TBALink Opinion-Flash

June 24, 1998 -- Volume #4 -- Number #097

Here is today's issue of TBALink Opinion-Flash. What follows is the document name, first paragraph and the names of the attorneys for the parties (If you know one of them you might want to give them a call, chances are they don't know about the opinion yet) of each electronic opinion/rules released TODAY from the three appellate courts.

This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
07-New Opinons From TSC
01-New Opinons From TSC-Rules
00-New Opinons From TSC-Workers Comp Panel
00-New Opinons From TCA
04-New Opinons From TCCA

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DAVID A. ALEXANDER and              
MACLIN P. DAVIS, JR.
vs.
JULIA ANN WHITE INMAN

Court:TSC

Attorneys:

For Appellant:                      For Appellees:

HARLAN DODSON, III                  WARD DEWITT, JR.
ANNE C. MARTIN                      Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN
                          
Judge:BIRCH

First Paragraph:

We granted permission to appeal under Tenn. R. App. P. 11 to the
appellant, Julia Ann White Inman, in order to determine the amount of
attorneys' fees, if any, that the appellees, attorneys David A.
Alexander and Maclin P. Davis, Jr., are entitled to recover from
Inman, their former client, pursuant to a written fee agreement.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/alexandd_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

STATE OF TENNESSEE
vs.
JAMES BLANTON

Court:TSC

Attorneys: 

FOR APPELLANT:          FOR APPELLEE:

Michael E. Terry        John Knox Walkup
Nashville               Attorney General and Reporter

Mark Ivandick           Michael E. Moore
Clarksville             Solicitor General

                        Kathy Morante
                        Deputy Attorney General

                        Darian B. Taylor
                        Assistant Attorney General
                        Nashville

                        Dan M. Alsobrooks
                        District Attorney General

                        J. Kenneth Atkins
                        Assistant District Attorney General
                        Pro Tem

                        James W. Kirby
                        Assistant District Attorney General
                        Charlotte
                         
Judge:HOLDER

First Paragraph:

In this capital case, the defendant, James Blanton, was convicted by a
jury of two counts of first degree premeditated murder, four counts of
grand larceny, and three counts of first degree burglary.  A jury
sentenced him to death on both counts of first degree murder based on
three aggravating circumstances:  (1)  the defendant was convicted of
one or more previous violent felonies; (2)  the murder was committed
for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful
arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another; (3)  the murder was
committed while the defendant was engaged in committing, or was an
accomplice in the commission of, or was attempting to commit, or was
fleeing after committing or attempting to commit, any first degree
murder, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, larceny, kidnapping, aircraft
piracy, or unlawful throwing, placing or discharging of a destructive
device or bomb.  Tenn. Code Ann. S 39-2-203(i)(2), (6) & (7) (1982). 
In addition to the above aggravating circumstances, the jury found
that Mrs. Vester's murder was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel
in that it involved torture or depravity of mind.  Tenn. Code Ann. S
39-2-203(i)(5).  The jury found that no mitigating circumstances
sufficiently outweighed the aggravating circumstances.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/blantonj_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

WILLIAM J. CHASE, JR., AS   
ADMINISTRATOR C.T.A. OF THE 
ESTATE OF BETTY LOU STIDHAM,    
DECEASED
vs.
THE CITY OF MEMPHIS

Court:TSC

Attorneys: 

FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT/    FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE/CROSS-
CROSS-APPELLEE:             APPELLANT:

Robert M. Fargarson         John J. Heflin III
Martin W. Zummach           Memphis
Memphis

OF COUNSEL:                 FOR INTERVENOR, STATE OF
Monice Moore Hagler         TENNESSEE:
Memphis
                            John Knox Walkup
                            Attorney General and Reporter

                            Meredith DeVault
                            Senior Counsel, Civil Rights and
                            Claims Division
                         
Judge:HOLDER

First Paragraph:

This case involves a tort action against the defendant, City of
Memphis, arising out of a woman's death when she was mauled by two pit
bull dogs.  The Court of Appeals held that the City was immune under
the Governmental Tort Liability Act ("GTLA") but removed the immunity
pursuant to the common law special duty exception to the public duty
doctrine.  The issues with which we are now confronted are whether: 
(1)  the City animal shelter's failure to follow-up on an order
requiring the owner of the dangerous dogs to enroll his dogs in
obedience school was immune under the GTLA as a discretionary act or
omission; and (2)  whether the public duty doctrine's special duty
exception can be employed to remove immunity conferred under the GTLA.
 We hold that the City's actions or inactions in this case were not
immune under the GTLA and that the special duty exception to the
public duty doctrine cannot be employed to remove immunity conferred
under the GTLA.  The decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/chasewj_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

MICHAEL SCOTT EVANS
vs.  
KAREN MARIE BISSON STEELMAN
and
IN THE MATTER OF SEAN MICHAEL       
CRAWFORD, A CHILD UNDER 18      
YEARS OF AGE, THOMAS MICHAEL    
CIHLAR
vs.
MARY ANN CRAWFORD and       
RONALD SHANE CRAWFORD

Court:TSC

First Paragraph:

The appellants in these consolidated appeals have filed petitions for
a rehearing pursuant to Tenn. R. App. P. 39.  We have considered all
of the arguments raised in the petitions, and we have found them to be
without merit.  It is, therefore, ORDERED that the petitions are
denied.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/crawford_reh.WP6
Opinion-Flash

MICHAEL SCOTT EVANS
vs.
KAREN MARIE BISSON STEELMAN
and
IN THE MATTER OF SEAN MICHAEL       
CRAWFORD, A CHILD UNDER 18      
YEARS OF AGE, THOMAS MICHAEL    
CIHLAR
vs.
MARY ANN CRAWFORD and       
RONALD SHANE CRAWFORD

Court:TSC

First Paragraph:

The appellants in these consolidated appeals have filed petitions for
a rehearing pursuant to Tenn. R. App. P. 39.  We have considered all
of the arguments raised in the petitions, and we have found them to be
without merit.  It is, therefore, ORDERED that the petitions are
denied.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/evansms_reh.WP6
Opinion-Flash

STATE OF TENNESSEE
vs.
JOHNNY M. HENNING

Court:TSC

Attorneys:

For State-Appellee:                 For Defendant-Appellant:

John Knox Walkup                    Hughie Ragan
Attorney General & Reporter         Jackson, Tennessee

Michael E. Moore
Solicitor General

Kenneth W. Rucker
Assistant Attorney General
Nashville, Tennessee

James G. Woodall
District Attorney General
Twenty-Sixth Judicial District
Jackson, Tennessee

Shaun A. Brown
Assistant District Attorney General
Jackson, Tennessee                          

Judge:DROWOTA

First Paragraph:

We granted this appeal primarily to consider two issues: 1) whether
the search warrant in this case is supported by probable cause and is
otherwise valid;  and 2) whether an appellate court reviewing a
pretrial ruling that a search warrant was validly executed may
consider the entire record, including evidence submitted at trial, in
addition to evidence submitted at the pretrial suppression hearing. 
We have determined that the search warrant issued in this case is
supported by probable cause and free from other defects.  As to the
second issue, which is a question of first impression in Tennessee, we
have determined that an appellate court may consider the entire
record, including the evidence submitted at trial, in evaluating the
correctness of a pretrial ruling that a search warrant was validly
executed.  Accordingly, for the reasons that follow, the judgment of
the Court of Criminal Appeals upholding the trial court's denial of
the defendant's motion to suppress is affirmed.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/henningj_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

BILLIE J. METCALFE,             
JULIA M. METCALFE, and      
JOHNNY D. METCALFE
vs.
LARRY J. WATERS
and
CHARLES W. PRUITT

Court:TSC

Attorneys: 

For Appellants Metcalfe:        For Appellee, Charles W. Pruitt:
R. Sadler Bailey                Robert C. Rosenbush
C. Philip M. Campbell           Millington, Tennessee
BAILEY & CLARKE                                  
Memphis, Tennessee

For Defendant, Larry J. Waters:
Paul E. Lewis                   
Millington, Tennessee
                         
Judge:ANDERSON

First Paragraph:

We granted this appeal to determine whether the Court of Appeals erred
in reversing the jury's verdict awarding punitive damages in this
legal malpractice action.  The appeals court held that punitive
damages were improper because the defendant's malpractice did not
constitute intentional, fraudulent, malicious or reckless conduct and
because the defendant's efforts to conceal his actions were not
contemporaneous with his malpractice.  The court affirmed the jury's
verdict as to liability, but reversed the jury's verdict as to
compensatory damages because it was excessive.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/metcalfe_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE
STATE LIST FOR PERMISSION TO APPEAL
June 22, 1998                       

Court:TSC - Rules

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_RULES/statelst33_wpd.WP6
Opinion-Flash

LARRY CATRON
vs.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

FOR THE APPELLANT:                  FOR THE APPELLEE:

Larry Catron, Pro Se                John Knox Walkup
#103691 Atty General & Reporter 
Cold Creek Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1000                       Marvin E. Clements, Jr.
Henning, TN 38041-1000              Asst Attorney General
                                    Cordell Hull Building, 2nd Fl 
                                    425 5th Avenue North
                                    Nashville, TN 37243-0493

                                    Elizabeth T. Rice
                                    District Attorney General
                                    302 Market Street
                                    Somerville, TN 38068                          

Judge:SUMMERS

First Paragraph:

The appellant, Larry Catron, filed a pro se petition for writ of
habeas corpus in the Lauderdale County Circuit Court alleging that his
convictions are void.  The trial court found that the petition failed
to state a claim for habeas corpus relief and dismissed the petition
without appointing counsel and conducting a hearing.  The appellant
appeals pro se.  We affirm.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/catronla_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

TENNESSEE FARMERS MUTUAL,   
INSURANCE COMPANY   
vs.
JOSEPH A. FARMER and wife       
DEBRA J. FARMER

Court:TCCA

Attorneys: 

For Defendants/Appellants:      For Plaintiff/Appellee

Norbert J. Slovis               Robert W. Knolton
Douglas C. Weinstein            KRAMER, RAYSON, LEAKE,
LOCKETT, SLOVIS & WEAVER        RODGERS & MORGAN 
Knoxville, Tennessee            Oak Ridge, Tennessee                         

Judge:DROWOTA

First Paragraph:

We granted this appeal to determine whether or not the Court of
Appeals erred in finding that the "Motion to Reconsider" filed by the
defendant, Debra Farmer, was not sufficient to allow the trial court
to retain jurisdiction.  We conclude that the "Motion to Reconsider"
was in substance a Rule 59.04, Tenn. R. Civ. P., motion to alter or
amend the judgment which allowed the trial court to retain
jurisdiction of the cause and which tolled commencement of the time
for filing a notice of appeal until entry of an order granting or
denying the motion.  Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court
of Appeals which held that the "Motion to Reconsider" is not
authorized by the Rules of Civil Procedure and will not serve to
extend the appellate process and remand to the Court of Appeals for
further proceedings consistent with this decision.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/farmer_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

STATE OF TENNESSEE
vs.
REGINA ANN OWEN

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

FOR THE APPELLANT:                  FOR THE APPELLEE:

MACK GARNER (on appeal)             JOHN KNOX WALKUP
District Public Defender            Attorney General & Reporter

NATALEE S. HURLEY (at hearing)      CLINTON J. MORGAN
Assistant Dist. Public Defender     Asst. Attorney General
419 High St.                        425 Fifth Ave. North
Maryville, TN  37804                2d Floor, Cordell Hull Bldg.
                                    Nashville, TN  37243-0493

                                    MICHAEL L. FLYNN
                                    District Attorney General

                                    EDWARD BAILEY
                                    Asst. District Attorney General
                                    363 Court St.
                                    Maryville, TN  37804                          

Judge:WITT

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Regina Ann Owen, appeals from the revocation of her
probationary sentence.  She was convicted upon her guilty plea of
attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud, a Class D
felony.  She was sentenced to serve one year on probation and ordered
to pay court costs and probation fees.  After the one year had expired
and the defendant had not paid all of her costs, the court signed an
agreed order extending probation for an additional year.  Thereafter,
the defendant's probation officer filed a violation report alleging
the defendant had violated her probation by being convicted of a
misdemeanor, using illegal drugs, being in arrears on probation fees,
and not making payments on the court costs.  Following a hearing at
which the defendant was represented by counsel, the court revoked the
defendant's probationary status and ordered her to serve a minimum of
30 days in the county jail, after which time she could obtain her
freedom by payment in full of court costs and probation fees and would
have fully satisfied her sentence.  The defendant appeals from this
adverse order, claiming the trial court abused its discretion in (1)
revoking her probationary status and (2) requiring her to pay the
costs and fees in order to obtain release despite her indigent status.
 On review, we affirm the revocation but modify its terms.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/owenra_opn.WP6
Opinion-Flash

SARAH RICHARDSON
vs.
STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

FOR THE APPELLANT:

JAMES H. BRADLEY
112 East Liberty
P.O. Box 952
Covington, TN 38019
FOR THE APPELLEE:

JOHN KNOX WALKUP
Attorney General and Reporter

DOUGLAS D. HIMES
Assistant Attorney General
Cordell Hull Building, 2nd Floor
425 Fifth Avenue North
Nashville, TN  37243-0493

ELIZABETH T. RICE
District Attorney General
302 Market Street
Somerville, TN 38068                          

Judge:RILEY

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Sarah Richardson, appeals the denial of
post-conviction relief by the Circuit Court of Lauderdale County.  She
was previously convicted of first degree murder and conspiracy to
commit first degree murder.  She was sentenced to concurrent terms of
life and twenty-five (25) years, respectively.  The petitioner now
alleges ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.  She
contends (1) that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to secure
a mental evaluation relative to diminished capacity evidence; and (2)
that counsel failed to inform her of her right to appeal to the
Tennessee Supreme Court following affirmance of her convictions by
this Court.  We AFFIRM the judgment of the trial court regarding
counsel's decision not to pursue a mental defense.  However, we VACATE
our original judgment in the matter and reinstate it as of the date of
the filing of this opinion to allow the petitioner to pursue a delayed
appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

URL:http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/richards_opn.WP6

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