May 24, 2001
Volume 7 — Number 095

What follows is the case style or name, first paragraph, author's name, and the names of attorneys for the parties of each opinion released eletronically today to TBALink.

This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
02 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
00 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court Workers' Compensation Panel
00 New Document(s) or Proposed Rule(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
04 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
02 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
00 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Attorney General (PDF format)
00 New Judicial Ethics Opinion(s)
00 New Formal Ethics Opinion(s) from the Board of Professional Responsibility

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Lucian T. Pera
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink



H. Lee Barfield, II; James O. Bass, Jr.; Robert E. Cooper, Jr.;
Matthew M. Curley; and Lyle Reid, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, HCA Health Services of Tennessee, Inc.

G. Gordon Bonnyman, Jr.; John A. Day; and Kathryn Barnett, Nashville,
Tennessee; and Ralph I. Knowles, Atlanta, Georgia, for the appellees,
Jane Doe and John Doe.

William B. Hubbard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Amici Curiae, THA -
An Association of Hospitals and Health Systems - and Adventist Health
System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation.

W. Ovid Collins, Jr. and Blakeley D. Matthews, Nashville, Tennessee,
for the Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Association of Business.


First Paragraph:

We granted this appeal in order to determine whether a hospital's form
contract in which the patient agrees to pay the "charges" not covered
by insurance is sufficiently definite to constitute a valid contract. 
The trial court held that the word "charges" was sufficiently definite
because the amount of the charges could be determined by referring to
the hospital's confidential list of prices for all its goods and
services; however, the court went on to hold that the hospital's
charges had to be "reasonable."  The Court of Appeals held that the
form contract did not incorporate the hospital's secret price list
because the form contract contained no "reference to any 'document,
transaction or other extrinsic fact' to which reference could be made
to ascertain the amount [the patient] promised to pay"; consequently,
the intermediate court found that the secret price list was not an
independent, objective, or verifiable method by which to determine
hospital charges.  The intermediate court elected not to declare the
contract unenforceable.  Instead, the Court of Appeals affirmed the
trial court's judgment, holding that the patient is obligated to pay a
"reasonable" charge for the medical goods and services she received. 
We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES P. STOUT Court:TSC Attorneys: Robert C. Brooks and William D. Massey, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James P. Stout. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Joseph F. Whalen, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Pierotti, District Attorney General; and Jerry Harris and Lee Coffee, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: ANDERSON First Paragraph: The defendant, James P. Stout, was convicted of felony murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, and especially aggravated robbery. Following the sentencing phase of the trial for felony murder, the jury found that the evidence supported three aggravating circumstances: (1) that the defendant was previously convicted of a felony whose statutory elements involved the use of violence to the person; (2) that the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another; and (3) that the murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed, or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, or was fleeing after having a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, any robbery or kidnapping. See Tenn. Code Ann. S 39- 13-204(i)(2), (6), (7) (Supp. 1995). Upon finding that the evidence of these three aggravating circumstances outweighed evidence of mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury imposed a sentence of death. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions and sentences, and the case was docketed in this Court. After reviewing the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals, the record, and the applicable authority, we designated seven issues for oral argument and conclude as follows: (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict; (2) the trial court did not commit reversible error in allowing Tonya Woodall to testify as to statements made by Quentin Jordan; (3) the admission of facts underlying the defendant's prior conviction for a violent felony during sentencing did not affect the jury's determination to the prejudice of the defendant; (4) the prosecutor's use of the defendant's prior convictions to cross- examine a defense witness during sentencing did not affect the jury's determination to the prejudice of the defendant; (5) the exclusion of mitigating evidence offered by the defendant during sentencing did not affect the jury's determination to the prejudice of the defendant; (6) the felony murder aggravating circumstance was properly applied; and (7) the sentence of death was not arbitrary or disproportionate. We also agree with the Court of Criminal Appeals' conclusions with respect to the remaining issues, the relevant portions of which are included in the appendix to this opinion. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.
JOHNNY CONAWAY v. SEMIKO L. LEWIS (CONAWAY) Court:TCA Attorneys: Johnny Conaway, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se. Semiko L. Lewis, Hermitage, Tennessee, Pro Se. Judge: CAIN First Paragraph: This is a suit by an incarcerated prisoner seeking a divorce from his unincarcerated wife. The complaint alleges that the parties have no children and seeks divorce on the grounds of adultery and desertion. The defendant was before the court by personal service of process and did not answer the complaint. The prisoner sought default judgment which motion was never acted upon by the trial court. The circuit court clerk served a notice on the parties in this case on January 7, 2000, that since the case had been filed since December 9, 1998 and not prosecuted, it was subject to dismissal for failure to prosecute. On February 29, 2000, the case was dismissed for failure to prosecute. The prisoner/plaintiff timely appealed and we reverse the action of the trial court.
GERALD W. HOPPER v. PATRICIA ANN HOPPER Court:TCA Attorneys: Joanie L. Abernathy, Franklin, For Appellant, Patricia Ann Hopper Michael S. Bligh, Nashville, For Appellee, Gerald W. Hopper Judge: CRAWFORD First Paragraph: Wife appeals final decree of divorce as it pertains to a division of marital property and alimony in futuro award. The trial court charged Wife with entire amount of advance from house- sale proceeds and failed to award Wife one-half of Husband's retirement. Wife appeals. We modify the division of marital property and affirm as modified.
CITY OF KNOXVILLE, et al. v. ROBERT J. TAYLOR, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Douglas A. Trant, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Robert J. Taylor and Dick I. Taylor Ronald E. Mills, Senior City Attorney, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, City of Knoxville Judge: GODDARD First Paragraph: This is an appeal from a judgment entered in the Chancery Court for Knox County imposing certain punishment as to two members of the Knoxville Police Force, Officer Robert J. Taylor and his father, Sergeant Dick Taylor. The Administrative Hearing Officer at the initial hearing found no misconduct on the part of the Taylors which would justify any penalty. The Taylors appeal contending the Chancellor was in error and there was substantial and material evidence to support the Hearing Officer's determination. As to Sergeant Taylor we reverse the Chancellor's determination and as to Officer Taylor we affirm.
JUDY (KENDRICK) SHOEMAKE v. TIMOTHY LEE KENDRICK Court:TCA Attorneys: Harold Lebron North, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Judy (Kendrick) Shoemake. Glenna M. Ramer, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Timothy Lee Kendrick. Judge: GODDARD First Paragraph: In this appeal from the Chancery Court for Hamilton County the Appellant, Judy (Kendrick) Shoemake questions whether the Trial Court erred in granting a petition to modify custody filed by the Appellee, Timothy Lee Kendrick, and whether the Trial Court erred in its determination of the amount due her for child support arrearage and unreimbursed medical expenses paid by her on behalf of the parties' minor children. We reverse in part, modify in part and remand for further proceedings, if any, consistent with this opinion. We adjudge costs of the appeal against Judy (Kendrick) Shoemake and Timothy Lee Kendrick equally.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DARRYL A. LARKINS Court:TCCA Attorneys: Dwight E. Scott, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); William R. Roberts, Shelbyville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Darryl A. Larkins. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WOODALL First Paragraph: A Davidson County jury convicted the defendant, Darryl A. Larkins, of two counts of aggravated rape, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of attempted aggravated rape, and one count of aggravated burglary. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I offender to serve an effective sentence of fifty-years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant raises the following issues for our review: 1) whether the evidence was sufficient to convict the Defendant of aggravated rape and attempted aggravated rape; 2) whether the especially aggravated kidnapping convictions were obtained contrary to Tennessee law in State v. Anthony, 817 S.W.2d 299 (Tenn. 1991); and 3) whether the Defendant was denied his constitutional rights to a fair trial and a fair and impartial jury, regarding the aggravated burglary conviction. The judgment of the trial court is hereby affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded to the trial court for re-sentencing on the offense of attempted aggravated rape.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAKE CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS Court:TCCA Attorneys: Hershell D. Koger and W. Howell Forrester, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jake Christopher Reynolds. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Richard H. Dunavant and Patrick S. Dunavant, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WILLIAMS First Paragraph: The defendant appeals his convictions and sentences for attempted voluntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment. After review, we hold that sufficient evidence supports his convictions. However, we hold that an adjudication of guilt must precede the date of the instant offenses to qualify as a 'prior conviction' for sentencing purposes. Therefore, we reverse the defendant's sentence and remand the case to the trial court for imposition of a new sentence.

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