News

Court Square CLE: Program Coming to Dyersburg on Oct. 23

The 2019 Court Square series is coming to Dyersburg on Oct. 23. This three-hour program is designed to provide attorneys with the latest developments in multiple areas of the law. Topics for this location include: appellate tips, litigating after the death of a party, and an update on legal ethics from the Board of Professional Responsibility. The program will take place from 12:30 to 3:45 p.m. at The Farms Golf Club, 2100 Club House Dr., Dyersburg 38024.

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Tennessee Hospitals File Suit Against Opioid Companies

A group of Tennessee and Virginia hospitals have joined forces to seek retribution from opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers, the Nashville Business Journal reports. The suit, filed in Green County Circuit Court, alleges that the drug companies made false statements regarding the addiction risks associated with opioids in order to persuade health care providers to increase prescriptions. The hospitals are seeking compensation for “substantial investments in people, processes and facilities” made to care for patients suffering from health problems related to opioid use. Industry analysts estimate the U.S. health care system spent more than $215.7 billion from 2001 to 2017 fighting the opioid crisis, according to the plaintiffs.

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New TBA Sidebar Podcast Episode Shares Benefits of Improv Comedy For Lawyers

A new installment of the Tennessee Bar Association Podcast Network show, Sidebar, is now available. The episode focuses on improv skills for attorneys and features interviews with the co-owner of the Third Coast Comedy Club in Nashville and Kirsten Jacobson, staff attorney at the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and improv student. Sidebar is available on the TBA's website or anywhere you listen to podcasts, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and TuneIn. Simply search the show title of "Tennessee Bar Association." Do you have a story lead you'd like to hear on a future episode? Submit your ideas here.

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Plan to Attend: International Law Trade & Investment Roundtable - Oct. 8


The Tennessee Bar Association’s International Law & Practice Section is providing an “International Law Trade & Investment” Roundtable Discussion on Oct. 8 from 3 to 5 p.m. CDT at Lewis Thomason's Nashville Office.
 
Can't attend in person? Viewing rooms will be available at Lewis Thomason's offices in Knoxville and Memphis as well as the Olsen Law Firm in Chattanooga. 
 
Networking Reception: Immediately following the roundtable, each location will have a casual reception. Mingle with fellow attendees and enjoy a selection of hors d'oeuvres along with a variety of refreshments, including liquor, beer, wine and soft drinks.
 
Speakers for the Roundtable Discussion include the following professionals speaking on (1) U.S./International Entrepreneurship, (2) U.S./International Tariffs, (3) U.S./International Treaties and (4) U.S./International Markets & Trends—  
  • UTK Law Professor Brian Krumm, Director of UTK Business Clinic
  • UTK Law Professor Maurice Stucke, author of “Virtual Competition” & “Big Data and Competition Policy”
  • Matt Ferguson, Chief Financial Officer of Happy Feet International Flooring
  • Masami Tyson, Global Director of Foreign Direct Investment and Trade at the Tennessee Economic and Community Development (ECD)
  • Waddell Wright, President & Asset Manager at W. Wright & Co. LLC
  • Allen McKendree Palmer,  President and CEO of Palmer Global Ink
  • Terry L. Olsen, Chair of the International Law & Practice Section
Although an RSVP is not required, signing up here helps us plan accordingly.  Please contact tolsen@tlolaw.com with any questions about this event. 

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Deputy Commissioner of TennCare Roberts to Speak at TBA Health Law Forum

As Tennessee deals with the rising medical needs of its rural citizens and seeks to realize its Medicaid block grant proposal, there are many developments on the horizon for TennCare. TBA Health Law Section member and Deputy Commissioner of TennCare Gabe Roberts will address some of these plans on Oct. 17 at the 31st Annual TBA Health Law Forum. Roberts’ address — along with presentations by Johns Hopkins health policy expert and New York Times bestselling author Marty Makary and health care policy advisor to the White House Larry Van Horn — will make this year’s forum the must-see, must-do event in health law. You can learn more and see the rest of the program’s stellar line-up using this link.
 
When: Oct. 17-18; registration begins at 7 a.m., CDT on Oct. 17
Where: Embassy Suites Cool Springs, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
 
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Man Who Pleaded Guilty to Murder Sues for Injunction Regarding 'Unprocessed Evidence'

A man who pleaded guilty to the 1996 murder of a woman during a home robbery is now suing the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office and the county’s criminal court judges seeking due process protections, alleging that certain DNA evidence that could support his innocence was not tested and was intentionally excluded from his trial, WTVC Chattanooga reports. The lawsuit maintains that untested evidence regarding 284 homicides cases, including Tracey Vick’s, that was discovered by the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office in 2015 "could reasonably support (the) Petitioner’s position that he is innocent of the crimes of which he stands convicted.’” 

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Legal Aid Society to Celebrate 50-Year Anniversary

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands will hold its 50th Anniversary Celebration “An Evening at the Frist” on Nov. 9 at the Frist Museum in downtown Nashville. The event will feature cocktails, live music and a gallery exhibition, and provide a unique opportunity to honor the group’s distinguished 50-year legacy of providing “justice for all.” Tickets are available online.

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Tennessee Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Caps Law

The Tennessee Supreme Court heard arguments this week on whether the state’s Tennessee Civil Justice Act setting caps on monetary damages violates the state’s constitution, Knoxnews reports. The legislation was passed in 2011 to create a pro-business climate in Tennessee by protecting businesses from hefty damages awards in cases of civil wrongdoing. The 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals already declared the law a violation of Tennessee’s constitution, but U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson noted Tennessee’s high court had remained silent on the constitutionality question and asked it to break that silence. The court agreed, leading to Wednesday’s hearing.

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September Episode Of TBA BarBuzz Podcast Now Available

Get a monthly recap of bar association news and upcoming events on this month’s episode of BarBuzz, part of the Tennessee Bar Association Podcast Network. Also included in the network are Sidebar, a show covering human interest stories from attorneys in Tennessee and HealthyBar, a podcast centered on attorney wellbeing. The 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.

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Hollabaugh Selected as a Top Woman in Litigation

TBA Litigation Section member and managing partner of the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Lela M. Hollabaugh has been selected for the Top 250 Women in Litigation 2019 by Benchmark Litigation. Hollabaugh is a renowned product liability and mass tort practitioner and currently serves as lead counsel for Amazon in a products liability case regarding the sale of hoverboards by third-party sellers. She has served as the lead trial lawyer in more than a dozen jury trials, as well as more than two dozen bench trials, arbitrations and administrative hearings. 

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6th Circuit COA Revives Lawsuit Claiming Sexual, Racial Harassment by Ohio Judges

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has partially reinstated a lawsuit alleging four state court judges in Ohio conspired to dissuade female employees from reporting discriminatory practices by those judges, Forbes reports. Plaintiff Andrea Boxill submitted several grievances claiming she was the victim of continued sexual and racial harassment and ultimately filed suit against one of the judges in 2016 after her issues were not addressed. Boxill’s lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice by U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson on the grounds of failure to state a claim. 6th Circuit judges Danny J. Boggs, Raymond M. Kethledge and Jane Branstetter Stranch reversed the district court’s dismissal of Boxill’s hostile work environment claim and remanded the case for further proceedings.  

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Solo Attorney Interested in Group Health Insurance? Here's Help

You’re in luck! As a solo attorney, you’re eligible for the new association group health insurance plan if you have at least one W-2 employee working 30+ hours per week. Rates may be as much as 30% less than what you’re paying today! Guaranteed issue coverage, no health questions and no pre-existing condition exclusions! Enroll or get a quote today. Contact the TBA for more information or call 423-629-2400 x264.

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Federal Judge Issues Stay Pending Outcome of TSC Decision Regarding Cap on Non-Economic Damages

A federal judge on Monday issued a stay on a judgment where a freight company was found responsible for the negligence of an employee that rear ended a woman's car, with a jury awarding her $2 million in non-economic damages. Tennessee Eastern District Judge Travis R. McDonough ordered the stay pending the outcome of Jodi McClay v. Airports Services Management, LLC, where the Tennessee Supreme Court will consider the issue of the state’s cap on these damages. This comes after a recent, similar case where Williamson County Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley challenged the cap saying it appears to be unconstitutional, citing the Tennessee Constitution's declaration that "the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate." McClay is set for the Supreme Court’s Sept. 4 docket.
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New TBA Member Benefit: Group Health Insurance!

The Tennessee Bar Association and TBA Member Insurance Solutions have been diligently working with Humana to bring TBA employer members an affordable association group health insurance plan. The fully-funded plan is available exclusively to TBA members. Enrollment is open now and ends Dec. 1. Get a quote or enroll today. Have questions? Contact us at tbams@tnbar.org or call 423-629-2400 x264.

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Volunteers Needed for New Nashville Legal Clinic

Legal Aid Society will host its Downtown Free Legal Clinic at the Nashville Public Library on Sept. 4 from 4 – 6 p.m., CDT. This is a new monthly service where lawyers can provide counsel and advice to those who otherwise could not afford it. The legal clinic will be held the first Wednesday of each month at this same time and location. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Kendra Cheek, 615-780-7131.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 4 – 6 p.m., CDT

Where: Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St., Nashville

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TBA Board Approves Bylaws Change; Announces New Group Health Insurance Plan

The TBA Board of Governors this week voted in favor of proposed revisions to the organization’s bylaws previously published to the membership on July 31. The most substantive change created a category of non-voting, law firm, employer-level membership. Under the revised bylaws, any law firm in which 100% of its Tennessee-based attorneys are members of the TBA will be eligible to become a law firm member of the association under rules established by the Board of Governors. TBA employer members will now have access to an affordable association group health insurance plan. Employer members include solo practitioners with at least one W-2 employee working a minimum of 30 hours per week. This TBA exclusive plan could save employer members as much as 30% on the cost of health insurance. No health questions and no pre-existing condition exclusions. If you’d like to be contacted when open enrollment begins (October 1), contact tbams@tnbar.org. Additional details on the plan options will be released over the next few weeks.

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General Assembly Approves 2019 Rules Package

The Tennessee Supreme Court has issued an order amending the effective date of the 2019 Rules Package, following the approval from the General Assembly on Aug. 23. The orders include amendments to the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Tennessee Rules of Evidence, the Tennessee Rules of Juvenile Practice and Procedure and the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. The court previously adopted the amendments on Jan. 8.
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Judge Disqualifies ADA for 'Vindictive Prosecution'

A Sumner County judge has disqualified a prosecutor for vindictive prosecution of a DUI case, the Tennessean reports. Judge Dee David Gay signed a court order Monday disqualifying Sumner County Assistant District Attorney Bryna Grant from a case after she told the judge in a hearing that she "absolutely" offers minimum sentences in criminal court, but told the defense attorney in the case she never offers the minimum sentence in criminal court. Gay's ruling concludes that "a prosecutor cannot tell the court one thing and then tell the defense attorney another thing."
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TSC Vacates BPR Formal Ethics Opinion on Disclosure

In a recently released opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court vacated the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility’s Formal Ethics Opinion 2017-F-163, first released in March 2018, which provided guidance to prosecutors about ethical duties under Rule 3.8(d) — the statute covering a prosecutor’s ethical duties to disclose evidence or information tending to negate the guilt of the accused or to mitigate the offense. On January 15, the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference filed a petition to vacate the opinion. In its unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court considered other states’ interpretations of prosecutors’ ethical rules and ultimately agreed with the position that a prosecutor’s ethical duties should be coextensive with the prosecutor’s legal and constitutional obligations. Read the opinion, authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins.
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TSC Upholds Trial Court Decision Excluding Videotape of Defendant's Post-Polygraph Statements

The Tennessee Supreme Court has held that a trial court acted within its discretion in excluding from trial a defendant’s videotaped statements given in a post-polygraph interview. In so doing, the court reversed the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals. In reaching this decision, the court noted that a trial court has broad discretion in determining whether particular evidence should be admitted at trial. As a result, as long as the trial court’s action was an objectively reasonable decision, an appellate court should not substitute its judgment for that of the trial court. Instead, it should uphold that decision, even if the appellate court would have reached a different result. State of Tennessee v. Quintis McCaleb was authored by Chief Justice Jeff Bivins.
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Johns Hopkins Health Policy Expert, White House Health Policy Advisor to Speak at TBA Health Law Forum

The Tennessee Bar Association’s Health Law Section has selected Johns Hopkins health policy expert and New York Times bestselling author Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H. along with health care policy advisor Larry Van Horn as the keynote speakers for its 31st Annual Health Law Forum to take place on Oct. 17-18 in Franklin. Makary has written for The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, TIME, Newsweek and regularly appears on various news networks as a health care expert. Van Horn has advised the state of Tennessee on health policy and is currently working with the White House on issues related to price transparency in health care markets — regularly meeting with the White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Federal Trade Commission on the topic. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to hear from the preeminent voices in today’s health care sector and enjoy other exceptional programming from top players in the field. Here are the key details:

When: Oct. 17-18; registration begins at 7 a.m., CDT on Thursday, Oct. 17

Where: Embassy Suites Cool Springs, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin, TN 37067

REGISTER NOW

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Aug. 30 Deadline: 36th Annual TBA Academy & U.S. Supreme Court Admissions Ceremony

If admission to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court is one of your career goals, don’t miss the opportunity to make it a reality during the 36th Annual TBA Academy on Nov. 3-4 in Washington, D.C., where a select group of Tennessee attorneys will be able to take part in a private admissions ceremony at the court. Prior to the private swearing-in ceremony, admittees are invited to attend a President's Reception and special dinner to celebrate with colleagues and bar leadership. The registration deadline to participate in this opportunity is Aug. 30. You can learn more and register here.

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New Details Emerge of a Lawsuit Regarding Astronaut Neil Armstrong's Death

News of a secret $6 million lawsuit settlement surrounding the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong broke just days after the 50th anniversary of his moon walk, The New York Times reports. Armstrong passed away in August 2012, two weeks after heart bypass surgery, as nurses attempted to remove a temporary pacemaker and causing uncontrollable bleeding. The case was settled in 2014 after Armstrong’s daughter-in-law, and family attorney Wendy R. Armstrong, sent a letter to opposing counsel saying the astronaut’s sons would go public with the accusations of malpractice against the hospital. A lawyer for Armstrong’s children, who participated in the secret hearings, said in a filing: “Any linkage of this health provider to the death of (Armstrong) could irreparably and unfairly forever taint the business enterprise … No institution wants to be remotely associated with the death of one of America’s greatest heroes.”

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Member Access to Solo Practice Toolkit

The TBA offers a user-friendly guide for new solo and small firm attorneys opening their own practices. The information contained in the TBA Solo in a Box Toolkit was gathered from numerous existing TBA resources, practitioners from across the state and input from TBA Sections. Start with exploring business structures most often used for solo and small firm practice.

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Man Sued Over Negative Online Review Highlights SLAPP Concerns

A Florida dog owner was recently sued for a negative review posted online, highlighting concerns regarding Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits, CBS News reports. Defendant Tom Lloyd took his sick dog to DeLand Animal Hospital where he was told that the animal would need emergency surgery. Six hours later the hospital informed him that it was unable to locate a surgeon. Lloyd then took the dog to another veterinary clinic that told him it was too late for surgery and the dog would need to be euthanized. He subsequently posted the unfavorable online review in question, when the reviewed hospital and veterinarian sued him shortly thereafter for defamation, claiming his statements were "false" and "published maliciously and recklessly." This case was settled after Lloyd participated in an interview with CBS; however, similar suits have been recently filed in New York, Kansas and South Carolina. While some states, including Tennessee, have laws against SLAPP lawsuits, there are no federal laws barring the practice. Tennessee's law became effective July 1.

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