TBA Law Blog


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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 29, 2020

Those sitting for the July bar exam in Mississippi will be asked to sign a waiver indemnifying the Mississippi Board of Bar Admissions and the Mississippi Supreme Court from liability should they contract COVID-19 from the two-day exam. Law.com reports that the state’s Supreme Court decided to move forward with an in-person test in July but is implementing a number of public health measures. Mississippi is one of 20 jurisdictions that intend to administer the exam in-person as scheduled in July.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 29, 2020

The Tennessee Supreme Court has approved the 30th Judicial District's plan to re-open in-person proceedings for civil, criminal, juvenile, general sessions and municipal courts. Since the courts are located in various buildings, the Shelby County sheriff has developed specific protocols for each location. In general, masks and social distancing must be utilized, no more than 10 people will be allowed in a courtroom at one time, and no spectators or friends will be permitted in proceedings. In addition, there will be no in-person uncontested divorces or motions at this time. Each division has posted its preferences for how these matters will be handled on the Circuit Court website.

Posted by: Kate Prince on May 28, 2020

Nashville’s public health department will continue to provide COVID-19 patient information to first responders, despite yesterday’s announcement from Gov. Bill Lee that his office will discontinue that practice, WPLN reports. Metro Public Health Director Michael Caldwell said Nashville was never signed onto the state’s program and that first responders have been receiving patient’s addresses directly from the local health department. Caldwell said access to that data is limited and expires within a month or when the patient recovers from the virus.

Posted by: Kate Prince on May 28, 2020

Pending approval from the Tennessee Supreme Court, courthouses in Shelby County will reopen next week, the Daily Memphian reports. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced the reopening plan today, which includes new rules for anyone coming to court at any of the three county courthouses. According to the new rules, all those entering the courthouse will be required to wear a mask and will need to enter and exit through designated areas. Those who refuse to wear a mask will not be allowed in and will have to call the court clerk’s office to inform the court that they will not be able to attend. Only people with court cases, crime victims and witnesses will be allowed to enter the buildings. Children not involved in court cases will not be allowed to enter.

Posted by: Kate Prince on May 28, 2020

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle will decide next week on whether to issue a temporary injunction that would allow all voters to cast ballots by mail in the August primary to decrease their risk of contracting COVID-19, the Associated Press reports. State officials have said they “cannot feasibly implement” a quick shift to let all voters cast absentee ballots in the 2020 elections. Next week’s hearing will include discussion on two similar state court lawsuits, one from the Memphis-based voting rights group #UpTheVote901 and another from the American Civil Liberties Union. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Campaign Legal Center have also filed similar federal suits.

Posted by: Kate Prince on May 28, 2020

The U.S. House on Thursday passed legislation that grants flexibility to small businesses using loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, The Hill reports. The bipartisan bill from Reps. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., and Chip Roy, R-Texas, would give small businesses up to 24 weeks, up from the current eight weeks, to use the loans and extend the deadline for rehiring workers from June 30 to the end of this year. It would also allow the businesses to spend more of the money on non-payroll costs. The bill passed easily on a 417-1 vote, but lawmakers say more changes to the program are needed following complaints from small businesses that cannot qualify for the loans under the current terms.  

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 27, 2020

Gov. Bill Lee’s administration will stop sharing COVID-positive information with 911 boards and law enforcement agencies across the state, the Daily Memphian reports. A letter sent to lawmakers today says that as of Sunday, the state will no longer send agencies a daily list of names and addresses of those who test positive for the virus. The governor’s office also notified law enforcement and first responder agencies and encouraged all first responders to prepare as if every person they come in contact with has the virus.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 27, 2020

A new class-action lawsuit brought by two Shelby County Jail detainees is seeking the release of medically vulnerable detainees during the current pandemic. The suit accuses the sheriff’s office of violating detainees’ constitutional rights and notes that it is not possible for inmates to social distance, that detainees use all the same high-touch items and that staff often do not wear masks. The suit asks for the release of detainees with illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, HIV and hypertension, the Daily Memphian reports.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 27, 2020

A third jurisdiction has moved its July bar exam online but unlike other states making that move, test takers in Nevada will be allowed to consult outside reference materials during the two-day exam. The Supreme Court of Nevada has ordered the test be given remotely, but in an acknowledgement of the difficulties of monitoring test takers in their own homes, it is making it an open book test. Two justices dissented from the order, arguing the exam should be postponed until September in hopes it could be given in its traditional format then. Like Indiana and Michigan, Nevada will not administer the Multistate Bar Exam, Law.com reports.

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 27, 2020

COVID Cast, a podcast from Above the Law that looks at how the pandemic is impacting the legal profession, has released two new episodes. The first, features Nicole Pinard, vice president and general manager of legal education at Wolters Kluwer, who talks about the rapidly evolving law school model, how professors are adapting to virtual innovation, and what law students must do to prepare for the future. The second looks at the impact on in-house counsel. Mark Harris, CEO of Knowable, talks about how legal departments can use contracts to maximize revenue and minimize costs and disruptions.


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