Robert F. Parsley


Office: 423.785.8211 | Fax: 423.321.1511

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  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Involvement
  • In-Depth
  • Overview

    Mr. Parsley practices primarily in the area of civil litigation, with concentration in commercial litigation, managed-care litigation, complex briefing, and appellate practice. Mr. Parsley is Chair of the firm's Appellate Practice Group and routinely represents clients in state and federal appellate courts.

  • Experience

    Representative Engagements

    • Represented dietary-supplement manufacturer in seeking certiorari from U.S. Supreme Court in FTC enforcement action.
    • Represented carpet manufacturer in seeking certiorari from U.S. Supreme Court in environmental tort case.
    • Represented dietary-supplement manufacturer in affirming attorney fees in multi-million-dollar patent dispute.
    • Represented plastics manufacturer in obtaining permanent injunction in trade-secrets dispute.
    • Represented shareholder in $230 million fraud action relating to redemption of shares in an oil company.
    • Represented health insurer in arbitrating dispute with nation's largest hospital company over payment rate for out-of-network emergency healthcare.
    • Represented Tennessee's largest health insurer in $40 million lawsuit and appeal concerning reimbursement rate for out-of-network emergency healthcare.
    • Represented banks in multi-million dollar appeals relating to loan defaults.

    Representative Recent Decisions

    • Holden v. Unum Life Insurance Company of America, No. 20-6318, --- F.App'x --- (July 6, 2021) (successfully represented insurer in ERISA lawsuit involving denial of long-term disability coverage for a former Williams & Connolly executive)
    • Joshua David Mellberg, LLC v. Impact P'ship, LLC, 355 Ga. App. 691, 844 S.E.2d 223 (Ga. Ct. App. 2020) (successfully represented insurance marketing company in opposing application of anti-SLAPP statute in defamation case)
    • Thermolife Int'l LLC v. GNC Corp., 922 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. May 1, 2019) (successfully represented dietary-supplement seller in upholding award of attorneys’ fees for successful defense of patent-infringement claims) (briefed & argued)
    • Jacobs Field Servs. N. Am., Inc. v. Wacker Polysilicon N. Am., LLC, 375 F. Supp. 3d 898 (E.D. Tenn. 2019) (successfully represented polysilicon manufacturer in defeating motion to remand and obtaining dismissal of lawsuit by design engineer based on agreement to arbitrate pass-through claim) (briefed)
    • Hi-Tech Pharms., Inc. v. HBS Int’l Corp., 910 F.3d 1186 (11th Cir. 2018) (successfully represented appellant dietary-supplement manufacturer, obtaining reversal of dismissal of Lanham Act claims) (briefed & argued)
    • Tenn. Clean Water Network v. Tenn. Valley Auth., 905 F.3d 436 (6th Cir. 2018) (successfully represented amicus curiae Tennessee Valley Public Power Association in advocating for reversal of order imposing $2 billion removal of coal ash impoundment under Clean Water Act) (briefed)
    • Carolina Electrical Workers Retirement Plan, et al., v. Zenith American Solutions, Inc., et al., Case No. 16-731, 137 S.Ct. 1079, 2017 WL 670253 (U.S. Sup. Ct. Feb. 21, 2017) (successfully represented respondent ERISA plan administrator in opposing petition for certiorari) (briefed)
    • Crew One Productions, Inc. v. N.L.R.B., 811 F.3d 1305 (11th Cir. 2016) (successfully represented appellant labor-referral service in reversing ruling by National Labor Relations Board that independently-contracting stagehands were employees and thus subject to unionization) (briefed)
    • Brown v. BlueCross BlueShield of Tenn., Inc., 827 F.3d 543 (6th Cir. 2016) (successfully represented appellee plan administrator in affirming dismissal of action by healthcare provider challenging recoupments based on patients' assignments of ERISA benefits) (briefed)
    • Crox v. Unum Grp., Corp., 655 F. App’x 490 (6th Cir. 2016) (successfully represented appellee plan administrator in affirming judgment on the record in ERISA disability case) (briefed & argued)

    Selected Publications

    • Author, Initial Civil Appeals: Tennessee, Practical Law (Thomson Reuters/Westlaw) (2016–present)
    • Author, Additional Civil Appeals: Tennessee, Practical Law (Thomson Reuters/Westlaw) (2016–present)
    • Co-author, Reforming Tennessee’s Rules of Appellate Procedure: Separate Notices of Appeal...or Not?, 1 Belmont Law Review 17 (2014) (resulted in promulgation of Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(h))
    • Author, “Litigating Waiver of Issues for Appeal and on Appeal in Federal Courts,” book chapter in Strategies for Appellate Litigation: Leading Lawyers Examine the Unique Differences Between Appellate and Trial Practice, 2013 WL 574524, *7–31 (Thomson Reuters/Aspatore 2013)

    Selected Presentations

    • Presenter, Building the Appellate Record and Preserving Issues for Appeal, Tenn. Bar Association Tort, Insurance & Appellate CLE (Nashville, TN Mar. 21, 2019).
    • Presenter, Best Practices: Checklists, Decision Analysis, and Decision Trees as Tools for Litigation Management, Tennessee Valley Public Power Association Legal Conference (Murfreesboro, TN Feb. 10, 2017)
    • Presenter, Litigating Waiver of Issues for Appeal and on Appeal in Federal Courts, Attorneys Insurance Mutual of the South, Annual Continuing Education Seminar (Birmingham, AL Dec. 5, 2014)
    • Organizer, Presenter, and Judges Panel Moderator, Fundamentals of Federal Appellate Practice, Tennessee Bar Association TennBarU CLE (Nashville, TN Oct. 17, 2014)


    • Director, Miller & Martin Writing Academy (in-house training program for legal writing)
  • Education

    • J.D., summa cum laude, University of Tennessee
      • Order of the Coif
      • Research Editor, Tennessee Law Review
    • B.A., with highest distinction, University of Virginia
      • Phi Beta Kappa
      • Raven Society
  • Involvement

    Bar Admissions
    • Tennessee
    • Georgia
    Court Admissions
    • U.S. District Courts
      • Eastern, Middle, and Western Tennessee
      • Northern District Georgia
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh, and Federal Circuits
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • Judicial Clerk, Hon. Frank F. Drowota III, Chief Justice, Tennessee Supreme Court
    • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
    • The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel Top Rated Lawyer in Appellate Law (2016, 2020)
    • Burton Award for Legal Achievement (Burton Foundation in Association with Library of Congress) (legal writing)
    •  Tennessee Board of Law Examiners
      • Appointed by Tennessee Supreme Court as one of five board members
      • Oversees the State's licensing of attorneys and works with the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Executive Director on rulemaking and policy decisions affecting attorney licensing and addressing issues relating to the admission of attorneys by exam and through comity applications for attorneys already licensed in another jurisdiction.
    • Tennessee Bar Examiner
      • Appointed by Tennessee Supreme Court as one of 12 examiners for Tennessee bar exam - 2016–2019
      • Author of evidence and appellate procedural sections for Tennessee Law Course, taken by newly admitted attorneys to the Tennessee bar
    • American Bar Association
      • Council of Appellate Lawyers, Tennessee State Chair (current)
      • Managing Editor, Proof: The Journal of the Trial Evidence Committee (ABA Litigation Section), 2007-2009
    • Tennessee Bar Association
      • Appellate Practice Section - Executive Council
      • Appellate Practice Section - Chair, 2014–2015
    • State Bar of Georgia
    • Federal Bar Association
    • Chattanooga Bar Association
    • Barrister, Justices Ray L. Brock Jr. and Robert E. Cooper Chapter of the American Inns of Court
    • Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church



Did You Know

Mr. Parsley competed in varsity NCAA Division I Cross Country and Track & Field at the University of Virginia, participating on an ACC Championship team.  

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