean reports. Potts, whose House District 59 covers the southeast corner of Davidson County, cited personal stress, low pay and alleged discrimination from the Republican majority as reasons for stepping down. He said he will however complete the second year of the current legislative session. Potts missed 21 of 34 legislative days this session, according to attendance data recorded by the clerk's office. When asked about the absences, Potts said increased stress in his personal life affected his attendance. Before election to the House, Potts served on the Nashville Metro Council.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 12, 2021

The U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the justices to reject Mississippi’s effort to make Tennessee pay for alleged groundwater theft, Bloomberg Law reports. The brief argues that, “A suit brought by one State against another must be dismissed unless the plaintiff State can establish a ground on which it may recover” and that “Mississippi has failed to establish any ground on which it may recover here.” The DOJ takes the position that the groundwater at issue is an interstate resource subject to equitable apportionment among relevant states, and that until the groundwater has been apportioned, Mississippi cannot claim that Tennessee is taking its resource. The brief concludes that, “Because Mississippi has disclaimed any request for an equitable apportionment,” the complaint “lacks any cognizable basis for relief and should be dismissed.” Track the history of the case on SCOTUSblog.


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