October 30, 2001
Volume 7 — Number 201

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
06 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
00 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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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink




Richard L. Gaines, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Fred Edmond

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; Mark E. Davidson, Assistant Attorney General;
Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and Barry Staubus, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.


First Paragraph:

We granted this appeal to determine whether the petitioner properly
raised a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in a
post-conviction proceeding when it was based upon the failure of
defense counsel to object to or appeal the trial court's erroneous
range of punishment instruction to the jury on the offense of
attempted second degree murder.  We conclude (1) that the issue of
ineffective assistance of counsel was properly raised in the
post-conviction proceeding and (2) that defense counsel's failure to
object to or appeal the erroneous jury instruction fell below the
range of competence demanded of attorneys in criminal cases and was
prejudicial to the petitioner. We therefore affirm the judgment of the
Court of Criminal Appeals.


JACKIE W. MCLANEY v. RICKY BELL, Warden, et al. Court:TSC Attorneys: Jeffrey T. Loy, Jamestown, Kentucky, for the appellant, Jackie W. McLaney. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Kim R. Helper, Assistant Attorney General, and Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney, for the appellees, Ricky Bell, Warden, and the State of Tennessee. Judge: BIRCH First Paragraph: This case is before the Court by way of a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Jackie W. McLaney, challenging a plea agreement which encompassed a sentence alleged to be illegal. McLaney presents three issues for review: (1) whether the record shows that his arrest occurred while he was on bail for a felony offense (thus requiring consecutive sentences pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. S 40-20-111 (2000) and Tenn. R. Crim. P. 32(c)(3)(C)); (2) whether such an arrest while on bail affects the concurrent sentence imposed; and (3) whether habeas corpus provides a remedy for the review and correction of such a sentence imposed pursuant to a plea agreement. We hold that if the face of the judgment or the record of the underlying proceedings shows that the concurrent sentences is illegal, such sentence creates a void judgment for which habeas corpus relief is available. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and remand the cause to the trial court for appointment of counsel and a determination whether the face of the judgment or the record of the proceedings indicates that McLaney committed the offenses for which he received the concurrent sentence while on bail for a felony offense. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/mclaneyj.wpd
EDNA COOKSEY, et al. v. HCA HEALTH SERVICES OF TENNESSEE, INC. Court:TCA Attorneys: James M. Balthrop, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellants Edna Cooksey and Virgil Cooksey. C. J. Gideon, Jr. and Benjamin Papa, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, HCA Health Services of Tennessee, Inc. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: The only question in this appeal is whether the injury a patient suffered during post-operative care resulted from a medical procedure and, therefore, required expert proof to establish the hospital's liability. The Circuit Court of Davidson County held that the complaint sought damages for professional negligence and that since the plaintiff did not rebut the hospital's motion for summary judgment with any expert proof, the complaint must be dismissed. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/cookseye.wpd
CORRECTED OPINION STATE OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES v. MICHELLE STEWART, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF CHARLIE MAE CURREN, DECEASED Court:TCA Attorneys: Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Pamela A. Hayden-Wood, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, For Appellant, Tennessee Department of Human Services Samuel F. Anderson, Nashville, Attorney Ad Litem, For Appellee, Charlie Mae Curren David A Dearolf, Nashville, Guardian Ad Litem for Appellee, Charlie Mae Curren Judge: CRAWFORD First Paragraph: The Department of Human Services (DHS) instituted an action in chancery court pursuant to the Tennessee Adult Protection Act, T.C.A. S 71-6-101 et seq. (1995) after receiving a report of possible abuse, neglect, or exploitation of the respondent. The court appointed counsel to represent the respondent and also appointed a guardian ad litem to represent respondent. Subsequently, the court also appointed a temporary guardian to represent the interest of the respondent. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court found that DHS had not carried its burden of proof required by the applicable statute and had failed to properly investigate the case before proceeding with the action. The trial court also ordered that DHS proceed with the filing of a conservatorship proceeding in the probate court which DHS did. Respondent's appointed attorney, guardian ad litem, temporary guardian, and later the conservator filed motions for assessment of fees and discretionary costs against DHS. The trial court granted the motions and assessed the fees and discretionary costs against DHS. DHS has appealed. We reverse. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/currenchar.wpd
WILLIAM ERNEST HOOD, III v. PATSY SEALS HOOD (BAST) Court:TCA Attorneys: Jennifer Austin Mitchell, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellant, Patsy Seals Hood (Bast). Howard L. Upchurch, Pikeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, William Ernest Hood, III. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: The parties executed a marital dissolution agreement pursuant to divorce, which required the wife to transfer her interest in a 36 acre tract of marital property to the husband, and the husband to sell the tract, with the net proceeds to be divided between the parties. The wife subsequently quitclaimed her interest in the property, and the trial court incorporated the marital dissolution agreement into the Final Decree of Divorce by reference. When the wife filed a motion to enforce the agreement, the trial court ruled that any lien on the property the wife had acquired by virtue of the agreement was extinguished when she signed the quitclaim deed. We reverse the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/hoodwe.wpd
JOHN HOPKINS d/b/a RICHLAND CREEK SOD FARM v. POLO DEVELOPMENT, L.L.C., et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Harold E. Bishop, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Hopkins d/b/a Richland Creek Sod Farm. Celeste H. Herbert, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gettysvue Partners, L.P. Judge: INMAN First Paragraph: The sub-contractor plaintiff filed a lien against property owned by Gettysvue Partners, L.P., and leased to Polo Development, L.L.C. Kilmers, Inc., had contracted with Polo Development to construct a golf course thereon, and subcontracted with the plaintiff to supply sod for the course. The plaintiff was discharged by Kilmers and claimed a balance owing of $190,278.41. A performance bond had been posted by Kilmers as general contractor, a copy of which was filed by Gettysvue Partners pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. S 66-11-142(b)(1) for the purpose of discharging the lien. The plaintiff consequently did not sue out the attachment required by Tenn. Code Ann. S 66-11-126. Two years after the complaint was filed the court ruled that the bond was ineffective because the insurance company was not licensed in Tennessee. Gettysvue Partners filed a motion for summary judgment because the plaintiff failed to sue out an attachment. The motion was granted. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/hopkinsjohn.wpd
DAN MCCOY, et al. v. SUZI MIZELL Court:TCA Attorneys: R.D. Hash, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Suzi Mizell. John L. McCord, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dan and Jan McCoy. Judge: SUSANO First Paragraph: This appeal involves the application of T.C.A. S 47-29-101, a statute dealing with civil liability for dishonored checks and drafts. The lessors of a residence sued their lessee alleging that the latter acted with "fraudulent intent" when she stopped payment on a rent check given to the plaintiffs. Following a bench trial, the court below found that the defendant's action in stopping payment on the $650 rent check triggered the provisions of T.C.A. S 47-29-101. The court awarded the plaintiffs the face amount of the check, as well as interest, treble damages capped at $500, and attorney's fees of $1,500 - a total of $2,720.52. In the same judgment, the court also awarded the plaintiff damages for breach of the lease, finding these damages - before the allowance of a credit to avoid a double recovery - to be $1,483.25. The defendant only appeals the judgment awarded under T.C.A. S 47- 29-101. She argues that the trial court erred in its application of that statute to the facts of this case. The plaintiffs contend that the defendant's appeal is frivolous, thus entitling them to damages pursuant to the provisions of T.C.A. S 27-1-122. We modify the judgment below to delete the award of $2,720.52 to the plaintiffs under T.C.A. S 47-29-101. This modification also requires us to modify the trial court's award for breach of the lease so as to increase that award to $1,493.25. As modified, the trial court's judgment is affirmed. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/mccoyd.wpd
IN RE: ESTATE OF GUY ALLEN WHITE Court:TCA Attorneys: W. Howell Forrester, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mable White. Robert D. Massey, Pulaski, Tennessee, Pro Se. Bobby Allen White, Terry Lee White, James Edward White, Jeffery Lane White, Mack Dean White, and Jack Eugene White, Pulaski, Tennessee, Pro Se. Judge: KOCH First Paragraph: This appeal involves a dispute between a widow and her six sons regarding a small tract of property her estranged husband conveyed to the sons approximately nine months before he died. The widow filed a petition in the Chancery Court for Giles County seeking appellate review of the Giles County Probate Court's orders. She also sought a declaration that the decedent's conveyance to the sons was a fraudulent conveyance and, in the alternative, requested a partition sale of the property. Following a hearing, the trial court determined that it lacked appellate jurisdiction over the probate court and that the widow lacked standing to seek partition of the property because she owned no interest in it. The widow asserts on this appeal that the trial court erred by dismissing her petition to partition the property. We affirm the dismissal of the widow's fraudulent conveyance and partition claims. However, we vacate the dismissal of her appeal from the probate court and remand this claim for further proceedings in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. S 16-4-108(a)(2) (1994). http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/whitegaestate.wpd

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