Houston & Alexander, PLLC - April/May 2020



CALL US: 423-267-6715


I wasn’t sure what to put in this newsletter. Given what our country is going through with the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems wrong to not address what is happening. Despite the present situation, law firms are still trying to promote themselves through methods like goofy commercials or by letting everyone know that they are bravely “open” during this pandemic, enduring these dangerous times so you can still have the honor of hiring them for your car wreck. And yes, I am embarrassed by that, too. Our office is primarily working from home. But if you call in (and we encourage you to call if you need us), you would not know that. Wanda still answers the phone and can do pretty much everything from her home that she could do at the office. If you do need our help, whether for a criminal matter, car accident, or some other legal matter, simply call our office, and we will help you. We are a very “high-tech” firm and have been meeting some clients and prospective clients on Zoom and FaceTime. We are all still working on our cases and given that we have been keeping electronic files for years, we can still review DUI videos, handle our personal injury cases, prepare legal documents, send them to you for electronic signature, and pretty much operate “virtually.” However, we are not generally meeting in the office unless absolutely necessary. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is primarily spread through direct contact with infected people and indirect contact with surfaces or objects used or touched by the infected person. The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you suspect you may be infected, call your doctor immediately. They will direct you where you should go for testing. Do not delay in contacting your doctor. So what can we all do to be safe? Primarily social distancing . The experts seem to agree that we need to maintain a safe distance from others, at least 6 feet. You have to stay in your home as much as possible. If you do have to leave to get necessities, again, keep a safe distance from other people, be very careful about what you touch, and do not touch your

Firm mascot Dexter insists on sleeping at least 6 feet away while social distancing.

Firm mascot Rita watches ‘Rocky’ while sheltering-in-place.

face. Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently. I personally think you should wear gloves. Obviously, if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face, it doesn’t matter if you have gloves on or not. Through personal experience, though, I have found that I am much more conscious of touching my face if I am wearing gloves. After using the gloves, peel them off and wash or sanitize your hands. If we all follow the social distancing guidelines, as well as a bit of common sense, hopefully we can beat this thing down and return to some semblance of normal as soon as possible.

Please be safe.

1 423-267-6715 | HoustonAlexander.com – Johnny Houston


Whether your New Year’s workout routine is finally embedded in your schedule or you’re still trying to make it happen, always remember that your mind is just as important as your body. On some days, you may feel like anything is possible, and on others, it may feel impossible to even get out of bed. Don’t worry, that’s totally normal! There’s no reason to feel ashamed if you’re struggling with gaining steam and motivation for your workout. Here are some mental strategies to help you get firmly into your routine this year and the years to come.

Instead of thinking of reasons you can’t or don’t want to go, focus your mind only on the task of starting. Stepping into your workout space will often give you the mental push to actually work out. It’s also best to leave the all-or-nothing mindset behind — a 45- or 55-minute workout isn’t required every single session. Life happens, and even if it’s a short exercise, your workout will actually energize you for the rest of your day.



Studies have found that the most successful people share grit: the ability to work hard and endure even the most difficult times. Workouts will burn, and the motions may feel uncomfortable or even painful, so it’s crucial to have the grit to push yourself to the limit. Rather than give up, you should embrace the pain and see it as a sign you’re growing stronger. Adjust your inner vocabulary. Anything that seems “uncomfortable” should be reconsidered as “intense” but something you can work through. Of course, be careful of injury pains!

What’s the hardest part of working out? For most people, it’s not the heavy weights or the long cardio sessions — it’s actually beginning. Sometimes, people will wake up and think that the gym or an at-home workout isn’t possible that day as they lay in bed. Some people will psych themselves out of working out because their time is limited, or they worry about how tired they’ll be after the workout (especially after or before a busy day).

The Oldest Libraries in America A Story of Many Firsts


What’s the oldest library in America? It’s an easy question to ask, but it has an unexpectedly complicated answer. Before the Industrial Revolution generated greater interest in public services, a library’s function and purpose varied widely. Several libraries in the United States claim to be the country’s “first,” but for different reasons.

out of its own building after a prominent resident donated the land in 1789.

During the 1700s, a few more “first” libraries were established. In 1731, Ben Franklin and a few others started the first subscription library in the United States. Members of subscription libraries could pay to buy books or borrow them for free. In 1757, 60 men founded the Library Company of Burlington in New Jersey, and Thomas Rodman received a charter from King George II to operate the business in 1758. The library still operates under that charter today. The Library of Burlington was the first library to operate


In 1833, just as the Industrial Revolution was picking up steam, the Peterborough Town Library was founded in Peterborough, New Hampshire, at a town meeting. It was the first tax-supported free public library in the United States and in the world. Not long after that, the Boston Public Library, known as the “palace for the people,” became the first municipal public library in the country. The Boston Public Library was also the first library to have a space specifically for children. Out of all the “first” libraries in the country, these are the most probable progenitors of most libraries today — even if they weren’t exactly “first.”


Some believe Harvard University hosted the first library in the United States. Harvard was the first university in the United States, founded in 1636, and clergyman John Harvard seeded the library with a 400-book collection. Soon after, however, Thomas Bray, another clergyman, began establishing the first free lending libraries throughout the colonies to encourage the spread of the Anglican Church. Not surprisingly, most of the libraries’ holdings were theological.


423-267-6715 | HoustonAlexander.com

Something in the Water WHY ROB BILOTT TOOK ON DUPONT

Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case. The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously. But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong. The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a

stream running from Jim’s property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American.

He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found. Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA.

The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott

requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year- old files arrived at Bilott’s firm.

Client Testimony

Easy Deviled Eggs

Inspired by TasteOfHome.com

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise • 2 tbsp milk • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes • 1/2 tsp dill weed • 1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced • 1/2 tsp ground mustard Ingredients

“I made a mistake and was driving when I had a bit too much to drink. I was pulled over, and I said some things I should not have to the officer who was just doing his job. To make matters worse, I had a previous DUI 9 1/2 years before, so I was charged with a second offense and had to wear an alcohol monitor that immediately became troublesome. Given that I am not a Tennessee resident, I hired an attorney from out of state, and things were not going my way. Houston & Alexander was recommended, and they took over my case. Things immediately got better! At our first court appearance, the mutual respect between the judge and Johnny Houston was obvious. Long story short, my second offense was reduced, I did not lose my job, and I could not be happier with the representation from this firm. After the plea, a couple of issues popped up, and Houston & Alexander was still there for me, returning my phone calls and providing excellent service. I highly recommend this firm!”

• Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste • 12 large eggs, hard-boiled • Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish


1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.



423-267-6715 | HoustonAlexander.com


HoustonAlexander.com CALL US: 423-267-6715

3417 Dayton Boulevard Chattanooga, TN 37415



Top Mental Strategies for Your Fitness Routine

The History of Libraries in America


The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company



Easy Deviled Eggs


Outrage That Created the Pinkest Pink

Kapoor vs. Semple An Artistic Feud That Brought About the World’s Pinkest Pink

The color pink has moved through different countries and cultures as it has gone in and out of fashion, and recently, the color underwent yet another exciting evolution with the creation of “the world’s pinkest pink,” which actually came about due to a scuffle over the world’s blackest black. Surrey NanoSystems introduced the first version of the world’s blackest black, known as Vantablack. When Vantablack is painted on an object, that object loses its features, giving Vantablack the potential to be very useful for the military. After its creation, the shade intrigued artists everywhere, and they were eager to give it a try. However, Anish Kapoor, one of the wealthiest artists in the world, signed a contract giving him exclusive rights to Vantablack, which he kept to himself. Enraged artists across the globe voiced their displeasure, but none so loudly as Stuart Semple, another British artist. The unnecessary lockdown on the shade infuriated Semple, so he decided to get back at Kapoor in the best way he knew

Semple created a website, CultureHustleUSA.com, and displays the 50 gram-powdered paint jar on sale, available to anyone who wants to use it — except Kapoor. He even added a note to the page displaying the product: “By adding this product to your cart, you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated with Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information, and belief, this paint will not make its way into the hands of Anish Kapoor.” Then, to make sure his intentions were clear, he added “#ShareTheBlack.”

To Semple’s dismay, however, Kapoor got his hands on the pinkest pink through his London representative. Recovering quickly from the news, Semple rallied artists everywhere, and together they created “BLACK 2.0.” This black is so close to Vantablack that there is hardly a difference, and even better, it’s more affordable, smells like black cherries, and is available to everyone, except — you guessed it — Anish Kapoor. Color us amazed!

how: He created and released a pigment he dubbed “THE WORLD’S PINKEST PINK” and legally banned Kapoor from using it.


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