June, 2011

Cover Story

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990 with the stated purposes “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate of the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities” and to “provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities...

President's Perspective

Evidenced by the predecessors to this column over the past several months, I have indulged my interest in Tennessee’s legal history to the point of neglecting important current topics that in past years have been the subject of the President’s Perspective. But, based upon personal experience and any number of sayings and platitudes on the subject, I...

Letters of the Law

In the lead article of the May 2011 TBJ (“Bargaining Power: Understanding the Rights of Public Sector Workers in Tennessee”), Cathy Shuck explains the movement to eliminate public employees’ collective bargaining rights with comments about “the weight of hefty pension and benefit promises” and “staggering unfunded pension liabilities.”  In...

Book Review

By Lewis L. Laska | McFarland & Company Inc. | $95 | 484 pages | 2011

This is a reference book that will last through the ages. It is the only complete compilation of the death penalty in Tennessee. From 1782 through 2009 a total of 524 men and women were hanged, electrocuted or lethally injected for capital crimes.

Senior Moments

Conservatorship cases present unique challenges for families and courts. The court must balance the individual’s right to personal autonomy and the state’s interest in protecting that individual. The removal of personal liberties must be decided based upon “clear and convincing” evidence. There are necessarily gray areas where convincing evidence may be...


Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. recently elected new board officers. TBA members among them are President Sean A. Hunt and Vice President Jonathan Hancock. Hunt, who founded The Hunt Law Firm, is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. He previously was a member of Spicer, Flynn & Rudstrom. Hancock is a...


Tennessee lawyers began mobilizing immediately after April’s storms, tornadoes and flooding in the state, ready to provide free legal assistance to victims. Using the newly unveiled web site, onlinetnjustice.org, lawyers were able to volunteer electronically, as well as by calling a hotline.

Licensure & Discipline


A temporary suspension imposed on Davidson County lawyer

The Law at Work

In its recent holding in Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 131 S. Ct. 1186 (U.S. 2011), the Supreme Court delivered a strong validation to the cat’s paw theory of employer liability in regards to various workplace discrimination claims.

Paine on Procedure

Counterclaims are governed by Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 13. Let’s look first at permissive counterclaims under Rule 13.02, because these cause no problems. Essentially the defendant is permitted to include in an answer claims against the plaintiff that do not arise out of a transaction or occurrence in the plaintiff’s complaint.

But Seriously, Folks

I’m not a photogenic man. As the old line goes, I have a face made for radio, or in this case, a journal column accompanied simply with a by-line and no photo. (Yes, I realize there is a photo alongside this column. But as you can clearly see, that’s not me in the photograph; it’s George Clooney in a seersucker suit!)