Bone McAllester Norton

BoneLaw’s Stephen Zralek to speak on Recent United States Supreme Court Trademark and Copyright Cases

On May 19th BoneLaw attorney, Stephen Zralek, will participate in the Tennessee Bar Association’s 2017 Entertainment & Sports Forum. Zralek is among a distinguished group of speakers for an afternoon discussion of some of the most cutting edge legal issues in the music and entertainment industry today.

Stephen Zralek; Bone McAllester NortonStephen Zralek; Bone McAllester NortonZralek will take a fresh look at two active cases pending before the United States Supreme Court, Lee v. Tam, the trademark case involving the constitutionality of the disparagement clause under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, and Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., the copyright infringement case involving whether certain designs on cheerleading uniforms are eligible for copyright protection, and discuss the far-reaching implications that the Court’s holding in both cases could have on the entertainment industry.

This panel will also briefly explore the constantly-shifting topic of copyright fair use and whether, and to what extent, Supreme Court review might provide much-needed guidance on this murky area of the law. This panel will highlight the recent Sixth and Ninth Circuit split involving sound recording sampling and discuss the likelihood of Supreme Court review and potential outcomes in light of the current state and composition of the Court.

To find out more on the event and to register to attend, please click this link.

Tennessee’s Business Court is Back in Business

Many of our clients will be happy to know that Tennessee’s Business Court is back in business as of May 1, 2017, after the Tennessee Supreme Court lifted an embargo on the filing of new cases. Clients with sophisticated business disputes and intellectual property disputes based in Tennessee can once again avail themselves of a forum whose primary function is dedicated to resolving complex cases.

Officially, the Tennessee Business Court is just a “Pilot Project,” but most attorneys and clients hope it is here to stay. (Tennessee is one of 28 states with a dedicated Business Court). Phase 1 was established by the Tennessee Supreme Court in March 2015 and was set to expire in December 2017, but it was so popular that an embargo had to be imposed earlier than that to give the presiding judge, Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle, some relief. Over 90 business cases were transferred to the Business Court prior to the embargo.

Phase 1 of the Business Court was celebrated by attorneys (and judges) across the state as a huge success. It unclogged the dockets of other courts in the state. And while many courts in Tennessee function at a high caliber, Phase 1 of the Business Court gave clients access to a tribunal where judicial involvement was specifically tailored to the demands of each case, and where the presiding judge operated at the highest levels of competence, flexibility and efficiency.

Although Phase 2 of the Business Court is still in its infancy, here are five takeaways from what we know already:

1. To qualify now, a party must seek at least $250,000 in damages, compared with $50,000 under Phase 1. (If the case seeks primarily injunctive or declaratory relief, it may still qualify even if it doesn’t seek damages of that amount.)

2. If your case involves any of the following claims, it no longer automatically qualifies for transfer unless your lawyer can persuade Chancellor Lyle and the Chief Justice how those claims present “sufficiently complex commercial issues that would have significant implications for the larger business community”: breach of contract; fraud; misrepresentation; shareholder derivative actions; real property disputes; claims between business entities/owners as to their business or relationship; construction disputes; and violations of non-compete, non-solicitation or confidentiality agreements.

3. Unlike previously, cases involving trademark law now are explicitly included as qualifying for transfer, assuming the other criteria are met.

4. Where you previously had 60 days from service of the complaint to seek a transfer, you now have only 30 days.

5. Finally, as our firm has learned through experience, even if your case otherwise qualifies for transfer to the Business Court, the Supreme Court will refuse to transfer it if the complaint was filed prior to May 1, 2017. This means, unfortunately, that some clients will miss out on the opportunity for specialized resolution of their dispute in Tennessee’s Business Court.

Bonus! To read the Court’s “Guide to the Business Court” or examine past Business Court decisions, click here. If you believe your case could use a proactive approach from a hands-on judge who sets meaningful deadlines and who adapts procedures to meet the needs of your case for a customized outcome, we would be happy to discuss your case with you and see if it might qualify.

BoneLaw Attorneys to Represent Assault Victim vs Titan Players

Alex Little Attorney - Bone McAllester NortonAlex Little Attorney - Bone McAllester Norton

Bone McAllester Norton attorneys Alex Little and James A. Crumlin have filed suit in federal court in Nashville today on behalf of a crime victim as part of the firm’s victims’ representation practice. As reflected in the complaint linked below, the firm’s client was the victim of a brutal assault that involved two current members of the Tennessee Titans football team, Tajae Sharpe and Sebastian Tretola. As the complaint details, the victim was viciously assaulted and left unconscious in an alley; a bystander found him and called for medical help. The assault occurred on the evening of the First Round of the 2017 NFL Draft, after the Titans selected a wide receiver, and stemmed from Sharpe’s violent reaction to the victim’s suggestion that he would lose playing time. After the beating, the victim was transported to a nearby hospital, where he remained unconscious from more than 12 James A. Crumlin, Jr. Attorney - Bone McAllester NortonJames A. Crumlin, Jr. Attorney - Bone McAllester Nortonhours. He suffered extensive injuries including, but not limited to, broken bones in his face, massive facial bruising, and a perforated eardrum. The suit seeks to collect damages for medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as current and potential future lost wages. A copy of the complaint and photos of some of the victim’s injuries can be found at this link.

Alex Little stated, “This case is not about the Tennessee Titans or the NFL. It’s about two individuals who, for no good reason, seriously injuring an innocent victim. We are seeking to hold them accountable for the harm they have caused.”

BoneLaw Counsel in Deal Worth $20 Million

Congratulations to Bonelaw client Zycron, an information technology service firm, on its recent sale to Texas based BG Staffing Inc. The inclusion of the Zycron offices headquartered in Nashville with branches in Memphis and Chattanooga, gives BG Staffing which is based in Plano, TX 56 offices covering 25 states. Zycron began with one-employee in 1991 and grew to $38 million in revenues in 2016. The Bonelaw team of James Crumlin, Charles Robert Bone and Andrea Perry were an integral part of the completion of the deal.

Read more about the sale and the entrepreneurial success story of Zycron.

James Crumlin 

Charles Robert BoneCharles Robert Bone 

Andrea Perry Attorney Bone McAllester NortonAndrea Perry Attorney Bone McAllester Norton

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Bonelaw Case Profiled on ABC’s 20/20

Bone McAllester Norton client Sherry Smith’s story of her fight for justice for the death of her daughter Lauren Agee was the focus of a recent profile on 20/20, a news magazine which airs on ABC. Sherry’s story begins in July 2015 when her daughter Lauren Agee, 21 of Hendersonville, was found dead in Center Hill Lake. She had been camping with friends during Wakefest weekend. But then she allegedly goes missing during the night and her body is found floating late in the afternoon the next day. Her friends never reported her missing or called Lauren's family. Continued inconsistencies in the stories from those with Lauren prior to her disappearance along with their unwillingness to cooperate with investigating authorities, lead Lauren’s mom Sherry Smith to begin a yearlong independent investigation with the help of private investigator Sheila Wysocki who specializes in cold cases. In July 2016 Bonelaw’s Alex Little, on behalf of Sherry Smith, filed a $10 million dollar wrongful death the lawsuit against the individuals at the camp site claiming that her daughter was killed through the intentional, negligent, or reckless acts of the defendants. The case is still in progress led by Alex Little, along with Mandy Strickland Floyd.

Watch the 20/20 episode here.

Alex Little - Bone Law 

Mandy Strickland Floyd

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BoneLaw’s Mandy Strickland Floyd Nominated for 2017 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award

Attorney Mandy Strickland FloydAttorney Mandy Strickland Floyd

Congratulations to Bonelaw's Mandy Strickland Floyd for her nomination as a 2017 ATHENA Young Professional Leader! This international award recognizes emerging women leaders across professional sectors for exemplary leadership. It actively supports and celebrates the ATHENA mission of supporting, developing and honoring women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential, and helping to create balance in leadership worldwide. It honors women between the ages of 25 and 40 who excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and serve as a role model for young women.

Prior to joining Bone McAllester Norton, Mandy served as the senior judicial law clerk to the Honorable Richard H. Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals. While at the firm, she has devoted substantial work to appellate cases focusing in the areas of victims’ rights and labor and employment law. Very committed to serving others, Mandy's pro bono efforts were recognized by the Tennessee Supreme Court naming her as an Attorney for Justice.

In the community, Mandy is known for leading and volunteering for organizations that focus on combatting racism and providing a voice to victims and survivors of domestic violence. Mandy is active in the Lawyer’s Association for Women serving on their Diversity Committee Co-Chair, Newsletter Editor and as Treasurer. In addition she serves as a member of the Napier-Looby Bar Association (NLBA) student outreach committee and the Co-Chair of the NLBA Boys and Girls Law Camp, which organized a two day camp for middle school aged students. The Law Camp introduced these young students to the practice of law and culminated in an oral advocacy competition.

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Top 5 Immigration Tips for Employers

Raquel L. Bellamy, Immigration and Naturalization AttorneyRaquel L. Bellamy, Immigration and Naturalization Attorney

Unauthorized immigration is a hot topic these days. No matter what side of the debate you embrace, the fact remains that undocumented immigrants make up about five percent (5%) of the U.S. civilian labor force as reported by the Pew Research Center: Size of U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Workforce Stable After the Great Recession.

Many employers receive falsified identity documents from unauthorized immigrants unable to qualify for work authorization, and thus unknowingly employ undocumented workers. Other employers intentionally hire undocumented immigrants to gain a competitive advantage by offering lower pay and fewer protections. In the most egregious scenarios, employers falsify records and participate in labor trafficking by recruiting and smuggling workers from abroad (a big no no!).

Regardless of the scenario, U.S. employers are scrambling to assess the consequences of heightened immigration enforcement priorities. Will employees leave en masse? What are employers' rights and responsibilities in the event of a workplace raid? These and other questions are plaguing employers across the U.S.

The latest immigration executive order has deputized state and local law enforcement authorities as ICE agents. We saw a similar frenzy about a decade ago when officers relied on "287(g) agreements" which permitted coordinated efforts between police and ICE officials. To put it mildly, the result was a complete mess.

As history is the best instructor, I have taken the lessons of the past to create the top five immigration tips for employers:

1. Anticipate increased auditing of records to verify I-9 compliance. Locate and organize your records to avoid costly delays. You should have a completed I-9 for each employee.

2. Prepare for the inevitable by conducting an internal audit, which will help you identify any I-9 compliance issues.

3. Consult a competent employment attorney regarding any potential liability for violations of I-9 regulations.

4. Train front office staff (receptionists, hostesses, etc.) on how to approach law enforcement officials who enter the premises to inquire about immigration violations. Know your rights to limit access of law enforcement officers.

5. Avoid discrimination based on national origin against potential employees. During the interview phase, limit your inquiry to whether the applicant is authorized to work in the United States and whether the applicant will require sponsorship to obtain work authorization. If an applicant or a current employee is confused about work authorization, you should encourage him/her to seek independent counsel.

6. I know I said 5, but who doesn't love a bonus? Show compassion for workers who are experiencing personal trauma as a result of the changes in immigration enforcement priorities. Even U.S. citizens may experience a high level of anxiety over the potential impact to their family members and friends. Be mindful of negative interactions between employees. Some of my clients have reported workplace harassment. In one instance, a worker was blackmailed by a co-worker who threatened to call ICE. Employers should be aware of any workplace intimidation and maintain a policy against bullying. Again, regardless of your position on the debate, we are all less safe when pockets of our population are particularly vulnerable.

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Raquel Bellamy Lends Her Immigration Law Experience to Nashville Bar Program

Raquel L. Bellamy, Immigration and Naturalization AttorneyRaquel L. Bellamy, Immigration and Naturalization Attorney

BoneLaw’s Raquel Bellamy is taking a lead role in producing, “What Immigration Attorneys Are Telling Their Terrified Clients”, a seminar hosted by the Nashville Bar Association on Wednesday, March 1st. Presenter Tricia Herzfeld, partner at Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC, will be discussing how to help educate those in the Nashville community about what to do when immigrants are encountered by law enforcement. This lunchtime meeting will include know your rights information, how to identify the need for an immigration lawyer, and how to assist immigrants you know with safety planning—because the best defense is a good offense.

When: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm

Where: Nashville Bar Association, 150 4th Avenue, North, Suite 1050

For more information on the seminar please click here

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BoneLaw Adds Maria Q. Campbell to its Litigation Team

Maria Q. Campbell - Attorney At LawMaria Q. Campbell - Attorney At Law

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is pleased to announce that Maria Q. Campbell has joined the firm.

Maria is part of the firm’s litigation team focusing her practice in areas including employment, administrative and bankruptcy law. “We’re thrilled to welcome Maria to our Bone McAllester Norton team,” said Chairman Charles W. Bone. “Her diverse skills make her a terrific fit for our broad and vibrant litigation practice.”

Maria received her J.D. from Loyola Law School in 2015 and graduated with a B.A, cum laude, from The University of Southern California. Licensed to practice in California and Tennessee, Maria was one of the first to take advantage of Tennessee’s Military Spouse Licensing Law, enacted in early 2016, which grants a Tennessee law license to military spouses who are licensed in another state.

Before joining Bone McAllester Norton, Maria previously worked for firms in the greater Los Angeles region, including DLA Piper and Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo.

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BoneLaw’s Anne C. Martin to Address Employment Issues in the Hospitality Industry

Anne C. Martin Attorney At LawAnne C. Martin Attorney At Law

Bonelaw attorney, Anne C. Martin, will speak at a seminar hosted and sponsored by Nashville Hospitality Providers on February 27, 2017 at Cabana Nashville. Nashville Hospitality Service Providers is an organization of professional vendors who provide products, services and resources to best serve the Nashville restaurant community.

A frequent speaker on employment law, during this discussion Anne will speak on important issues facing those in the restaurant industry today.

What: "Investing in your Employees" by Deb Wendorf (On Demand HR) and Anne Martin (Bone McAllester Norton PLLC)

When: Monday, February 27th from 2 - 4 p.m.

Where: Cabana Nashville (1910 Belcourt Ave, Nashville, TN 37212)

For more information and to register, click here.

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