In The News

Bone McAllester Norton Welcomes Two Attorneys to Nashville Office

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC has welcomed attorneys Mandy Strickland Floyd and Jack Spencer to the firm’s Nashville office.  

“We are thrilled that Mandy has decided to return to Bone McAllester. She and Jack are great additions to our practice,” said Charles Robert Bone, president and CEO of Bone McAllester Norton. “The expertise and passion they bring to their roles will help us continue to provide our clients with strategic solutions and optimal service.” 

Mandy Strickland Floyd Attorney at Bone McAllester Norton Professional indexFloyd returns to Bone McAllester Norton following two years of service with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nashville (ACLU-TN), where she worked as a staff attorney focused on constitutional and civil rights issues. Prior to her position at ACLU-TN, she worked at Bone McAllester Norton and as a law clerk to the Hon. Richard H. Dinkins of the Tennessee Court of Appeals. In her career, Floyd has represented clients in appeals before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Tennessee Supreme Court, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. She will concentrate her Bone McAllester Norton practice in litigation and dispute resolution, education law, labor and employment law, and appellate practice. In addition to her litigation work, Floyd is actively involved in the industry through memberships with the Nashville Bar Association, Lawyers’ Association for Women, Tennessee Bar Association, Harry Phillips American Inn of Court and Napier Looby Bar Association. She also has been recognized as a recipient of the Tennessee Supreme Court Pro Bono Attorney for Justice Award and nominee for the ATHENA Nashville Young Professional Leadership Award. She earned her law degree from the University of Memphis in 2012.

John M Jack Spencer Attorney at Bone McAllester Norton Professional index

Spencer joins Bone McAllester Norton after clerking for the Hon. William R. Sawyer at the Federal Bankruptcy Court Middle District in Alabama. In his new role, Spencer will be concentrating his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, litigation and dispute resolution. A recent graduate of The University of Alabama School of Law, Spencer previously served as an intern in the civil rights and claims division of the Tennessee State Attorney General’s Office. He is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, Alabama Bar Association and American Bankruptcy Institute.

Anne C. Martin Named Among Top Labor and Employment Lawyers in 2017 Chambers USA

Congratulations to BoneLaw’s Anne C. Martin for being ranked in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, published by Chambers & Partners.

Anne Martin Attorney, Bone LawAnne Martin Attorney, Bone LawAnne was recognized for her work in the area of labor and employment law. Noted by Chambers as a “highly respected employment lawyer in Tennessee," Anne has been widely published in the areas of employment law as it relates to matters including discharge, disability leave, discrimination, harassment and non-compete agreements.

Each year, Chambers USA ranks law firms and individual lawyers based on different qualities most valued by clients, including technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, and commitment. Chambers' research team conducts thousands of interviews with lawyers and clients throughout the year to create a basis for their ranks. More information is available on the Chambers website.

How Litigation in Nashville is Different than in Bigger Cities

I get asked a lot to serve as local counsel on cases for lawyers from LA, New York, Chicago and DC.  (I also end up hiring lawyers in those cities.)  Sometimes we’re asked to play a minor role – some call this “elbow counsel,” where we’re really just on the case in name only.  Generally, though, lead counsel sees that we can offer valuable insight into not just the substantive law but also the local landscape.  And I assure you the landscape here in Nashville is much different than it is in larger cities.

Given the sheer size of bigger cities, lawyers there often never appear more than once in front of the same judge and often never interact with the same opposing counsel.  With the virtual anonymity that comes with the territory in those jurisdictions, lawyers have every reason to practice scorched-earth litigation.  They can be as ruthless as they want – no one knows who they are and, very likely, no one will ever see them again.

Practice here in Nashville is completely different.  Although our city is booming, we have only four active U.S. District Judges and only four chancellors at the state court level.  In this big small town, everyone knows everyone. And how you conduct yourself in a single case can be remembered for the rest of your career.  Although we advocate zealously, we refuse to stab each other in the back.   And we know how easy it is to be short-sighted.  Given the close-knit relationships here, we still litigate with a Southern gentility, or what the profession calls “civility.”  I hope it always stays this way, even as we grow and welcome newcomers from other jurisdictions.

Bone McAllester Norton Adds Experienced Litigator to Its Labor and Employment and Litigation Practices

Susan Neal Williams Brings Background in eDiscovery and Litigation Management


Nashville, Tenn.—(August 10, 2015) Nashville-based law firm Bone McAllester Norton PLLC has added a skilled litigator to its Labor and Employment Law and Litigation and Dispute Resolution practices. The firm announced today the addition of Susan Neal Williams, who brings knowledge in electronic discovery and litigation management.

“Susan Neal is a fourth-generation attorney with experience in detailed, complex litigation matters,” said Charles W. Bone, founder and chairman of Bone McAllester Norton. “She comes to us with a background of working with some of the best plaintiff’s lawyers in Nashville, and the firm looks forward to having her expertise as an added benefit to our clients.”

Williams honed her litigation skills in product liability, insurance coverage, automobile wrecks, medical malpractice, gas explosions, roadway design and engineering cases. She graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law and is a member of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court and the Lawyers Association for Women. She was previously with Leader, Bulso, & Nolan, PLC in Nashville.

The addition of Williams brings Bonelaw’s Labor and Employment practice to five attorneys and the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice to 19 attorneys.

For more information on Bone McAllester Norton and its attorneys, visit www.bonelaw.com.

 
ABOUT BONE MCALLESTER NORTON PLLC

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 39 attorneys and offices in Nashville, Sumner and Williamson counties, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 18 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

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Media Contact:
Ann Dee McClane, (615) 742-6889

Lessons Businesses & Public Figures Can Learn from NCAA Football Players

Businesses who use celebrities to endorse their products should pay attention to two recent decisions, as should celebrities and other public figures.

In two recent cases, former college football players filed suit against Electronic Arts, Inc., better known as EA, the maker of video game "NCAA Football."  The two primary plaintiffs were Ryan Hart, who played quarterback for Rutgers in the early 2000s, and Samuel Keller, who was QB at Arizona State in the mid 2000s.

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Although EA never used the players' names, it honed in on real-life details of each player, including jersey number, jersey color, type of helmet and facemask, player height and weight, physical appearance, and throwing and interception stats.  The players sued on behalf of themselves and other players.  The heart of each suit was that EA had violated their right of publicity.

The right of publicity is a creature of state law and, although they have a lot in common, all 50 states treat the right of publicity differently.  Typically a plaintiff must show the a defendant used an individual's name, photograph or likeness to advertise goods or services without the plaintiff's prior consent.  The right typically covers any form of an individual's likeness or persona.  For example, Bette Midler sued when Ford used someone who sounded like her to promote a car in a song, and Vanna White sued Samsung for using a robot dressed in a wig, gown and jewelry to turn letters on a game resembling Wheel of Fortune.  The right also typically covers any medium, from photographs to films to video games.

In these two most recent cases, EA argued that it had a First Amendment right to use these college players' likenesses in its video games.  The Third Circuit and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals acknowledged that a First Amendment right of expression extends to video games but held that the players' right of publicity trumped EA's First Amendment right.  The courts both employed the "Transformative Use" balancing test and concluded that EA's video game failed to transform the players' likenesses.  The dissenting judges in both cases disagreed, finding that the video games were highly transformative, given that gamers have the ability to change the avatars' appearances and to never encounter Hart or Keller if they so choose.

Businesses who utilize the images and personas of public figures and celebrities should always obtain consent prior to using the image.  Celebrities often give consent to have their songs recorded and published (a right governed by copyright), but that consent often does not encompass the right of publicity.  Celebrities should always check to see to what extent they have consented to having their right of publicity used.  The right of publicity continues to be one of the most rapidly changing and evolving areas of intellectual property law.