TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Kate Prince on Jul 9, 2020

A book co-authored by Knoxville attorney Jack H. “Nick” McCall titled The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial, A Pictorial History of the Names on the Wall, Their Service, and Their Sacrifice has recently been published by the University of Tennessee Press. The book tells the stories of more than 300 service members whose names are among the 6,200 inscribed on 32 markers that serve to commemorate the tradition of military service in East Tennessee. Readers will find the accounts of each of East Tennessee’s 14 Medal of Honor recipients, along with tales of a variety of other veterans from World War I to the present, people whose lives and deaths together form a microcosm of the armed forces. Illustrated with historical photographs, the book gives a compelling history of individual lives, but also a broader sense of military history in the region and a contribution to the scholarship on the value of monuments as a means to honor the past.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jul 9, 2020

Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northeastern University are suing the Trump administration over an order that would force international students to transfer or leave the U.S. if their courses are taught only online, Business Insider reports. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday morning against the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and comes after new guidance from ICE that says students on F-1 visas cannot stay in the U.S. unless they have in-person classes to attend. Many college campuses are not planning a mass return of students in the fall due the COVID-19 pandemic. Among its arguments, Harvard said attending online classes would be impossible for many students, including those who live in countries like Syria, where there is a civil war, or Ethiopia, which is under an internet blackout.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jul 9, 2020

A July 4 protest outside the home of Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich could result in felony charges for some individuals, the Commercial Appeal reports. The protest happened late in the afternoon on Saturday when at least a dozen cars and roughly 40 protestors arrived at Weirich’s residence, yelling for her to come outside and chanting to end the money bail system within Shelby County. A video showed protestors firing Roman Candles towards Weirich's roof, which did not catch fire, removing flags from Weirch's yard, crossing a physical property line and subsequently setting those flags and another, larger flag, on fire. In an approved subpoena request, the Memphis Police Department asked for photographs from the Commercial Appeal, which it believes would help identify those who participated in the “attempted arson, arson, and theft of property.”   

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jul 9, 2020

Nashville attorney Abby Rubenfeld, who initiated the Tennessee marriage equality case Tanco v. Haslam in 2013, is being honored by the National LGBT Bar with the Leading Family Law Practitioner Award. That award is given each year to an individual who is in the private practice of law and has improved the lives of members of LGBTQ+ families, parents or children through outstanding legal work, demonstrated by a longstanding commitment to providing legal services of a high quality to the LGBTQ+ community. Rubenfeld started the Rubenfeld Law Office PC in 1979 and has been widely praised for her work in LGBTQ+ and AIDS-related issues and civil rights cases, all including an emphasis on family law. Rubenfeld will be honored during the virtual awards program on Aug. 12 during the 2020 Lavendar Law Conference and Career Fair.  

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jul 9, 2020

Private prison company CoreCivic on Monday informed Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall that it will no longer try to keep running a jail in Nashville, the Associated Press reports. For nearly three decades CoreCivic has run a facility that houses state inmates under a contract with the Tennessee Department of Correction. The CEO of CoreCivic wrote a letter to Hall on Monday telling him the company would be providing a 90-day transition plan for the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility and would no longer allow “political opportunists” to use it as a “punching bag.” That letter comes on the heels of Metro Council’s announcement last week that it would be renewing efforts to end the contract with CoreCivic. Hall said he had hoped for a six-month transition period, and is now working with officials to see what options exist.

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jul 9, 2020

The State Capitol Commission today voted to remove the controversial bust of Nathan Bedford Forest from outside House and Senate chambers and relocate it to the Tennessee State Museum, the Tennessean reports. The group had originally intended to only vote on the Forrest bust, but ultimately voted 9-2 to remove two additional busts of U.S. Admiral David Farragut and U.S. Admiral Albert Gleaves from the second floor of the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, and House Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough both said they were representing the preferences of their chambers by voting against the removal. According to WPLN, the petition will now go to the Tennessee Historical Commission for a final vote, but it will not be considered for at least three months and the process could take as long as a year.

Posted by: Barry Kolar on Jul 8, 2020

An item in Tuesday’s TBAToday was unclear in its reference to a form that attorneys may use to remit unidentified trust funds in an IOLTA account to the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (TLFCP). Development of the form follows the Tennessee Supreme Court’s adoption of RPC 1.15(f). The Board of Professional Responsibility and the Tennessee Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection (TLFCP) had jointly petitioned the Tennessee Supreme Court to adopt the new rule. This amendment has been adopted in several jurisdictions as a practical solution for attorneys with unidentified trust funds in an IOLTA account after having unsuccessfully attempted to ascertain ownership of the fund for 12 months. An attorney who remits funds in error may later file a claim for return of the funds subject to TLFCP verification. The unidentified funds form is NOT a new reporting form for the IOLTA program.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jul 8, 2020

The Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association (TAPABA) has announced new leadership. Lebanon attorney Chris Javillonar, general counsel for Permobil Inc., will serve as president. Memphis lawyer Robert Tom with Baker Donelson will serve as vice-president/president-elect. And Nashville lawyer Shilina Brown with the state Department of Commerce & Insurance takes over as treasurer, while Memphis lawyer Mary Wu Tullis with Baker Donelson becomes secretary. Board members are: Kaz Kikkawa with Cigna in Nashville, Julie Bhattacharya Peak with Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. in Brentwood, and Ruchee Patel with the Law Office of Ruchee Patel in Memphis. For more information about the group contact Tullis at mtullis@bakerdonelson.com.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jul 8, 2020

Gov. Bill Lee said today that the bust of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest inside Tennessee's capitol should be relocated to the state museum, the Tennessean reports. The move comes a day before the State Capitol Commission meets and is expected to approve removal of the bust. "Forrest represents pain and suffering and brutal crimes committed against African Americans, and that pain is very real for our fellow Tennesseans," Lee said. In a related story, WPLN looks at the dynamics of the commission membership and what to expect at tomorrow’s meeting. If the petition to remove the bust is supported, it will then go to the Tennessee Historical Commission for a final decision.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jul 8, 2020

Nashville honky-tonk bar owners are seeking a temporary restraining order against Metro officials, the Tennessean reports. The filing is the latest move by some owners of popular bars to push back against restrictions placed on the establishments by officials as they seek to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order seeks a restraining order against Mayor John Cooper, Nashville Director of Health Dr. Michael C. Caldwell and the Metro Beer Board, saying rules imposed by officials have forced bar closures and led them to suffer harm. In addition to halting the imposition of new closures, the suit also challenges the Beer Permit Board's decision to temporarily suspend beer licenses for four downtown bars after they violated previous COVID-19 orders.


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