Meridian Attorney Robert Martin Named Rising Star by Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers has named Meridian Law attorney, Robert D. Martin, as a 2018 Rising Star in Civil Litigation!

Rob has been an Associate Attorney at Meridian Law since 2016. He has represented individual and corporate clients from across Tennessee and throughout the United States in employment litigation, including wage and hour defense, discrimination, retaliation, and non-compete matters. His practice areas also include insurance defense, breach of contract, and probate law.  Rob is a member of the Young Leaders Council Class 71, an organization that trains young professionals in Middle Tennessee to give back to their community through non-profit service. He is a graduate of Belmont University College of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Rising Stars is an exclusive list of top-rated attorneys in specific practice areas who were chosen after thorough evaluation of numerous criteria. For the Mid-South Rising Star listing, no more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in the region are chosen by the research team annually. 

Congratulations Rob!

Another NBA Journal Article by Meridian Law Attorney Robert Martin: "Puppy Warranties and Lemon Laws: Tightening the Leash on Breeders and Retail Pet Stores"

Meridian Law attorney and self-proclaimed puppy lawyer Robert Martin recently published an article in the Nashville Bar Journal, titled “Puppy Warranties and Lemon Laws: Tightening the Leash on Breeders and Retail Pet Stores.” In the article, Robert addresses the legal issues that often accompany purchasing a high end puppy from breeders or boutique pet stores. You can read the article here.

Tom Shumate Speaks at TBA Event About the Rapid Growth of Meridian Law

Tom Shumate was honored to speak at the Tennessee Bar Association's "I am SOLO" event. He provided insight to solo and small firm attorneys on how and when to grow your law practice. He drew on his experience growing Meridian Law from one attorney to four attorneys, one paralegal, and one administrator in just over three years and discussed the business methods he used to expand the firm.

TBA CLE 02.09.18.jpg

Andrew H. Davis Joins Meridian Law

Meridian Law is pleased to announce that Drew Davis has joined the firm as an associate attorney. Prior to joining Meridian, Drew practiced Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law at King and Ballow in Nashville. Drew assisted clients with copyright and trademark registrations, copyright infringement litigation, breach of contract actions, business formation, and partnership disputes. Drew also has experience working for corporate and individual clients assisting in wage and hour disputes, wrongful termination actions, and discrimination lawsuits.

Drew is a graduate of Belmont University College of Law where he was involved the Entertainment Law Society. Drew made Dean's list in the Fall of 2012, and completed the Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law Certificate program. During law school, Drew helped coach the Mock Trial Team for his high school alma mater, Battle Ground Academy. Drew also interned with the Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts where he assisted with trademark registrations, business and non-profit formation services, and general intellectual property issues.

Prior to attending Belmont University College of Law, Drew received his B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Notre Dame. 

When he isn’t assisting his clients, or cheering on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, Drew enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristen, daughter, and their two dogs, Briley and Maisy. Drew is also a hobbyist musician and songwriter.

Head Shot 01.29.18.jpeg

NBA Trivia Night

Team Meridian, a/k/a "We will win, because we are so smart", didn't win the Nashville Bar Association's Trivia Night. So I guess we're not as smart as we thought. (Or just not as knowledgeable about 2017 pop culture and all things Ed Sheeran.) But if eating Southwestern egg rolls and drinking beer were an Olympic event, we would have filled the podium. We look forward to competing again next year. Until then, we will have to be satisfied with making the cover of the NBA's tweet about the event.

NBA Trivia Night.PNG
NBA Trivia Night January 2018.jpg

TN Supreme Court Rules on Potential Liability of Home Inspector for Damages Sustained by House Warming Party Guest

By Drew H. Davis

The Tennessee Supreme Court recently decided that, in theory, a home inspector could be liable to third-party house guests for defects not discovered during a home inspection.

Mr. Charles Grogan was a social guest of a recent home buyer when he learned the hard way that the second-story deck rail had been built with finishing nails rather than galvanized nails. When the rail gave way and Mr. Grogan fell off the deck, he sustained damages and sued the new home owner, the previous home owner, the contractor who worked on the deck, the home builder, and the home inspector.

The trial court granted summary judgment to the home inspector, which found that Mr. Grogan could not establish crucial elements of his claim for negligence against the home inspector. The Court of Appeals agreed, so Mr. Grogan appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the appeal to discuss the potential liability of a home inspector to a guest of the home buyer. Although the Court noted that one who assumes a contractual duty to inspect the property of another may be liable for physical injuries suffered by a third-party, the facts of this case precluded such a finding.

The Tennessee Supreme Court first noted that it is a “well-worn” principle under Tennessee law that one who assumes to act, even though gratuitously, may thereby become subject to the duty of acting carefully. The Court noted that this principal was the “underpinning” of the Restatement of Torts (Second) Section 324A, which provides that “One who undertakes . . . to render services to another which he should recognize as necessary for the protection of a third person, or his things, is subject to liability to the third person for physical harm resulting from his failure to exercise reasonable care to protect his undertakings.”

The Court noted that several other jurisdictions have applied this section to home inspectors who negligently conduct their inspections.

With regard to Mr. Grogan’s claims, however, the Court held that the agreement between the home inspector and the new home purchaser expressly limited the scope of services rendered to exclude any opinion on compliance with building codes. Therefore, the fact that the railing used finishing nails rather than galvanized nails fell outside the scope of the inspection. Further, and more compelling, was the express limitation in the agreement that it was “only for the benefit of the Client and may not be relied upon by any other person.” Going one step further, the Court noted that the applicable statutes and regulations governing home inspectors make clear that the duty of care is owed to the home purchaser—not to any third parties.

Therefore, the Court held that based on the terms of the agreement and the applicable statutes and regulations, the home inspector did not owe a duty to Mr. Grogan. As such, summary judgment was proper, and the home inspector could not be held liable for Mr. Grogan’s damages.

The important lesson here is that under Tennessee law, a person performing services can under certain circumstances be liable for damages sustained by third parties. Therefore, it is crucial to define the scope of the services, the intended beneficiaries, and limitations on third-party liability in the services contract.

If you need assistance drafting or reviewing a service contract, please call Meridian Law at (615) 229-7499.