Certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
Appellate Law Blog2020-04-20T05:17:08-04:00

Mr. Vowell blogs on appellate law and practice

February 2017


By |February 18th, 2017|Categories: Appellate Law|

There is an especially ugly dimension to the 15-foot rule that I would like to highlight, using Land Between the Lakes as an illustration. The destruction at Land Between the Lakes – cutting down every tree in the right-of-way, thousands of trees, including vast numbers of 40-100-year-old trees – was accomplished between February and July of 2015. That included the entire 2015 nesting season for most species of birds and other wildlife. The TVA right-of-way is excellent habitat for birds. Bird species that live and nest in this kind of habitat include bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, bluebirds, catbirds, mockingbirds, […]


By |February 17th, 2017|Categories: Appellate Law|

It isn’t often that a United States District Court is reversed twice in the same case, but that is exactly what has happened. The Sixth Circuit again ruled in our favor, reversing the District Court. The issues were simple. After the first appeal, TVA claimed that it had suspended the 15-foot rule (clear-cutting its entire right-of-way) and reverted to its prior practices. These prior practices included leaving its historic buffer zones at the edges of the right-of-way. We knew that TVA was not telling the truth. We knew that it was continuing with the 15-foot rule, continuing to remove the historic […]

April 2016


By |April 6th, 2016|Categories: Appellate Law|

In this entry, I am writing about Sherwood v. TVA, an appeal that I am handling and that is pending right now in the Sixth Circuit. (See http://www.vowell-law.com/cases-on-appeal/) We are now in the second appeal in the case. The case has generated huge public interest. If you simply google “TVA tree cutting” you will find endless articles from all over TVA’s 7-state region with titles like these: http://whnt.com/2013/02/01/huntsville-leaders-fight-tva-plans-to-cut-down-trees/ or http://theknoxvillejournal.com/tva-clear-cutters-bully-property-owners/ or http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/news/story/2012/apr/12/tva-tree-cutting-plan-riles-residents/75266/ or http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/18446524/homeowners-city-leaders-stand-up-against-tvas-tree-cutting-policy or http://wkrn.com/2014/07/25/tva-plans-to-cut-down-community-christmas-tree/.

In the lawsuit, the Plaintiffs, a group of landowners from all over Tennessee, are challenging TVA’s attempt to remove virtually all of the millions of trees in its 15,900 mile […]