Tennessee

Review

Dispute resolution
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Headquartered in Birmingham, Bradley has emerged as a dominant player in the legal services industry in the Southeast, boasting an ever-expanding network of offices throughout the region (in Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Washington, DC, as well as its native Alabama.) The firm has doubled down on its surge into Texas as well; most recently the firm lured a celebrated local “trial lawyer extraordinaire,” Richard “Dick” Sayles, to the firm’s Dallas office. Sayles, an all-purpose commercial litigator who once headed his own litigation boutique, Sayles Werbner, is viewed by all as a particularly auspicious addition. “With that hire, Bradley certainly made a splash in Texas,” testifies one local peer. “That is basically kicking the doors open, yelling ‘Hey Dallas, we’re here!’ Dick Sayles was one of those people who owned the city when I was a young local lawyer, and he continues to do amazing things.” As a bonus, the firm also scored Sayles’ son, Robert Sayles, a noted future star. The elder Sayles is representing JPMorgan Chase in a $220 million qui tam action arising out of mortgage modification program.
     In the firm’s flagship Birmingham office, Mike Pennington is lead counsel defending Ocwen and PHH in four class action and over a dozen individual cases alleging that convenience fees charged for use of optional same-day telephone and online payment and processing methods violate the FDCPA and various state laws. The cases are pending in Florida, California and New Jersey. A prior similar class action in Alabama was settled and received final approval in 2019. Pennington was also, along with Scott Smith and Leigh Anne Hodge, retained as ERISA class-action counsel to defend BBVA against challenges to its 401(k) defined contribution plan. The lawsuit putatively covers all participants in the BBVA 401(k) plan nationwide and seeks over $40 million in damages. Specifically, the suit claims BBVA violated its fiduciary duties to plan participants by including a money market fund in its plan and by failing to control the costs and expenses of several actively managed mutual funds and target date funds in the plan. Beyond commercial litigation, “Bradley’s life sciences team is nationally known,” according to a peer. Tripp HastonKim Martin and Lindsey Boney have represented Bayer in multiple Xarelto litigation matters. A mass tort litigation recently settled for $775 million in the aggregate, after six bellwether trials, all of which were defense wins. Seasoned partner David Hymer is noted for his nationwide representation of CVS in the opioid litigation. In the Montgomery, Alabama office, Charles “Chuck” Stewart has an ongoing relationship with Textron and is representing this client in a case filed by a plaintiff that was rendered crippled by a golf cart.
      In the firm’s Nashville office, Lela Hollabaugh serves as Tennessee counsel for Amazon.com, in a $30 million product liability litigation against it arising from the sale of hoverboards by third-party sellers on the Amazon Marketplace. The allegations in the complaint seek to hold Amazon liable as a seller of the products that are sold by others on its Marketplace.

Polsinelli

Polsinelli has grown beyond its Kansas City roots to inhabit various strategic locations throughout the country, often attracting local talent in the surrounding area. The firm’s aggressive expansion over the years has equipped it with breadth and depth in many areas of litigation.  
     Bouncing between Seattle and Chicago, Gary Hood maintains an intellectual practice touches on all facets of patent, trademark and trade dress IP litigation. Chicago’s Mary Clare Bonaccorsi serves as Polsinelli’s Cross-Department Litigation Chair. She is entrusted to map the overall litigation strategy for the firm.  Bonaccorsi’s practice mainly focuses on the healthcare industry, routinely leading high-stakes corporate internal investigations for clients in healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, her casework often involves false claims act litigation before judges and juries in both state and federal courts throughout the country and she has several high-profile cases under her belt. New additions from the Chicago office include Thomas Gemmell and Daniel ReinbergGemmell’s practice mixes IP and business litigation. He leads several industry-specific practices, serving as lead of the unmanned systems and advanced robotics practice and co-lead of both the aviation practice and the transportation and logistics practice. Reinberg like Bonaccorsi concentrates his practice on the healthcare industry. He represents organizations, corporations, and providers in a variety of cases, including civil and criminal matters, healthcare and securities fraud, and lawsuits arising under the False Claims Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  
     John Peterson, a new addition to this year’s rankings, bridges a geographic and practice divide. Based in Nashville but also operating out of Chattanooga as well as Los Angeles, Peterson is a commercial litigator with vast experience in securities as well as real estate, and he is yet another Polsinelli partner devoted to healthcare litigation, an industry essential to Tennessee's economy. In Atlanta, Brian McEvoys white-collar practice is dedicated to fraud and abuse in the healthcare industry.  Farah Nicol operates out of the firm’s Raleigh and Los Angeles offices and serves chair of the firm’s litigation department -- the first leader to not be based in Kansas City, the firm’s mainstay. Nicol’s primary focus is on product liability and toxic tort litigation.  

Labor and employment
Bass Berry & Sims

Bass Berry & Sims is a full-service law firm that operates offices spanning three major cities in Tennessee: Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis. The labor and employment group is mainly centered in Nashville, but represents clients in litigation throughout the state and beyond. The group is comprised of lawyers who handle both labor relations issues and employment litigation.

Robert Horton chairs the labor and employment practice and maintains an active practice with both traditional labor and employment work. His employment litigation practice has encompassed class- action litigation under the FLSA and additionally an administrative proceeding before the Department of Labor. He and Tim Garrett have both been involved in actions before the National Labor Relations Board as well. Garrett is an experienced labor and employment lawyer and has recently been engaged in several single-plaintiff actions. He represented YAPP USA Automotive Systems in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in Gallatin Circuit Court. The plaintiff also sought worker’s compensation benefits following an altercation with the alleged harasser. Garrett prevailed against the arguments made by the plaintiff on a granted motion for summary judgment, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The plaintiff then attempted to take the case up to the Tennessee Supreme Court; however, they denied permission to hear the matter. 

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Bradley maintains its strong reputation in the southeast ranging from its deep south headquarters up to Tennessee and beyond. As one of the leading law firms throughout the region, the firm stands out in labor and employment for its capability in litigation. One of the firm’s clients attests to its expertise in labor and employment litigation, emphasizing the group’s “excellent legal work” on a case.

One of the labor and employment litigators at the firm was recently praised by a client who describes Matthew Lonergan as “outstanding in every way.” His experience over the last year has involved labor relations, having negotiated a Project Labor Agreement on behalf of a southeastern construction client and a collective bargaining agreement for a government subtractor at a military installation. On the employment litigation side of his practice, Lonergan has obtained several victories for clients on motions for summary judgment. In one of his wins, he represented the city of Murfreesboro against an employee who resigned after testing positive for THC during a required drug test for a promotion. After a discussion with her supervisor, the plaintiff began taking CBD oils to cope with negative side effects of medication for mental health. Following her resignation, however, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the city alleging ADA discrimination and failure to accommodate claims. Lonergan filed a motion for summary judgment which was granted by the court and dismissed all claims.

Chuck Mataya is also practicing out of the Nashville office and has been actively litigating a case that was filed against a client by the EEOC in the Middle District of Tennessee. The original plaintiff was a registered ER nurse with the client, Tennova Healthcare – Clarkesville, who injured her ACL on the job and required surgery that left permanent restrictions. As a result, the hospital terminated the plaintiff as she could no longer perform essential functions. The EEOC filed a lawsuit on behalf of the original plaintiff claiming that she was discriminatorily discharged and was not reasonably accommodated. The EEOC specifically claims that she was not accommodated by being moved to a different position. Mataya filed a motion for summary judgment which is currently pending.

Craig Oliver also practices out of the Nashville office and exclusively focuses on labor and employment. Like Lonergan, Oliver’s practice is a mix of both labor relations and employment litigation, handling the full breadth and scope of the practice area.