TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Aug 7, 2020

President Donald Trump yesterday invoked emergency economic powers to impose broad sanctions against TikTok, a move that increases pressure on the Chinese-owned app to sell its U.S. assets to an American company, National Public Radio reports. The order, which takes effect in 45 days, prohibits any transactions between TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, and U.S. citizens. Security officials have warned that TikTok captures vast amounts of information from its users and could share that information with Chinese authorities. Also yesterday, Trump signed a similar order restricting business between China-based Tencent Holdings and U.S. citizens. Tencent owns WeChat, an all-in-one app used for messaging, social media and mobile payments.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Aug 7, 2020

Federal District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman has denied the release of "medically vulnerable" detainees awaiting trial inside the Shelby County jail, the Commercial Appeal reports. The ruling recognized "grave areas of concern” at the jail but found that problems could be “cured." Based on that finding, Lipman declined to rule whether detainees' rights had been violated by the county. The suit was brought by detainees over age 55 and those with chronic conditions. In June, a court-appointed inspector said procedures at the jail were "inadequate to protect the vulnerable inmates." The county says its response is "evolving." The ACLU represented the plaintiffs and had this response.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee today announced that Lynda Motes Hill has been chosen as the new Clerk of Court. Prior to joining the Court, Hill was a member at Frost Brown Todd in Nashville, where she served as chair of the firm’s Automotive Industry Team. She also served as vice chair of the Mobility & Transportation Industry Team, chair of the firm’s Litigation Technology Committee, co-chair of the Coronavirus Response Team and was a member of the Ethics and Women’s Initiative Steering Committees. Hill was previously a member at Miller & Martin in Chattanooga. She earned her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediator. Hill was sworn in on Aug. 3 by Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee Mike Dunavant today announced that 40 federal agents will be deployed to Memphis under Operation LeGend, a federal initiative to fight violent crime, the Daily Memphian reports. Memphis has experienced a 49% increase in homicides, a 23% increase in gun crime and a 19% increase in aggravated assault shootings compared to last year. Through Operation LeGend, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance will provide $200,000 to Memphis to fight violent crime. During today’s announcement, Dunavant said that with increased homicides and gun crimes, the operation “comes at a critical time in our city.” But in a reference to federal troops sent to other cities to quell protest-related violence, Dunavant added: “No one is talking about sending federal troops to Memphis.” Operation LeGend was named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed as he slept in his family’s Kansas City, Missouri, apartment in June.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

 The Transformative Justice Coalition (TJC) and the National Bar Association (NBA) are seeking applicants for an Election Protection Fellow, a one-year full-time position. The Fellow will work with NBA local affiliates to ensure the maximum pro bono participation of African American lawyers in the national Election Protection Coalition Program, which is facilitated by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and features over 100 partner organizations. The Fellow will also assist in designing programs for the recruitment and training of African American lawyers as leaders, volunteers and supporters of the Election Protection Program and develop and maintain relationships with community partners, organizers and coalition members. Applicants must have been admitted to the bar and have at least four years of legal experience. For more information and to submit an application, contact Barbara R. Arnwine.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

The Tennessee Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday over Gov. Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account program, the Daily Memphian reports. Davidson County Chancellor Anne C. Martin in May deemed the program unconstitutional because it violated the state’s “home rule” amendment since it only applie to Davidson and Shelby counties without their consent. Metro Nashville attorney Robert Cooper contended that the program would shift $37 million away from the local governments during its first year and up to $111 million by the fifth year. Jim Newton, who argued for the Attorney General’s Office, said Metro Nashville and Shelby County had no standing to file the lawsuit because school systems perform separate functions and are an “arm of the state itself.”

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

Memphis lawyer Lloyd C. Kirkland Jr. died Aug. 4 at 92. A Memphis native, Kirkland received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University before returning to Memphis where he practiced law for 67 years. After becoming licensed in 1953, he began his legal career at Taylor and Taylor until he started his own practice in 1963. Kirkland remained a solo practitioner for the rest of his career, specializing in wills and estates. Shortly before his death, when he was still regularly going to court, he was the oldest practicing lawyer in Memphis. Throughout his career, Kirkland was an active supporter of Memphis Area Legal Services, where there is a conference room named in his honor, and he served many times as a special judge in Probate Court. Because of COVID-19, a small graveside ceremony will be held Monday for family only, with a memorial service to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., Suite 1100, Falls Building, 22 North Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103 or online at malsi.org.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated a temporary injunction that gave all registered voters in the state the option of casting a ballot by mail, the Tennessean reports. Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle had ruled to expand absentee voting in June, ordering the state to accept fear of catching or transmitting COVID-19 as a valid reason to vote by mail. During oral argument last week, lawyers for the state changed their stance on who qualified to vote by mail, telling the high court that those with a “special vulnerability” to the virus and their caretakers would be allowed to vote by absentee ballot. Based on the state’s new interpretation of the statute, the justices concluded that the injunction was not necessary since those especially vulnerable to the virus already qualified for absentee voting. They also ruled that fear of COVID-19 among individuals who aren’t especially vulnerable to the virus does not qualify them to vote by mail. Absentee ballots mailed for today’s primary election will still be counted, but state election officials have told counties to “sit tight” before making a game plan for the November election. Read more on the 4-1 ruling at the Tennessee State Courts website.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

Attorney General Herbert Slatery today announced he has co-signed a letter to Congress asking that they adopt the protections contained in the Safe to Work Act. According to a press release from the AG’s office, that legislation “would help mitigate the threat of frivolous COVID-related litigation for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims have legal options where appropriate.” The release says businesses, manufacturers of personal protective equipment, first responders, healthcare workers, healthcare facilities, members of law enforcement and other individuals and entities need reasonable civil liability protections at both the state and federal levels. Slatery called the Safe to Work Act “a step in the right direction for the health of our state.” He joins 21 other state attorneys general in signing the letter.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Aug 6, 2020

Join the Corporate Counsel Section for Knowledge Nibbles — Bring on the Booze: An In-House Counsel's Guide to Alcohol Permitting in Tennessee on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until noon CDT. This live virtual event will feature Rachel Lawson of Schaffer Law Firm PLLC who will discuss obtaining and maintaining an alcohol permit in the state of Tennessee. The second hour will end with participants engaging in a Q&A with Lawson and other attendees. Don't miss your chance to be part of this conversation by registering now


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