Below are collections of articles and blog posts we have written that provide valuable information on various legal topics such as immigration, marriage, business practices and more. Follow us to receive notifications when new articles or blog posts are released.


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So You're Filing An Immigration Application - What's Next?
March 17, 2015

Let's assume you are ready to file an application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). What can you do to ensure that CIS approves your application?

  • Consider contacting a licensed attorney that practices immigration law. Using an attorney gives you security that you have used the correct form, that the application is complete, is in proper order and is being sent to the correct CIS office, and that CIS can contact the attorney if there is a problem. An attorney can also save you lots of time dealing with CIS and the application process.
  • Double check the form instructions to make sure you have included all required documentation and fully completed the application. Check to make sure you have the most recent forms and the correct fee amount.
  • Double check your responses on the form. Make sure you have answered all applicable sections.
  • Make a copy of your complete application.
  • Prepare a cover letter listing your enclosures.
  • Note that CIS likes you to indicate page numbers on your documents for certain forms.
  • Check the form instructions or for the order of the enclosures.
  • Send it via overnight delivery or certified U.S. mail, return receipt requested. That way, you have evidence of delivery.
  • Complete and include form G-1145 if you would like an email indicating USCIS received your package.
David C. Higney
United States Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Hobart
January 21, 2015

As an update to my July 16, 2014 and January 20, 2015 articles, on January 20, 2015, the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari in Hobart on 1/20 (S.Ct. Case # 14-575; at p.3). Thus, the 6thCircuit Court of Appeals ruling in Hobart relative to CERCLA contribution and cost-recovery governs.

David C. Higney
Sixth Circuit Revives Limitation Defense in CERCLA Contribution Action
January 20, 2015

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday (1/14), in LWD PRP Group v. Alcan Corp., et al., Case No. 14-5730, to resuscitate affirmative defense arguments against claims being made by a conglomeration of 58 settling corporations that had negotiated a Consent Decree with the United States EPA. The panel relied heavily on a decision six months ago in Hobart Corp., et al. v. Waste Management of Ohio, Nos. 3273/3276 (6th Cir.). Holding the settling parties' claims are time barred due to the expiration of the CERCLA statute of limitation for contribution claims, under the circumstances presented, the LWD PRP Group panel held the settlement's effective date is the appropriate triggering event when calculating the applicable statute of limitations. Rejecting the settling parties' arguments that the completion of a removal action should be the limitations period's trigger, the LWD PRP Group panel noted no distinction with Hobart and no power to reverse a precedential opinion of the Court. The opinion reverses the United States District Court (W.D. Ky.) that had denied defendants' motions to dismiss the settling-PRP group's contribution claims against hundreds of other companies, state agencies, municipalities and universities.

David C. Higney
6th Circuit Rules on CERCLA Cost Recovery & Contribution Actions
July 16, 2014

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday (7/14) in Hobart Corp. et al. v. Waste Management of Ohio (Case Nos. 13-3273/3276), in CERCLA, 42 USC §9601 et seq., cases where a potentially responsible party (PRP) has entered into an administrative settlement with the government, thus meeting a statutory trigger for filing a contribution action, the PRP can bring only a contribution action pursuant to CERCLA § 113(f)(3)(B) and cannot bring a CERCLA § 107(a)(4)(B) cost-recovery action. The appellate court's opinion is consistent with a position previously advanced by this law firm and Squire Sanders resulting in our client's Motion to Dismiss being granted on the issue. Tennessee v. Roane Holdings Ltd., 835F.Supp.2d 527, 538-541 (E.D. Tenn. 2011); 75 ERC (BNA) 1109 (CERCLA §113(f) constitutes third-party plaintiff's exclusive remedy such that its action and claims made pursuant to CERCLA §107 cannot be maintained). For more information about this development, or to discuss environmental matters and federal court litigation, please contact David Higney.

Immigration Lesson: What is an Affidavit of Support
April 18, 2014

For typical family-based immigrants attempting to obtain a green card, the petitioning relative must sign a form I-864 Affidavit of Support. By signing this Affidavit, the petitioner is agreeing with the U.S. Government that if the immigrant obtains federal governmental benefits, the government has the right to seek reimbursement from the petitioner. Note that this is only with regard to federal governmental benefits for the immigrant only, and does not include any state benefits. It also does not include any benefits received by the immigrant's family members. This agreement is in effect for the shorter period of (1) the immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, (2) the immigrant dies, (3) the immigrant works 40 quarters (which would be 10 years straight employment), (4) the immigrant permanently leaves the U.S., or (5) the immigrant receives a green card based on a new Affidavit of Support. Note that divorce does not terminate the petitioner's obligations under the Affidavit of Support.

Immigrant Provisional Waivers--Not Living Up to Expectations
April 15, 2014

Last year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver ("Provisional Waiver") in hopes of common sense reform that would assist families to stay together. Traditionally, when a relative of an immigrant who entered without inspection filed an immigration petition on his or her behalf, the immigrant would leave the country for the immigrant visa interview, be denied due to inadmissibility, and then file for waiver of the inadmissibility bar outside the U.S. With the traditional waiver, immigrants were left outside the U.S. in a sort of purgatory while waiting on a decision from USCIS.

February 25, 2014

Many employers desire to hire foreign nationals in specialty occupations, but because visas for those workers are limited, many employers are unable to do so. Timing is critical to be able to obtain H-1B visas for qualified workers. The annual allocation of 85,000 H-1B visas starts on April 1 of each year. Last year the general H-1B visas (not cap-exempt) were oversubscribed in the first week of April. So it is imperative to file on April 1, or as soon as possible thereafter, to have a chance at an approved H-1B visa.

Chattanooga must pay woman $71K for attorney fees in public records lawsuit
February 20, 2014

A Tennessee appeals court last week sent a strong message in a public records lawsuit against the city of Chattanooga, ordering the trial court to award the full $71,343 in attorney fees and expenses incurred by the citizen who brought the case.

It was the second time an appeals court overruled the Hamilton County judge in the case.

The first time, the Hamilton County judge had found the city had not "acted in bad faith as a result of its slowness in producing the public records requested" and denied the request of Rebecca Little to pay her attorney fees. But the appeals court disagreed, saying the city of Chattanooga "knew it was obligated to produce and willfully did not." It remanded the case back to the trial court and ordered the judge to determine the amount of attorney's fees to be awarded.

Individual Landowner Ends up in the Dog House
February 14, 2014

In a recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision, the Court pierced the corporate veil and affirmed an award of damages, including punitive damages, against the corporation's sole shareholder. In Dog House Investments, LLC v. Teal Properties, Inc., et al., Defendant corporation was the Lessor of real property owned by Lessor's sole shareholder to the Plaintiff dog "camp." After the property was damaged in the 2011 Nashville flood, Lessor's sole shareholder refused to fix the building (as was required by the Lease) and pocketed the insurance proceeds that were supposed to be used for such repairs. Defendant corporation apparently had no assets, no purpose, and no operations other than to collect rent and distribute it to its sole shareholder.

IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam Targeted Towards Immigrants
January 30, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning to consumers, especially immigrants, about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country.

Victims are told by the scammer that they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Grant Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C., serves clients in Tennessee cities such as Chattanooga, Cleveland, East Ridge, Red Bank, Jasper, Collegedale, Athens, Decatur, Altamont, McMinnville, Manchester, Dunlap, Winchester, Fayetteville, Soddy-Daisy, Etowah, Dayton, Charleston, Tullahoma, Fort Oglethorpe, Dalton, Chatsworth, Calhoun, Summerville, Lafayette, Ringgold, Chattanooga Valley, Chickamauga, Tunnel Hill and Trenton.

Counties: Hamilton County, Bradley County, McMinn County, Sequatchie County, Grundy County, Franklin County, Coffee County, Warren County, Dade County, Catoosa County.

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