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VOL. 124 | NO. 125 | Monday, June 29, 2009

Daily Digest

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Permit Filed For Cotton Mills Project

Madison, Miss.-based Memphis Housing LLC, the developer of the Cotton Mills Apartments at 607 Monroe Ave., has filed a $3.5 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to begin work on the complex.

The company filed the permit last week, about three months after receiving a tax break from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp.

The CCRFC granted a nine-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) request for the multifamily property, which is expected to consist of one four-story building with 50 apartment units.

The Cotton Mills Apartments will be built in the Medical District neighborhood known as The Edge. It will sit on the south side of Monroe Avenue, near its intersection with Marshall Avenue.

Originally, construction was proposed to begin in April and wrap up by January. A call to the developer for an update on the timeline and project cost was not immediately returned.

The project has been in the news even before ground has broken. The Memphis & Shelby Board of Adjustments unanimously approved in December a 60-foot height variance for the proposed structure, where the overlay district sets a 35-foot restriction. At four stories, it will be built where neighboring buildings are only two stories high.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Eight States Ask FedEx To Reclassify Drivers

Attorneys general from Montana and seven other states have asked FedEx Corp. to ensure that FedEx Ground properly classifies its drivers to comply with state employee protection laws.

Thirty states are investigating FedEx Ground to determine if the company is misclassifying FedEx drivers as independent contractors through its owner-operator model. And more than 45 class-action lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts against the company’s classification of drivers.

In a joint letter Thursday to FedEx, the eight attorneys general cited shared concerns about workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance, wage-and-hour laws and protection of workers’ civil rights.

“Each of our states has a responsibility under our respective laws to protect a broad range of interests associated with the employment status of an individual,” said the letter sent jointly by Montana’s Attorney General Steve Bullock and attorneys general from Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The letter said the eight states have formed a working group to address changes in FedEx Ground’s business model to ensure proper classification of workers.

“The right of FedEx Ground independent contractors to own and operate their own business has been repeatedly validated, most recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit,” said Maury Lane, a FedEx spokesman in Memphis. “We’re happy to work with the attorneys general to answer any questions that they might have.”

The federal appeals court ruled April 21 that FedEx Ground did not break federal labor laws when it refused to negotiate with The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which was bargaining on behalf of some of its workers who want to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors.

The court ruling overturned an earlier finding by the National Labor Relations board regarding Massachusetts-based workers of FedEx Ground Package System Inc. The Teamsters had filed petitions to the board in 2006 alleging the company’s failure to bargain.

The company maintains that drivers who are allowed to own multiple routes should be classified as independent contractors. But as contractors, the workers don’t get benefits, are responsible for their own equipment and are precluded from directly organizing under federal labor laws.

FedEx has about 13,000 of these employees nationwide.

College of Labor & Employment Names Donati Fellow

Donald A. Donati of The Donati Law Firm LLP has been elected a Fellow of the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers in the class of 2009. Donati is one of 72 lawyers nationally to receive the recognition.

Donati co-owns the Midtown-based law firm with his wife, Wanda Donati. His children, Robert and Ellen Donati and Billy Ryan, and his daughter-in-law, Alison Ryan, also practice at the firm. John Ford Canale III also is a member of the firm, which focuses on labor and employment law, Social Security disability appeals, personal injury law, workers’ compensation and veterans’ benefits.

Since 1989, Donati also has been included in each edition of The Best Lawyers in America in labor and employment law. He was selected in 2006 by Lawyers USA as one of the top six lawyers in the U.S., following Donati’s victory in a U.S. Supreme Court case, Burlington Northern & Sante Fe Railway Co. v. White.

Administration Praises Tenn. For Quick Stimulus Spending

Tennessee is getting high marks from the Obama administration for quickly designating highway projects that will receive federal economic recovery funds.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires states to obligate 50 percent of their highway funds by June 29. Tennessee accomplished that by April 7.

All states beat the June deadline by at least 10 days, according to a news release by Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Tennessee officials have put to work $366 million or 91.3 percent of the funds required under the act.

The largest single project in Tennessee is the $28.2 million work to construct flyover ramps at the Briley Parkway/Interstate 40 interchange west of Downtown Nashville.

New Farmers Market Approved for Collierville

The East Shelby Farmers Market will set up on Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m., beginning this week, in the Collierville town parking lot on Washington Street across from Mensi’s Dairy Bar near the Town Square.

The Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave approval last week for the market to use the space. Eight vendors have signed up and more space is available. All vendors must sell homegrown produce or honey, according to a town ordinance.

Volunteers run the market.

School Technology Summit To Be Held in Memphis

St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School will host 48 schools from 20 states at its campus July 8-10 for the seventh annual iSummit.

Teachers, administrators and information technology specialists from independent schools throughout the country will share educational technology lessons, ideas, strategies, problems and solutions related to the development of highly successful laptop programs at their schools.

Carol Anne McGuire, president and founder of Rock Our World collaborations, will be the keynote speaker.

The iSummit will include a live session with NASA for math and science teachers as well as live sessions with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School is a member of the Coalition of Lighthouse Schools and was recently honored as an Apple Distinguished School for technology innovation for the second year in a row.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 35 250 5,016
MORTGAGES 60 382 6,608
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 17 55 1,534
BUILDING PERMITS 179 720 11,979
BANKRUPTCIES 54 257 5,216
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 89 2,025
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 92 443 6,907
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 81 1,422

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