Meridian Law WINS Summary Judgment in Uninsured Motorist Case

By: Robert D. Martin

 

In November, 2016, Judge Hamilton Gayden of the Davidson County Circuit Court granted Summary Judgment in favor of an uninsured motorist insurance provider when the insured driver delayed notifying the provider for over two years after the accident at issue occurred.

Meridian Law, representing the insurance provider, argued that the driver’s delay prejudiced the provider’s ability to fairly and effectively try the case by removing its ability to interview witnesses while they still had a fresh recollection, examine the scene, and conduct its own independent investigation of the crash. Furthermore, the driver was involved in multiple subsequent vehicle accidents before notifying the insurance provider, making it difficult, if not impossible, to determine which injuries were the result of which accidents.

The Court agreed and granted Summary Judgment for the insurance provider, effectively ending its involvement in the litigation. This is a great victory for our clients!

If you are an insurance adjuster and you are looking for attorneys to handle your claims, contact Meridian Law for a free consultation. 

Dog Groomers Are Employees, Not Independent Contractors, Holds Court of Appeals

By: Robert D. Martin, Esq.

 

The Tennessee Court of Appeals held that a Knoxville dog grooming service owed five years-worth of unpaid unemployment taxes for groomers that it treated as independent contractors, when those groomers were actually employees.

Many employers believe that if they issue workers 1099s instead of W-2s, then those workers are independent contractors. This misconception can end up being very costly for employers, as it was in Concord Enterprises of Knoxville v. Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In that case, Concord was “in the business of grooming dogs.” Their groomers each determined their own prices for services on a case-by-case basis and could work at any location they wanted, although all of their services ended up actually being performed at Concord’s place of business. The groomers were paid a 50% commission by Concord each week. Customers called Concord to set appointments, but the customers could request a particular groomer.

Tennessee’s unemployment statute provides that all workers are employees unless three distinct factors are met: (A) the worker has been and will continue to be free from control and direction of the company in connection with the performance of their service; (B) the service is performed either outside the company’s usual course of business or outside of all the company’s places of business; and (C) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, profession or business. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-7-207(e) (paraphrased). All three factors of this so-called “ABC Test” must be met in order for workers to be classified as independent contractors for purposes of unemployment taxes and eligibility.

The Court determined that Concord failed to satisfy the B prong of the test, since Concord was admittedly “in the business of grooming dogs” which was precisely the work being done by the groomers at issue. Additionally, all of the Groomers’ work occurred at Concord’s place of business. As a result of this misclassification, Concord was forced to pay back-unemployment taxes for the years 2006-2011.

This case serves as a warning that the cost of misclassifying workers can be steep. If you own or operate a business and are worried that you might be classifying your workers incorrectly, contact Meridian Law for help. 

PRESS RELEASE: Meridian Law Adds New Attorney

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 14, 2016

MERIDIAN LAW ADDS NEW ATTORNEY

             Nashville, TN – Meridian Law, PLLC, (http://www.meridian.law) is pleased to announce that Robert D. Martin has been hired as an associate. The addition of Mr. Martin in the firm’s Nashville office will enable it to expand its practice areas and to continue offering excellent service to its clients.

           Robert D. Martin, Esq., is a graduate of Belmont University College of Law (’15), where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. Prior to joining Meridian, Robert worked at a boutique labor and employment law firm in Nashville. As a law student, he worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Lynn Zehrt and as an intern-clerk for Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Bivins. He competed on the school’s nationally ranked Mock Trial Team. Robert also served as the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Belmont Legal Aid Society, and was awarded the title of Law Student for Justice by the Tennessee Supreme Court for dedicating over 75 hours of pro bono legal services to the community. His practice areas include employment law, landlord/tenant law, insurance defense, and civil litigation. Robert is licensed in Tennessee.

         Meridian Law, PLLC, offers a wide variety of legal services and innovative legal solutions to its clients. The firm’s business model is built around providing superior customer service and sound legal advice at a fair cost. The addition of these attorneys will allow Meridian to enhance that philosophy and expand its practice areas. For more information, contact Meridian Law today.

 

Contact:

Meridian Law, PLLC

Thomas W. Shumate IV, Managing Member

615-229-7499

tom.shumate@meridian.law