Business Law Attorney John Owings

John has been practicing law in Knoxville and Knox County for over 30 years and joined the firm in 2008. His practice concentrates on Business Law and Corporate Law; Employment and Labor Law; Municipal Finance Law, Governmental Law, and Public Utilities Law; Public Finance; Mediation; and Civil Litigation, including defending individual police officers, officials, cities, and counties in civil rights actions.

For two years while in law school, John worked as an investigator for the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, investigating and analyzing complaints, making findings, and writing formal opinions for the Commission related to all forms of employment discrimination.

Between 1988-1990, John was employed as the first Pro Se Law Clerk and Staff Attorney for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. As the Pro Se Law Clerk and Staff Attorney, John examined all State of Tennessee and Federal prisoner petitions and complaints, including civil rights complaints, state habeas corpus petitions, and motions to vacate sentences; reviewed all pleadings in prisoner cases; determined the issues involved and the basis for relief from the federal court; performed substantive legal research; managed a caseload of over 400 cases; and drafted appropriate dispositive and non-dispositive orders and opinions for the approval of the four federal district court judges – Judges James H. Jarvis, II, R. Leon Jordan, R. Allan Edgar, and Thomas G. Hull. John also performed administrative legal duties for the Federal Court Clerk.

Between 1990 and 2006, John served as the Chief Deputy Law Director for Knox County, Tennessee. During that time, he represented, defended, advised, and served as in-house counsel for the entity of Knox County and all of its elected officials, including the Knox County Commission, County Mayor, County Clerk, Register of Deeds, Property Assessor, Sheriff, General Sessions Court Judges, Juvenile Court Judge and Referees, Knox County Schools and Board of Education, and Knox County’s directors, officers, Clerks of Court, and employees in all civil matters and cases, including civil rights, education, employment, Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act, contract claims, and numerous other causes of action and prosecuted Knox County Code violations.

On September 1, 2006, he was elected by the Commission of Knox County to serve the remainder of his predecessor’s four-year term of office – through August 31, 2008. The Knox County Law Director is an elected official of Knox County who is charged with executing and administering all of the legal affairs of the County, including litigation; drafting of contracts or other documents, instruments, and papers, the investigation of titles; and advising and counseling County officials and the Commission on all legal matters affecting their respective offices. As the Knox County Law Director, John had a staff of seventeen, including seven attorneys, a certified paralegal, and an investigator. As the Chief Deputy and the Law Director for Knox County, John represented Knox County in countless civil rights and personal injury lawsuits with successful jury verdicts and trial court decisions in the State of Tennessee and Federal Court, the Tennessee Appellate Courts and the Federal Appellate Court (Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals), and the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Education

University of Tennessee – J.D., 1988
University of Tennessee – B.A., 1985, Magna Cum Laude
Roane State Community College – A.S., 1983, Cum Laude, (Pre-Law)

Bar Admissions

Tennessee, 1988
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, 1989
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1991
U.S. Supreme Court, 1992

Memberships

Tennessee Bar Association
Knoxville Bar Association, Past Chair of Gov’t Lawyers Section
Blount County Bar Association
Roane County Bar Association
Tennessee County Attorney’s Association, President 2008-2009, Secretary-Treasurer 2009-2017
American Bar Association
Tennessee School Boards Association
Hamilton Burnett Inns of Court, Emeritus Member
Tennessee Society of Sons of the Revolution, direct descendent of Capt. William Sumpter, a patriot of the Revolutionary War and brother of Gen. Thomas Sumpter, the “Gamecock of the Carolinas”

Certifications

Certified Federal and State Court Mediator since 1995

John Owings:
jeowings@owclaw.com