Author: danielhorwitz

Tennessee Court of Appeals Affirms Outright Dismissal of Fired Credit Union CEO’s Defamation, Whistleblower Claims

By Daniel A. Horwitz: In February 2018, Janet Tidwell—the CEO of Holston Methodist Federal Credit Union—was fired following an audit.  According to Ms. Tidwell, she was actually terminated because she confronted the Chairman of the credit union’s Board of Directors and the Chair of its Supervisory Committee about the Board being out of compliance with […]

Second-Ever Anti-SLAPP Petition Granted Under the Tennessee Public Participation Act, $26,500.00 in Attorney’s Fees and Sanctions Awarded to Prevailing Defendant

The second-ever anti-SLAPP petition filed under the Tennessee Public Participation Act (TPPA)—Tennessee’s new anti-SLAPP statute—has officially been granted, accompanied by the largest fee-shifting award ($26,500.00) ever awarded in a defamation case filed in Tennessee.  The final order—granted by Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe P. Binkley—comes on the heels of a February 2020 ruling by […]

Defending Against Malicious Prosecution Claims in Tennessee

By Daniel A. Horwitz: Malicious prosecution is a civil tort claim that plaintiffs can bring against defendants who unsuccessfully initiated prior legal proceedings against them.  “In order to establish the essential elements of malicious prosecution, a plaintiff must prove that (1) a prior suit or judicial proceeding was instituted without probable cause, (2) [the] defendant […]

Not With a Bang, But With a Whimper: Strip Club and Valet Parking Company’s SLAPP-Suit Against Neighbors, Councilman Ends Quietly After Total Loss in Five Separate Courts

By Daniel A. Horwitz: Déjà Vu Showgirls is a strip club located on Church St. in Nashville.  In an effort to enhance its customer experience, one of the services that Déjà Vu (briefly) provided its customers was valet parking: A service that ticked off its adjacent neighbors when its valet contractor—a company called “The Parking […]

Fired Preschool Teacher Loses Defamation, False Light Claims Against Church Preschool Due to Common Interest Privilege, Absence of Damages

By Daniel A. Horwitz: Kelly Love McGuffey began working for the Belmont United Methodist Church in December 2007, where she was employed as a preschool teacher.  During an evacuation drill in January 2015, a child was left in the bathroom in the classroom where Ms. McGuffey and another teacher worked.  Following the incident, Ms. McGuffey […]

Clumsy court ruling allows SLAPP-suit to move forward against State Representative John Mark Windle

By Daniel A. Horwitz: State Representative John Mark Windle represents the constituents of Tennessee House District 41.  District 41 is home of the now-shuttered Jamestown Regional Medical Center, which closed last year following a series of financial and legal issues.  Among those issues were substantial federal tax liens, which “show the IRS is after more […]

Tennessee Court of Appeals: You (Still) Can’t Sue People For What They Say During Judicial Proceedings

By Daniel A. Horwitz: Because they are protected by the absolute litigation privilege, litigants and their lawyers cannot be sued for defamation over what they say during the course of judicial proceedings.  Tennessee law does not recognize any exceptions to this rule,[1] which is designed to ensure that participants in judicial proceedings can speak freely […]

Tennessee Court of Appeals to Public Officials: Get Ready For Loads of Libel Lawsuits

By Daniel A. Horwitz: Nearly all of Tennessee’s public officials should purchase libel insurance to protect themselves from baseless defamation lawsuits regarding statements that they make on the job.  That’s the clear message that a panel of Tennessee’s Court of Appeals has sent to public employees across the state in Burns v. State, No. E2018-02174-COA-R9-CV, […]

First-Ever Anti-SLAPP Petition In Tennessee Granted in Lawsuit Regarding Negative Yelp Review

By Daniel A. Horwitz: On July 1, 2019, the Tennessee Public Participation Act—Tennessee’s first meaningful anti-SLAPP statute—took effect. The statute dramatically expanded the scope of speech that receives heightened legal protection in Tennessee. It also equips people targeted by Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPP-suits”) with important tools to secure the dismissal of meritless claims […]