News

UT Knoxville to Host Summit for Opioid Addiction and Response

The University of Tennessee in cooperation with Knox County, the City of Knoxville Mayors' All4Knox Initiative, East Tennessee State University, One Tennessee Health and the Tennessee Judicial Opioid Initiative will host the Summit for Opioid Addiction and Response (SOAR) in Knoxville Aug. 1-2. The summit seeks to bring together stakeholders of all backgrounds and areas from across the state to discuss opioid-driven addiction in Tennessee, and to identify solutions that can be used across the state. The two-day summit is a free event. You can learn more and register here.

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Medicare Wage Index Change Proves Popular Among State Industry Leaders

A recent rule change to the Medicare wage index — which determines Medicare reimbursement to hospitals — is receiving strong praise from state industry leaders, the Kingsport Times-News reports. The wage index update intends to balance out pay differentials between hospitals in areas that have higher pay and hospitals in areas with lower compensation for medical professionals, particularly in smaller communities. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., lauded the change in the Senate Tuesday as a major step to curbing rural hospital closures, citing Ballad Health’s recent pay increase for its nurses as a success story of the wage index update.

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Fastcase 7 New Features

A new Fastcase 7 update provides highlighting for your search terms when viewing the full text of a document. Each term is highlighted with a different color so that you can see the occurrence of each item separately. You can also turn off the highlighting function for both, and each term individually by choosing the highlight dropdown option, then selecting the ‘x’ across from the term. See this and all new features of TBA’s member benefit Fastcase 7 here.

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6th Circuit Rules That Nashville Family's Lawsuit Against Amazon Can Proceed

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a Nashville family’s lawsuit against Amazon, regarding a hoverboard sold by the company that caught fire and ultimately burned down their home, can proceed. The fire left two children injured as they were forced to break windows and fling themselves from the second floor. Evidence shows that Amazon was aware of complaints that the hoverboards were catching fire and exploding, and even launched an investigation that led the company to cease selling the model in question. The court affirmed that Amazon was in violation of the Tennessee Products Liability Act and Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. A trial date has not been set.
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First Tennessee Expands Trust Division to Middle Tennessee

First Tennessee Bank on Tuesday announced the opening of a new office for its trust division in Nashville, the Nashville Post reports. The company plans to increase financial planning services throughout middle Tennessee, appointing Stephen Russell, as head of trust and estate administration for the Middle Tennessee region. Russell was previously vice president and senior trust officer in its Knoxville office and is a TBA Estate Planning and Probate Section member.

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TBA House of Delegates Seeks to Fill 13 Open Positions

In accordance with Article 29 of the TBA Bylaws, the officers of the House of Delegates will fill 13 open positions in the House. If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, please submit a declaration of candidacy that includes your name, principal place of law practice, district of interest and contact information to TBA Executive Director Joycelyn Stevenson by July 15. Read a list of open positions here.
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TBA Debuts New Podcast Network

The Tennessee Bar Association Podcast Network launched today with the premiere of two shows-- Sidebar and BarBuzz. Sidebar is a magazine podcast featuring compelling stories from attorneys across the state. BarBuzz is a monthly rundown of TBA news and upcoming events at the local and state bar levels. Both shows are now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn and the TBA's website. Simply search the show title or "Tennessee Bar Association" wherever you listen to podcasts. Do you have a story lead you'd like to submit for a future episode? Submit your ideas here!

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Use Your Prepaid TBA CLE Credits Before Monday!

TBA members have until June 30 to use the 2018-2019 CLE credits that come with their memberships. Use the credits now to register for any TBA course taking place this summer or fall, or any online course, as long as you register by June 30. Don’t let these valuable credits go to waste! Find more information on how to use your credits, and if you haven’t done so already, remember to renew your TBA membership for the upcoming year to get more CLE credits.
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Full Upgrade to Fastcase 7 Coming July 22

The TBA will be upgrading to Fastcase 7 — the latest in legal research technology — on July 22. Start the transition by reviewing the helpful resource page to learn new and advanced research tools and view training videos and reference guides. Did you know that as a member benefit Fastcase also offers research assistance? Use the LiveChat feature located on the Fastcase website, email support@fastcase.com or call 866-773-2782, Option 2, to speak with a research attorney. 
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VW Workers in Tennessee Vote Against Unionization Efforts

Volkswagen (VW) workers in Tennessee recently voted down efforts to instill a labor union, The New York Times reports. Out of approximately 1,600 workers polled just over half opposed unionization, which the United Automobile Workers has been pushing since 2014. The chief executive in VW’s Chattanooga plant, Frank Fischer said of the move “Our employees have spoken … We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with elected officials and business leaders in Tennessee.” Gov. Bill Lee lobbied against unionization to workers at the plant, saying that the presence of a union would make it harder for the state to attract other businesses.

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Ageism and Multinational Corporations

Lawsuits against major corporations like Ikea and Volkswagen (VW) alleging discrimination against older adults are putting the ostensible practice of ageism under the microscope, according to a recent piece in Forbes. Multinational companies are becoming a lightning rod for such lawsuits, likely because of more stringent legal protections for American workers. IKEA is currently facing at least five age discrimination lawsuits, with four VW employees at its Chattanooga plant recently filing a lawsuit maintaining the company’s “Pact for the Future” program — touted as making VW “slimmer, leaner and younger” — is, in fact, a labor campaign designed to eliminate 30,000 jobs of employees mostly born between 1955 and 1960. Ageism can have more dire consequences in the U.S. compared to other nations, particularly European, where retirees enjoy subsidized pensions and universal health care.

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Mexico Becomes First Country to Approve New NAFTA Deal

Mexico recently became the first nation to ratify the new North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA), with its Senate approving the proposed rules in a landslide 114 to 4 vote, The Washington Post reports. Mexico remains a strong advocate of the program, which has been a huge boon to its economy, allowing 80 percent of its exports to flow into the U.S. Canada is also on board with the new NAFTA proposal, but is waiting to see how the agreement shakes out with leaders in the U.S. as ratification is pending on an agreement between the Trump administration and Congress. Mexico is currently the number one trade partner of the U.S.

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New Members Elected to TBA Board at Convention

Three Tennessee attorneys were elected to fill open positions on the Tennessee Bar Association’s Board of Governors during the recent TBA Annual Convention in Nashville. Ahsaki Baptist, an attorney with FedEx Express in Memphis, will fill the West Grand Division Governor – Position 1 post. Amy Willoughby Bryant, an attorney with the Office of Conservatorship Management - Metro Nashville Davidson County, will hold the Fifth District Governor – Position 1 post.  Heidi Barcus, a Knoxville attorney with the law firm of London & Amburn PC will fill the Second District Governor post. In addition, Williamson County District Attorney Kim Helper will rejoin the board as the District Attorneys General Conference representative, Bo Burk will join the board as the District Public Defenders Conference representative and Judge Donald R. Elledge will serve on the board as the representative from the Tennessee Judicial Conference.
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Judicial Conferences, Supreme Court Name Board of Judicial Conduct Appointees

A new law altering the Board of Judicial Conduct was passed by the legislature this year, so the current board will sunset on June 30 and be replaced on July 1. Under the new law, four of the Tennessee Judicial Conferences appoint one or two members each and the Tennessee Supreme Court appoints one member. The new board members are Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Camille R. McMullen, 18th Judicial District Criminal Court Judge Dee David Gay, 11th Judicial District Chancellor Jeffrey M. Atherton, Stewart County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge G. Andrew Brigham, Municipal Court Judge H. Allen Bray and Benton County General Sessions Judge John Whitworth. In addition to the judicial members, the new board will also include appointees from Gov. Bill Lee, the Speaker of the House and Speaker of the Senate.
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Businesses Testify to USTR Regarding Additional Trump Tariffs

Some of the nation’s business leaders recently participated in seven days of hearings with the Office of the United States Trade Representative in an effort to sway the Trump administration from imposing tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese goods, The New York Times reports. The group — comprised of toymakers, telecom officials, port workers and shoemakers — joined existing detractors, arguing that additional levies would further raise costs for consumers, disrupt supply chains and could force them to lay off employees or close. The administration says that these levies are necessary to curb China’s violation of international trading rules. President Trump will meet with President Xi Jinping of China at the end of this week to discuss the tariffs and a new trade deal, but business owners remain doubtful that an agreement will be reached.

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CHS Faces Class Action Alleging Securities Exchange Act Violations

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Tennessee-based hospital operator Community Health Systems Inc. (CHS) alleging the company made materially false statements and failed to disclose unfavorable business dealings to investors. The suit, filed by New York-based law firm Bragar Eagel & Squire PC, maintains that by negating or misrepresenting certain facts, CHS inflated its net operating revenue to increase stock valuation. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, can be viewed here.

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Metro Nashville Government Releases Report on Tax Incentive Funding

The Metro Government of Nashville & Davidson County released its Tax Increment Financing Study & Formulating Committee Report, which examines Metro’s Tax Incentive Funding (TIF) used to promote redevelopment in blighted areas. Mayor David Briley signed ordinance BL2018-1315 creating the committee to formulate recommendations on implementation of and ensure more transparency regarding the municipalities use of TIF. In its report, the committee compiled a number of observations and 17 recommendations, formally asking the Mayor’s Office to provide Metro Council with a description of agencies or departments that will address the recommendations, including cost estimates for implementation. The committee was scheduled to present its recommendations to the Metro Council last week. 

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Your TBA Free CLE Credits Expire June 30

TBA members receive three hours of free CLE programming. Your credits expire June 30 for the current bar year. You may apply them to any available course here or donate them. Members can use this credit to cover all or part of the cost of live programs or on any online CLE program. (The course does not have to take place by June 30.)
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AT&T Sacrificing Subscribers to Focus on Debt

AT&T is losing wireless and TV subscribers as it focuses on shrinking the company’s debt after the Time Warner takeover, the Los Angeles Times reports. While the company lost 627,000 TV and 204,000 wireless customers, overall debt was reduced by six percent. It is yet to be seen if the risky strategy will pay off, with a drop in subscribers affecting the company’s dividends and buyback power, however, the company is also exploring other avenues such as selling investments and property to abate the debt.

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5 New Job Postings on TBA’s Joblink

See who is hiring in Tennessee. Recent job postings this month offer opportunities in litigation, real estate, health law and more. See full listings or post positions in your firm on TBA’s Joblink.
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Register Now: 31st Annual TBA Health Law Forum

Register now for the 31st Annual TBA Health Law Forum and the 19th Annual Health Law Primer to take place this October in Franklin The must-see, must-do event for Tennessee health law attorneys, this forum features timely topics designed to up your game and keep you on top of trends in the area. Presentations in this year’s program will include: cyber threats in health care, surrogate decision making, updates with TennCare, cloud-based vendor agreements, reps and warranties, legislative updates, antitrust concerns and much more. Don’t sleep on this opportunity to learn from seasoned practitioners while networking with top players in the field. Here are the key details:
 
Health Law Primer (introductory program)
When: Wednesday, Oct. 16
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
 
Health Law Forum
When:  Thursday, Oct. 17 – Friday, Oct. 18
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
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Registration Now Open for TBA Convention in Nashville, June 12-15

The TBA's annual Convention returns to downtown Nashville this summer! Mark your calendars for June 12-15 and prepare for four days of CLE, networking, entertainment and more at the Renaissance Hotel, 611 Commerce Street. Registration is officially open, with early bird rates available until April 30.
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Friday: LGBT Law Annual Forum 2019

Register now for the TBA LGBT Law Annual Forum to take place on Friday, June 21 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Timely topics for this year’s program will include laws concerning conversion therapy, an inside look at Vanderbilt’s Clinic for Transgender Health, ethical considerations regarding discrimination and employment law, ending the day with an LGBT community advocacy panel open to the public.
 
The forum will be held in conjunction with the 2019 Nashville Pride Festival, allowing attendees to take advantage of the fun and activities surrounding the celebration. Don’t miss what guarantees to be an insightful forum and one of the nation’s premier Pride festivals! Here’s the key info:
 
Attendees are also invited to Tennessee Equality Project’s Pink and Purple Pre-Pride Party following the program.
 
When: Friday, June 21, registration begins at 11 a.m., CDT
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville
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Corporate Counsel Forum on April 5

At the 2019 Corporate Counsel Forum, discover the latest topics relevant to in-house counsel, including updates in law department technology, privacy and information security, immigration policies, ethics and managing a dual legal and business role. This forum, held on April 5 at the Tennessee Bar Center, has something for everyone, including 3.5 hours of general CLE and 2.5 ethics hours.
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Next Thursday: Business Law Forum

Register now for the TBA Business Law Forum 2019.
 
This program will help business lawyers learn and refresh their knowledge about issues that may arise when drafting an LLC operating agreement. Topics will include an overview of the two extant Tennessee LLC acts and a comparison of those acts with the Delaware LLC Act; other distinctions of Tennessee law that impact the operating agreement; drafting key provisions, including distribution and allocation, employee and member compensation, and exit rights; and ethical considerations for lawyers drafting LLC operating agreements.
 
When: Thursday, May 9. Registration begins at 9 a.m.
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville

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