TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 27, 2020

Nashville attorney William Henry Haile II died on Feb. 19 at the age of 76. Haile earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C. Haile worked for Albert Gore Sr. before returning to Nashville and serving as the state’s Assistant Attorney General from 1972 to 1976. He led a trial team that successfully prosecuted James Early Ray for the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., litigation that began in Memphis and ended in the U.S. Supreme Court. Over the course of his career, Haile practiced in civil, criminal and federal law, taught classes at Nashville School of Law and ran for Congress in 1978 as an independent from Nashville’s fifth Congressional District. A celebration of life will take place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and a reception from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at West Harpeth Funeral Home and Crematory, 6962 Charlotte Pike, Nashville.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 27, 2020

A new House “sports calendar” will now deal with bills before the General Assembly dealing with student-athletes, the Daily Memphian reports. Several of the bills before the House Higher Education Subcommittee were prompted by the NCAA’s suspension of University of Memphis basketball star James Wiseman, who opted to leave the team to prepare for the NBA draft after his suspension. On the calendar will be HB 2648 and HB 2649 from Rep. Joe  Towns, D-Memphis, and HB 1694 from Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis. The bills focus on allowing student-athletes to get paid for endorsements or for use of their name, image or likeness, preventing universities from penalizing athletes for receiving gifts from boosters. The bills would also lead to the creation of a fund to make one-time payments to eligible athletes who don’t go pro after graduation.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 27, 2020

Two Vanderbilt University Law School faculty members have been awarded the 2020 Morrison Prize for best scholarship in environmental law for their co-authored paper. Jim Rossi, the Judge D.L. Lansden Chair in Law and associate dean for research, and Christopher Serkin, the Elisabeth H. and Granville S. Ridley Jr. Chair in Law and associate dean for academic affairs, won the award for their paper titled Energy Exactions. The paper suggests extending “exactions” to include the cost of the additional energy burden each new real estate project creates. The Morrison Prize is administered through the Law and Sustainability Program at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Rossi and Serkin will be awarded a cash prize and will present their paper at the Sixth Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators in Phoenix.  

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 27, 2020

Gov. Bill Lee this morning announced plans to introduce legislation that would allow Tennesseans to carry handguns without a permit, the Tennessean reports. Under the bill, legal gun owners would be able to forego the state permit process requiring a background check and safety training. Lee said the measure would make the state safer as it also increases penalties for illegal gun possession and thefts. The announcement was quickly met with praise from the National Rifle Association and with pushback from Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk and Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich. A similar bill was introduced to the General Assembly in 2016, during which time officials from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol spoke out against it.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 27, 2020

Don’t miss the latest episode of Legislative Updates, hosted by TBA Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs Berkley Schwarz and Adams and Reese attorney and TBA lobbyist Brad Lampley. This week, Schwarz and Lampley touch on Uniform Administrative Procedures Act appeal situations with the Tennessee Department of Health, problem-solving with the Department of Children’s Services and more. The show livestreams on the TBA’s Facebook page every Thursday. Legislative Updates is part of the TBA Podcast Network and can be found on the TBA’s website or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 27, 2020

The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change has announced that president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Kristen Clarke, will speak at the 2020 Join Hands for Change Luncheon on April 23. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonprofit organization working to protect and advance civil rights. The luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Avenue. Proceeds from the luncheon help the Hooks African American Male Initiative (HAAMI), the Hooks Lecture Series and more.  Find more information and get tickets on the university’s website.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 27, 2020

The U.S. House today passed legislation that would classify lynching as a federal hate crime, The Hill reports. The Emmett Till Antilynching Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, passed on a 410-4 vote. Today’s vote held historic significance as it came 120 years after a committee in the lower chamber defeated legislation that would have criminalized lynchings. The first bill to make lynchings a federal crime passed the House in 1900, but was ultimately filibustered in the Senate. Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African American boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 26, 2020

English pharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt has agreed to a tentative settlement with thousands of local governments across the country who are suing opioid manufacturers, the Tennessean reports. The company will declare bankruptcy and over the next eight years make payments totaling $1.6 billion, with most going into a trust to pay for addiction treatments. It is too soon yet to know how much of the settlement money will be spent in Tennessee. Mallinckrodt sent around 87 million pills to Tennessee from 2006 to 2014 and nationwide shipped 2.3 billion pills over the same timeframe.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 26, 2020

The Supreme Court today held that the state’s cap on noneconomic damages in civil cases does not violate the Tennessee Constitution. Plaintiff Jodi McClay had filed a personal injury lawsuit against Airport Management Services LLC, and was awarded damages by the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee that included $930,000 for noneconomic damages for pain and suffering, permanent injury and loss of enjoyment of life. The defendant sought to apply the state’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages, which caps damages at $750,000 in most civil liability actions. McClay argued the cap was unconstitutional. In the majority opinion, the Supreme Court held the cap doesn’t violate a plaintiff’s right to a trial by jury, doesn’t interfere with the court’s authority to apply and interpret the law and doesn’t violate the equal protection provision of the Tennessee Constitution. Go online to read the majority opinion by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins and dissenting opinions by Justices Cornelia A. Clark and Sharon G. Lee.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Feb 26, 2020

The American Constitution Society (ACS) announced today that former U.S. Senator Russell Feingold will serve as the organization’s new president. Feingold served in the Wisconsin State Senate for 10 years before representing the state in the U.S. Senate from 1993 until 2011. During his time there, Feingold he served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and cosponsored the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. After leaving the Senate, Feingold went on to teach constitutional law at Yale Law School, Marquette University Law School, Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School, where he still currently teaches. His new role with ACS begins March 9. Read more on the ACS website.  


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