Tag Archives: wayne

Lawsuit Attacks 2011 Tort Reform Law; AG Defending

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Attorney General is defending a state law that caps damages in civil cases in a lawsuit filed by the husband of a Brentwood woman who died after getting fungal meningitis from tainted steroid injections.
The lawsuit was filed by Wayne Reed over the death of his wife, Diana, against the owners and operators of Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center, which administered the shots produced by the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center.
Diana Reed died on Oct. 3 and was the primary caregiver for her husband, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease and uses a wheelchair. The lawsuit accuses those who ran the outpatient clinic of being negligent and reckless for using compounded drugs from NECC.
More than 700 people have gotten sick from the injections and 50 have died across the country stemming from the outbreak that was first discovered in Tennessee last fall.
Wayne Reed’s complaint asks for $12.5 million in compensatory damages, well above the maximum amount that plaintiffs can receive under a Tennessee law that went into effect in 2011 that caps damages from personal injury cases.
Reed’s attorneys claim the law that caps damages at $750,000 for non-economic damages and $500,000 for punitive damages is unconstitutional. The lawsuit says that it deprives him of his protected right to trial by jury and usurps the powers of the judicial branch.
Attorney General Robert Cooper filed a motion to intervene in the case to defend the state law and a hearing on the state’s request is scheduled for Friday morning in Davidson County Circuit Court.

Embezzler Takes $500K from TDOT While Buying Land

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Law enforcement officials say the owner of a company hired to purchase land for state road projects must repay more than $500,000 to the Tennessee Department of Transportation after admitting to embezzlement.
Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Jim Runkle said in an affidavit that 53-year-old Michael Wayne Young, president of Brentwood-based Capitol Consultants Inc., told investigators he was “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by taking state money from 2004 to 2011 originally intended for buying property for roads.
Young has been a TDOT right of way division consultant/contractor for 19 years. Investigators determined that money given to Young within the past year was used to buy land that it was not intended for.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Phillips told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/RQWG7n ) that any criminal prosecution of Young is pending.

House District 69: Shepard vs. White

The task ahead of state Rep. David Shepard does not look easy, says Chas Sisk, who states the task as: How do you win an election when your party’s standard-bearer could lose as much as 60 percent of the vote in the district you’re trying to win?
Shepard, a Democrat from Dickson, says the answer is to convince voters that he is a bipartisan lawmaker with a strong record on constituent services.
“People know I’m available, accessible, that I listen to people,” said the 65-year-old pharmacy owner. “I think people generally like me.”
Shepard will try to hang on as one of the few remaining Democrats from rural Tennessee in the state House of Representatives, in a rematch with Republican Wayne White for the House District 69 seat.
Once the state’s dominant political force — especially in Middle and West Tennessee — rural Democrats have seen their ranks thin to 10 members in the House, making them a minority within the minority party. Unless Democrats can find a way to reverse the trend, they have little chance of regaining their footing in Tennessee.
…White, a 54-year-old amusement company owner from Slayden, said the difference in party is the main factor separating the two candidates.
“It’s not that he’s a bad guy,” White said. “We just think differently on some things.”
Kenneth Buser, an independent, is also running for the seat. He did not respond to interview requests.
Shepard appears to retain the edge. In redistricting earlier this year, Republicans moved several Dickson County precincts that White had won in 2010 into the neighboring House District 78, shoring up their strength there. In place of those precincts, the GOP moved several Democratic-leaning precincts in Maury County into House District 69.

Union County Puts School Super Back to Work

After nearly a year, Wayne Goforth will return to work as the superintendent of the Union County school system, reports the News Sentinel.
In February, the school board voted that six administrative charges filed against Goforth were cause to terminate his contract. Those charges alleged that Goforth was inefficient in carrying out his duties as superintendent. But on Monday night, the school board, with two new members, ultimately decided to put him back to work.
Goforth became director of the Union County Schools in 2008, when he signed a four-year contract that calls for an annual salary of $86,000. His contract ends in June. He has been on administrative leave with pay since his October suspension.
…Oaks said he voted to put Goforth back to work because the school system is financially strapped and has already lost nearly $40,000 in legal fees on the issue.
Oaks said he couldn’t support buying out the contract of Goforth when “we’re not able to buy textbooks.”

Tennessee Chamber Seeks New CEO After Deb Woolley Exit

News release from Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the voice of business in the state and Tennessee’s largest trade association representing employers and their employees, has launched a search for a new President and CEO.
The new executive will replace Deb Woolley, who left the Chamber effective May 31 under terms of her employment agreement.
Wayne Scharber, the Chamber’s Vice President for Environment and Taxation has been named interim president, according to Bill Ozier, Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Scharber has been with the Chamber for 13 years and was employed for 36 years in state government.
“We are fortunate to have someone as trusted and experienced as Wayne to help us steer the Chamber forward during this interim period,” Ozier said. All Chamber programs and services will continue as usual while the executive search is under way.
“We are going to build on the Tennessee Chamber’s 100-year track record of success, with new programs and fresh ideas on how better to serve Tennessee businesses and industries,” Ozier continued.
He added that a key part of the Chamber’s mission is a strong and cooperative relationship with the Governor and General Assembly. Ozier said the Chamber plans to have a new CEO in place later this year, “so that individual and the entire Chamber can work with the Administration and legislators to uphold Tennessee’s well-deserved reputation as a prosperous and business-friendly state.”
Ozier said the Chamber believes the outlook for business in Tennessee is “excellent and filled with opportunities. Our goal is to help our member businesses succeed in every possible way.”

School Board Says Union County School Super is Incompetent

Union County Schools Superintendent Wayne Goforth has been charged with six administrative counts of neglecting his duties, reports the News Sentinel.
It is alleged that he is “incompetent to carry out the duties of his office,” according to documents prepared by the Union County school board attorney and given to the Union County school board this week.
At its Oct. 19 meeting, the board voted 4-3 to suspend Goforth for 15 days without pay.
….The charges, none which are criminal-based, allege that Goforth is inefficient to carry out his duties as superintendent and neglected his duty by:
not correctly soliciting bids for items purchased
accumulating unpaid debts
approving expenditures above appropriations approved by the school board
approving and writing checks when there was no money in the bank
misrepresenting the board in a letter that went out to the Union County Commission
“His continued lack of ability to manage finances demonstrates his incompetency to do his job,” according to the charging documents.

Officials Mum on Suspension of Union County School Chief

Union County officials have been tight lipped on about why Union County School Superintendent Wayne Goforth was suspended this week without pay for 15 days, reports the News Sentinel.
Further, Goforth’s attorney has filed a lawsuit against the school board. Goforth is asking the court to void the suspension, remove the four board members from office and require the defendants personally pay his salary during the suspension.
(Note: As far as statewide news goes, the most prominent thing about Goforth has been his involvement in securing a contract for Union County serving as the center for operation of a virtual schools program, as authorized by legislation approved earlier this year. K-12 Inc. gets about $5,300 per student enrolled; Union County gets 4 percent of that. Previous posts HERE and HERE, for example.)
From the KNS report:
Brian Oaks, the school board’s chairman, said Thursday the board’s attorney is looking at a couple issues, but wouldn’t elaborate on what they were. But, he said, the suspension is not a result of the district’s budget woes.
For months, the board has been trying to balance its budget for next school year, only approving one Wednesday night — during the same meeting it suspended Goforth — that would keep schools open.
“We’re out of money. We’re depending on state and federal moneys,” Oaks said. “To suspend Mr. Goforth had nothing to do with the budget. It’s just an investigation being done by our attorney.”
Goforth became director of the Union County Schools in 2008, when he signed a four-year contract.
He has been advised by his attorney, Herbert S. Moncier, not to discuss the suspension.
Moncier said Thursday he still hadn’t received any information on the pending charges.
“There is no provision of the law for them to do what they did (Wednesday) night,” he said. “We knew in September they were putting on the docket to terminate him. We didn’t know, and still don’t know, any of the grounds.”
… (Board Chairman Mark) DeVault didn’t comment specifically on the what the charges are against Goforth, but said there could be a combination of things that led up to the suspension.
“But more speculation leads to more speculation and more problems,” he said. “I pray and hope we can work this out but it could get worse before it gets better.”
DeVault didn’t comment specifically on the what the charges are against Goforth, but said there could be a combination of things that led up to the suspension.
“But more speculation leads to more speculation and more problems,” he said. “I pray and hope we can work this out but it could get worse before it gets better.”

TennCare Anti-Fraud Effort Records 1,500th Arrest

News release from TennCare:
NASHVILLE – A Wayne County man is charged in Lawrence County with TennCare fraud for selling prescription drugs paid for by TennCare, the state’s public healthcare insurance program.
The arrest brings to 1,500 the number of people arrested for TennCare fraud since the Office of Inspector General (OIG) began investigating and pursing this criminal activity.
With the assistance of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the OIG today announced the arrest of Mickey Brown, 44, of Waynesboro. Brown was recently released from a state correctional facility where he was serving time on a related charge. He was apprehended at his home by the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and served with the indictment.
Brown has been charged with one count of TennCare fraud in a charge accusing him of filling a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone at a drug store in Lawrenceburg, using TennCare to pay for it, then selling a portion of the pills.
“Local police across the state play a pivotal role in helping us in the war against TennCare fraud,” Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. “Local police are clearly committed to eliminating prescription drug abuse, and we’re doing our part to stop abusers who are supporting this lifestyle with TennCare.”
The TennCare fraud charge against Brown could result in a two year sentence, if convicted. District Attorney Mike Bottoms is prosecuting

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Some Students Denied Transfer to New ‘Virtual School’

The superintendent of Union County schools, who oversees a new “virtual school” operation operated by a private company under a new state law, tells Andy Sher that some other school systems are not approving transfers of their students to the virtual school. In issue are students who missed a deadline.
As previously reported, more than 1,000 students seeking to enroll in the virtual school have been unable to do so for one reason or another. Denial of transfer is one reason.
Under state law, (Superintendent Wayne) Goforth said, students seeking to transfer after the open enrollment date “have to seek the approval of the sending district, and that has caused us a lot of ups and downs.”
“A lot of times the directors don’t want to give permission for them to leave,” Goforth said. “And that’s their choice. I guess they don’t want to lose their [state] funding because in Tennessee, the funding follows the child.”
He estimated the county receives about $5,300 in state funds for every child who attends the Tennessee Virtual Academy. Goforth said he hears from parents that “one of the main” systems denying approval of late transfers is the Hamilton County schools system.
Hamilton County Schools Director Rick Smith said he has denied approving the transfers of 14 students, who were enrolled in the local school system last year, because their applications were late.
He said he only got an email from Goforth on Aug. 6 — days after the July 24 transfer deadline — listing 26 students seeking a late transfer.
Twelve had not been public school students at all, Smith said, and presumably had attended private schools or were being home-schooled. He said he had no authority regarding them.
Smith said after talking to parents of students and parents of those outside the public school system, he learned that families learned about the Tennessee Virtual Academy at various times following an advertising and promotion push by K12.
Smith said the district abides by deadlines for Hamilton County parents wishing to get their children into the system’s highly desirable magnet schools. It should be no different in approving late transfers.
He noted he has no idea how many local students might have applied and enrolled in the Tennessee Virtual Academy prior to the July 24 deadline. The system has no power over their transfer, he said.