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Government Litigation

Jon Lakey has been appointed by three different Governors to serve as special counsel to the Tennessee’s Attorney General’s office in five different cases over last twenty years, all of which either were class actions or cases in which classes were sought. In concert with that office, Mr. Lakey helped guide the State to exit from four of the cases. In two of the cases, including a landmark case in Memphis, Mr. Lakey helped the State negotiate exit plans with the Department of Justice and advocacy groups that in short order led to the dismissal of cases that had constrained the State and its operation of state agencies for over twenty years. United States of America, et al. v. State of Tennessee, et al., United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee, Case No. 92-2062 (this case was dismissed in 2013, about twenty years after it was filed and within 3 years of the negotiation of the exit plan); and, People First of Tennessee, et al. v. Clover Bottom Developmental Center, et al., United States District Court, Middle District of Tennessee Case No. 95-1227 (in this matter Mr. Lakey was able to lead the negotiation of an exit plan that led to the dismissal of an over two decade long case in under 3 years).

Mr. Lakey also was retained to represent the state and its departments in Brian A., et al. v. State of Tennessee, et al. (United States District Court, Middle District of Tennessee Case No. 00-00445), a case in which the State was facing increasing pressure from the federal court at the time Mr. Lakey was hired and first appeared in 2013. This case, originally filed in 2000, was effectively dismissed in 2017, when Mr. Lakey and the AG’s office, along with officials of the Department of Children’s Services, were able to demonstrate to the monitors and Plaintiff’s counsel, and ultimately the Court, that the State was in compliance with all required provisions of the governing orders. Most recently, in John Doe v. Hommrich, et al. (Middle District of Tennessee Case No. 06-0799), Mr. Lakey and the AG’s office defeated the plaintiffs’ attempt to establish a state-wide class covering all juveniles detained in any facility licensed and/or supervised by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. See linked Opinion from District Court.

Mr. Lakey also represents the City of Memphis, and has handled several complex matters for his adopted City. For instance, Mr. Lakey recently represented the City in a lawsuit involving two of Memphis’ giants (or perhaps we should say Kings), Elvis Presley Enterprises (Graceland) and Memphis Basketball (the Grizzlies). In this matter, which was brought by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Mr. Lakey was able to obtain dismissal of the City through aggressive motion practice. In another matter, this one involving Tennessee’s continuing evolution on the issue of records in the possession of private companies contracting with the government that the press seeks access to through the Public Records Act, and when those records are public. In this case, filed by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the City was trying to honor an agreement between its contractor and the contractor’s membership to keep their identities confidential in relation to the City’s search for a Director of Police. After losing in the trial court Mr. Lakey prevailed on behalf of the City in the Tennessee Court of Appeals, helping further clarify the law in this important area. Memphis Publishing Company d/b/a The Commercial Appeal, et al. v. City of Memphis, et al., 2017 WL 31562 Tenn. Ct. App, Western Section 2017). See Linked Opinion from Court of Appeals.

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