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Immigration: Prosecutorial Discretion on the Rise in Some Immigration
January 28, 2014

According to the recent Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse Report, Prosecutorial Discretion is on the rise in some immigration courts. Prosecutorial Discretion occurs in removal (deportation) cases when the Assistant Chief Counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, or the Prosecutor) agrees to close a case prior to a decision by an Immigration Judge on whether to remove an immigrant. The Prosecutorial Discretion program began in October 2011 in an effort to reduce backlog. Prosecutorial Discretion is used primarily to allow low-priority cases to be dismissed so the Prosecutor can focus on prosecuting high-priority cases, e.g. when the immigrant has been convicted of a violent crime. The report indicates an overall 80% increase in the number of cases closed using Prosecutorial Discretion from fiscal years 2012 to 2013.

Recent Decision Limits Scope of Open Records Act
January 7, 2014

Public records and the debate over obtaining access to public records took a potentially drastic turn on October 29, 2013 when the Tennessee Court of Appeals carved out a "deliberative process" exception to the Tennessee Open Records Act codified at T.C.A. § 10-7-101. InDavidson v. Bredesen, et al, No. M2012-02374-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 5872286 (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 29, 2013), the Court ruled that "high government officials" can keep documents secret if they deem them part of their deliberative decision making process. The Court upheld a lower court's ruling that then-Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration was justified in denying the release of records on the basis that they were part of the "deliberative process" about how to deal with demonstrators encamped in the state Capitol in 2005 to protest cuts to TennCare, the state's expanded Medicaid program. The Court found that the deliberative process privilege is a common law privilege and that there is a "valid need" that the advice high governmental officials receive should be protected from disclosure. The Court further identified high governmental officials as "those vested with the responsibility of developing and implementing law and public policy, many times requiring that differing and various interests and viewpoints be considered."


NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR EMPLOYERS WORTH KEEPING
December 17, 2013

As the New Year approaches, many of us will resolve to change our lives, drop bad habits, form new good habits, and generally start 2014 fresh, with a new sense of purpose. Too often, however, these resolutions are short-lived. Just compare the parking lot at your local gym in January to the same parking lot 4 weeks later to see a stark example of fading resolve. Truth is, promises are easier to make than to keep, even to ourselves.

Cody M. Roebuck
Author:
Can an Olive Branch Become a Weapon?
November 27, 2013

Although it is always advisable to seek an attorney's advice when litigation appears imminent, perhaps you would like to avoid litigation altogether by settling a case quickly before the attorneys get involved. You're hesitant, however, to initiate any conversation regarding an out-of-court settlement, fearing that an offer to settle would be tantamount to either admitting liability on the one hand, or, on the other, admitting that your claim is invalid or worth very little. This fear is certainly reasonable, as you might have any number of reasons for settling a dispute that have nothing to do with your belief as to your liability regarding a dispute, such as avoiding the emotional, social, and other consequences of litigation.

Beware of Scams Asking You to Purchase a Copy of your Recently Filed
November 20, 2013

Beware of Scams Asking You to Purchase a Copy of your Recently Filed Deed

WHY BECOME A U.S. CITIZEN? FEDERAL BENEFIT PROGRAMS LIMIT ELIGIBILITY
September 17, 2013

Every year the U.S celebrates Citizenship Day on September 17th. In honor of Citizenship Day, we would like to point out some public benefits available to citizens that may be limited or unavailable to noncitizens. This list addresses larger federal programs, but is not exhaustive of all benefits available to citizens.

Wash Sales and How to Avoid Them
June 18, 2013

Many investors, both individuals and professionals alike, have certain tendencies. One of these tendencies is to trade in and out of the same set of securities, often because of the investor's familiarity with those securities and perceived improved sense of their value. A second tendency is to "sell low", which is the opposite of what many advisors may encourage you to do but is what so many investors do, including at the bottom of the recent stock market crashes. A third tendency is to "tax-loss" harvest, which is the practice of selling a sufficient amount of securities, held in a taxable account, to offset your capital gains and have $3,000 of additional capital losses, which is the maximum amount that you can deduct against your earned income in most circumstances.

WATCH WHAT YOU SIGN IN TENNESSEE! RECENT CASE HOLDS INDIVIDUAL LIABLE
April 16, 2013

Those who sign in a representative capacity on behalf of a corporation or other entity need to take note of the holding in Reginald M. Mudd et al v. Rexford L. Goostree, Jr. et al, Tennessee Court of Appeals Case No. M2012-00957-COA-R3-CV, decided April 5, 2013. In a suit to recover rent due and owing under a lease agreement in which a corporation was named as a tenant, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed judgment in favor of a landlord against an individual who had signed a lease in the space of the signature box designated "Tenant." Even though the corporation was named as Tenant in the lease, at the signature box, Mr. Goostree signed as follows: Tenant: REX GOOSTREE, JR. by Rex Goostree, Jr. (italics where handwritten). The Court held that this was "a clear and unambiguous designation of [Mr. Goostree] as the Tenant on the lease agreement." The Court decided not to entertain other evidence of the parties' intent, indicating that "only if a contract is ambiguous does a Court look beyond the four corners of the document and consider evidence of the parties' intentions." Not only is Mr. Goostree liable for the lease and late fees, but also for the Landlord's attorneys' fees at trial and on appeal.

The Right to Resell Books Upheld
April 5, 2013

Under U.S. Copyright law, and particularly 17 U.S.C. § 109, the legal purchaser of a work protected by a copyright has been allowed to resell that work pursuant to the "first sale" doctrine. The buyer could not make copies and sell them, but could legally resell the original work.

In contrast, 17 U.S.C. § 602 mandates certain restrictions upon the importation in the United States of copyrighted works acquired outside the United States, without the authority of the owner of copyright.

Kirtsaeng had moved from Thailand to attend college in the United States. While attending college, and to lower the cost of textbooks, his family legally bought textbooks in Thailand, and shipped them to Kirtsaeng in the United States. Kirtsaeng then resold those books at a profit.

What You Can Do to Prepare for Immigration Reform Now
March 11, 2013

Comprehensive Immigration Reform is still at the beginning, but it is never too early to start preparing. While it is up in the air whether comprehensive reform will have a pathway to citizenship, we know that if there is a pathway there will be tough requirements to "earn" citizenship. With what we do know about any possible pathway, there are a few things that undocumented immigrants can start doing today to make things easier when and if reform passes:

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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