Firm News

News and other items of interest about Butler, Vines and Babb and the practice of law are posted here. Check back often for updates.

Items of Interest At Butler, Vines and Babb:

February 2016 - Butler, Vines and Babb attorney Weldon Patterson and his wife Mary recently attended the Southern Trial Lawyers Association meeting held in New Orleans. Here Weldon and Mary pose with former STLA President Randy Hall and Board Member Mattie Hall at the annual War Horse Dinner:

WP & MP at STLA War Horse Dinner

L to R: Randy Hall, Mattie Hall, Mary Patterson, Weldon Patterson

October 2015 - Butler, Vines and Babb was proud to host its 10th Annual Big Orange Tailgate Party this past weekend, cheering the Vols on to victory over Georgia! It was another outstanding success as we welcomed well over 300 guests. To see some wonderful photos of the event, courtesy of our friends at Temple Photography, visit the Temple Photography website and gallery (free downloads of the photos if you see yourself!).

August 2015 - We are pleased to announce that Butler, Vines and Babb attorneys          Edward U. Babb, Weldon E. Patterson and William D. Vines, III have been admitted to the Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, the most prestigious legal organization in the nation. Every ABOTA member has the highest degree of integrity, ethics and trial skills. Congratulations Ned, Weldon and Bill! ABOTA

June 2015 - William D. Vines III, Ronald C. Koksal, James C. Wright, Donna R. Davis and      James Kelly Giffen have been selected as 2015 Mid-South Super Lawyers.  Mr. Wright has also been selected for the Business Edition of Super Lawyers.

The announcement from Super Lawyers states: Because you have demonstrated excellence in the practice of law, you are receiving an honor that is limited to no more than five percent of the attorneys within your state.  Super Lawyers recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice.  Our patented selection process is rigorous and results in third-party validation of your professional accomplishments.

Super Lawyers

March 2015 - The University of Tennessee College of Law McReynolds Mock Trial team placed second at this year's national competition in Washington D.C.. The team, which took first place last year, is coached by Knoxville lawyer Kathryn Ellis with Legal Aid of East Tennessee, recent graduate and Butler, Vines, recent graduate Willie Santana, and second-year student Casey Duhart.  Team members are Spenser Powell (1L), Kaya Porter (2L), Evan Williams (1L) and Marriah Paige (2L).  Congratulations to all!

May 2014 - Incoming Butler, Vines and Babb associate has been in the news recently, with a story outlining her family's struggles and ultimate successes as they fled their war-torn home country of Bosnia in the 1990s, leaving their father and everything they knew behind to come to America. Some 20 years later, after overcoming a language barrier and countless other challenges, Goran now can both say they are graduates of the University of Tennessee College of Law.

April 2014 - Butler, Vines and Babb attorney Darren Berg seeks to change laws regarding prison sentencing and parole guidelines for multiple DUI offenders. Mr. Berg represents the family Ben Woodruff, killed by a multiple DUI offender in August of 2013. Also severely injured in the crash was his seven year old son and five others. Five time convicted DUI offender Scott Spangler accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide. In the deal, he was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, but under current law he is eligible for parole after serving just 30 percent of his sentence. The family members of victim Ben Woodruff say they fear Spangler may get out of jail in six years and get behind the wheel intoxicated again. Mr. Berg and the Woodruff family have been in touch with lawmakers asking for a bill to be introduced that will give the judge more discretion to decide on a case by case basis the proper length of time an inmate should serve before being eligible for parole. See the full story as reported by WATE News - Knoxville.

March 2014 - Butler, Vines and Babb attorney Weldon Patterson recently attended the Southern Trial Lawyers Association annual convention in New Orleans. During the convention, Weldon was elected to the Board of Governors! Pictured below are Weldon and his wife Mary at the event, along with a photo of Weldon and Mary with Randy Hall, outgoing president of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association and attorney Mattie Taylor, both of the Law Offices of Gary Green, Little Rock, Arkansas.

Weldon and Mary Weldon, Mary, Randy Hall and Mattie Taylor

June 2013 - Butler, Vines and Babb attorney James Wright completed his term as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Section in Tort And Insurance Practice. He has served also as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Section on Environmental Law.

April 2013 - Butler, Vines and Babb attorney James Wright was invited to speak at the Annual Tennessee Solid Waste Conference sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

February 2013 - The Knoxville Zoo has its first solar power installation, a series of 196 solar panels across the roof of the elephant barn of its Stokely African Elephant Preserve habitat. The installation of the 50 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system was done in January by Knoxville-based energy contractor ARiES Energy (Alternative Renewable Innovative Economic Solutions for Energy). The project is the result of an innovative partnership between the nonprofit zoo and an East Tennessee business known for its green energy initiatives. That business, Wampler's Farm Sausage and Family Brands International is paying for the $170,000 to $180,000 system. Butler, Vines and Babb is proud to have participated in this project on behalf of Family Brands and Wampler's Farm. See the full story in the February 17, 2013 edition to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

January 2013 - Butler, Vines and Babb has been proud to represent local companies since the beginning of the firm approximately 40 years ago. Two of these Companies have developed considerable expertise in the use of renewable energy sources in their facilities. The firm has recently completed work to allow the two companies to share their knowledge with the Knoxville Zoo to develop a working solar energy project at the zoo. This will not only produce energy for the Zoo but also provide a platform to educate the public on working solar and other renewable energy options. The Two Companies involved are Wampler's Farm Sausage Company and Family Brands International. Wampler's is well known for their whole hog sausage products. Family Brands products include Cades Cove Barbeque and Elm Hill Meats. The firm also represents companies developing renewable energy technology.

October 2012 - We are proud of the recent awards to one of our Clients, Wampler's Farm Sausage. The Tennessee Solar Energy Association recently announced it has awarded the Annual Solar Champion Award to Wampler's Farm Sausage Company. The Company is a leader in the production of Clean Energy. Wampler's is a true American success story from its beginning in Lenoir City, Tennessee in 1937. Through hard work, dedication to a good product and recognition that the customer comes first. To learn more about the Company go to: Wampler's was also recently featured as the cover article of one the leading magazines for the industry, Meatingplace.

May 2012 - Local Environmental news: See this article in the Knoxville News Sentinel regarding a recent smog level ruling for Knox and Blount Counties.

April 2012 - On April 27, 2012, Jimmy Wright moderated a panel discussion and participated in a panel for the Law track at the 41 st Annual Solid and Hazardous Waste Conference. Click here for a link to the conference on the State of Tennessee web site.

April 2012 - On April 19, 2012 Members of the Firm presented at the I-Day program for 2012. The event was sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountain CPCU Chapter, the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance and the Insurance Professionals of Greater Knoxville. Ned Babb, Weldon Patterson and John Butler presented an update of Tennessee Tort Law. This included a discussion of limitations on damages, summary judgment standards, products liability, punitive damages and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. Darren Berg presented a session called "What's at Risk?." This program focused on legal issues that confront the insurance industry, its agents, and adjustors. When is a company acting in bad faith? What damages are recoverable? Is there personal liability for the agent or adjustor? What can be discovered from an adjustor's file? When is an agent liable? Best practices were also discussed. Jimmy Wright presented in a panel with Greg Deimling of Malecki, Deimling and Nielander, and Joe Kitchens of Kemper Insurance on tough coverage issues. The speakers discussed four commercial liability scenarios involving coverage questions along with the pertinent coverage forms and current legal opinions. Steve McElhiney, President of EWI Risk Services, and Charles Bidek spoke on the Insurance Outlook for 2012. These speakers reviewed insurance coverage issues, reinsurance capacity, and risk management trends based upon both local and global developments. Greg Deimling and David Humphreys, Vice President of marketing for Shafer Insurance Agency, discussed the purpose of Insurance Certificates and form completion while maintaining regulatory compliance and the proper way to obtain additional insured status required in contractual risk transfers through appropriate policy endorsements.

April 2012 - Several of the Butler, Vines and Babb attorneys, staff members and their families participated in the 6th annual Breakthrough 5K run for Autism on April 14. All participants finished the event and were pleased to provide support for this outstanding organization. Breakthrough is a not-for-profit company founded by parents of children with autism that is changing how services are provided to adults with autism in East Tennessee. IMG_4998 - small

March 2012 - The attorneys at Butler, Vines & Babb have varied experience with regard to liquor liability cases. A liquor liability case is one where a restaurant or bar sells alcohol to either an obviously intoxicated person or to a person known to the bar to be a minor. Tennessee law refers to these potential cases as 'dramshop' cases. The attorneys at Butler, Vines & Babb have successfully prosecuted liquor liability cases against restaurants/bars and are currently engaged in ongoing litigation in federal court with regard to a liquor liability case arising out of Nashville.

Liquor liability cases are very difficult cases based on Tennessee Law. In addition to requiring that the bar sell alcohol to an obviously intoxicated or to a person known by the bar to be a minor, a plaintiff in a liquor liability case must also carries the burden of proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is traditionally the criminal law standard. The civil standard is simply a preponderance of the evidence. Thus, in a liquor liability case a potential plaintiff starts off having to prove the case against the restaurant to the same evidentiary standard that the government is held to in a criminal prosecution.

In developing a case on behalf of an injured plaintiff in the context of a liquor liability action, the lawyers at Butler, Vines & Babb employ various tools, including utilizing forensic experts and toxicology experts, as well as various tools of discovery in order to maintain and preserve evidence including video evidence which may help to prove the bar served an obviously intoxicated person. The use of private investigators and internet search companies also are tools utilized by the attorneys at Butler, Vines & Babb in order to fully investigate and develop a liquor liability case.

If you have a potential claim of a liquor liability case, contact Darren V. Berg for a free consultation with regard to whether or not you may have a viable claim.

photo 1February 2012 - Butler, Vines and Babb attorney Weldon Patterson gave an equine liability presentation to the Plateau Saddle Club meeting on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at Catoosa Ridge Riding Stables, Crossville, TN. Weldon talked in detail about the equine liability code (TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED - TITLE 44. ANIMALS AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY, CHAPTER 20. EQUINE ACTIVITIES -- LIABILITY: Tenn. Code Ann. § 44-20), giving very specific explanation of various definitions and how it might apply to members of the audience. He kept the presentation lively and entertaining with real life situations he had encountered as a young man dealing with his own horses. Weldon then fielded questions from the audience of about 30 people and assisted numerous members by reviewing their equine liability releases. Butler, Vines and Babb brochures were available and many people came up after the presentation to talk with Weldon and pick up a business card and brochure. The club appreciated Weldon taking the time to give this presentation to a portion of the horse community in Cumberland and Fentress County.

November 2011 - Butler, Vines and Babb attorney Edward U. Babb made a presentation in Charlotte to Kemper, A Unitrin Company, on the Tennessee Civil Justice Reform Act and new developments under Tennessee law on the Family Purpose Doctrine. Click here for a recent Butler, Vines and Babb Tennessee Law Update newsletter for more information relating to the Tennessee Civil Justice Reform Act.

November 2011 - The firm provides representation in regard to claims of toxic exposure. James Wright has successfully defended a multiple party lawsuit claiming exposure to mold in a work environment. The Plaintiffs have filed a notice of voluntary dismissal.

October 2011 - Ned Babb and John Butler made a presentation to the Hamilton Burnette American Inn of Court on the Tennessee Civil Justice Reform Act.

October 2011 - Ned Babb and Weldon Patterson made a presentation just outside of St. Louis to representatives of Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., on the Tennessee Civil Justice Reform Act.

September 2011 - Ned Babb and Weldon Patterson made a presentation in Knoxville to Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) on the Tennessee Civil Justice Reform Act.

July 2011 - Every year Knoxville's City View® magazine asks local attorneys to vote for the attorney they would call or refer their friends if they were in need of specialized legal services. Congratulations to five Butler, Vines and Babb attorneys who have been selected by their peers to be named in the 2011 Top Attorney's List. Several have been named in multiple categories. Our top attorney winners for 2011 are: William D. Vines, III: Civil Litigation, Mediation/Arbitration, Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Liability, Personal Injury, and Wrongful Death; Ronald C. Koksal: Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Liability, Professional Malpractice, and Wrongful Death; Edward U. Babb: Insurance Law; Weldon Patterson: Aviation/Admiralty, and Personal Injury - Motorcycle Accidents; and Donna R. Davis: Medical Malpractice.

June 2011 - Butler, Vines and Babb was proud to sponsor and participate in the recent Ronald McDonald House Golf Tournament, held at Egwani Farms Golf Course, June 3, 2011. Participating attorneys from the firm included Ron Koksal, Weldon Patterson and Kevin Hardin. Pictured below with Weldon, his wife Mary, and Ronald McDonald, is Jennifer Burger of Knoxville's Burger Family McDonald's restaurants. Butler, Vines and Babb is pleased to offer its support of the Ronald McDonald House, which makes a difference every day in the lives of ill children and their families visiting the area for medical treatment.

Weldon with Ronald McDonald

Links to Articles in News Publications:

June 2008 - Jury awards nearly $6 million judgment in Medical Malpractice Case - Originally published in Grand Rapids Press, June 8, 2008.

May 2008 - Butler, Vines and Babb obtains nearly $3 million Judgment in Medical Malpractice Case - Originally published in the Knoxville News Sentinel, May 20, 2008.

March 2003 - Butler, Vines and Babb obtains $1.1 million Judgment in Drunk Driver Case - Originally published in the Knoxville News Sentinel, March 4, 2003.

August 1994 - Watts Bar Lake resort owners agree to settle suit against plants' operators - Originally published in the Knoxville News Sentinel, August 5, 1994.

October 1987 - Cancer Victim Wins Malpractice Suit - Originally published in the Knoxville Journal, October 29, 1987.