Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why Practice Law in Millington, Tennessee?

Why Millington?

As an injury lawyer who practices in areas from Memphis to Covington and Ripley to Jackson, I get the question, “Why Millington?” quite a bit. Why is your office in Millington? Why not Memphis?
After all, some point out, “successful” attorneys usually have impressive high-rise offices in downtown Memphis, with sweeping views of the Mighty Mississippi River.

My views may not compare, as I am looking at Highway 51, a car wash and Millington’s only high-rise (also known as the Holiday Inn Express).  But I am content to be just where I am.  So I have no parking garages, no elevators, no gang shootings, no parking meters, no one way streets, no crowds, no panhandlers, and no angry big city folks.

But what do I have? I know Mr. Thomas that owns that hotel across the street, my dentist Kevin, and Drs. Boatwright who run a great local pharmacy. I dropped off my cleaning with Bobby this morning, and will probably say hello to Larry at the bank later this week.

It’s personal. Millington is just a welcoming place.

My Great, Great, Great Grandfather James Peel is buried at Mt. Vernon near Shelby Forest.  So roots run deep, right up through my Great Grandfather T. C. Peel being a keeper of the light on Island 40 in the River. He, my Granddaddy Chaffee Peel, and my Dad, Billy, sharecropped land on the levee in nearby Arlington. My Mother’s folks, the Griffins, raised her in nearby Rosemark. 

While my Dad’s job caused me to be raised in Southern Arkansas, I spent many a summer in this area.  Oddly, I now live right in between the homes that both my parents were raised in.

So, I could join the 3,000 or so lawyers that call Memphis home, and have an ivory tower office. Or I could build an impressive office out here.  Or, I could just be me, in my “glamorous strip mall office” and try to leave my clients and friends just a bit better than I found them.

For now, that’s plenty good enough for me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014



As an injury attorney, I am very unlikely to be targeted in a scam. But this is not true for my grandmother. Here are some current scams that seem to target our seniors.

Obituary mining.  In what must a new low, scammers use all the information in the obituaries to assert to the widow or widower that their newly-deceased owed them some money. Sometimes, it is alleged to be a gambling debt that might smear the reputation of the beloved deceased. They hope that the confused and grieving widow might pay the “debt” to avoid embarrassment or a public lawsuit.

Phone calls. Due to charming old-fashioned thoughts of courtesy, and loneliness, seniors make many more purchases over the phone than other age groups.

The worst thing, is that if you fall for one of these, you get added to the unflattering database known as the “sucker list.”  Sometimes, new fakers then even call and offer to get the money back from the old fakers! They often use embarrassment as a weapon.  If you feel you are getting scammed, do not be ashamed in front of your kids or grandkids. Let them help you.

Sometimes, the phone calls allege a relative is in trouble and takes advantage of the willingness of the victim to help. Often, charity scams target the elderly.

It has been widely reported that over 90% elder abuse is committed by a senior adult’s own family members like children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

The Nigerian scam, in one form or another, has it hit our seniors hard. And no, you did not win the Canadian lottery. Sometimes, seniors will actually receive a real check that they then write “tax money” or “fees” from to the lottery. Days later the original check bounces and they have your money.

Be careful out there. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How Long do I have to Sue in Tennessee?

If you or a loved one are in a car accident in Tennessee, as an adult you have only has one (1) year to sue to avoid your injury or death case from being barred due to the Tennessee statute of limitations.

As a Christian injury lawyer in Tennessee, I am often saddened to hear that an auto insurance company has not warned a victim of an accident about this fact.

Whether you are in a truck accident on I-40 in Memphis, or on I-55, on Highway 51, be aware that, even if your recovery front he crash takes longer than a year, you still have to sue on time.

This rule has exceptions, the most common being minority.  That is, the fact that a child is under eighteen (18) years of age can toll the statute.

There is no tolling of the statute because you are treating with doctors.  Nor will it matter that you have been talking to the insurance company.

Car wrecks, falls, and other injuries turn your world upside down. But, if you do not act quickly enough, you can can get hurt twice.

See my Website for more information.


As of July 1, 2014, any Tennessean can keep a loaded handgun, shotgun or rifle in a car or truck you legally possess. The only requirement is that you are legally able to possess a gun under state and federal law.
You still cannot carry it on your body if you don't have a state-issued handgun-carry permit, however.  Handgun-carry permit applicants undergo stringent criminal background checks, must pass mandatory gun-safety training, and are issued a nifty little card to carry.
The law won't allow those without carry permits to keep their loaded firearms in vehicles where parking lots are “posted against guns.” We will see more of those “gun-free zone” signs soon, I am sure.  Criminals prefer unarmed victims in gun free zones, but the bad guys seem to entirely ignore the pesky laws we follow, making them what we call: “criminals.”
As you might expect, some law enforcement were in favor, while others opposed this change in the law.  Many of those favoring it looked at Texas, where loaded long guns have been allowed for years, without a bloodbath.
Some of those opposing it seem to point to the idea that some criminals would be “allowed to have guns” and thus might do bad things.  This seems like a better argument in favor of arming the innocent, since bad guys are armed either way.
Be sure your children are taught not to touch guns without your direct oversight. If you have a depressed teen, it is not worth the risk to have the loaded gun close.
By the way, if you get pulled over at night, turn on your dome light and grab the steering wheel. Put the police at ease. They do not know you.
This law might save some lives, but I fear for the driver that looks to cop like “he is going for a gun.” Be careful.

Teens in Tennessee

As an injury lawyer, I see the tragic results of irresponsibility every day. Uninsured motorists cause mayhem and often pay nothing for their carelessness. People drive without driver’s licenses or due care.
If you are like me, you have pretty much always been working since you were a youngster. At age 9, I started mowing yards and kept that up in my teen years. But my first job outside yard work was washing dishes at a Huddle House. Scraping food off stranger’s plates (along with cigarette butts back then) made me want to get an education. I was 13.
After that, I worked at jobs that varied from stocking at Lowe’s to shipping and receiving; from mechanic’s assistant to floral delivery driver; from sign painter to grocery store sacker.
If your son or daughter is 14 or 15 and wants to work, they need only prove their age to their boss. They can use a passport, a birth certificate, a driver license permit, or any state issued identification. But, there are strict state and federal rules.
During the school year, when the schools are in session, the laws allows no more than 3 hours per day
and no more than 18 hours a week.
 If the next day is a school day, children ages 14-15 may not work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
During the summer, or times when school is out, they are limited to no more than 8 hours a day
and no more than 40 hours per week.
They can work no later than 9:00 p.m. and even when the next day is not a school day they may not work before 6 a.m.
There are no limitations on the number of hours that 16 and 17-year-old minors work, as long as it not during school hours; nor can they work past 10:00 p.m. on nights preceding school days (Sunday through Thursday nights), unless their parents or guardians sign a Parental Consent Form. The Parental Consent Form would allow them to work no later than 12:00 midnight three of those nights while school is in session.
Tennessee law does not allow driving by minors as part of their job duties, unless a limited special exception is sought and granted. Breaks are mandatory for all minors (under age 18). Any minor scheduled to work 6 hours must have a thirty (30) minute rest or meal break without exceptions.
One must be 18 or over to participate in hazardous occupations like mining, use of explosives or punch presses, logging. sawmilling, certain machines, meat packing, roofing, wrecking and demolition.
Children are generally free to work at their parents’ non-hazardous businesses.
We can all agree that more responsibility needs to be learned, but sometimes laws against abuses make it more difficult.



These words from the late, great Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society inspired a generation.  As an injury lawyer, I deal with more than a few Latin words in both law and medicine.  But this term, and the movie that made it famous, Dead Poets Society, are different.  The kind of different that compels me to write a movie review decades after the film is made, as we all mourn the suicide of the star actor.

"Carpe diem" is Latin for “Seize the Day.” Dead Poets Society is regarded as one of the finest “coming of age” films in cinematic history. In fact, the film has been named among the best ever.

It is not truly a film about poets—living or dead.  It involves them, quotes them, and gives new life to them, but it is not actually a film about poetry.

It is not actually a film about a society or university club. It shows the conflicts, the peer pressure, the joy and the power of mob rule, but it is not primarily a film about a club.

It is not, in the main, a film about school and leaving home, and the conflict of demanding rich parent whose lofty expectations of their son are rivaled only by their vast emotional distance.  Dead Poets Society tells that tragic story that leads, almost inevitably, to the suicide of the one the most promising young men. It is ironic now.

In truth, it hammers home the message that we are all careening toward death at such speed that we should seize the day!  Today.  We are promised not even all of it. Certainly tomorrow is not certain. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles today… Tomorrow will be dying,” John Keating quotes, expertly played by the late Williams.

Finding courage in the hopelessness of the fact that we will all die, may strike one as entirely contradictory.

But, you can see and hear it in an uncomfortable scene in which the students are shuffled in the hallway to view the black–and–white photographs of long forgotten classes. "They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts…Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible---just like you feel … They believe they're destined for great things---just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope---just like you … these boys are now fertilizing daffodils… But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you … “

He concludes in a whisper, “’Carpe diem,’ ‘seize the day,’ boys … make your lives …  extraordinary!”

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