Hunter, Smith & Davis, LLP Actively Supports the Tennessee Supreme Court SCALES Project

October 2019

Partner Michael Forrester is serving as a mentor to high school students at Dobyns Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tennessee who will participate in the SCALES project which culminates with the participants attending oral arguments before the Tennessee Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 19 at the Eastman Chemical Company Employee Center auditorium.

The SCALES project is a Tennessee Supreme Court initiative designed to educate high school students about the judicial branch of government. SCALES is an acronym for “Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students.” The program is designed to give students a unique opportunity to hear the oral arguments for an actual Supreme Court case in a nearby community.

The civil case to be argued before the Tennessee Supreme Court on November 19 focuses on an employment dispute. The City of Cleveland, Tennessee employed a firefighter who was terminated as a result of certain activities he engaged in outside of his employment. The Employee appealed the decision to terminate his employment. When the City’s decision was upheld on administrative appeal, he filed suit against the City. The Employee claims that the City’s Employee Handbook granted the Employee a “property interest” in his job because it included a right to appeal the termination decision. The City contends that the Fireman was an “employee at will” and that there were no additional property interest rights afforded to him. The Supreme Court is being asked to determine the extent to which “at will” employment can be eroded under these facts and if the Employee had “procedural due process” rights which had been violated during the termination process.

As a mentor, Mr. Forrester will meet with the participating high school students in advance of the actual court date to review the facts of the case and to explain the process for oral arguments. On the actual day of the event, he will accompany the students during the presentation of oral arguments. Once the presentation is completed, Mr. Forrester will then participate with the students in an educational question-and-answer session that will include counsel for both parties to the litigation.

Mr. Forrester is one of 20 to 30 northeast Tennessee attorneys who serve as volunteers for the SCALES project. The Kingsport Bar Association is a coordinator for the November event. A social event for participating members of the legal community will be held at the Bristol Motor Speedway on the evening before the court hearing.

Readers interested in more information can contact Mike Forrester at (423) 378-8836.

HSD News