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.

read more »

TBA Weekly Legislative Update

The Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives are back in session and are referring newly introduced bills to the appropriate committees, which are primarily holding organizational meetings this week. The deadline for filing all legislation is Feb. 6, so there will be a flood of bills introduced over the next two weeks. The TBA Governmental Affairs Team will be reviewing all bills and begin the process of forwarding the legislation affecting the practice of law to the appropriate Section Executive Councils for review and feedback. Stay tuned for more info.
read more »

Greene County Groups Aid Dogs from Georgia Puppy Mill Raids

Animal rescue groups in Greene County are playing an integral role in the recovery of hundreds of dogs recently rescued from Georgia puppy mills, WJHL News reports. The Atlanta Humane Society rescued the dogs found in "extremely neglectful" conditions from properties in Georgia’s Montgomery and Candler counties. Thirty eight of the estimated 400 dogs were relinquished to the Greene Pets Foster Network, which worked with others in the community to ensure that the animals receive proper care and are safely transported to a specialty rescue program in Maryland. The owner of the puppy mills was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.

read more »

Concerns Raised Over Use of Live Animal Mascots at Sporting Events

A viral video from the Sugar Bowl showing University of Texas’ longhorn steer Bevo breaking through an enclosure and charging into an area where University of Georgia’s bulldog Uga was being photographed has renewed concerns for live animal mascots, The Knoxville News Sentinel reports. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on its blog condemned the use of animal mascots, saying “It’s quite possible that Bevo was simply scared by the noise, lights, and chaos in the stadium and tried to flee from the confines of his makeshift pen. But that doesn’t change the fact that Uga or any of the humans standing nearby could easily have been trampled and killed.” The University of Tennessee’s coonhounds, called Smokey, have been docile and without injury since introduced in 1953, minus one incident in 2006 when Smokey IX nipped an Alabama receiver after the player fell on him while running out of bounds to catch a pass.

read more »

UT Releases Study Addressing Barriers to Veterinary Care

The University of Tennessee — through its study group the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition — released a report that addresses problems experienced by low-income households and young pet owners when seeking care for their animals. The Access to Veterinary Care: Barriers, Current Practices, and Public Policy report serves to identify these barriers, along with veterinarian attitudes and input, with the intent of identifying solutions to allow better access to veterinary services. Unsurprisingly, the greatest barrier to care is financial concerns, with 80 percent of low-income and younger pet owners unable to obtain preventative care due to financial constraints, 74 percent for sick care and 56 percent for emergency care. The study was paid for by Maddie’s Fund, a national foundation with the mission of creating a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat.

read more »

TBA YLD Accepting Applications for 2019-2020 Board Positions

The TBA Young Lawyers Division is now accepting applications for appointed board positions for the 2019-2020 bar year, serving under future TBA YLD President Troy Weston. To be eligible to submit an application, you must be 36 or younger on June 14, 2019, or be in the first five years of your practice. Attorneys appointed to positions will be required to attend all mandatory meetings. Submissions are due by Feb. 28. Read more and view the full application here.

read more »

Gorilla Warfare Erupts Between Cincinnati Zoo, Ape Advocates

The Cincinnati Zoo is again making headlines, with another ape-related controversy hanging over the institution, Nonprofit Quarterly reports. The dispute stems from a disagreement with the Gorilla Foundation (GF) regarding custody of an adult silverback gorilla named Ndume — former mate and lifelong friend of the preeminent primate Koko, who was famously taught sign language by Jane Goodall. When Koko died in June, the zoo soon after requested that Ndume be brought back to Cincinnati, however, the foundation maintains that because of his age, it is too dangerous to transport him. The zoo subsequently filed suit against GF asking the court to return the gorilla to his former home. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg has ordered the parties to pursue a joint resolution, though communication between the organizations remains tenuous. The Cincinnati Zoo first came under fire for the controversy surrounding the death of the gorilla Harambe. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have both sided with the zoo because it is able to provide Ndume the necessary socialization with other gorillas, whereas GF has no other gorillas.  

read more »

Department of Ag. Announces Recipients of Its Agriculture Enterprise Fund

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture on Monday announced six new recipients of the organization’s Agriculture Enterprise Fund. The initiative is part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Governor’s Rural Task Force, which aids new and expanding Tennessee agriculture, forestry, and food businesses, particularly in the state’s rural counties. Recipients must exhibit potential for impact on local farm income, access to markets, increased capacity, or agricultural innovation, with a primary focus on distressed counties. “The Agriculture Enterprise Fund program has made an economic impact of more than $25 million for our state since we first began to award these grants one year ago,” said Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Jai Templeton. “While we are proud of the successes so far, we are excited to see the continued opportunities and new jobs that will result from this program.”

read more »

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Tennessee White-tails

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is enacting the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Response plan after finding CWD in white-tailed deer in Hardeman and Fayette counties. The condition — transmitted through animal-to-animal contact, animal contact with a contaminated environment, and with contaminated feed or water sources — has no known risk to humans or livestock, however, it is 100 percent fatal to deer and elk. More information can be found on TWRA’s website

read more »

Elephant in Tennessee Sanctuary Inspires New Law

An elephant now residing in a Tennessee sanctuary has inspired New Jersey lawmakers to take action, banning the use of wild and exotic animals in carnivals and circuses, the New Jersey Herald reports. "Nosey's Law” was proposed after the eponymous elephant was found allegedly suffering from arthritis and abuse by her handlers. The bill will exempt organizations overseen by the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that he was "proud to sign ‘Nosey's Law' and ensure that New Jersey will not allow wild and exotic animals to be exploited and cruelly treated within our state."

read more »

Animal Shelter Director Arrested on Cruelty Charges

A Cocke County animal shelter was raided by authorities this month resulting in animal cruelty charges for its director, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Terry Starnes, who oversaw the Friends Animal Shelter in Newport, was arrested by the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office after they found an emaciated and dehydrated coonhound that was half the ideal weight for the breed. The coonhound was taken in by another area shelter, Steele Away Home Canine Foster and Rescue, which is caring for the dog. Investigators also noted that there were other dogs that appeared “underweight and in poor condition” and areas of the shelter appeared to be “in need of cleaning.” Friends Animal Shelter President Anne Fontaine reportedly said that Starnes arrest was unfair because he is working with sparse funding, little help and too many animals.

read more »

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.

  • 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 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



read more »

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!

read more »

Animal Law Executive Council Member Authors 3rd Book

TBA Animal Law Section Executive Council member and inaugural section chair Esther Roberts has recently authored her third book, entitled "My Friend Sam." The book, described by Roberts as "Marley and Me" with a horse, is about her riding partner of 26 years with whom she shared many adventures, on the trail and off. It is available through Amazon and all major booksellers. Or, if you would like an autographed copy, you can contact Esther directly.

read more »

FDA Announces Recall of Certain ELM Dog Foods

ELM Pet Foods Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of Elm Chicken and Chickpea Recipe dog food because of elevated levels of Vitamin D, according to an FDA press release. The affected products are in yellow packaging with a silhouette of a chicken at the bottom of the front side and made between Feb. 25, 2018, and Oct. 31, 2018. The notice indicates that Vitamin D, when consumed at high levels, can lead to serious health issues in dogs, including vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination and renal dysfunction. No other ELM Pet Foods products are impacted.

read more »

Governor-elect Lee Names Agriculture Commissioner

Governor-elect Bill Lee on Monday named his pick for agriculture commissioner, selecting current state veterinarian and Middle Tennessee dairy farmer Charlie Hatcher, the Tennessean reports. The announcement was made at the annual Tennessee Farm Bureau convention in Franklin, where Lee said, “Charlie brings tremendous perspective about our state’s rural resources and agricultural way of life … What happens in rural Tennessee matters to all Tennesseans, and Charlie has the experience to carry out the administration’s key priorities in agriculture and rural economic development.”  As state veterinarian, Lee enforced animal health standards for livestock products and worked with federal officials to accredit Tennessee's practicing veterinarians.

read more »

Farm Owners Prepare to Fight TVA Over Access to Land for Meigs County Power Center

Farm owners have hired legal representation and are preparing for a fight after a federal judge signed an order giving the Tennessee Valley Authority access to several farms along the route to a planned $300 million power center in Meigs County, The Chattanoogan reports. Judge Sandy Mattice's order says the farm lands "are deemed to be condemned and taken for the use of the United States" with compensation to be determined for the owners. The farm owners say they have only had a few months notice of the taking, but that TVA has been planning it for several years.
read more »

Estate Planning & Probate Forum 2019

This year’s Estate Planning & Probate Forum to be held at the Embassy Suite Cool Springs on Feb. 22. The annual staple allows you to learn from seasoned practitioners and top players in the field while being a beneficiary of necessary CLE credits. Topics for the forum will include:
  • Income tax planning for estates
  • Medicaid protection
  • Charitable planning
  • Legislative updates
  • Ethics in estate planning
  • A Clerk and Master’s panel
  • And more
A networking event will follow the program. Don’t sleep, missing out is irrevocable.
read more »

December CLE in 6 Cities

TBA offers CLE in six locations during December. See offerings in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Johnson City and Jackson. Find last-minute by the hour through Dec. 31 or take any of the TBA's online CLE packages.
read more »

Telehealth Benefit Program

Get healthcare at your convenience with TBA Telehealth Benefit Program. You can have 24/7 healthcare access without having to leave your home or office. Skip the waiting room for common health issues for $8 per month for you and your immediate family.
read more »

U.S. House Moves to Strip Gray Wolves of Federal Protections

The U.S. House this month moved to drop federal legal protections for gray wolves, ABC News reports. A proposed bill — Manage our Wolves Act (H.R.6784) — will delist most gray wolves across the lower 48 states from the Endangered Species Act, ending the designation placed on the animal in the 1970s. Though the Fish and Wildlife Service did not comment on the bill, it is reviewing the wolf's status and expects to make a recommendation regarding removal in the coming months. The bill's chief sponsor, Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., said that states should be responsible for managing wolf populations, "not Washington bureaucrats." The measure was approved 196-180 and will now go to the Senate for consideration.

read more »

Rutherford County Goat Receives Prosthetic Limbs

A Rutherford County resident is jumping for joy after receiving prosthetic legs created just for her, The Daily News Journal reports. Lolli the goat lost her back legs and tips of her ears to frostbite when she was a newborn, forcing her to drag herself around her farm and leaving her defenseless against predators. After hearing about the non-profit Gentle Barn, Lolli’s owners contacted the organization for help. Gentle Barn was able to get the University of Tennessee Knoxville Large Animal Hospital to perform an operation to prepare her for, then fit Lolli with the new legs. She was cleared by the medical staff and released into the Gentle Barn pastures earlier this month.

read more »

Judge Grants Writ in Case of Elephant Personhood

Judge Tracey A. Bannister of the Orleans County Supreme Court in New York state recently granted a Writ of Habeas Corpus for a Bronx Zoo elephant suing for personhood, Forbes reports. The legal team for the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) helped to secure the writ on behalf of Happy, a 47-year-old pachyderm who has been isolated at the zoo since 2006. NhRP has previously asserted personhood for chimpanzees, a move that was ultimately shot down in a New York appeals court. The court has scheduled a hearing for Happy’s case Dec. 14.

read more »

Mark Your Calendars!

California Communities Unite is Saving Displaced Animals

The ongoing wildfires in California have displaced many residents in the state — including family pets and livestock, spurring community organizations and good Samaritans into action, CNN reports. Rescuers have been able to save hundreds of animals so far, including dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, ducks and a tortoise. Volunteers have set up social media pages to assist owners in finding their animals, with other groups helping to support the owners once they've been reunited with their cherished critters.

read more »