The Hon. Ellen Hobbs Lyle (Ret.) joins JAMS after a distinguished career of 27 years as a chancery court judge in Nashville for the Twentieth Judicial District of Tennessee, where she served as the trial judge in significant and complex civil cases. Her judicial career includes appointment by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2015 as the first judge of its Business Court Docket Pilot Project for complex commercial/business litigation.
During her time on the bench, Chancellor Lyle was universally regarded as hardworking, intelligent and objective. She has a long-documented ability to handle complex legal issues as well as a deft hand in dealing with people. Chancellor Lyle has many attributes that make her an ideal neutral, including impartiality, patience and perseverance. Her even judicial temperament and ability to quickly grasp and resolve difficult subject matter will make her invaluable to parties seeking a mediator or arbitrator.
Throughout her career, Chancellor Lyle has received numerous awards and wide recognition, including most recently the Nashville Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2022), American Board of Trial Advocates Tennessee Chapter’s Judicial Excellence Award (2021), Nashville Bar Association’s Law Day Keynote Speaker (2022) and Nashville Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award (2021).
Prior to serving on the Tennessee Twentieth Judicial District Chancery Court, Chancellor Lyle was in private practice as a partner and associate in civil litigation at Nashville law firm Trabue, Sturdivant & DeWitt, and an associate attorney at Fulbright & Jaworski in Houston.
A native Nashvillian, Chancellor Lyle has long-standing ties to and knowledge of the Nashville community.
ADR Experience and Qualifications
Chancellor Lyle’s wide-ranging judicial experience covers thousands of cases of commercial, business and government litigation. She has authored hundreds of decisions of findings of fact and conclusions of law in the areas of partnership, corporations, LLC and PLLC litigation, health care, noncompetition and trade secrets, entertainment, construction, insurance, franchise, real property, constitutional and statutory and administrative law, education/schools and employment.
Decisions Chancellor Lyle authored in the Business Court Docket Pilot Project (2015–2019) can be viewed at tncourts.gov/bizcourt. Bench and jury trials she presided over include the proposed Genesco/Finish Line $1.5 billion merger, a 2021 jury verdict over $100 million involving claims of massive fraud and alter ego individual and corporate liability, and application of the city charter concerning the location of the Nashville Soccer Stadium.
- Contracts: Presided over hundreds of cases in a broad range of industries, fields and entities on contract interpretation, construction and application, including damages for breach and equitable remedies of rescission, specific performance, reformation and injunction
- Partnerships, Corporations, LLCs, PLLCs: Presided over hundreds of disputes concerning governance, stockholder/member claims, breach of fiduciary duty, stock valuation, voting rights, derivative claims, dissenting shareholders, alter ego, dissolution, liquidation, buyouts, mergers, and interpretation, construction and application of operating agreements
- Noncompetition and Trade Secrets: Presided over cases for damages, injunctions and specific performance; crafted remedies
- Presided over multiparty construction and design defect cases involving stadiums, condominiums, and commercial, residential and modular structures for damages, specific performance, injunctions, rescission and indemnity between owners, developers, contractors and subcontractors; interpretation and application of statutory liens; change order disputes; and contractor licensure issues
- Presided over artist/manager disputes, defamation cases, matters involving intentional interference with business relations and disputes over digital distribution of musical works
- Presided over administrative appeals of agency decisions on permits, landfills and quarries
- Presided over tenure and teacher contract disputes, administrative appeals on student discipline and college charter governance issues
- Contracts and Torts: Presided over disputes concerning time share properties, senior living facilities and car dealerships
- Presided over appeals from administrative agencies, writs of certiorari and mandamus involving state and local government, and constitutional claims
- Contracts: Presided over contract issues, including general agency program on individual health care policies, and benchmarking and analytics data for hospital and medical providers cost savings
- Insurance: Presided over health care umbrella liability and other hospital policy issues
- Coverage, Contract, Bad Faith: Presided over hundreds of insurance issues over a broad range of industries
- Presided over disputes concerning leases, restrictive covenants, easements, boundaries, zoning and planning, bonds and homeowners’ associations
- Presided over state and local tax litigation involving excise, job credits, real property, statutory exemptions and constitutional issues
Selected Awards and Honors
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Nashville Business Journal, 2022
- Award for SeniorTrust Court-Operated Grant Program, Dissolution of Nonprofit Entities, Tennessee Dental Association, 2022
- Judicial Excellence Award, Tennessee Chapter, American Board of Trial Attorneys, 2021
- Liberty Bell Award, Nashville Bar Association, 2021
- Award to Chancery Court Part III for SeniorTrust Court-Operated Grant Program, Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging, 2019
- Judiciary Liaison of Code Ann. § 16-3-601, Advisory Commission on Rules of Practice and Procedure, Tennessee Supreme Court, 2012–2015
- Highest-Ranked Twentieth Judicial District State Trial Judge in Nashville Bar Association’s Lawyers Poll, 2014
Selected Memberships and Affiliations
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Tennessee Bar Association
- Member and Board Member, Nashville Bar Association, 2018–2021
- Member, Archivist and Director; Marion Griffin Chapter; Lawyers’ Association for Women; 2009–2010
- Member, National Association of Women Judges
- Chancery Court Judge, Twentieth Judicial District of Tennessee, 1995–2022
- Associate and Partner; Trabue, Sturdivant & DeWitt; 1984–1995
- Associate, Fulbright & Jaworski, 1981–1984
- J.D., University of Tennessee College of Law, 1981
- Tennessee Law Review
- Moot Court Board
- B.A., English, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 1975–1978
- Phi Beta Kappa
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