Spragens launches plaintiffs’ law firm

Friday, June 21, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 25

J. Spragens

Class action plaintiffs’ attorney John Spragens has launched a new plaintiffs’ law firm representing consumers, whistleblowers and victims of abuse, discrimination, medical malpractice, serious injury and wrongful death.

Spragens, a former Nashville Scene reporter and aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper who has since practiced at Bass, Berry & Sims and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, will be joined in the practice by his father David Spragens, a former prosecutor, defense attorney and nonprofit executive who maintains a “Wills on Wheels” estate planning practice.

A lifelong Nashvillian, Spragens is a veteran of national class action and whistleblower litigation against corporations that manufacture dangerous and defective products, conspire to fix prices, and misuse taxpayer funds.

D. Spragens

Chosen by the American Bar Association as a “Top 40 Young Lawyer” for 2018, John was named to the National Trial Lawyers “Top 100” Tennessee Lawyers and as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the Mid-South in 2016, 2017, and 2018. He serves as an adjunct faculty member at Vanderbilt Law School, where he teaches “The Practice of Aggregate Litigation,” and as a member of the Metropolitan Beer Permit Board and the board of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi.

David Spragens has assisted families and nonprofits with estate planning and charitable giving throughout his 45-year career. He is the former director of planned giving for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and gift planning director for Sewanee: the University of the South, a former board member and staff member of Alive Hospice, former president of the Nashville Estate Planning Council, founding member of the Nashville Planned Giving Council, and a former member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Spragens is trained as a family mediator.

Powell to serve ABA Health Law Section


Tracy Powell, member at Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison, has been selected to serve as council member-at-large of the Health Law Section of the American Bar Association effective October 2019. Powell will serve a three-year term ending in 2022.

The Health Law Section of the ABA is the voice of the national health law bar, with 10,600 members from across the United States. ABA member groups allow for in-depth examination of issues, regulations and national trends.

Powell practices primarily in the areas of health care, commercial transactions, securities and general corporate law. Powell represents physicians and providers on issues including federal and state fraud and abuse matters, physician self-referral issues and related health care operations, billing and finance, and compliance matters. In addition to these providers, his clients include a number of surgery center operators, lithotripsy providers, clinical laboratories, and other entities involved in the health care delivery system.

Powell is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review and Order of the Coif. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a member of the American, Tennessee, and Nashville Bar Associations. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, and the Nashville Business Journal Best of The Bar.

Neal & Harwell hires Hinson as associate


Callie K. Hinson has joined Neal & Harwell, PLC, as an associate attorney. Her practice focuses on domestic law including divorce, child custody, child support, prenuptial agreements and adoptions. Hinson also has experience in insurance defense, premises liability, appeals and contract disputes.

Previously, Hinson was an associate at Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan, PLLC, where she counseled clients in the firm’s general litigation practice focusing on domestic law.

Hinson earned her J.D. from Belmont School of Law in 2014 and served under Judge Phillip Robinson in the Third Circuit Court for Davidson County. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Hinson serves as a board member of the Lawyers’ Association for Women Marion Griffin Chapter. She is a member of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court, as well as the Tennessee Bar Association and the Nashville Bar Association.

Gilda’s Club announces Alper as interim president


Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee has named Denise Alper as its interim president and CEO. Alper takes the reins for the nonprofit cancer support organization from Sandy Obodzinski, whose last day was June 14.

Alper brings to Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee more than 25 years of leadership experience in consulting and project management in nonprofit and health care spaces. Most recently, she served Alive Hospice, where she co-created and founded The Gift Initiative, a collaborative, educational endeavor focused on end-of-life care that was recognized with a $100,000 Humana Community Benefits grant.

She also has served The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, The Women’s Fund, Compass Executives, St. Thomas Hospital and HCA.

Gilda’s Club Middle board of directors has approved an ad hoc Search Committee charged with leading the search for a permanent CEO, says board chair Jim Brown.

Resumes for the posted position are being accepted through July 8.

Collier No. 1 in nation on magazine’s consultant list


Gary Collier, the investment program manager at Pinnacle Asset Management in Nashville, has the No. 1 spot on Bank Investment Consultant magazine’s list of the Top 30 Program Managers of 2019.

Collier also earned the No. 1 spot in 2018, making this the first time anyone has earned repeat first place honors on this list. Collier is affiliated with the Financial Institutions Division of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.

Collier is one of six investment program managers affiliated with Raymond James who made the prestigious list of 30, compiled annually by Bank Investment Consultant. Factors considered in this year’s ranking were the team’s total assets under management, growth in team annual production, growth in team assets, average production per adviser, and number of advisers under the manager’s direct supervision.

Cumberland Emerging Tech adds board member


Cumberland Emerging Technologies, Inc., an incubator of early-stage life-science companies, has added Margaret Dolan to its board of directors.

Dolan is the president and CEO of Launch Tennessee, a public-private partnership that supports entrepreneurs from ideation to exit. She previously served as a principal with independent consulting firm neil Strategies, LLC and was president and CEO of LocalShares and Saint Thomas Health Foundations. A certified public accountant, she began her career at KPMG, LLC before working for over two decades in various positions at Ingram Industries Inc.

Dolan also has served as a board member for numerous other organizations, including Tennessee Business Roundtable, Center for Nonprofit Management, United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Business Coalition and Nashville Downtown Partnership.

A sustaining member of the Junior League of Nashville and a graduate of Leadership Nashville, Dolan was inducted into the prestigious Academy for Women of Achievement by the YWCA of Middle Tennessee in 2015.

She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and earned her master’s from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.

CET’s board of directors also includes A.J. Kazimi, CEO of Cumberland Pharmaceuticals; Kenneth J. Holroyd, assistant vice chancellor for research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center; John A. Smith, professor of pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine; Robert Grajewski, Evans family executive director of the Innovation Center at Vanderbilt University; James P. Leyda, former senior director of Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Aventis); and Samuel M. Lawrence, CEO and co-founder of CytoViva, Inc.

LOGICFORCE names pair to C-level positions



LOGICFORCE, a Nashville-based legal IT consultancy, has announced key changes in top leadership, including the appointment of Gulam Zade to chief executive officer and Bret Babcock to chief operating officer.

Zade joined the company in 2014 and previously served as general counsel. In his prior role, Zade oversaw the company’s sales and human resources functions and provided operational, legal and regulatory counsel to the executive team. As CEO, he will focus on the overall long-term strategic direction and continued growth of the business.

Babcock, who previously served as the company’s CFO, has retained the CFO title and assumed expanded responsibilities to become the company’s COO.

MP&F Strategic welcomes two graphic designers



MP&F Strategic Communications has hired Layne Smith and Kate Trotter as the firm’s newest graphic designers.

Smith, a Petal, Mississippi, native, graduated from Mississippi State University in May 2017 with a degree in graphic design. While in school, Smith interned at the MSU Social Science Research Center, where he designed visuals to help inform the Mississippi state legislature about statewide issues. He also served as the vice president of the AIGA student chapter while in school, and after graduation he worked as the in-house designer for Pearl River Resort.

Trotter, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, graduated in 2014 from Vanderbilt University, where she studied sociology and Spanish and minored in environmental science. She returned to Nashville in 2016 for a position at the Music City Center, where she worked on large graphic design and social media projects including the Fresh Pick Market & Café logo and the convention center’s five-year anniversary campaign. Trotter serves as the secretary for the Nashville chapter of AIGA.