October 2017 - Vol. 53, No. 10

Louis Brandeis: Pro Bono Lawyer

What the lawyer needs to redeem himself is not more ability or physical courage but the moral courage in the face of financial loss and personal ill-will to stand for right and justice.[1]

— Louis D. Brandeis


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The Fake Law School

How Today’s Written Tennessee Bar Exam Grew from Scandal and Disarray

J. William Farr was a crook. Make no mistake about that. He was also a lawyer, or said he was. Farr started a law school in Nashville in 1899 and sold degrees through the mail. This is the story of Farr’s Nashville School of Law (sometimes National School of Law) and how the antics of a champion huckster and fraudster prompted the state to establish the written bar exam. Sometimes it takes a scandal to bring about reform.

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Injury Damages Under Tennessee Law

Lessons from a Recent Federal Trial

A products liability case against Hankook Tire concluded recently with a defense verdict for Hankook.[1] The plaintiff was paralyzed from the neck down. Workers’ compensation had paid more than $1.75 million in past medical expenses, and the plaintiff also sought millions in future life care expenses. Had the case not concluded with a defense verdict, the plaintiff’s non-economic damages would have tested the Civil Justice Act (CJA) damage caps. And the plaintiff also sought punitive damages.

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Letters of the Law

Thumbs Up for Lincoln Book Review

I enjoyed John P. Williams’ book review of Lincoln’s Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America (by Brian McGinty; review published in the September 2017 Tennessee Bar Journal).

I have read somewhere that in the closing argument for the defense, Lincoln asked the question,

“Gentlemen, the question in this lawsuit is whether a man has a greater right to go up and down this river, than he does to cross it.”

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Legal Resources Made Available in Wake of Hurricanes

Lawyers are serving as critical “second responders” helping with legal needs for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Soon after Harvey hit the Texas coast in August, the state’s Supreme Court went into action. By issuing an emergency order allowing out-of-state lawyers to practice Texas law temporarily, the court opened the avenue for legal help to pour in from other states.

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RONALD GORDON “RON” DAVES of Knoxville died on Aug. 9. He was 74. Originally from North Carolina, Daves served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1962 to 1965. Prior to earning his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, he served as an investigator for the Tennessee Human Rights Commission. He was a member of Wimberly Lawson Wright Daves and Jones PLLC and practiced in labor and employment law since 1986.

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Give Help

As I write, two terrible natural disasters have hit states within driving range of Tennessee. Thousands are in need; those needs include legal needs; you can help; and it’s never been easier.

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Public Chapter 467: Public Employers and the Battle Over Gun Rights

A few years ago, we authored an article, “Guns in Trunks: An Erosion of Tennessee’s Employment-at-will Rule?”[1] which discussed the “guns in trunks” legislation and the interaction between Second Amendment rights and a private employer’s ability to terminate and/or discipline employees who violated a no firearm policy.

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Ready for Some Good News?

Good news from Congress is not flashy, but it is encouraging. Congress is making important strides by studying, writing and passing significant legislation affecting our veterans and older adults.

The following laws are at various stages in the legislative process. The status of pending legislation is noted at the end of each summary.

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