Todd Moore PLC Helps Close Final Piece of Brentwood’s Smith Park


BRENTWOOD, Tenn.—February 24, 2014—The City of Brentwood closed Monday on the final 80-acre tract of its Marcella Vivrette Smith Park.

Master Plan Marcella Vivrette Smith Park

Master Plan for Brentwood’s Marcella Vivrette Smith Park (from

The closing was handled by Todd Moore of Todd Moore PLC, Bryan Smith of Pietrangelo Cook, PLC and City Attorney Roger Horner. Todd Moore, a Brentwood resident, said “we feel privileged to represent Brentwood in this historic transaction. The Marcella Vivrette Smith Park represents an invaluable asset to the City and its citizens.”

Marking the city’s largest-ever land buy, Brentwood Commissioners voted in 2010 to purchase 320 acres of the Smith family farm, including the 1825 Ravenswood home and several outbuildings. Toward the end of 2013, the Commission unanimously voted to exercise an option to purchase an additional 80 acres.

The total 400-acre park expands the passive and active recreation opportunities available to residents while establishing a central “crown jewel” of green space and ensuring its preservation for posterity.

More information about the park, including a Master Plan, is available at

About Todd Moore PLC Attorneys at Law:

Established in 1999, Todd Moore PLC is a full-service law firm offering legal services and expertise for individuals, businesses and governments. Areas of practice include contract law, family law, land use and zoning, estate planning, and criminal defense. Offices are located in Cool Springs, at 3326 Aspen Grove Drive, Suite #310 in Franklin. The firm serves clients throughout the state of Tennessee. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (615) 290-5354 or visit

For more legal and community news, insights and commentary, keep up with the firm blog here at

About Pietrangelo Cook, PLC:

Pietrangelo Cook PLC was founded in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1997 by Anthony Pietrangelo and John Cook.  Offering a unique blend of legal, business, technological, and financial knowledge, Pietrangelo Cook provides complete legal advice across diverse industries and businesses. Bryan K. Smith concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial and residential real estate, real estate development and finance, secured transactions, and opinion letters. For more information on Pietrangelo Cook, PLC call (901) 685-2662 or visit

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Michael Jordan Crossover: Court Reverses Ruling in MJ’s $5 Million Misappropriation of Identity Case against Grocery Store Chain


Jewell-Osco ad the subject of Michael Jordan lawsuit

This Jewell-Osco ad is the subject of Michael Jordan’s misappropriation of identity lawsuit.

When Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, Time, Inc. published a special commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated Presents. Jewel Foods, Inc., a Chicago-area supermarket chain store operator was offered advertising space in the publication in exchange for placement of the edition its approximately 175 stores. Jewel apparently thought this offer was a slam dunk and accepted, submitting a full-page ad which was placed on the inside back cover.

MJ was not as pumped with the #23 shoe-inspired message and filed a $5 million lawsuit for misappropriation of his identity for Jewel Foods’ commercial benefit.

According to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the parties’ game plan and their arguments presented a straight-forward issue for them to decide: is the ad, commercial or noncommercial speech. If it is commercial (for purposes of the First Amendment) then Jordan’s lawsuit can proceed; if its noncommercial, then both sides agree that it is constitutionally protected and the case should be dismissed with Jewel Foods claiming the shut-out victory. (more…)

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When Statutes Conflict, Rule of Thumb is The Latest is Greatest


The Tennessee Attorney General issued an opinion yesterday stating that there is an “irreconcilable conflict” between statutes involving the authority to provide water and wastewater service in territory annexed by a city. Tenn. Code Ann. §5-6-120 provides in part that “From and after the creation of a water and wastewater treatment authority and the establishment of its service area, the authority shall

be the sole and exclusive provider of its authorized services in its service area. . . .” and that “[a]ny city proposing to provide such services in the service area of the authority shall have authorization to do so only by filing a petition in the manner established by this section and receiving a cession by the authority.”

However, Tenn. Code Ann. § 6-51-111 states that an “annexing municipality, if and to the extent that it may choose, shall have the exclusive right to perform or provide municipal and utility functions and services in any territory that it annexes,” notwithstanding any other statute. In short, one statute, §6-51-111, gives the annexing city exclusive authority to provide these services, while the other statute, § 5-6-120, gives the existing utility such exclusive authority.

Under the of statutory interpretation, there is a presumption that the legislature knows the law when it enacts new legislation. So when two separate acts conflict and that they cannot be reconciled, a court should find that the later act passed or amended repeals the first—at least to the extent of any conflict. In this situation, the AG determined that because TCA 6-51-111 was amended more recently (in 2003), it supersedes and controls over TCA 5-6-120 (last amended in 1995), and therefore an annexing city has the exclusive right to provide utility services in that territory.

A good summary of rules of statutory interpretation is available from Georgetown Law School at this link.

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Richard Nixon Tours Nashville in Publicity Stunt for Franklin-based Theatre Company


Brentwood State Senator Jack Johnson issued a press release earlier this month—on official letterhead—announcing a special visit by Richard M. Nixon at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza during the General Assembly session. The announcement was part of a publicity stunt for Franklin-based professional theatre company Studio Tenn, whose production of the political stage drama “Frost/Nixon” opens this week at the Franklin Theatre.

WKRN Studio Tenn Frost/Nixon appearance

“David Frost” (Brent Maddox) and “Richard Nixon” (Robert Kiefer) on WKRN’s “This Week” with Bob Mueller.

In addition to greeting the Nashville press corps and state lawmakers, Studio Tenn’s “Nixon”—actor Robert Kiefer—will appear along with Brent Maddox (in character as David Frost) on WKRN Channel 2’s “This Week” with Bob Mueller tonight at 11:00 p.m.

Given the promisingly theatrical guerilla promotion, we can’t wait to see what Studio Tenn has in store for the stage production. Check out the description and trailer below. For more information or tickets, visit

About Studio Tenn’s Frost/Nixon:

This political thriller brings to life the true account of the 1977 battle of wits between British talk show host David Frost and the recently resigned Richard Nixon, each striving to unnerve and unravel the other in front of millions on live television. The chilling exchange was adapted for stage by Peter Morgan in 2006 and enjoyed rave receptions first in London then on Broadway before being made into a popular film by Ron Howard in 2008. The hushed intimacy of the Franklin Theatre will lend fresh immediacy—and a thick air of suspense—to this riveting historical drama. (From

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Love, Lawsuits and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Sweet Music Makers’ Legal Disputes Then and Now


Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin

By Dina Regine [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Whole Lotta Love” Mired in Muddy Water

The case: Willie Dixon v. Led Zeppelin (1985)

The complaint: Plagiarism. Some lyrics of the Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” were lifted from a 1962 Muddy Waters song written by Willie Dixon, “You Need Love.”

The outcome: The case was settled out of court. Led Zeppelin conceded writing credits and royalties to Dixon, openly admitting to incorporating classic blues lyrics into many of their songs, in a method they felt was interpretive. Read more at CKUA radio network.


Courtney Love

By aphrodite-in-nyc [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Courtney Love and Alleged Libel

The case: Obsidian Finance Group LLC; Kevin D. Padrick v. Crystal Cox (2014)

The complaint: Defamation. Via angry Tweet, Courtney Love accused her lawyer, Rhonda Holmes, of being “bought off.” Holmes sued for 8 million, claiming the rock star used her celebrity to defame Holmes’ business and reputation to millions.

The outcome: The jury found that Love’s Tweet did not constitute libel because Love did not know the information it contained was false. As the Huffington Post reports, this case is a landmark one, with precedent-setting implications for bloggers and tweeters. Read the HuffPo’s full coverage here.


Bob Marley and The Wailers

By Tankfield (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

One Love” Ain’t for the Birds

The case: Bob Marley’s estate v. Raising Cane’s (2014)

The complaint: Trademark Infringement. Raising Cane’s, a Louisiana-based fast food franchise, has adopted the use of the phrase “One Love” in its marketing, without permission from the estate of the late Bob Marley, whose 1977 song of the same name is one of the most famous and beloved in his catalogue. According to reports by, Raising Cane’s has registered the trademark, and the estate has been blocked from registering similar additional trademarks of its own. The lawsuit filed includes counts of trademark infringement and dilution, false association, cancellation of the aforementioned trademark registrations, common law trademark infringement, and intentional interference with advantageous business relations, Spin reports.

The outcome: …is yet to be determined.

In the meantime, it is Valentine’s Day, so, in Bob Marley’s conspicuously attributed words, “let’s get together and feel alright.”

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What Lives Must Die: A Look at Justice Scalia’s Judicial Philosophy


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

By Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Antonin Scalia – The Oyez Project) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In an address to students, lawyers and scholars during his recent visit to Memphis and the University of Memphis School of Law, Justice Antonin Scalia expressed in conversation that which he had already expressed to many in his written opinions (and dissents): his views on the United States Constitution. Justice Scalia views the Constitution as a document locked in the dead of time that must stand as written—not as a living documents that “comports with the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” To those who do view the Constitution as a living document that is capable of changing to reflect society’s progress, he remarks: “Isn’t that upbeat—that societies only mature and never rot.” Scalia has a point in that living things not only grow; they eventually die and rot away.

Scalia fears that what constitutes the “evolving standards of decency” are decided too much by the legislature whose members constantly monitor and respond to the views of the public in order to stay in office. (more…)

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Supreme Court Arguments in Tennessee State Capitol Gift Glimpse of History


Tennessee State Capitol Building

Tennessee Capitol Building By Luiz1940 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Tennessee Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the historic State Capitol last week in the  chambers where the Court regularly convened from the 1850s until the Supreme Court Building was completed in 1937. These pictures show the courtroom that was restored to a 19th Century-era style in 1988.

Besides the historical significance of the state judiciary hearing cases in the capitol at the invitation of the chief executive during the legislative session, it is interesting to note that in this configuration, the justices are seated on an only slightly elevated “bench,” placing them at almost-eye-level with the presenting attorneys. Newer (20th and early 21st century) courtrooms generally place judges as far away and as high above the attorneys, parties, jurors and public as reasonably possible.

The pictures also illustrate the magnificent simplicity of the capitol’s Greek Revival ionic temple design—the images marred only by the court’s barricade and the Tennessee State Bicentennial Portrait. (more…)

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‘Speed Trap Paul Revere’ Prevails: Judge Says OK to Flash Lights to Signal Radar Ahead


A St. Louis judge has ruled that it’s not unlawful to flash your headlights to signal to other drivers that there are police ahead, the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reports. See the full opinion here.

flashing headlights

By The Car Spy (2001 Bentley Arnage Red Label) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Ellisville, Missouri, a city of about 10,000 in St. Louis County, had a track record of punishing drivers who were seen flashing their lights to warn of radar up the road. The ACLU of Missouri took issue with the practice and filed a lawsuit on behalf of one such “Speed Trap Paul Revere,” coincidentally named Ellis (first name Michael). He was fined $1,000 and incurred points on his license for flashing his headlights at oncoming cars, which the ACLU successfully contended was a form of Constitutionally protected free speech.

The city initially defended its policy—codified as “Limitations on Lamps Other than
Headlamps – Flashing Signals Prohibited Except on Specified Vehicles,” in § 375.100 of its Code of Ordinances—by taking the position that headlight flashing could be interpreted as “illegal interference with a police investigation.” However, in his opinion, U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey pointed to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 575.030, which states that “a warning given in connection with an
effort to bring another into compliance with the law” does NOT constitute a crime of hindering prosecution. (more…)

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Highlight from the Head Injury Hall of Fame; TN’s Concussion Act Now In Play


In October 1976, Turkey Jones slam-sacked Terry Bradshaw, throwing him on his head and leaving him with a concussion that sidelined the Steelers quarterback for weeks. Watch:

The response to Turkey’s tackle led directly to the “in the grasp” and control rule which continues to govern the game, including the famous Helmet Catch of Super Bowl XLII.

Over the years, the issue of head injuries in football and other sports has trickled down to high school and youth activities. But instead of rule changes (high school and college football have never adopted the NFL’s rules regarding control of the quarterback, due primarily to the style of the game on those levels as much as safety concerns), legislation has been passed to attempt to address concussions for minors. (more…)

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Buzz Kill for Clarksville: Attorney General says No City Alcohol Sales


The Tennessee Attorney General has issued an opinion on municipal sales of alcohol, and it’s a stiff one.

TN cities cannot sell alcohol

By Sreejithk2000 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Requested by the city of Clarksville and handed down earlier this month, the AG’s opinion means it’s closing time for certain beverage sales by the Parks and Rec Department at city-run festivals and venues, including its two municipal golf courses.

Murfreesboro and Memphis are among the other municipalities who may need to revise their current operations in light of the opinion, according to reports by the Leaf-Chronicle.

To be clear, the party’s not entirely over; alcohol service at city facilities and events may continue, but only through private vendors who have obtained their own proper licensure. It does not, apparently, go without saying that said “private vendor” cannot be a city employee. That’s where Clarksville will have to course-correct, for the opinion makes it plain: “A City employee cannot do that which the City itself is prohibited from doing.”

The Attorney General’s (last) call may come as a disappointment to some cities, but it’s likely not altogether a surprise. The Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) has over the years maintained a legal opinion on the topic of whether cities can hold beer permits, and it has always been—pretty resoundingly—“No.” See this 2005 Memorandum for the detailed rationale.


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