TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin, Kate Prince & Jarod Word on Feb 23, 2021

The TBA’s highly regarded Estate Planning & Probate Forum will return this year as a virtual program on Feb. 26. This annual staple will feature legislative and ethics updates, a clerk and masters’ panel, and sessions on trust modifications, decanting and anticipated tax changes from the new Biden administration. Check out all sessions and speakers now.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

In a “blistering” opinion last week, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Washington, D.C., said a Nashville man and his mother, charged in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, must stay in custody because their release on bail would threaten national security. Eric Munchel, dubbed "zip tie guy" in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection, and his mother Lisa Eisenhart, now will be held until their trials, the Tennessean reports. Federal prosecutors say they were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol to stop lawmakers from certifying the election of President Joe Biden. The pair face federal charges of obstructing an official proceeding, unlawful entry and violent entry. A Nashville-based magistrate judge had initially said the pair could be released while they awaited trial. Judge Lamberth’s ruling overturned that decision.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

Judge Merrick Garland, denied a Supreme Court confirmation hearing five years ago, appeared today before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as President Joe Biden's pick for attorney general, National Public Radio reports. During the proceeding, he vowed that the Justice Department would make protecting civil rights and combating domestic terrorism top priorities and acknowledged that communities of color still face discrimination in housing, education, employment and the criminal justice system. According to Law.com, he also assured senators he remains committed to an independent Justice Department. Garland has served for more than 20 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He previously was a special assistant to the attorney general and later a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. During the Clinton administration, he served in the deputy attorney general's office where he oversaw the prosecutions of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld dismissal of a proposed class action against General Motors claiming that the dashboards in some of the company's trucks were prone to cracking near the airbags, creating a danger of shrapnel in the event of a crash. The suit, filed by GM customers from 25 states in 2017, claimed that the dashboard defect was present in numerous trucks sold between 2007 and 2014, and that GM knew about it but did not issue a recall. Circuit Judge John Nalbandian, writing for a three-judge panel, said last week that the plaintiffs had not alleged sufficient facts to support a claim that GM knew of the safety risks. Reuters has more on the story.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

Former 30th Judicial District Criminal Court Judge James C. Beasley Jr. died Feb. 21 according to the Administrative Office of the Courts. Beasley served the people of Shelby County for 22 years as a judge, from 1995 until his retirement in 2017. Prior to his judicial career, Beasley served as an assistant district attorney general there for 17 years. He graduated from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1977. In pursuing a career in the law, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Judge James C. Beasley Sr., who was an assistant district attorney general in Shelby County and then a judge on the 30th Judicial District Criminal Court. 

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

U.S. Attorney Don Cochran, the top federal prosecutor in the Middle District of Tennessee, is stepping down at the end of the month, following a tradition of U.S. attorneys resigning upon election of a new president. According to the Nashville Post, Cochran submitted his resignation last week as requested by the White House and the Department of Justice. Cochran was confirmed to the post in September 2017, following the election of President Donald Trump. He was previously a professor at Belmont College of Law. Before moving to Nashville, Cochran was an assistant U.S. attorney in Birmingham. Cochran's wife is Cracker Barrel president and CEO Sandra Cochran. The office in Nashville will be overseen by First Assistant Mary Jane Stewart until a replacement is nominated by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday issued its first regularly scheduled order list since late January. SCOTUSblog reports that the judges added three more hours of argument to their docket for the fall, declined to take up lingering disputes arising out of the 2020 election, and denied former president Donald Trump’s plea to block a subpoena for his financial records. Cases granted review include those testing the constitutionality of Trump-era regulations prohibiting Title X funds from being used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning; the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule, which conditions immigration on the individual’s likelihood to not become reliant on government assistance; and the interpretation of the Armed Career Criminal Act, which requires enhanced sentences for repeat offenders who commit crimes with guns. The justices will meet for their next conference on Feb. 26. Orders from that conference are expected on March 1.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments in a case testing whether police may enter a home without a warrant when pursuing someone suspected of committing a misdemeanor offense. The case concerns retired California real estate agent Arthur Lange, whose garage was entered by a police officer without a warrant following a vehicle pursuit instigated by the officer after hearing loud music and erratic horn honking from Lange's car. Lange is appealing a driving under the influence conviction. The ABA Journal has more on the case.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

More than 60 teams competed in the Tennessee High School Mock Trial Grand Division Competition last weekend, with the top eight teams earning spots in the upcoming TBA YLD State Championships. Close to 600 students and more than 200 volunteers, including Tennessee sitting judges, attorneys, law students and paralegals all took part. Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association (CSTHEA) 1 claimed the Eastern title, while Montgomery Bell Academy 1 captured the Middle title and St. Mary’s Episcopal School 2 the Western title. In addition to these first place teams, the following schools will advance to the state competition in March: Brentwood High School 1, Girls Preparatory School 1, Girls Preparatory School 2, Montgomery Bell Academy 4 and St. Mary’s Episcopal School 1. Finally, Christian Brothers High School 1 of Memphis received the Team Sportsmanship award for its members' willingness to help opposing teams experiencing technical difficulties and for their kind words to competitors. Get details on individual awards here.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Feb 22, 2021

The TBA’s 2021 Business Law Forum is set for May 20 and 21. This year’s program will focus on valuation considerations for the Tennessee business lawyer with sessions from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. CDT each day. Produced by Ward Nelson with Miller & Martin in Chattanooga, speakers include Michael Collins with Expert of Counsel in Nashville; Paul Davidson with Waller in Nashville; Joan Heminway with the University of Tennessee College of Law; and Glenn Perdue with Kraft Analytics in Nashville. Watch for registration information coming soon.


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