News

FedEx Sues U.S. Commerce Department

FedEx Corp. is seeking an injunction to stop the U.S. Department of Commerce from enforcing certain prohibitions on export shipments carried by FedEx, the Daily Memphian reports. FedEx said it believes measures in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) violate its constitutional rights to due process. The lawsuit says the regulations “unreasonably hold common carriers strictly liable for shipments that may violate the EAR without requiring evidence that the carriers had knowledge of any violations.” The lawsuit comes as the administration of President Donald Trump increasingly applies pressure against China by putting Chinese manufacturers on the Bureau of Industry & Security's Entity List. U.S. companies are restricted in their ability to do business with more than 1,100 foreign companies on the Entity List.
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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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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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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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Global Rights Compliance Formalizes Partnership with Vanderbilt Law School

Global Rights Compliance, an organization that offers international advisory services and litigation support focusing on human rights and international humanitarian law, has established a formal strategic partnership with Vanderbilt Law School. The arrangement will allow students to work as legal interns for GRC’s trial and consultancy teams and, through Vanderbilt’s Practice Lab, on other projects. Future aspects of the partnership will also include workshops — starting this fall, GRC’s senior legal consultant and project lead on the Mass Starvation Project will attend Prof. Michael Newton’s Practice Lab and jointly host a workshop titled "Starvation as a Method of Warfare."
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Gov. Lee Encourages Voting Down Unionization of Chattanooga VW Plant

During a visit to Chattanooga, Gov. Lee expressed concern that unionization at the Chattanooga VW plant and the presence of additional labor unions in Tennessee would hurt the state’s competitiveness, the Time’s Free Press reports. Lee said he believes organized labor makes attracting companies, including foreign companies, much more difficult. He said he hopes that workers vote down the union organizing campaign by the United Auto Workers. The vote is scheduled for June 12-14.

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Trump Threatens Mexico with Tariffs

President Donald Trump yesterday threatened Mexico with tariffs if the country does not deal with the illegal migration crisis and increase immigration enforcement actions, CNN reports. The first round of tariffs are scheduled to begin June 10 at 5% on goods imported from Mexico. If Mexico does not comply with Trump’s demands, the percentages are set to increase each month until reaching the permanent 25% level in October. It is unclear if the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal will be impacted by this threat.

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Is Your Firm's Tech Outdated?

This blog post from Law Technology Today features seven quick signs that your law firm’s technology may be due for an update. A lack of automation options to deal with menial, time-consuming tasks is a clear sign that it is time to invest in better technology. If your go-to method of keeping old files is using a filing cabinet, you are wasting floor space and time. Organizational software can modernize the old-school paper filing system and make accessing old files a breeze. Make sure your firm’s tech is updated by reading the other five signs here.

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Judge Issues Injunction Halting Plan to Finance Border Wall

A California federal judge last week granted a preliminary injunction which prevents the Trump administration from redirecting funds in order to pay for the construction of a border wall, The New York Times reports. Judge Haywood Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California is overseeing two lawsuits related to border wall financing, one filed by the State of California along with 19 other states and a second from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition. Both suits allege that President Trump’s attempt to fund the project without congressional approval surpasses his constitutional authority. The suit brought by the ACLU seeks to block the president from accessing Department of Defense funds and claims that the president’s emergency declaration was an abuse of power as well as a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

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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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Vandy Law Student Awarded Fellowship to Support International Humanitarian Law

Vanderbilt Law student Katie Cohen has been awarded a prestigious Helton Fellowship to work at Global Rights Compliance, an international organization that provides advisory services and litigation support in human rights and international humanitarian law, this summer. Cohen is one of five Helton Fellows named this spring. The American Society of International Law established the Helton Fellowship Program in 2004 to recognize the legacy of prominent human rights advocate and ASIL member Arthur C. Helton, who died in the Aug. 19, 2003, bombing of the United Nations mission in Baghdad, Iraq. Cohen served in the Peace Corps in Ukraine before starting law school at Vanderbilt, and says her experience working with students and teachers there cemented her desire to practice international law.
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Philippine President Duterte Threatens War Over Trash

Canada has become the latest recipient of ire from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who told our northern neighbors on Tuesday that he will declare war on the country if they do not cart off tons of trash delivered to Manila between 2013 and 2014, NPR reports. The 100 shipping containers in question were sent to the Philippines as part of an agreement between the countries in which Canada would donate money to education initiatives if the Philippines accepted recyclable waste. The containers in dispute were initially classified as “recyclable trash,” however, once inspected by customs officials they found “household trash” consisting of bottles, bags and used diapers. Waste exchange between industrialized and developing nations has become a contentious issue, with Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand also experiencing their own trash-related tribulations. Canada says it has been working to resolve the trash dispute and is ensuring the waste "is processed in an environmentally responsible way."

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Trump Administration Takes Aim at Iranian Oil Production

The Trump Administration’s plan to curb Iran’s crude oil exports may cost consumers at the pump this summer, CNBC reports. On Monday the White House proffered the policy that would end all sanctions waivers for those buying Iran’s oil and heavily rely on OPEC to increase production and keep gas prices stable. The move comes at a time that relations with Iran are particularly tenuous and amidst talks with the country regarding an exchange for U.S. prisoners being held on questionable charges.

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Men Charged With Economic Espionage to Benefit Business Interests, China

An American engineer, and a Chinese businessman were charged on Tuesday with economic espionage for a plan to steal sophisticated turbine designs for the benefit of China and their business interests, The Washington Post reports. The indictment alleges that Xiaoqing Zheng of New York conspired with Zhaoxi Zhang of China to procure and disseminate plans for the turbines, which are trademarked and produced by GE. Though the defendants are not accused of being government spies or officials, both men held meetings with Communist Party officials to discuss a “strategic partnership” regarding development of aerospace technology. Authorities say that Zheng used an encryption technique called “steganography,” which hides secret messages in otherwise normal computer files and images.

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International Trade Supports 1 in 5 Tennessee Jobs

International trade in Tennessee is serious business, supporting one out of every five jobs in the state, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. A just-released study by Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC — a consulting firm that examines the economic impact of global enterprise — shows that international commerce provides Tennesseans with 806,100 jobs, with export of more than $20 billion in goods and services generating $3 billion in revenue for the state. NAFTA is credited as a large contributor to these numbers. Despite concerns that the policy would send American jobs to other countries and have a negative financial impact, the report shows that there has been an increase in goods sold to participating countries Mexico and Canada. Exports from Tennessee to NAFTA members climbed 470% since the plan’s inception and trade-related job growth outpaced the overall job market five times over.

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Volunteers Needed for a Saturday Clinic in Nashville

The Legal Aid Society and Metro Nashville Public Schools are hosting their monthly clinic this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the MNPS Office of English Learners, which is located at 615 Fessey Park Road, Nashville, TN, 37204. All lawyers are invited to help at this advice-only clinic. To volunteer or for more information please contact Jorge Salles Diaz at jsallesdiaz@las.org, 615-780-7131.
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TBA Legislative Update: Flow Motion

Last week the pace of the legislative session accelerated to lightning speed after the House initiated the much anticipated, and equally dreaded, “flow motion” on the floor, a move that suspends the parliamentary rules that the legislature typically observes during session. Bills are moving from committee to the floor on the same day. Now that the vast majority of committees are closed, the legislature will transition into passing the annual budget and tying up loose ends on major policy initiatives with hefty price tags. Only the Senate Judiciary Committee and Finance, Ways and Means Committees remain open. House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland announced plans for the House to take up the state’s $38 billion budget next week, with the goal of tying up all loose ends the following week.
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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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TBA Convention Kicks Off TOMORROW!

The big week is finally upon us: The Tennessee Bar Association’s Annual Convention begins tomorrow, June 12. This year’s Convention is chock-full of even better programming, exhibits and fun than last year! Look forward to:

  • Free Access to 9 Hours of CLE, including the Bench Bar Program, co-sponsored by the Tennessee Judicial Conference
  • Opening welcome reception
  • Bench Bar Luncheon (featuring keynote speaker, Ken Starr)
  • Law School and General Breakfasts
  • Lawyers Luncheon (featuring special honor for Sen. Lamar Alexander)
  • Thursday night joint reception sponsored with TLAW and TABL
  • Thursday night Dinner/Dance Party featuring My So-Called Band
  • Friday night TBALL/YLD Party
  • Access to activities and programming designed for well-being including massages, contemplative space and more.
  • Access to TBA's sponsorship hall to meet with exhibitors, participate in our special TBA Wellness Corner and win prizes.
• QUESTIONS: Just email convention@tnbar.org to get help.
 
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Help4TNDay Kicks Off Saturday

Tennessee lawyers are invited to participate in Help4TNDay activities throughout the month of April. Events will bring attention to the ongoing need for free and low-cost legal services and highlight the groups that provide these services to disadvantaged Tennesseans. Opportunities include volunteering to help clients in need through Tennessee Free Legal Answers (TFLA) or at a local legal clinic. The events kick-off this Saturday with a statewide virtual legal clinic, where attorneys across the state will answer questions on TFLA from noon to 2 p.m. Simultaneously, the TBA will host an on-site TFLA Clinic and Luncheon in Nashville. To participate in the TBA event, contact Liz Todaro. Help4TNDay is a joint effort by the Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, the Administrative Office of the Courts, Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Tennessee Bar Association. 
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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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Tesla Files Suits Against Former Employees for Trade Secret Theft

Tesla is suing former engineer Guangzhi Cao for allegedly stealing the source code of the company’s Autopilot technology before joining China’s self-driving car startup Xiaopeng Motors Technology Company, Wired reports. Cao is accused of uploading over 300,000 files to his personal cloud account before leaving for another job. Lawyers for Tesla also filed separate suits last week against four other former employees and the U.S. self-driving car startup Zoox Inc. The suit claims that after leaving Tesla and while working at Zoox, four employees used stolen proprietary information and trade secrets related to warehousing, logistics and inventory control operations to improve Zoox’s operations.  

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EU’s Copyright Directive Passes Final Vote

The controversial legislative package known as the Copyright Directive received final approval on Tuesday in a 348-274 vote by the European Union, The Verge reports. The overhaul contained two controversial articles that remained intact in the final version, Article 11 and 13. Article 11, sometimes called the link tax, will allow publishers to charge platforms, like Google, that display snippets and links to its news stories. Article 13, renamed Article 17 and also known as the upload filter, holds companies, like YouTube, responsible when its users upload copyrighted content. Critics argue Article 13 will stifle free speech and restrict people’s ability to share content online. Upload filters, which scan all user uploaded content for possible copyrighted content, may be implemented by companies in order to avoid penalties. EU member states must incorporate the new laws into their respective national laws within 24 months.

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Immigration Law Forum set for April 25

Join us on April 25 for a program packed with a variety of issues facing immigration, family, criminal, corporate counsel, employment and business law attorneys. The morning sessions will address family immigration and court issues, while the afternoon sessions will address labor and employment immigration issues. Finish the day with an ethics CLE dual representation employment immigration hour. In an effort to provide flexibility for attendees with specific learning interests, the TBA is offering the additional option for folks to attend either the morning or afternoon sessions. Check out the agenda, session descriptions, speakers and register to attend by clicking here. 
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Foreign Adoptions in U.S. Down 14 Percent

The number of foreign children adopted by U.S. families fell 14 percent last year, The Washington Post reports. The U.S. State Department this month issued a report showing that there were only 4,059 foreign adoptions in 2018, compared to 4,714 the previous year. Although there was an increase in adoption of children from India and Columbia, a decline in adoptions from China and Ethiopia negated the increase. The U.S. is responsible for about half of all foreign adoptions.

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