Tennessee Defense

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TDLA News

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  • 30 Mar 2020 9:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    On March 13, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court declared a state of emergency for the Judicial Branch of Tennessee government and activated a Continuity of Operations Plan for the Courts of Tennessee. On that same day, the Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 21, sections 3.01(c) and 4.02(c), to the extent these provisions limit lawyers to a maximum of eight (8) hours of Distance Learning, for the required continuing legal education hours for 2019. On March 24, 2020, the Court continued the suspension of in-person court proceedings through April 30, 2020, and the extension of deadlines through May 6, 2020.

    In furtherance of the Judicial Branch’s obligation to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19, the Court temporarily suspends Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 21, sections 3.01(c) and 4.02(c), to the extent these provisions limit lawyers to a maximum of eight (8) hours of Distance Learning, for the required continuing legal education hours for 2020, and the required continuing legal education hours for those lawyers seeking reactivation or reinstatement in 2020 pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, section 30 and Rule 21. Effective immediately and through December 31, 2020, lawyers may earn all or any portion of the required continuing legal education hours for 2020, or for purposes of seeking reactivation or reinstatement in 2020, through approved Distance Learning completed through December 31, 2020.

    Order may be seen by clicking here.

  • 25 Mar 2020 6:00 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Tennessee courts remain open, limitations on in-person court proceedings extended through April 30, 2020. Read more: click here

    Please continue to check the court websites for updated information during the coronavirus outbreak.


  • 16 Mar 2020 7:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Many courts in our region have suspended in-person court proceedings to help cope with the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. TDLA has compiled them for your reference.

    Tennessee: click here

    Kentucky: click here

    Mississippi: click here

    Alabama: click here

    Georgia: click here

    Arkansas: click here

    North Carolina: click here

    As this is an ongoing situation, please visit the courts website for the most current information.

    The CDC has the following guidelines for coping with COVID-19 at your workplace: click here

    Stay well and safe!


  • 12 Mar 2020 9:30 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Dear SEWL Attendees and Presenters:

    We value the health and safety of those who were planning to attend the Southeastern Women Litigators Conference; therefore, in response to the Coronavirus concerns raised by the employers of our speakers and attendees as well as the information issued by the CDC, we are postponing the first Southeastern Women Litigators Conference that was set for March 26, 2020 at the Atlanta Zoo. The Zoo is allowing us to reschedule the conference this year without any cancellation fees. As soon as we have identified the rescheduled date, we will let you know in order that you can confirm your attendance for the new date. If your schedule does not permit you to attend, we will refund your registration fee.

    Please be safe!

    Thank you,
    Karen Karabinos
    Chair, Southeastern Women Litigators Conference


  • 02 Mar 2020 9:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Update from Chris Vrettos and Drew Reynolds, chairs of the TDLA Healthcare & Professional Negligence Section:

    The Supreme Court has just reached its decision in Willeford v. Klepper regarding the ex parte interview statute.  The Court struck down the statute as enacted as unconstitutional. However, the statute remains constitutional if “elided” to make QPOs permissive, rather than mandatory. 

    More info: click here and here

  • 27 Feb 2020 7:45 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Please see the link below regarding the Tennessee Supreme Court decision holding that statutory caps on noneconomic damages does not violate the Tennessee constitution.

    Thanks to Sean Martin with Carr Allison and his team for providing the TDLA Amicus Brief on this issue to the court.

    TN Supreme Court Majority Opinion may be seen by clicking here.

    Summary of the decision: click here


  • 09 Jan 2020 12:22 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Women litigators in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee are teaming up to support, educate and advance women civil defense litigators in the first Southeastern Women Litigators Conference to be held on March 26, 2020 at the Atlanta Zoo.

    Law firm sponsorships are appreciated to help offset the cost of the event. 

    Click here to see law firm sponsorship opportunities.


  • 17 Oct 2019 11:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    TN Supreme Court has issued its opinion in the DeBruce case. This was an insurance coverage / dec action case in which TDLA members Hank Spragins, Elijah Settlemyre and Hannah Lowe wrote the Amicus brief on behalf of TDLA.  The court agreed with TDLA’s (and Tennessee Farmers’) position and found that the tort plaintiff is not a necessary party to a dec action between an insurance company and its insured. 

    To read the Supreme Court decision: click here

  • 08 Oct 2019 7:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)
    TDLA is pleased to announce Sean W. Martin received the "Lawyer of the Year" award for 2019. Sean Martin is a partner with Carr Allison law firm in Chattanooga. In his nomination it was mentioned that "Sean routinely goes above and beyond to advocate on behalf of his clients... Sean's push to think of creative solutions to plaintiff's claims goes well beyond the ordinary litigation." Sean is an active TDLA member, presenting a TDLA webinar earlier this year for membership and co-chair of the Torts Section. Congratulations to Sean Martin!


    TDLA "Rising Star" award recipient for 2019 was Melissa B. Carrasco with Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis in Knoxville. Melissa attended the TDLA Trial School, and authored an article for the TDLA Summer Journal in 2019. She regularly speaks at local, state and national groups and is active in writing monthly articles for the KBA magazine. TDLA congratulates Melissa Carrasco!


  • 25 Sep 2019 8:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    The Professional Negligence and Healthcare co-chairs Drew Reynolds and Chris Vrettos have brought a case to watch to TDLA's attention. The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued an opinion last week that might be of interest to attorneys in the Professional Negligence and Health Care Section. For a PDF of the opinion, Bidwell v. Strait et al., click here.

    Bidwell appears to be the first appellate opinion to address the “notice back” provision set forth in Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(a)(5). Among other things, Bidwell holds that the onus is no longer solely on the claimant to identify all necessary parties to a health care liability action; rather, based on § 29-26-121(a)(5), a defendant may not withhold the identity of a known or necessary person, entity, or health care provider who may be a properly named defendant.

    Although Bidwell involved issues relating to the Governmental Tort Liability Act that will not arise in most health care liability actions, the plaintiffs’ bar may seize on the above-referenced language from the opinion in order to argue that defendants must provide written notice of any persons, entities, or health care providers who may be properly named defendants within 30 days of receiving pre-suit notice in all health care liability actions. Based on the holding of Bidwell, however, the scope of the obligation imposed on such defendants is not entirely clear. Accordingly, it would be worthwhile for attorneys representing defendants in health care liability actions to review this opinion and monitor any potential appeal, as well as Tennessee courts’ interpretation of § 29-26-121(a)(5) going forward.

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