George T. Lewis III

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First Tennessee Building
165 Madison Avenue
Suite 2000
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
T: 901.577.2256
F: 901.577.0749

George T. Lewis III
 

George T. Lewis III, shareholder in the Memphis office and chair of the Appellate Practice Litigation Group, focuses his practice on complex business, personal injury, insurance coverage, Consumer Protection Act, health care and class action litigation.  He also has extensive experience in the areas of securities and governmental law. He is the former chair of the Litigation Department and the Business Litigation Group. In 2013, the American Arbitration Association added Mr. Lewis to its panel of arbitrators. Mr. Lewis is also a Rule 31 Listed General Civil Mediator.

Mr. Lewis served as president of the Tennessee Bar Association from June 2008 through June 2009. In March 2012, Mr. Lewis was appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court to chair the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission. From 2004 – 2005, he served as president of the Memphis Bar Foundation. From 2012 until this year, Mr. Lewis served as chair of the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross.

In 2006, the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission recommended Mr. Lewis to the governor for appointment to the Tennessee Supreme Court. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2007 in the areas of Appellate Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Banking & Finance, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and in Mid-South Super Lawyers in the area of Business Litigation since 2006. In 2007 and 2010, Mr. Lewis was named to the Honor Roll of the American Bar Association Torts and Insurance Practice Section.

He was appointed by the governor in 1991 to the Appellate Court Nominating Commission. In 1994, the Tennessee House Speaker appointed him to the Judicial Selection Commission, where he served as vice chair from 1994 to 1995 and as chair from 1995 to 1996. The Tennessee Supreme Court appointed him to the Board of Directors of Tennessee's Lawyers Fund for Client Protection in 1991, and to the Supreme Court Advisory Commission on Rules of Trial and Appellate Procedure in 1999.  In August of 2009, he was appointed to the TBA Judicial Conduct Committee.  In 2014, he was appointed to the American Bar Association Pro Bono and Public Service Committee.

From 1980 to 1981, Mr. Lewis served as law clerk for the Honorable Frank Drowota, Tennessee Supreme Court. While in the joint J.D./M.B.A. program at the University of Tennessee, he served as vice chair, and then chair, of the Moot Court Board.  He was also a member of the Securities Law Moot Court Team and Labor Law Moot Court Team.

Recent Representative Matters

  • Served as lead counsel for a publicly traded national bank in an American Arbitration Association proceeding in which an adverse New York bank sought repurchase of approximately 500 home equity loans totaling approximately 30 million in unpaid balances. The case involved allegations relating to borrower fraud, mortgage insurance and violation of underwriting guidelines relating to appraisals, income verification, loan to value and debt to income ratios, reserves and borrower applications.
  • Represented an automobile dealership in a putative class action seeking certification of approximately 14,000 class members challenging a charge imposed by the dealership under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and Common Law Fraud. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court, holding that class actions were not allowed under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and that this case, which was based upon oral representations, was not suitable for class certification under the common law.
  • Represented a national property and casualty insurance carrier in a nine-day jury trial. Plaintiff, a local physician's widow, sued the carrier for bad faith and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act for denying a claim for benefits following an extensive fire in her home. Plaintiff claimed the fire was caused by electrical problems. The defense presented cause and origin experts and electrical engineers who testified the fire was caused by arson. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant in one hour.
  • Represented a global automobile and truck manufacturer with respect to a nationwide class action alleging defective brake assemblies with respect to one of the manufacture's truck lines. The client removed the case from state to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act and filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and Common Law Fraud. Following the filing of the motions to dismiss and supporting memoranda, plaintiffs filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal.
  • In a case of first impression in the Sixth Circuit, obtained ruling establishing the standard of review to be used by a District Court in the Sixth Circuit in reviewing a decision by a United States Bankruptcy Court.
  • Obtained favorable settlement in case where a Chancellor held that a Chancery Court could properly review whether a state complied with procedural due process in awarding its first private prison contract.
  • Served as lead counsel in case before the Tennessee Supreme Court in which the Court held that a physician could not properly enter into a contingent fee arrangement to serve as an expert witness for his/her patient.
  • Obtained summary judgment in representation of a state automotive association against allegations that all automobile dealerships in the state illegally passed on the business tax to purchasers of vehicles in the state.
  • On appeal of a matter originally tried by another firm, obtained a reduction in judgment to $500,000 from the original $14 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The decision was significant on several issues including the definition of a trade secret, the damages available under Rule 65 for wrongfully obtaining a temporary injunction, and the extent to which damages must be reasonably specific in order to be sustained as a remedy.

Publications on Legal Issues

  • "The Pros and Cons of Arbitration," Litigation Counsel of America 2013 Litigation Commentary and Review
  • ABA Counsel of Appellate Lawyers' Appellate Practice Book, author of Tennessee chapter, "The Insider's Guide to the Tennessee Appellate Courts," ABA Appellate Judges Conference (2010)
  • "Tennessee Supreme Court Holds Class Actions Are Not Allowed Under Tennessee Consumer Protection Act," Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry Business Insider (November/December 2008)
  • "Recent Developments in Insurance Coverage Litigation," Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (Spring 2008)
  • "Are Automobile Financing and Other Credit Transactions That Comply with the Federal Truth-In-Lending Act Subject to Private Rights of Action Under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act?," 71 Tenn. L. Rev. 695 (2004)
  • "Changes in Jury Trials," Memphis Lawyer (September/October 2002)
  • "Rule 56.03: Whatever Will Be Will Be, Tennessee Journal of Practice and Procedure," Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring 2002)
  • "Secrets of Success from Trial Lawyers," Memphis Lawyer (July/August 2000)
  • "Supreme Court Decides Arbitration Agreements Between Physicians and Patients are not Per Se Void as Against Public Policy," Health Care News (June 1996)
  • "Physician Deposition Fees," Nashville Medical News, Volume VI, No. 1 (January 1994)
  • "Arbitration and Mediation Clauses in Health Care Contracts" in the Nashville Medical News, Vol. 5, No. 7 (July 1994)
  • "Resolving Priority Disputes Under Section §9-306 of the Uniform Commercial Code: Who Wins Between a Creditor Bank and an Inventory Lender With Respect to Proceeds of Inventory?" Tennessee Bar Journal (November/December 1991)
  • "Inadequate Trust Deed Waivers of the Statutory Right of Redemption: The Nightmare Reoccurs" in the Tennessee Bar Journal, Vol. 11, No. 5 (October 1986)
  • "The Tennessee Recording Tax Statute and its Effect on Perfection of Security Interests" Lewis and Aronov, Tennessee Law Review (Spring 1985)
  • "Pritchard v. Rogers and the Nightmare of Defective Trust Deed Forms" in the Tennessee Bar Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2 (May 1985)
  • "Property Tax Exemptions for Religious and Educational Institutions: How Pure is Pure?" in the Tennessee Judicial Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring 1979)

      Publications on Issues Affecting the Legal Profession

      • As President of the Tennessee Bar Association, Mr. Lewis authored the President's Perspective column, which is published monthly in the Tennessee Bar Journal. To read these columns, please go to "President's Perspective."
      • "New Toll-free Line Offers Free Legal Information, Referrals," The Memphis Lawyer, Volume 30, Issue 1 (February 2013)
      • "Access To Justice Is Main Priority," co-author with Elizabeth Todaro, Tennessee Bar Journal (January 2013)
      • "350 Thousand Reasons To Be Proud of Memphis Lawyers," Memphis Lawyer (Jan/Feb 12)
      • "Budget Cuts Make Lawyer Support for Campaign for Equal Justice Critical for Memphis Area Legal Services," The Bar Bulletin, Memphis Bar Association newsletter (December 15, 2011); see also "MALS Expands Fundraising Amidst Cuts," The Daily News (December 16, 2011) 
      • "MALS' Campaign for Equal Justice: Working to Meet the Challenge Ahead," Memphis Lawyer (Jan/Feb 11)
      • "Connections and Cash Should Not Decide [Judicial Selection]," The Chattanooga Times (May 3, 2009)
      • "Merit Selection Ensures Talented Bench," The Commercial Appeal (March 2009)
      • "Inspire Young People Early Because There Are Lots of Samanthas Out There," Memphis Business Journal (December 7, 2007)
      • "What is the Memphis Bar Foundation and Why Should You Care and Be Proud of It?," Memphis Lawyer (March 2005)

      Speaking Engagements

      • Presenter – "Access to Justice in Tennessee," National Judicial College (March 2014)
      • Presenter – "Tennessee Motions To Dismiss And Motions for Summary Judgment By Rule And By Statute," Memphis Area Paralegals Association (January 2014)
      • Presenter – "Taking and defending Rule 30(b)6 depositions," Tennessee Bar Association (April 2013)
      • Presenter – "The Pros And Cons Of Arbitration," University of Tennessee College of Law CLE (November 2012)
      • Presenter – Tennessee Bar Association Annual Health Law Forum (October 2012)
      • Presenter – "Judicial Recusal and Interlocutory Appeals," Tennessee Bar Association statewide webcast (June 18, 2012)
      • Address to Entering Class, University of Tennessee College of Law (August 2013)
      • Presenter – "Pro Bono for Inside Counsel: Online Tennessee Justice," Memphis Chapter, American Corporate Counsel Association (August 2013)
      • Presenter – "The Pros and Cons of Arbitration in Tennessee," Memphis Bar Association (July 2013)
      • Presenter – "Tennessee's state wide interactive pro bono website and toll free number : OnlineTNJustice.org and ALEGALZ," ABA Access To Justice Conference, St. Louis (May 2013)
      • Co-presenter – "Access to Justice in Tennessee," with Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, University of Tennessee College of Law (October 2012)
      • Keynote Speech – Tennessee Bar Association Equal Justice University (September 2012)
      • Presenter – "The New Tennessee Code of Judicial Conduct: What Lawyers and Judges Need to Know," Tennessee Bar Association annual convention and Tennessee Judicial Conference annual meeting (June 8, 2012)
      • Presenter – "Amendments and Proposed Amendments to Rules of Civil Procedure, Appellate Procedure, Evidence, Professional Conduct and Judicial Conduct," Memphis Area Paralegals Association (August 17, 2011) 
      • Presenter – "Proposed Code of Judicial Conduct," Leo Bearman Inns of Court dinner (April 12, 2011)
      • Presenter – "Online Pro Bono," Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Conference (January 22, 2011)
      • Presenter – "Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Summit," Tennessee Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission (January 21, 2011)
      • Presenter – "Proposed New Code of Judicial Conduct," Annual Memphis Bar Association Ethics and Professionalism seminar (November 9, 2010)
      • Presenter – "Interlocutory Appeals," Tennessee Bar Association Appellate Practice CLE "Supreme Court Boot Camp," (October 5, 2010)
      • Presenter – "2010 Amendments to Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure," Memphis Paralegal Association (August 18, 2010)
      • Presenter – "Lawyers in Leadership Roles in Times of Crisis," Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention (June 2010) 
      • Presenter – "Appellate Practice," Memphis Paralegals (February 26, 2010)
      • Presenter – "Tennessee Insurance Law Update," Barristers Educational Services (December 29, 2009)
      • Presenter – "Electronic Discovery Under The New Tennessee Electronic Discovery Rules," Memphis Bar Association (November 10, 2009)
      • Presenter – "Changes in the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure," Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance (May 20, 2009)
      • Presenter – "Trial Practice for Today's Litigator," Tennessee Bar Association (April 24, 2009)
      • Presenter – "Leaving A Proud Enduring Legacy By Joining The Fight For Equal Access To Justice," Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Conference (January 2009); Nashville Bar Association Pro Bono Campaign lunch (March 2009)
      • Presenter – "Appellate Practice," 25th Annual Tennessee Bar Association Academy (December 16, 2008)
      • Presenter – "Appellate Practice from Trial to Oral Argument," Memphis Bar Association (April 2008)
      • Presenter – "Securing the Advantage in the Defense Costs Tug-of-War," American Bar Association Torts and Insurance Litigation Section's 16th Annual Insurance Coverage Litigation Program (February 2008)
      • Presenter – "Appellate Practice From Trial to Oral Argument," Memphis Bar Association (June 2007)
      • Presenter – "Advanced Appellate Practice," Tennessee Bar Association (Fall 2007)
      • Panelist – Leadership in Action, Tennessee Bar Association (Spring 2007)
      • Presenter – "Appellate Practice," CLE, Memphis Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association and University of Mississippi Law Alumni Association (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005)
      • Panel Member – Protective Orders, Tennessee Judicial Conference (2005)
      • Presenter – "Rules of Civil Procedure," Memphis Paralegal Association (2005, 2007)
      • Panelist – Professional Leadership, Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law (2007)

      Professional Honors & Activities

      • Chair – Tennessee Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission (2012 – 2014); appointed Chair by Tennessee Supreme Court (March 2012)
      • Larry Wilks Distinguished Practitioner In Residence, University of Tennessee College of Law (2012 – present)
      • Recipient – University of Tennessee National Alumni Association 2013 Alumni Service Award
      • Recipient – American Bar Association President's Citation for Leadership (August 2013)
      • Fellow – Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
      • Member – The Trial Law Institute
      • Chair – American Red Cross Mid-South Chapter, Memphis, Tennessee (June 2012 – June 2014)
      • Recipient – American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Public Service Honor Roll Award (2009 and 2010)
      • ABA House of Delegates, 2000 – 2006; 2010 – 2014; Elected 2014 for new term 
      • Tennessee Bar Association (President, 2008 – 2009; Vice-President, 2006 – 2007 and 2007 – 2008; Board of Governors; Operations Committee Chair; Chair, Disaster Preparedness Committee Chair; Judicial Campaign Ethics Committee; Task Force on Judicial Conduct; Executive Committee, Appellate Practice Section)
      • Memphis Bar Association (former member Board of Directors and Board Executive Committee)
      • President – Tennessee Legal Community Foundation (2009 – 2010)
      • Board Member – Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society
      • National Conference of Bar Presidents; Southern Conference of Bar Presidents  
      • Past-President – Memphis and Shelby County Bar Foundation
      • Recipient – Memphis Bar Association W. J. Michael Cody Pro Bono Award (2008)
      • Recipient – Baker Donelson's Pro Bono Award (2010)  
      • Chair – Memphis Area Legal Services fundraising drive (2011); Co-Chair (2010) 
      • Life Member – Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference
      • Former Member – Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission (1991 – 1994)
      • Recipient – University of Tennessee College of Law Outstanding Service Award (1998)
      • Recipient – Tennessee Supreme Court Outstanding Service Award (1996); Certificate of Appreciation (2014) 
      • Fellow – American Bar, Tennessee and Memphis Bar Foundations  
      • Member – Tennessee Supreme Court Advisory Commission on Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure (1999 – 2009); Electronic Discovery Committee (2007) 
      • Former Member – Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission (1994 – 2001); Chair (1995 – 1996); Vice Chair (1994 – 1995) 
      • Member – University of Tennessee College of Law Alumni Council (since 1994); Chair (1994 – 1998)
      • Former Vice Chair – Tennessee Lawyers Fund for Client Protection (1991 – 1996)
      • Leadership Memphis (1995)
      • Recipient – Memphis Legal Secretaries Association Boss of the Year Award (1994)
      • Recipient – University of Tennessee College of Law Alumni Leadership Award (1988)

      Admissions

      • Tennessee, 1980
      • U.S. District Court, Western and Middle Districts of Tennessee, 1980
      • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1980
      • U.S. Supreme Court, 1980

      Education

      • University of Tennessee, J.D., 1980
      • University of Tennessee, M.B.A., finance concentration, 1980
      • University of Tennessee, B.S. in Business Administration, 1976