Bass, Berry & Sims Attorney to Assist General Sessions Court in Addressing Eviction Claims Amid COVID-19 and Economic Fallout

 Nashville/Memphis, Tenn., (August 31, 2020) – Bass, Berry & Sims PLC is pleased to announce that attorney Marc Tahiry has been appointed by the General Sessions Court of Metropolitan Nashville & Davidson County to serve as a law clerk dedicated to assisting with eviction proceedings at no cost to the Court. Tahiry will provide pro bono legal services to help the Court fully and fairly address the ongoing surge in eviction filings stemming from the loss of jobs due to COVID-19. He will begin in this role upon the end of Davidson County’s eviction moratorium on August 31. Tahiry’s service extends from the Bass, Berry & Sims Pro Bono Fellow program, which allows attorneys to spend up to six months serving in a full-time pro bono capacity within the community.

“With unemployment surging to more than 15% in Nashville and coinciding with the expiration of local and federal financial relief programs, paying rent has become impossible for many families,” Tahiry explained. “This fellowship allows me to help the judges manage an overwhelming caseload and ensure each case is handled fairly in compliance with new legal requirements and directing the parties to available resources.”

Following the expiration of state and federal eviction moratoriums, estimates from advisory firm Stout suggest that up to 50% of rental households in Tennessee are at risk of eviction, which would present significant challenges for courts to adequately review eviction filings and make decisions. In Davidson County, eviction filings since the beginning of 2020 already exceed 3,600 according to data from the Davidson County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

Tahiry will provide the Court with legal and administrative counsel to help ensure compliance with state and federal laws and that all cases are fully and fairly heard. He will also assist parties in eviction proceedings in attempting to reach settlements that keep residents in their homes, as well as provide litigants information about resources for rental payment assistance.

“As the nation braces for the economic fallout and potential spike in homelessness, we are grateful to Marc and Bass, Berry & Sims for their support in this proactive approach to help mitigate the impact in Tennessee,” said Judge Lynda Jones of the Nashville General Sessions Court. “I want to thank Circuit Court Clerk Richard Rooker and his staff for their cooperation with this endeavor. We remain committed to excellence in administering justice and working toward a safe and vital Nashville community, even in the face of this global pandemic, and we look forward to working with Marc to navigate these challenging times ahead in support of that mission.”

Tahiry’s service to the Court makes him the third fellow of the Bass, Berry & Sims Pro Bono Fellow program, which launched in 2019.

About Bass, Berry & Sims Pro Bono Fellow Program

The Bass, Berry & Sims Pro Bono Fellow program is a cornerstone of the firm’s pro bono initiative, which focuses on matters that strengthen families, empower communities and protect civil rights. In the most recently completed fellowship in June 2020, Danielle Dudding Irvine provided legal services to the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP), an organization committed to representing wrongfully convicted men and women in the state of Tennessee with the goal of helping exonerate those innocent individuals.

In this role, Irvine served as co-counsel with TIP Executive Director Jessica Van Dyke to represent a client in a claim of wrongful identification and actual innocence. She also reviewed applications for future representation, supported other pro bono lawyers representing clients in innocence claims, established support for TIP at local law schools and worked with law students to conduct legal research and assist TIP in various legal issues for clients.

With the support of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, which provided office space and opportunities for Irvine to engage law students with TIP, Irvine’s work also helped establish a foundation for the organization to serve innocent incarcerated individuals in West Tennessee for years to come.

About Bass, Berry & Sims PLC

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