Litigation

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. 

read more »

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.  

read more »

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.
read more »

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.

read more »

Woman Reportedly Raped by a Chattanooga Police Officer Alleges Fourth Amendment Violations, Coverup

Attorneys representing a woman in a lawsuit against the city of Chattanooga who alleges former Chattanooga police officer Desmond Logan raped her filed an amended complaint on Wednesday alleging a coverup and Fourth Amendment violations, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The updated filing contends that Logan has a history of “inappropriate sexual misconduct, including a previous rape incident” and that Chattanooga Assistant Police Chief Edwin McPherson conspired with retired Capt. Pedro Bacon to suppress records of that misconduct. At least three women maintain that they were raped by Logan since he began his law enforcement career in 2015. The city has not filed a response to the complaint and has declined to comment on the matter.

read more »

Brentwood Based Assisted-Living Conglomerate Sued by Residents

The nation’s largest assisted-living provider, Brentwood-based Brookdale Senior Living Inc., is being sued by eight disabled and elderly residents who claim the company is responsible for financial abuse and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The Mercury News reports. The plaintiffs maintain in the complaint that the organization failed to provide services listed in its initial agreement and fostered “humiliating, frustrating and hazardous situations on a daily basis.” The provider is no stranger to the courtroom, being party to numerous lawsuits over the years, including one case in which an elderly resident was killed by an alligator. The lawsuit will seek class-action status for the estimated 5,000 residents in Brookdale facilities throughout California.

read more »

Legal Battle Over Toxic Waste in Tennessee Town Heats Up

A rural community in west Tennessee continues its fight against a waste management company regarding a toxic substance that has polluted area water sources and devastated local vegetation, USA Today reports. In 1999, the town of Bath Springs contracted North Carolina corporation Waste Industries to assume operations of its landfill that was used for local waste in Decatur County. Subsequently, under new management, the landfill began to accept “special waste” characterized as being "difficult or dangerous" to contain, which is more profitable than household trash but when exposed to elements excretes an ooze called leachate that finds its way into the soil and ultimately the water supply. Waste Industries later announced plans to abandon the landfill and sued the county, maintaining the municipality was derelict in its responsibilities to “to provide for the disposal and treatment of the leachate” and is in breach of the initial agreement. The county filed its own lawsuit against Waste Industries, alleging violations of federal clean air and water acts. The lawsuit against the county is scheduled for a status conference on May 10 in Tennessee Western District Court, Judge S. Thomas Anderson presiding.

read more »

City of Memphis Denies Wrongdoing in Case of Dead Body in Police Impound Lot

The city of Memphis has denied any liability in the wrongful death case where the corpse of a man was found in a police impound lot 49 days after his death, The Commercial Appeal reports. Bardomiano Perez Hernandez was reportedly sitting in the vehicle drinking beer with his coworkers when they were approached by robbers who fired on the van killing Hernandez and critically wounding another passenger. In a response regarding the incident, the city claims that the people at fault for the death are the other men in the van and the accused robbers, also citing various legal protections it maintains limit liabilities for governments. Two men were eventually arrested and charged last June with first-degree murder in the killing of Hernandez.

read more »

Workers Involved in Bean Station ICE Raid Sue for Discrimination, Excessive Force

Workers detained by ICE after an immigration enforcement raid on a Bean Station slaughterhouse are now suing the agency, Newsweek reports. In the lawsuit filed last Thursday, the workers contend that ICE agents — along with officials from Homeland Security Operations, Enforcement and Removal Operations and the Tennessee Highway Patrol — used excessive force, berated the workers with racial slurs, punched one worker in the face and shoved firearms in the faces of many others. In total, approximately 100 workers were detained and 11 were arrested during the raid, making it among the largest worksite-enforcement operations in recent years. Read the complaint using this link. Additionally, executive council member Bruce Buchanan wrote a recent blog post regarding the lawsuit.

read more »

Defendants Ask for Dismissal of Lawsuit Involving Stalking by Dickson Police

Defendants in a lawsuit in which two former Dickson Police Officers sued the city, alleging that they were “routinely followed and stalked” after being fired, are asking that the case be thrown out, The Tennessean reports. The dispute stems from the dismissal of Robert Peeler and Justin Walton, former officers with the department who were sacked for their handling of an altercation outside of a local restaurant and evidence tampering — for which they were ultimately convicted of a misdemeanor. The defendants, Dickson Police Assistant Chief Seth Lyles and Capt. Todd Christian, maintain that any observations of Peeler and Walton took place in public places and that no constitutional violation occurred because there was no “search,” therefore the plaintiff's claim of invasion of privacy is unsubstantiated. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and District Attorney's office in the 17th Judicial District investigated the allegations made by Peeler and Walton, and determined that there was no reason to pursue charges on the matter.
read more »