News

Gov. Lee Provides Avenue for Public Feedback on Legislation

Gov. Bill Lee has taken an additional step in his commitment to “an open and transparent government,” creating a webpage for the public to view and provide feedback on legislation that has been submitted to him for consideration. Lee maintains that involving Tennesseans into the process more directly will increase accountability in how laws are made. The site will be updated regularly, as bills pass the Legislature and land on his desk.

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Why All Apartment Buildings in America Look the Same

Wood-framed balloon structures have become a ubiquitous part of our cityscapes, seemingly popping up overnight and changing the face of urban and suburban areas across America. No matter where you are, the buildings are ostensibly homogenous — blocky, colorful and three to seven stories tall. Bloomberg News examines the rise and controversy surrounding these ’stick framed’ structures, including why some municipalities seek to curb construction of the buildings in densely populated areas altogether.

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TBA to Introduce Legal Document Generation

The TBA will soon launch a new subscription-based product for Tennessee lawyers — automated legal forms. The initiative will use HotDocs, a custom documentation generator that creates form templates and speeds up the preparation process based on client and case data. In order to provide this valuable resource to our members, we hope to obtain your comments and ideas on forms you deem beneficial for replication. With across-the-board participation, we can comprise a substantive, comprehensive database where subscribers will have access to forms submitted by all TBA sections. Please send suggestions and comments to TBA Membership Director Mindy Fulks.

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TBA Legislative Agenda - Construction Liens

House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, and Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, introduced a bill yesterday that was drafted by the TBA’s Construction Law Section and supported by the TBA. HB875/SB682 amends TCA 66-21-108 by adding a malice requirement when imposing penalties on those filing fraudulent liens, while protecting those who make a good faith claim to a lien, but the lien is somehow erroneous or deficient.   
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TBA Recap: Construction Law Forum 2019

The Tennessee Bar Association’s Construction Law Section held its annual forum Friday at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. We welcomed over 50 attorneys, and attendees enjoyed top-notch programming covering a wide-range of construction law issues. If you were unable to attend, you will be able to watch segments of the program online. We'll let you know when the sessions become available from TBA CLE.

The TBA also would like to thank the forum’s producer, Construction Law Section Chair Jerry Martin, the entire executive council and all of the speakers for their hard work in putting this program together.

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Meditation Apps Help Incorporate Mindfulness Each Day

Consider a meditation app for your phone to help incorporate mindfulness into your day. The accessibility and variety of meditation apps can make them beneficial and easy to try. Some, such as Mindbody, Stop, Breathe & Think, 10% Happier, Breethe, Omvana, Insight Timer, Sattva Meditations & Mantras, and Smiling Mind (which can be tailored to different age groups) are free. Others, such as Calm, Headspace, and the Mindfulness App, have free trials and can be upgraded to a paid subscription. Comparisons of various apps are available on www.healthline.com or www.bestproducts.com.
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Tennessee Congressman Files Lawsuit Against Nashville Over MLS Stadium

A nonprofit led by newly elected U.S. Rep. John Rose, R-Cookeville, that operates the annual Tennessee State Fair sued Metro Nashville earlier this month seeking an injunction to halt construction of the city's new Major League Soccer stadium at the fairgrounds, the Tennessean reports. Tennessee State Fair Association argues that plans for the new MLS stadium do not leave sufficient space and structures for the state fair, which is a protected use in the Metro Charter. Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle in November denied a similar injunction request in a separate lawsuit filed by fairgrounds supporters that argued flea markets wouldn't be able to co-exist with the stadium.
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Metro Council Approves Infrastructure Funding for Nashville Yards Development

The Metro Nashville Council recently voted to grant preliminary approval for $15.2 million earmarked towards road, sewer and other infrastructure needs around the Nashville Yards project which will be home to Amazon’s HQ2, The Tennessean reports. The move also approves participation, easement and license agreements between Metro and Uptown Property Holdings, the building group in charge of development. Council member Kathleen Murphy — one of only three detractors — denounced the city’s interest in the infrastructure plan, saying that it was just "another incentive" for Amazon and that the money would be better spent on other projects throughout the city. The council will make its final decision regarding the infrastructure reimbursement on Feb. 5.

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Design for Amazon’s Nashville Office Approved

Amazon’s design plans for the Nashville Yards development were approved by the Metro Planning Department’s Downtown Code Design Review Committee early this month, The Tennessean reports. The company plans on building two large towers to house the 5,000 employees working at the “Operations Center of Excellence.” A rendering of the towers as well as additional images of the planned site are included in the article.  

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Tennessee Construction Company Ordered to Pay More than $500,000 Following DOL Investigation

Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, Reynolds Baldwin III – doing business as Copperhead Construction LLC – was ordered by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to pay $501,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 82 employees to resolve various violations. The department’s investigation details instances when Baldwin and his company illegally altered time records of employees to pay for fewer hours than actually worked and revealed that the company did not pay overtime when employees worked more than 40 hours in a work week. Additionally, Baldwin did not maintain accurate records of hours worked and failed to display required posters in the workplace. Read additional details in the department’s news release.

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Local Government Section to Host Reception at Tennessee State Museum

The TBA Local Government Section will host a reception at the newly opened Tennessee State Museum following its annual forum on April 11. Attendees of the reception will meet with museum curators and receive a staff-guided tour of the brand-new facility. This event is open to all Local Government Section members and those interested in learning more about the section; forum attendance is not required. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn Tennessee history while engaging with TBA leadership. You can RSVP for this event here.
 
When: Thursday, March 28, 5 p.m., CST
Where: Tennessee State Museum, 1000 Rosa Parks Blvd., Nashville
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Register Now for 2019 Construction Law Forum on Jan. 25

While construction disputes may start out as a disagreement between only two parties, they often proliferate into multiple party litigation. Join the TBA on Jan. 25 for 6.75 hours of CLE, including one hour of ethics, to examine the perspectives of these different stakeholders. Some of the topics to be discussed include surety bonds, mechanics' and materialmen's liens, Prompt Pay Act, recent statutory changes and more. The topics will be informative for all attorneys, regardless of construction law experience. Learn more or register here.
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Blog Reviews Most Important Legal Tech Developments in 2018

LawSitesBlog.com has published a roundup of the 20 most important legal tech developments in the past year, eschewing the traditional Top 10 list due to the overwhelming number of significant changes. Included on the list were analytics becoming an essential part of the legal practice, investments in legal tech topping $1 billion, the end of Avvo and the new American Bar Association rule emphasizing the duty of lawyers to be up-to-date on legal technology.
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Regular Memphis Pro Bono Clinic Has Served 12K Since Inception

Since its beginnings over a decade ago, a Memphis-area pro bono legal clinic has gone on to serve roughly 12,000 individuals in need, The Daily Memphian reports. The Saturday Legal Clinic, sponsored by Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) and the Memphis Bar Association, has been held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library once a month since November 2006. Firms and associations work to promote the event to ensure that 30 to 40 attorneys attend each month.
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Construction of New Fall Creek Falls Inn to Start in January

Construction is set to begin in January on the $29.4 million replacement inn at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The 95,000 square-foot building will include lodging, a restaurant and conference center; it is expected to be completed in 2020. Read more about the history of the park, recent renovations and what lead to the decision to rebuild the inn from the Times Free Press.

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HIROTEC Announces Plans to Build Facility in Tennessee

HIROTEC America announced this week that the company will invest $40 million and create over 100 new jobs over the next three years with the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Fayetteville, Elk Valley Times reports. The company is an automotive Tier 1 supplier specializing in manufacturing tooling. The Fayetteville facility will focus on part production capacity. The manufacturing plant will be built in the Runway Centre Industrial Park, a Select Tennessee Certified Site. The article notes the value of these certified sites for Tennessee communities, "businesses have committed to invest more than $1.6 billion and create nearly 6,900 jobs among 18 projects on Select Tennessee Certified Sites."

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Court Solicits Comments on Rule Change for Professional Privilege Tax Payments

The Tennessee Supreme Court is soliciting comments on a proposed rule change that would make delinquent professional privilege tax fees payable via an online portal and remove the requirement of a Privilege Tax Delinquency Notice to be sent via mail, requiring only an email notice. The deadline for submitting written comments is Feb. 4. Written comments may be emailed to appellatecourtclerk@tncourts.gov or mailed to James M. Hivner, Clerk, Re: Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 9, section 26 Tennessee Appellate Courts, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee 37219-1407.
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Join Us Today: LAW TECH

Today's the day! Discover the newest technology for your law practice and law office at this year's Law Tech Blast at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville!

The flexible open house format allows you to create your own schedule. You can attend CLE sessions, enter to win prizes, network with attendees, visit with sponsors and interact with speakers. Take as many or as few CLE hours as you need. Only those seeking to be awarded CLE Credit will be charged. The registration desk will be open all day, so you can come and go for the hours you need when it is convenient for you. Attendees can earn up to 6.5 hours of Dual CLE credit.

CLE TOPICS:
  • GDPR, Cloud and Technological Competency
  • The Bill and Phil Tech Show 2019: BEAT THE CLOCK
  • Best Practices: Information Security for Firms
  • Judicial Panel: Technology in the Courtroom
  • Know When to Hold 'Em
  • Digital Evidence – A Technical Life Raft for the Legal Mind
  • Make it Rain: Ethics Guidelines and Practice Essentials

ATTEND TO WIN: Attendees will have a chance to win prizes, including an iPad Pro. The tech prize drawing will be held at the 10:30 a.m. break. Must be present to win.

TAKE A LYFT: TBA has partnered with Lyft to offer attendees a discounted ride.

  • New to Lyft?: Get $5 off 2 rides at http://lyft.com/i/lawtech5 or download the app and enter code LAWTECH5
  • Already Have Lyft?: Save 10% off 2 rides to or from Law Tech Blast with code LAWTECH

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS & EXHIBITORS:


 

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Give the Gift of TBA Membership

Give yourself (or a friend) the gift that keeps giving — one-year of unlimited access to professional development opportunities and a number of programs and services designed to help you become a better practitioner. Founded in 1881, the Tennessee Bar Association is dedicated to enhancing fellowship among members of the state's legal community. Oh, and did we mention some of the benefits? Earn three pre-paid credits to use on any live or online course featured in the 12-days of CLE. Join now!

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Volunteers Needed for Legal Clinic in Nashville

Lipscomb University's final monthly legal clinic of the year at St. James Missionary Baptist Church, 600 28th Avenue North, will be held tomorrow, Dec. 18 at 5:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed. It will be an advice-only clinic with no expectation that you take on continuing representation. An informational packet that addresses common legal clinic questions will be provided. If you are interested, contact Randy Spivey.
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Downtown Memphis Development Board Approves First TIF Property

The Center City Revenue Finance Corp., a state-chartered industrial development board in Memphis, recently approved its first tax increment financing initiative, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The Union Row project will develop around 800 apartments, 200 hotel rooms and 460,000 square feet of mixed-use office and retail space in a location between South City and Downtown. Construction is set to start in June 2019, with the first phase scheduled for completion by June 2021.

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Rutherford County Industrial Development Board Member Faces Federal Fraud Charges

Rutherford County Industrial Development Board (IDB) member and former chairman of the Rutherford County Republican Party Nate Schott has resigned from the board after being indicted on federal fraud charges, The Daily News Journal reports. Schott is accused of using his dental practice to defraud TennCare, DentaQuest, Delta Dental and Cigna by having employees submit false and fraudulent claims. An IDB steering committee will begin reviewing applicants for the vacancy in January; interested parties can apply at the mayor's office on the first floor of the County Courthouse in Murfreesboro.

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Audit Reveals Shortcomings with Tennessee Elevator Permits and Inspections

The recently released performance audit report of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development revealed errors made by the Elevator Unit, The Tennessean reports. The unit is responsible for awarding permits and conducting twice-yearly required inspections on the state’s public elevators, escalators, aerial trams and moving walkways, excluding those in Memphis. This results in an estimated 22,000 yearly inspections. Inspectors are able to issue warnings, citations, and even shut down elevators when code violations are found. However, the audit revealed that operating permits were often awarded to owners of elevators with code violations without notice from the owner that the defects had been repaired. Additionally, proof of repairs from the owners were not required and the department failed to conduct follow-up inspections. Auditors found that over half of a random sample of 50 inspections were conducted late by an average of 74 days. Officials from the department say they have made changes to correct these shortcomings, including the implementation of a new permit tracking system and additional staff training.

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Supreme Court Adopts Proposed Amendments to Rule 33

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday approved amendments to Rule 33 dealing with the Tennessee Lawyer Assistance Program (TLAP) and the establishment of a supporting organization under the Tennessee Nonprofit Corporation Act. The court filed an order soliciting public comments on the proposed amendments on Oct. 17. It received three written comments during that period, each in support of the proposed amendments.

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Nashville Mayor Halts Public Works Contracts Over Audit Findings

Nashville Mayor David Briley today halted five upcoming public works contracts for capital projects amid questions raised in a recent audit about the department’s close relationship with an engineering contractor, The Tennessean reports. The audit detailed photos showing Brentwood-based Collier Engineering entertaining city officials inside a company suite during sporting events in which the employees did not appear to pay for tickets, violating Metro’s code of ethics on accepting gifts. Briley’s administration further announced plans to hire the city’s first-ever chief compliance officer to review ethics in the city’s procurement process.
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