Adelman Law Firm welcomes John Woods

John Woods.JPG

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Aug. 19, 2019 – Adelman Law Firm has hired Memphis native John Woods as an associate attorney. With experience practicing high-volume civil litigation, as well as a proven skillset in handling appellate matters, contract and personal injury litigation, Woods is a perfect addition to the firm, as it focuses on health care, business and risk litigation.

“Our firm continues to experience expansion, from our employees to our clients, and I’m immensely proud of the gold-standard services we offer,” said Rebecca Adelman, founder and owner of Adelman Law Firm. “John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our firm, and his unwavering commitment to client satisfaction aligns perfectly with our firm’s values.”  

In his role, Woods will be involved in day-to-day litigation on behalf of the firm’s clients and will assist in the growth of several existing and emerging practice areas. He will also serve as the firm’s security compliance officer.

Woods is licensed in Tennessee and is active in both the Tennessee and Memphis Bar Associations. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi, and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Before his legal career began, Woods spent several years as a radio correspondent and editor for a national radio program and also served as an infantry officer in the Tennessee Army National Guard. Woods is married to Sydney Eason Woods, whom he met in law school, and the couple has one dog, Penney. 

Adelman Law Firm also recently added Amber Williams to its team as managing paralegal and Michele Harper as executive firm manager. 

About Adelman Law Firm
Founded in 2001, Adelman Law Firm has expertise in multiple areas of insurance defense litigation, professional malpractice, business and employment and health care law. Located in Downtown Memphis in the South Main Historic Arts District, Adelman Law Firm provides legal services in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. For more information, visit


Amusement Tax Gets Benched

By: John Woods

On July 1, 2019, Tennessee’s Amusement Tax on small gyms was repealed, tearing down a sizeable obstacle to Tennesseans’ ability to get physically fit. The widely-discussed Amusement Tax applied sales tax to small, boutique firms but not their “big-box” competitors. The tax began in 1986 when a carve-out was tailor-made for a big-box gym competing against a non-taxed YMCA in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That carve-out exempted the big-box gym and others like it from the sales tax but left sales tax in place for small gyms. Over the next 30 years, no one in Nashville seemed to notice that many new boutique fitness studios weren’t collecting the tax.

Then, in June 2018, the Tennessee Department of Revenue issued Notice #18-09 and signaled its renewed intent to seek sales tax from those fitness studios that did not meet the 1986 statute’s provisions: 

  • One full-time employee certified in administering health assessments or state-licensed paramedic; 

  • Open 70 hours per week; 

  • At least 15,000 square feet in use

  • Offer three or more of either (a) health assessments including blood chemistry and urinalysis, (b) racquetball, (c) exercise equipment, (d) track or swimming; and (e) aerobics.  

CrossFit, OrangeTheory, barre, spin and yoga studios immediately began a grassroots campaign to end the unfair head-start given to big-box gyms. Starting July 1, your community fitness studio should have started giving your wallet a break, even if it takes a pound of your sweat instead.

Cap or No Cap? The Tennessee Supreme Court Will Answer That Question


The Tennessee Supreme Court agreed in June to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of a Tennessee law that requires judges to override jury awards in civil lawsuits. Hudson News Shop, the ubiquitous pit stop for frequent fliers found in airports across the country, had bad news to report in 2006. While in one of their shops in Nashville, Tennessee, a California resident’s foot was injured when a decorative piece of trim around a freestanding beverage cooler fell on it. 

While the resident still caught her flight home, she would later sue, in a case that would last until 2018 and include a $444,500 economic damage award and a $930,000 non-economic damage award. After the verdict, the Defendant asked that the state’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages be applied, limiting recovery to $750,000. The plaintiff objected, making the same argument – which found favor with the Sixth Circuit only sixth months ago – that such a cap violates a plaintiff’s right to trial by jury and violated the doctrine of separate powers.  

The District Judge noted Tennessee’s high court remained silent on the constitutionality question and asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to break that silence before he rendered a decision. The court agreed to do so and specifically directed the state attorney general’s office to participate. A hearing date has not been set yet. It may be December before we get an answer to cap or no cap.

Seventh Annual National Long-Term Care Defense Summit

Adelman Law Firm, Horne Roota Moos LLP and Kaufman Borgesst & Ryan LLP for networking, blues, BBQ and everything Memphis has to offer! This year’s conference will take place in the historic Peabody Hotel. Enjoy your stay in its newly renovated rooms and the magnificent rooftop Skyway, where the conference will take place. Please reserve your room no later than Friday, March 15, 2019. To make your reservation, call 1-800-PEABODY (732-2639). You must identify the group name - Long-Term Care Summit - to receive the conference rate ($219 per night for single/double occupancy). You may also click here to book with the conference rate online. 

This year will feature a marketplace of local vendors for you to peruse in between sessions! For a complete list of vendors and to view the conference website, click here.

Click here to view this year’s agenda.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Adelman Law Firm granted National Women's Business Enterprise certification

Adelman Law Firm is proud to receive the National Women’s Business Enterprise certification. WBENC is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs. This certification validates that the business is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women and is the most relied upon certification of women-owned businesses. Adelman Law Firm is excited to engage and partner with WBENC and other certified businesses and salutes the theme: #JoinForces.

Modern Exculpatory Clause Test

In a recent decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Court overruled the previous test used to determine whether an exculpatory clause is enforceable. After reviewing the lengthy history of Tennessee appellate court decisions regarding the enforceability of exculpatory clauses, the Court found that the Olsen test, which was reiterated last in an opinion in 1992, was an outdated test now only used by the minority of states. In following the lead of the majority of states, the Court implemented a new method for determining whether an exculpatory clause is unenforceable. The Court held that the enforceability of exculpatory agreements should be determined by considering the totality of the circumstances and weighing non-exclusive factors of (1) the relative bargaining power of the parties; (2) the clarity of the exculpatory language, which should be clear, unambiguous and unmistakable about what the party who signs the agreement is giving up; and (3) the public policy and public interest implications. The Court went on to hold that there is no professional services criterion restricting the application of this new holding to contracts for professional services, which had previously been a restriction. The Court went on to described and provide additional guidance for the application of the three factors.


In the case at issue, a rehabilitation hospital hired a medical transportation company to take a patient to a doctor’s appointment. Before the transport, the company’s driver required the patient to sign an exculpatory agreement which, in part, released the company from any liability. The patient fell when entering the vehicle after leaving the doctor’s appointment and subsequently sued the transportation company. In utilizing the newly held test, the Court found that the exculpatory agreement was not enforceable. The patient had an inferior bargaining power as he was a patient in the hospital, had no control over which company was chosen by the hospital and needed to get to his doctor’s appointment without another readily available option for transportation. The Court further found that the language of the agreement was misleading and specifically, a portion of the agreement referenced a release from ALL liability which is not proper as an exculpatory clause cannot absolve a party from liability related to gross negligence, intentional conduct, etc. Lastly, the Court looked at the public policy implications. The Court held that the transportation company was in a position of greater responsibility to the patient and that the patient had mere minutes to read the agreement and did not have the option of rescheduling, etc. The Court equated this situation as similar to the public policy considerations held for clients of professionals, residential tenants, employees and bank customers who are protected from exculpatory provisions and found that the agreement was contrary to the public interest. Based on these findings, the Court ruled that the exculpatory clause was not enforceable. Based on the Court’s holding, it is unlikely that exculpatory clauses related to healthcare, even transportation for medical appointments, will be enforceable.

Michael Goodin featured in Tennessee Defense Lawyer Association publication

Adelman Law Firm attorney Michael Goodin was featured in the Tennessee Defense Lawyer Association's The Journal. Michael's article, Lies, Damn Lies, and the Ideal Juror: Jury Selection and the Replication Crisis was published in the fall/winter 2018 edition.

Click below to see the full edition of The Journal. Michael’s article appears on pages 14-16.

Adelman Law Firm resumes practice in Downtown Memphis

Rebecca Adelman, a former founder of Hagwood Adelman Tipton, today announced she resumed full operation of her firm, Adelman Law Firm, which was originally founded in 2001.

Adelman Law Firm’s team of legal professionals will serve the public in the areas of medical malpractice, long-term care and aging services, professional liability, general litigation, insurance defense, government tort liability, public entity defense and risk reduction and loss avoidance. As a woman-owned business, Adelman Law Firm seeks to lead and mentor women in the business, insurance and health care sectors.

“Today is exciting for me, as well as the legal teams and strategic partners who have joined me in this venture that I started nearly 20 years ago,” Adelman said. “At Adelman Law Firm, our culture nurtures and strives to achieve innovation, creativity, legal expertise and is client-focused.”

Adelman is a mother, entrepreneur, influencer, thought leader and founder of Adelman Law Firm. With more than 30 years of experience, she has established herself as an expert in the legal field, as well as entrepreneurship, and has received numerous awards, including the inaugural American Assisted Living Nursing Association Ethel Mitty Heart Award and was a finalist for the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance Professional of the Year - Outside Counsel award. Locally, Adelman was named to Super Women in Business, Women to Watch, Top 10 Women in Business and Top 40 Under 40 by the Memphis Business Journal. She was also named a  Memphis Power Player in Defense Litigation by Inside Memphis Business.

Adelman and her colleagues at Adelman Law Firm are servant leaders and supporters of various nonprofit organizations dedicated to the health and well-being of children through sports and education. Sixteen years ago, Adelman founded a nonprofit Montessori school to provide alternative education to children in rural Colorado.


About Adelman Law Firm:

Founded in 2001, Adelman Law Firm has expertise in multiple areas of insurance defense litigation, professional malpractice, business and employment and healthcare law. Located in Downtown Memphis in the South Main Historic Arts District, Adelman Law Firm provides legal services in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. For more information about Adelman Law Firm, visit

Adelman named finalist in CLM Professionals of the Year

Rebecca Adelman, founding shareholder of Hagwood Adelman Tipton PC, was recently named a finalist in the CLM’s Professionals of the Year awards. Adelman was one of just five attorneys honored in the outside counsel division.

“Professional recognition is always a great honor,” Adelman said. “But recognition on this national scale is truly humbling. It’s surreal to be in the company of these other finalists, who are all leaders in their fields.”

The CLM developed the Professionals of the Year award program in an effort to promote and advance the claims and litigation management professions. The program features nominees in three categories: claims management, litigation management and outside defense counsel. Nominees are evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Demonstrated a passion for the industry and willingness to work hard for the greater claims or litigation management community
  • Developed a transformative or innovative process
  • Contributed to their company’s or client’s success through strong claims or litigation management practices
  • Active within the greater claims or litigation management community (including organizations outside their company/firm)
  • Exemplifies CLM’s mission statement and looks to further the discipline through collaboration, education, communication, inclusion, dedication, and the identification and development of professionals with expertise in litigation management

Adelman was recognized in part for her work as co-founder of the Annual Litigation Risk and Defense Strategies for Long-Term Care & Assisted Living Providers, Insurers and Brokers Conference, along with her role in developing a number of risk mitigation and prevention programs for insurers and insureds in health care and beyond. Outside her legal responsibilities, Adelman is passionate about supporting women and education. She volunteers with the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality in Memphis and personally founded the Chaffee County Montessori School in Colorado, which is now a charter school with gold standard commendations.

Other finalists include winner Teresa Beck of Lincoln, Gustafson & Cercos LLP; Stephen Henning of Wood  Smith Henning & Berman LLP; William Mitchell of Cruser, Mitchell, Novitz, Sanchez, Gaston & Zimet LLP; and Carly Celmer of Clyde & Co.


About CLM

The CLM is the largest professional association in the insurance industry, with a membership of more than 45,000 professionals in the claims resolution and litigation management industries. Founded in 2007, the CLM membership benefits from networking events, continuing education programs and a wide variety of industry resources. These include the annual conference, which attracts 2,000 participants and features nearly 100 interactive educational sessions and networking events; webinars; training sessions; chapter events; and Claims College and the Litigation Management Institute, the organization’s continuing education initiatives. For more information, visit