lawsuits

Court of Appeals rules for TV station in DA’s libel lawsuit

The state Court of Appeals has unanimously overturned a lower court ruling that would have required  Nashville TV station WTVF and reporter Phil Williams to turn over documents related to reporting on Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk, who has filed a libel lawsuit.

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Veteran sues VA staffers, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, over denial of pain medication

A Marine Corps veteran who contends he suffers constant and intense pain from service-related injuries has filed a federal lawsuit against 17 employees of an East Tennessee Veterans Administration hospital and a congressman over a policy limiting pain medication provided by the VA, reports the Johnson City Press.

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Lawsuit contends state owes fired TNReady contractor $25.3M

The company fired last year by the state Department of Education after major problems came up in trying to implement a then-new student testing system has filed a legal claim contending the state wrongfully broke the contract. State officials won’t comment on the matter, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee, but the company’s president will.

Henry Scherich says Tennessee owes Measurement Inc. $25.3 million for services associated with TNReady, the state’s new standardized test for its public schools. That’s nearly a quarter of the company’s five-year, $108 million contract with the state, which Tennessee officials canceled after technical problems roiled the test’s 2016 rollout.

So far, the state has paid the Durham, North Carolina-based company about $545,000 for its services, representing about 2 percent of the total bill, according to a claim recently obtained by Chalkbeat.

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Shelby mayor files lawsuit against county commission chair over opioid crisis lawsuit

 

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s administration has sued Board of Commissioners chairwoman Heidi Shafer in Chancery Court, challenging her hiring of a law firm last week to hire to sue pharmaceutical companies over the county’s opioid crisis, reports the Commercial Appeal.

In a news conference Tuesday, Luttrell said he was “irked” by Shafer’s decision to hire New York-based Napoli Shkolnik, the law firm known for winning a huge class-action settlement for sick Ground Zero workers, among others. He repeatedly emphasized that her action was “unilateral,” without input from the full commission or administration, and claimed she violated the county charter by usurping executive branch authority.

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Shelby School Board joins Nashville board in defying state order to give student data to charter schoos

The Shelby County School board voted Tuesday night to defy an order from state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen requiring that student contact information be turned over to charter schools, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

The board’s action means Tennessee’s largest district more than likely will be sued by the state of Tennessee. On Oct. 18, the state sued Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools after its board declined to hand over information to three state-run charter schools.

A spokeswoman for Tennessee’s Department of Education said the state will evaluate its options in the wake of the board’s vote.

“We are disappointed by this decision from the Shelby County Schools Board of Education as we in good faith provided the district with additional time to comply,” said spokeswoman Chandler Hopper.

The vote came after members discussed their legal options with the district’s top lawyer during a closed executive session. At issue: Whether to stick by the board’s earlier resolution to be in solidarity with Nashville’s board, or to turn over the information after giving parents the chance to opt out. (About 7,700 Memphis families met this week’s opt-out deadline set by Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.)

Board member Chris Caldwell offered up an amendment stating that the Memphis board will not comply with Green Dot’s request. The vote was unanimous, with two members absent.

Affidavits say records on Kingston coal ash cleanup were intentionally destroyed

Three supervisors – two construction foremen and a TVA-paid overseer – say in affidavits filed in U.S. District Court they saw separate instances in which Tom Bock, the man tasked with protecting workers at the nation’s largest coal ash spill,  intentionally destroyed or skewed air monitoring results and knowingly endangered workers, reports the News Sentinel.

Bock served as safety manager for Jacobs Engineering, an international government contractor.

The firm was tapped by TVA and approved by the EPA and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to manage the clean-up of the massive coal ash spill at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Power Plant in the Swan Pond community of Roane County in December 2008.

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Court of Appeals upholds removal of Confederate names from Memphis parks

The state Court of Appeals in Jackson, affirming a February ruling by the Shelby County Chancery Court, has ruled that the City of Memphis had the legal authority to rename despite contentions to the contrary from the Sons of Confederate veterans, reports the Commercial Appeal.

In 2013, the city parks changed the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park, renamed Confederate Park as Memphis Park and declared the former Jefferson Davis Park to be known as Mississippi River Park.

Lee Millar, a spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp No. 215, said the group is a digesting the 18-page ruling it received Wednesday and has yet to decide whether to appeal the court’s decision to the state Supreme Court.

“They’ve been known for their history and historic naming for decades and decades,” Millar said of the parks. “They shouldn’t be frivolously renamed. They’re part of our history — Memphis’ history as well as America’s history.”

Wednesday’s ruling doesn’t affect the city’s legal efforts to remove a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest or the graves of he and his wife from Health Sciences Park. The city still plans to argue for the statue’s removal in Davidson County Chancery Court in November following the state Historical Commission’s Oct. 13 rejection of a waiver.

Note: The full Court of Appeals decision is HERE.

State suing Nashville schools to force turnover of student data, but probably not Memphis schools

While the state Department of Education has filed a lawsuit to force Metro Nashville schools to turn over student information to charter school operators, the Memphis school system has taken a different approach to data release and may avoid a lawsuit, according to Chalkbeat Tennessee.

Leaders of Nashville’s school district have repeatedly defied an order from Tennessee’s Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to share student addresses, phone numbers, and other information with the state’s controversial turnaround district, as required by a new state law. The state filed a lawsuit this week in Davidson County Chancery Court to force release of the information.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Memphis district have spoken out about the rule — but are preparing to comply. The district has given parents until Sunday, Oct. 22 to opt out of sharing their contact information with charter schools.

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Attorneys General reach $120M settlement with General Motors

News release from the attorney general’s office

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today announced a $120 million settlement with General Motors Company (“GM”) over allegations GM concealed safety issues related to ignition switch-related defects in GM vehicles.

The settlement, reached between GM and the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia, concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects in several models and model years of GM vehicles.

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Nashville school board votes to join Shelby County in school funding lawsuit

The Metro Nashville Public Schools board voted Tuesday night to join Shelby County’s schools in a lawsuit seeking more state education funds, reports The Tennessean.

The motion to join Shelby County Schools in the district’s ongoing litigation for increased education funds passed with a 7-0 vote by the Nashville school board. Two board members were absent — Sharon Gentry and Mary Pierce.

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