Tennessee Defense

Lawyers Association


  • 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.

  • 26 Aug 2019 5:00 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Rule 26 Request - The Tennessee Supreme Court is seeking written comments concerning recommended amendments from the Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure.  Specifically, the Commission has recommended an amendment to Rule 26 of the Rules of Civil Procedure which would require initial disclosures in state court.  TDLA would appreciate receiving your comments regarding the proposed rule change so that we can draft a comment to submit on behalf of our membership.  The deadline to submit comments is December 13.  If you would like to also send your comments directly to the Commission, you can e-mail them to appellatecourtclerk@tncourts.gov or mail them to James Hivner, Clerk, Re: 2020 Rules Package, 100 Supreme Court Building, 401 7th Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37219-1407.

    Order seen by clicking here.

  • 15 Aug 2019 5:00 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    TDLA Members:

    Send in your TDLA Award Nominations for "Defense Lawyer of the Year" and "Rising Star" by August 30th!

    Nomination Form: click here

    Awards will be given at our Annual Meeting, September 18-20, 2019 in Knoxville.

  • 22 Jul 2019 5:00 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    TDLA Annual Meeting Registration is now open for TDLA Members. To register visit the Events section of our website, or click here.

    Young Lawyers may register under the Young Lawyers Boot Camp and Annual Meeting event, or click here.

  • 02 Jun 2019 8:00 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    TDLA Annual Membership runs from July 1 to June 30. The month of June is a great time to renew your membership with TDLA and continue to receive all of the wonderful TDLA benefits! 

    Current Regular/ Young Lawyer Members: A generated invoice will be emailed to you on Monday June 3. Please check your email box for the invoice! You may either renew by credit card or by sending a check to P.O. Box 282, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350. 

    Prospective Members: It's a great time to become a TDLA member! To submit an online application please click here.

    Questions? Do not hesitate to reach out to Mary Gadd, TDLA Executive Director if you have any questions! office@tdla.net

  • 22 Apr 2019 8:39 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    One of the membership benefits at TDLA is being part of an organization that can make a difference in Tennessee law. TDLA has submitted several Amicus Briefs in the last few months and below is a summary of those efforts.

    Individual Healthcare Specialists, Inc. v. Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee, Inc. - TDLA garnered national attention from DRI for its involvement in this case. The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an opinion in January addressing the issues discussed in the Amicus Brief filed by DRI with the assistance of TDLA last year. In the case, the Court found Defendants breached its contract with Plaintiffs by failing to pay post-termination commissions, but the discovery rule did not apply because the alleged breach did was not "inherently undiscoverable. While the Court did not reject the discovery rule with respect to all breach of contract cases, the opinion indicated that the discovery rule would apply in very narrow circumstances, if at all.

    Martin et. al v. Rolling Hills Hospital, LLC - This is a healthcare liability case in which the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s dismissal of the claim based on plaintiffs’ incomplete HIPAA authorization and failure to comply with Tenn. Code Ann. section 29-26-121. The Supreme Court accepted the parties’ application and has asked for briefs regarding the role of prejudice in a substantial compliance analysis and when a plaintiff fails to provide a HIPAA-compliant authorization with the pre- suit notice letter. The parties’ briefing of these issues is completed, and TTLA has submitted an Amicus Brief. In response, TDLA Professional Negligence and Medical Malpractice Chair Chris Vrettos of Gideon, Cooper & Essary has filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of TDLA last week. More to come on this case.

    Tennessee Farmers v. DeBruce - TDLA members Hannah Lowe of Trammell, Adkins and Ward and Hank Spragins of Hickman, Goza and Spragins have agreed to co-author an Amicus Brief on behalf of TDLA regarding this significant case. The Tennessee Declaratory Judgment Act (Tenn. Code Ann. 29-14-107(a)) requires that “all persons shall be made parties who have or claim an interest which would be affected by the declaration, and no declaration shall prejudice the rights of persons not parties to the proceedings.” To date, Tennessee appellate courts have never gone so far as to hold that a court would not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear a declaratory judgment action when the insurer failed to include a party that claims an interest in the declaration. This case makes doing so a possibility.

  • 19 Mar 2019 8:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    TDLA officers will be attending the Southern and Southeastern Region meeting in Key Largo, Florida. In keeping with DRI Cares we are collecting new, best-selling books, audiobooks on CDs, music CDs, and DVDs with new movies to donate to the Friends of Key Largo Library. The Library is excited about getting donations and depend on these donations to provide materials to their patrons. A wish list has been set up through Amazon Smiles with links as set out below. If you want to send something prior to the meeting, Melissa Roeder’s firm, Foley Mansfield, in Miami has agreed to hold the items for FDLA to pick up before the meeting. 

    Young Adult Books:


    Movies (DVD)


    Music (CDs)



    Foley Mansfield

    Attn: Virginia Johnson – DRI

    4770 Biscayne Boulevard 
    Suite 1000 
    Miami, Florida 33137 
    Main: 305-438-9899
    Fax: 305-438-9819

    Thank you for caring!

  • 14 Dec 2018 12:00 PM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    Save the Date for these exciting TDLA and DRI events for 2019! More to come!!!

    January 25-26, 2019 - TDLA Trial School, Nashville, TN - more info by clicking here

    June 13-16, 2019 - TDLA/ ADLA Joint Summer Conference, Sandestin, FL - more info click here

    October 16-18, 2019 - DRI Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA

  • 14 Dec 2018 8:00 AM | Mary Gadd (Administrator)

    DRI Golden Coat Challenge - a nationwide coat drive!

    WHO: All State & Legal Defense Organizations (SLDO) members, core sponsors, law firms, and friends.

    WHAT: A diehard, fierce, nationwide competition among SLDOs to collect the most new and gently used coats. All collected coats will be donated to organizations in your local community, which will provide them free of charge to individuals in need. Winner (collector of the most coats) will receive a Golden Coat Award provided by #DRICares and bragging rights. All who participates are winners and will feel awesome for helping others.

    WHEN: Until December 31, 2018.

    HOW: Each SLDO will report to Melissa Roeder (mroeder@foleymansfield.com) on the number of coats collected. The top three SLDOs will be announced in The Voice.

    Please send donated coats by December 31, 2018 to attention:
    Lynn V. Lawyer, TDLA President
    Law Office of Gary R. Wilkinson
    51 Century Blvd., Suite 300
    Nashville, Tennessee 37214

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