March 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 3

The New Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims

A Primer

On July 1, 2014, the Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims was born. About a month later, the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board opened its doors. Our courts were part of a historic change in the law: Tennessee joined 48 other states in their approach to workers’ compensation claims. Going forward, state trial courts with general jurisdiction would no longer decide workers’ compensation cases, but rather, specialized courts devoted exclusively to workers’ compensation would resolve them.

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Maureen T. Holland was awarded the Marion Griffin-Frances Loring Award for outstanding achievement in the legal profession by The Association for Women Attorneys in January. Her daughter Yvette Holland helped celebrate during the 36th annual Banquet and Silent Auction in Memphis. At the event, the group also honored two women close to the AWA who died recently: attorney Mary Wolff and University of Memphis law professor Janet Richards. The 2016 AWA board officers and committee chairs were also inducted.

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Ask the TBA Membership Maven

Dear Maven,
Another lawyer here in town said she used office space at the Tennessee Bar Center when she was in Nashville for a client meeting. How can I get in on a deal like that? Was this just a special favor to her or can any TBA member like me have a place for meetings in Nashville?
In the Dark

Dear Mr. Dark,
I’m glad you asked and I’m happy to enlighten you! This is one of those membership benefits that is not so well known, but I aim to fix that. Here’s the scoop.

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Tennessee’s only full-time ABFDE-certified full-time document examiner. Formerly with U.S. Postal Inspection Service Crime Laboratory. Certified by American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. American Society of Questioned Document Examiners. Substantial civil, criminal and trial experience. Thomas Vastrick, 6025 Stage Road, Suite 42-182, Memphis, TN 38134; (901) 383-9282.

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Public Records as Evidence in Criminal Cases

The hearsay exception for public records could win the prize for the most underutilized evidence rule in criminal cases. Rule 803(8) is also a rule where the differences between the state and federal rule could change the outcome. In criminal cases, both the state and federal versions of the rule allow prosecutors and defense counsel to offer a variety of records created by an agency for the truth of the matters asserted in the records.

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The Triumph and Tragedy of Earl Rogers

He was a new kind of criminal defense lawyer: daring, flamboyant, creative and ready to use forensic evidence, visual aids and reenactments like never before. He moved criminal trials into the modern age. His tactics (some said “tricks”) were shocking yet effective. He appeared for the defense in almost 100 murder cases. He lost only three, and only one client was executed. He made the practice of criminal law exciting and attractive. Young lawyers rushed to handle criminal cases. He was who Clarence Darrow hired when he needed a lawyer.

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When John Jay Hooker Almost Shot Me

John Jay Hooker once challenged me to a duel. Well, his actual words were, “Bill, if dueling wasn’t illegal in Tennessee, I would challenge you to a duel.”

I responded, “Well, John Jay, I am very thankful that dueling is illegal in Tennessee since if it were not, I’m confident you would kill me.”

“Yes,” replied John Jay. “And you would deserve it.”

This conversation really did happen, and although I disagreed with my friend John Jay that I deserved to die, I probably did deserve to be shot.

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Licensure & Discipline


The law licenses of the following Tennessee attorneys were transferred to disability inactive status. They may not practice law while on disability inactive status, but may petition the court for reinstatement by showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and they are fit to resume the practice of law:

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Longtime Shelby County attorney ROSCOE ADAMS FEILD died on Jan. 17. He was 84. Feild graduated from University of Tennessee College of Law and Southwestern at Memphis. He practiced law for 60 years following service in the United State Army, where he was stationed in Guam. University of Tennessee School of Law Memorials may be sent to Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1750 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38104, or the Ellen Feild Todd Fund at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, 60 Perkins Ext., Memphis, TN 38117.

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Letters of the Law

A Little Law School Rivalry

I want to say “Amen” to Bill Haltom’s “In Defense of UT-Knoxville” article in your January 2016 issue. I attended a different law school, and I must admit that, on occasion, I have been guilty of looking down my nose at the Big Orange law school. I even may have indulged in making derogatory comments to my UT partners and friends (Donn Southern, Marty Regan, Brad Lampley, just to name just a few).

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