VOL. 122 | NO. 47 | Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Prominent Baker Donelson Attorney Dies at 59
The Memphis legal community lost one of its own this week with the death of William P. "Ken" Kenworthy, a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC.
Kenworthy, a lifelong Memphian and prominent attorney for more than 30 years, died Monday night at his home after battling lung cancer since October, said Baker Donelson CEO Ben Adams. Kenworthy was 59.
He leaves his wife of more than 40 years, Sherrie, and two daughters, Lauren Kenworthy and Forsyth Kenworthy Halliburton.
As news of Kenworthy's death spread, those closest to him spoke of the professional and personal impact he made.
Rob Liddon, a Baker Donelson shareholder whose career began soon after Kenworthy's, spent 30 years with him at the firm's Downtown office before they both moved to the East Memphis office a year and a half ago.
"From the standpoint of a personal friend, Ken was a very generous, warm person, a great friend," Liddon said. "He was always willing to help with whatever you had going on. He was always willing to give his time." Lending a hand
Much of Kenworthy's time was devoted to the Memphis-based Chickasaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the largest youth service organization in the Mid-South. The council serves about 21,000 boys in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.
Woody Woodward, scout executive of the Chickasaw Council, said Kenworthy - who was an Eagle Scout - served in a variety of leadership capacities for the Chickasaw Council, from council president to board member.
"Ken was one of the finest people I've ever met in my life," Woodward said. "He believed in the values and the mission of the Boy Scouts very passionately. He gave his time, his energy and his resources to the council. He never, ever said no. Whatever needed to be done, he did it."
Liddon also worked alongside Kenworthy in the Scouts and saw firsthand the man's dedication to the organization.
"He had only daughters, so his serving as scoutmaster was a love of community, and of scouting as well," Liddon said. "It was a passion."
Woodward said Kenworthy's tremendous sense of humor - a quick and intelligent wit that always made others laugh with a well-timed and usually dry punch line - will be missed.
"It's a great loss for obviously his family, but it's also a great loss for scouting and this community," Woodward said. Serving the bar
Kenworthy's passion for the law also ran deep. After earning his bachelor of arts degree in 1969 from Southern Methodist University and his law degree in 1974 from then-Memphis State University, Kenworthy joined Baker Donelson in 1975.
He made a name for himself as an expert in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), which covers employee benefits compensation. At the time of his death, some of his leading clients included Thomas & Betts Corp. and Memphis BioFuels, said one Baker Donelson insider.
"When Ken started practicing law, ERISA was relatively new," Liddon said. "It was a technically difficult area, and Ken certainly mastered the area. He was very accomplished and well-recognized in the field as a true expert in employee benefits compensation."
For his efforts, Kenworthy was selected in July 2000 as a charter fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.
"He was one of the real experts in the field," said Anne Fritz, executive director of the Memphis Bar Association.
Adams lauded Kenworthy's longevity at the firm and his recognition as one of the Best Lawyers in America for 20 years.
"Professionally, Ken was recognized throughout the country as an expert in ERISA and employee benefits generally," Adams said. "Ken (had) been with the law firm his entire career - since the mid '70s. He was the firm's benefits counselor, as well as benefits counselor for many Memphis-area companies, large and small."
More than anything, Adams hoped to convey what Kenworthy meant beyond the legal field.
"He was devoted to his family, to this community and to the law firm," Adams said. "He was a wonderful friend to many with his huge heart and was passionate about the many things that he cared about."
More TIC Interests Sold For Cordova Shopping Center
Seventeen tenants-in-common investors have bought an interest in Cordova's Parkway Place shopping center in a $13.3 million deal, adding to the nearly 20 TIC investors who invested in the property in February.
The center originally was sold for $28 million in mid-February by affiliates of Ford-Lurie Commercial Investors. At that time, 1250 PP Group I bought a 67 percent interest, while 18 private TIC investors each bought a lesser interest. In late February, 1250 PP Group I sold a fraction of its interest to at least one TIC investor.
In this latest deal, 1250 PP Group I sold interest to 17 more TIC investors, with each buying between roughly 1 percent and 9 percent interest.
The Parkway Place mixed-use development - which has addresses on North Germantown Parkway, Country Village Drive and Cordova Road - includes medical offices, a FedEx Employees Credit Association branch, a Chili's restaurant and a shopping center with tenants including Petco, Bonefish Grill, Party City and others. The properties were built between 1999 and 2005.
In a tenants-in-common deal, individual investors buy a fraction of interest in a property, more or less giving them a portion of the title to that property.
American Investment Exchange, a real estate investment company with offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Los Angeles, lists Parkway Place on its Web site as one of the company's TIC offerings. The TIC minimum investment is $400,000, according to the site.
No one from AIE was available by press time.
Methodist to Participate In Medicare Program
Methodist Healthcare will participate in a recently approved extension of a national Medicare pay-for-performance project that has been shown to benefit patients.
Methodist will be part of the three-year extension of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Premier healthcare alliance Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID). The project provides incentive payments to participating hospitals that deliver the highest quality of care. The national effort involves more than 260 hospitals.
The three-year extension of the HQID project recently was approved by CMS and will allow it to test new ways to measure quality and new incentive models.
The extension will continue to track hospital performance in the clinical areas of pneumonia, heart bypass, heart attack, heart failure and hip and knee replacement.
BNSF Announces $1 Billion in Investments, Nearly 4,000 Jobs
Economic development efforts of BNSF Railway Co. were instrumental in the location of 107 new or expanded facilities during 2006 in the areas served by the railway, the company announced this week.
The facilities involved investments of $1 billion and the creation of about 4,000 jobs. From 2004 through 2006, BNSF's economic development efforts have resulted in $3.54 billion in facility investments and created 14,300 jobs.
The 107 facilities in 2006 included ethanol plants in California and Minnesota, produce distribution centers in California, Illinois, Kansas and Texas and lumber yards in California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington.
Other companies located along BNSF lines in 2006 include facilities for building products, fertilizers, plastics and aggregates.
BNSF assisted Wm. Bolthouse Farms, one of the world's largest suppliers of fresh carrots, with the location of a new refrigerated distribution facility (Fresh Logistics) in Hodgkins, Ill. From this facility, Bolthouse distributes fresh produce and fruit juices originating in Bakersfield, Calif., to grocers in the Chicago metropolitan region.
"We are pleased that BNSF was able to find a solution to provide Bolthouse with a location in the heart of the Chicago metropolitan region with good highway access," said Vann Cunningham, BNSF assistant vice president, economic development, in a statement. "The ability of businesses to respond to rapidly changing market conditions is key to their continued success and to the success of the communities in which they operate."
A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., BNSF Railway Co. operates one of the largest North American rail networks, with about 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based company operates an intermodal facility in Memphis at Shelby Drive and Lamar Avenue.
New York Company Buys Southaven Apartments
New York-based Somerset Partners LLC has bought a 384-unit multifamily community in Southaven for an undisclosed amount.
The company bought Civic Center Apartments Phase II from Patton & Taylor, which was represented by the Memphis office of CB Richard Ellis.
Somerset Partners also purchased Civic Center Phase I in January 2006. Somerset plans to combine operations of Civic Center I and II to increase efficiencies and achieve cost savings, officials said in a release.
The property will be managed by LEDIC Management Group.
AT&T Cable Efforts Struggling in State
AT&T Inc.'s efforts in Tennessee might have been dealt a setback with a recent ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which makes it easier and quicker to obtain local franchise agreements related to cable TV purposes.
AT&T in Tennessee has been trying to push the legislature for a kind of one-size-fits-all piece of legislation that allows the telecom giant to bypass working out individual negotiations with all 440 franchising entities in Tennessee per federal law, which the company argues is too cumbersome and puts it unfairly a step behind competitors.
The company currently is pushing a bill, the Competitive Cable and Video Services Act, which has yet to make it into a state congressional committee this year, but which has generated a slew of publicity in a swelling media war related to the issue. Both AT&T and the cable TV industry - warning customers about AT&T's purported shortcuts that would "shortchange Tennesseans" - already have launched a blitz of TV commercials.
Spine Solutions Files Suit Against Medtronic
Spine Solutions Inc. filed a complaint March 7 against Medtronic Sofamor Danek Inc. in the U.S. District Court of Western Tennessee.
The complaint centers on an alleged patent infringement. Spine Solutions, a division of Synthes Inc., claims Medtronic infringed on its patent for an artificial spinal disc.
In the complaint, Spine Solutions officials point to the "Maverick Artificial Disc and/or its components" as an infringement of a patent it currently owns.
"Medtronic believes its Maverick product is free of the claims of the patent asserted by Spinal Solutions," Medtronic spokesman Jeff Newton is quoted as saying in a Minneapolis Star Tribune news story. "Nevertheless, Medtronic is currently considering its legal options and will work toward a rapid, fair resolution."
Phone messages left at the Memphis Medtronic office were not immediately returned.
Spine Solutions is seeking compensatory damages and other "equitable relief as the Court may deem necessary." The company also is asking the court to require Medtronic to destroy all advertising, marketing or distribution materials "related to Defendants' infringing products."
Smith & Nephew Buys Swiss Orthopedic Giant
Smith & Nephew PLC announced Monday its purchase of the privately owned Swiss company Plus Orthopedics Holding AG for $889 million, plus assumption of the company's debts.
The acquisition will double Smith & Nephew's share of the European orthopedic reconstruction market. The merger also will increase the company's share of the global orthopedic market by 12 percent, making Smith & Nephew the world's fourth-largest manufacturer of artificial hips and knees.
Plus Orthopedics, based in Rotkreuz, Switzerland, is one of the biggest suppliers of prosthetic hips in Germany, which has the world's third-largest orthopedics market. Plus, founded in 1991, also produces knees, a shoulder product and small joints for the hands.
Memphis is Smith & Nephew's headquarters for its two orthopedics divisions, Orthopaedic Reconstruction and Orthopaedic Trauma and Clinic Therapies. About 1,800 employees work for the company locally.
Victor Rocha, director of media relations for the orthopedic branch of Smith & Nephew, said employees in Memphis will "not see any changes" as a result of the merger. "It's an integration process," he said. "The process could be slow or fast, but it's in effect now."
Company representatives confirmed in a press release that there would not be any layoffs.