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Elizabeth K. Johnson (1957-2004)
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Appellate Practice Highlights

Mr. Vowell is Certified as a civil trial specialist by the Tennessee Commission on C.L.E. and Specialization. He has completed 30 appeals, including three successful appeals to the Tennessee Supreme Court in the fiber-optics right-of-way litigation and a successful appeal to the United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, sitting en banc, in Moore v. City of Harriman. For his appellate practice highlights click here.





The Story of the Fiber-Optics Right-of-Way Litigation

Seventh Circuit Decision
October 19th, 2004

A Fifteen Year Struggle That Continues to This Day

Mr. Vowell filed Buhl v. Sprint, the first fiber-optics right-of-way class action ever filed, in 1988. Ten years later other plaintiffs around the country began filing similar class actions, and now there are more than 80 of them pending against all of the major fiber-optics companies. The original case, which is still going on fifteen years later, started out in the Tennessee Chancery Court in Clinton, Tennessee, and then moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, then to Dandridge, Tennessee, then to Nashville, Tennessee, then to Chicago, Illinois, then to Tucson, Arizona, then to Portland Oregon, and then back to Chicago. Mr. Vowell has participated in multiple hearings in each of these cities. Last year Mr. Vowell and co-counsel appealed the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on behalf of all Tennessee landowners. The Court handed down its decision – a complete victory for the Tennessee landowners – on Oct. 19, 2004. Mr. Vowell tells the story of the case in this article. Mr. Vowell explains the Seventh Circuit decision in this article.


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© 2004 Donald K. Vowell & Associates Attorneys at Law
Knoxville, Tennessee Certified Civil Trial, Appellate Lawyer