Legal Alert: Tennessee Supreme Court Reverses Appeals Court Decision on Landfill Cleanup
Bone McAllester Norton attorneys Sharon O. Jacobs and C. David Briley for the appellee, ACC, LLC.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has reversed a Court of Appeals decision concerning the cleanup of a landfill that has been discharging pollutants into a Maury County lake.
From 1981 to 1993, ACC, LLC operated a landfill in Maury County, Tennessee, where it disposed of aluminum recycling wastes from a local aluminum smelting plant. Within a few years of becoming operational, the landfill began to discharge chlorides and ammonia into water that drained into a local lake. This discharge was in violation of the Water Quality Control Act and the Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Act.
Over several years, ACC worked with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) in an attempt to remedy the problem. After a number of efforts proved unsuccessful, ACC and TDEC agreed that the best solution would be to remove the waste causing the pollution from the landfill site. In 2011, ACC and TDEC entered into an administrative consent order requiring ACC to divert water from entering the landfill and, over a four-year period, remove the landfill waste. The order was filed in the Davidson County Chancery Court for approval.
StarLink Logistics Inc., a neighboring landowner, intervened in the Chancery Court proceeding and objected to the terms of the order. StarLink was concerned that the discharge of pollutants from the landfill site onto its property would continue during the removal of the waste. Because the parties could not reach an agreement, the Chancery Court remanded the matter to the Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Control Board for a contested hearing.
On remand, ACC and TDEC negotiated a new order, which was presented to the Board for approval. After hearing testimony from a number of witnesses, the Board voted to approve the proposed order, agreeing that the best and most economically feasible option would be to remove the waste from the landfill site. The Court of Appeals reversed the Board’s decision, finding it to be arbitrary and capricious because it failed to fully consider the other options discussed at the hearing, such as having StarLink pay for pipes to divert the contaminated water.
In a unanimous opinion authored by Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals misapplied the appropriate standard for reviewing decisions of administrative agencies like the Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Control Board. Under the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, the decisions of the Board are to be afforded deference whenever it is acting within its area of specialized knowledge, experience, and expertise. As a result, Board decisions may only be overturned if the decision is shown to be in violation of constitutional or statutory provisions, in excess of the statutory authority of the agency, made upon unlawful procedure, arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion, or unsupported by substantial and material evidence.
In reversing the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held that the Board’s decision did not fit within any of these criteria and thus should have been affirmed. The Court disagreed that the Board’s decision was arbitrary, capricious, and a clear error in judgment, explaining that the Board gave fair consideration to the diversion option and rejected it as a viable solution. According to the Supreme Court, the search for another solution by the Court of Appeals was improper. The case will now return to the intermediate appellate court to decide other issues previously left unsettled.
Read the opinion in StarLink Logistics Inc. v. ACC, LLC, et al. authored by Chief Justice Lee.
Copied from: TennesseeCourts.gov.
In The News
Legal Alert: Tennessee Supreme Court Reverses Appeals Court Decision on Landfill Cleanup
You can imagine the excitement to know that we will be getting our very own Whole Foods in downtown Nashville!
According to The Nashville Business Journal, this full-service grocery store will soon call 1214 Broadway home.
1214 Broadway will be the home of the latest Endeavor Real Estate Group project, a proposed 27-story tower at the corner of 12th Avenue North and Broadway.
To read the full article in The Nashville Business Journal, click here.
We are honored to share that four of our attorneys have been selected to Nashville's Best of the Bar list, published by the Nashville Business Journal. The process for determining the list this year has changed. First, lawyers were grouped into categories by areas of practice not firm size and secondly the voting weight was distributed more heavily among voters outside the nominee's own firm.
Our own Best of the Bar lawyers are:
Corporate & Securities
The attorneys who made the Best of the Bar list will be recognized at a cocktail reception on June 2. Congratulations to all the attorneys!
To see the entire list published in the Nashville Business Journal, click here.
President and CEO of Bone McAllester Norton, Charles Robert Bone has been selected to assist Tennessee State University as they undergo a transition to a new Board of Trustees.
The university announced the formation of the 16-member committee earlier this month. The committee will guide the TSU administrators, faculty and staff as they prepare to implement the Focus on College and University Success Act. The FOCUS Act allows each public Tennessee university to establish its own independent board.
"We know that what's needed in this type of transition is high-powered individuals with governance experience," TSU President, Glenda Glover says. "The team will provide though leadership to assist us in determining how we prepare for the new board."
To read the entire article in The Tennessean, click here.
Members of the TSU Transition Advisory Committee
- Traci Otey Blount, executive vice president of corporate marketing and corporate affairs at Robert L. Johnson Entertainment
- Charles Robert Bone, chief executive officer of Bone McAllester Norton
- Lauren J. Brisky, retired, vice chancellor for administration and chief financial officer at Vanderbilt University
- Beverly Carmichael, senior vice president and chief people officer at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
- Colleen Conway-Welch, former dean of Vanderbilt School of Nursing
- George L Davis Jr., chief technology officer at Ultimate Progress Incorporated
- Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, superintendent of Birmingham Public Schools
- Fred Humphries, former president of Florida A&M University and Tennessee State University
- Jamie Isabel, owner of Dalmatian Creative Agency
- Richard Lewis, owner at Lewis & Wright Funeral Home
- Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell, president of the National Medical Association
- Wendell Moore, senior public policy adviser at Baker Donelson and former deputy governor
- Shirley Raines, former president of the University of Memphis
- Maria Thompson, president of Coppin State University in Baltimore
- Bishop Joseph W. Walker III, senior pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church
- Brenda Wynn, Davidson County clerk
Bone McAllester Norton attorneys Trace Blankenship and Sarah Lodge Tally are advising Citizens Tri-County Bank in the transaction to purchase another bank in the area.
Sequatchie Valley Bancshares Inc., the parent company of Citizens Tri-County Bank based in Dunlap, Tenn., is buying Franklin County United Bancshares, the parent company of Franklin County United Bank with offices in Decherd and Cowan, Tenn.
The purchase is the ninth for Citizens Tri-County since the bank began in 1972 as the Citizens Bank of Dunlap and Pikeville. The purchase will boost Citizens Tri-County Bank, which took on its name in 1992 after previous bank acquisitions, to $805 million in assets served by two dozen offices across nine counties.
"We are very excited about the expansion of our bank into Franklin County as part of our strategic plan," said John V. Barker, president of Citizens Tri-County Bank. "This transaction provides the opportunity to expand our team with the addition of experienced and talented associates while serving the needs of new and current customers across several contiguous counties. We look forward to continuing to build great relationships in all of the communities we serve."
Trace Blankenship, member and general counsel of Bone McAllester Norton, is serving as lead counsel on this transaction. His practice is focused on mergers and acquisitions, securities/venture funding/private placements and company governance and board strategy. Sarah Lodge Tally is an attorney at Bone McAllester Norton and is assisting in the transaction. Sarah's practice is focused on corporate matters advising in strategy and execution of complex transactions.
To read our client's press release, click here.
To read an article about the transaction in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, click here.
Bone McAllester Norton attorney Loren Mulraine has just been elected to the Gospel Music Association Foundation Board.
Lorne's talents know no bounds - from his early career as an on-air personality to independent gospel artist, songwriter, professor at Belmont and previously Tennessee State University to a successful entertainment law practice. "I love being able to merge my understanding of the creative elements of the entertainment and media industries with my legal and business skills. . . " says Lorne of his legal career.
He has been elected to a two- year term as a Director of the Gospel Music Association Foundation Board.
About GMA Inc.
The mission of the GMA Foundation is to recognize and preserve the history and legacy of all forms of gospel music and to provide educational resources that encourage participation and appreciation by the general public. The GMA Foundation oversees the righs to the GMA Dove Awards, IMMERSE and the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Anne C. Martin, of Bone McAllester Norton.
This is of course in response to the bitter legal battle brewing between Tennessee's two largest banks, Pinnacle Financial Partners and First Tennessee Bank.
To read the full article in The Tennessean, click here.
Ed Yarbrough, was asked his expert opinion of the recent domestic incident at the home of a Rutherford County Sheriff's Department Deputy. The incident was handled with cell phones and without using standard protocol procedures.
Mr. Yarbrough suggested that Chief Deputy Garrett should not have contacted his own officers to investigate. "The problem is, any time a senior officer puts one of his subordinates in the position of doing what the boss says, or doing what the law requires, that's a conflict of interest," Yarbrough said.
To see the full Channel 4 I-Team Investigative report, click here.
To read the full transcript of the video, click here.
Will Cheek discusses the special bill the TN Legislature has passed to get wine in grocery stores by July 1, but at what cost to the consumer?
To watch the video on WSMV's Channel 4 News website, click here.
To keep up with the latest liquor law legislation and WIGS (wine in grocery stores), follow Will's blog, Last Call.
The station offers live radio shows, whether scheduled or impromptu as well as Vinyl Lunch, Pairs Well with Food, B Hop Barribeau and more.
To read the entire Tennessean article, click here.