November 2, 2001
Volume 7 — Number 204

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):
 
00 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
08 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

EL-SHABAZZ AHKEEN v. DONAL CAMPBELL, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:   

El-Shabazz Ahkeen, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General, Dawn Jordan, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellees, Donal Campbell, West Tennessee State
Penitentiary Disciplinary Board, Lisa Reynolds and James Dukes.

Judge: COTTRELL

First Paragraph:

A state prisoner appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition
for writ of certiorari seeking judicial review of sanctions imposed in
prison disciplinary proceedings.  He asserts the proceedings denied
him due process and that the board's failure to follow Department of
Correction policies and procedures constituted an illegality under
state law grounds for common law writ of certiorari.  We affirm the
trial court and hold (1) the sanctions imposed did not trigger due
process protections, (2) the alleged failure to follow specific
procedures did not amount to failure to follow the essential
requirements of the law in the context of prison disciplinary
proceedings, and (3) there was evidence to support the board's
finding.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/ahkeenel.wpd



STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ERIC JONATHAN BENEFIELD Court:TCA Attorneys: Jerry S. Sloan, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Eric Jonathan Benefield. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Rodney Strong, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WITT First Paragraph: Eric Jonathan Benefield appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court's imposition of consecutive sentencing. In the proceedings below, the trial court incorrectly determined that because the defendant was on probation at the time of his offenses, consecutive sentencing was required by Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(c)(3). However, consecutive sentencing was merely permissible, not mandatory. We therefore reverse the trial court's consecutive sentencing determination and remand for further consideration under the applicable law. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/benefieldej.wpd
YONA BOYD, et al. v. DONALD BRUCE, M.D., et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: David E. Danner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Yona Boyd and Brenda Collier. Thomas L. Whiteside, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Donald Bruce, M.D. and D & C Property Mgmt. Corporation. Judge: COTTRELL First Paragraph: This appeal arises from the third effort of the plaintiffs to obtain compensation and other employment benefits from their former employer. The same claims were first filed in Chancery Court against the doctor and his management company, and the complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and failure to join an indispensable party. Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed suit in Chancery Court against the company which supplied the employee handbook and other services to the doctor. That case was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs then again filed suit against the doctor-employer in Circuit Court. The Circuit Court dismissed the case by converting the doctor-employer's motion for Rule 11 sanctions into a motion to dismiss on the basis of res judicata. The plaintiffs now appeal that dismissal to this court. We affirm the trial court's dismissal. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/boydy.wpd
ARTHUR L. RAWLINGS, JR. v. THE JOHN HANCOCK MUTUAL LIFE INS. CO., et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Alan C. Housholder, Nashville, Tennessee, for the intervenor appellant, Darden Holt. Larry L. Roberts and Audrey Lee Anderson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Arthur L. Rawlings, Jr. Judge: KOCH First Paragraph: This appeal involves a dispute between a decedent's estranged husband and brother over the proceeds of a $12,000 life insurance policy. When he discovered that his deceased wife had removed him as the beneficiary of her policy, the husband filed suit in the Circuit Court for Davidson County seeking to invalidate the change of beneficiary form. Following a bench trial, the trial court found that the decedent lacked the capacity to change the beneficiary on her life insurance policy and that the decedent's brother had procured the change through undue influence. Accordingly, the trial court awarded the decedent's husband the proceeds of her life insurance policy as well as $350 that his brother-in-law had removed from a joint account using a power of attorney he obtained from the decedent. We have determined that the evidence does not support the trial court's conclusion that the decedent lacked capacity to change the beneficiary of her life insurance policy and that the decedent's husband never asserted an undue influence claim in the trial court. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment and remand the case with directions to award the proceeds of the life insurance policy to the decedent's brother. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/rawlingsal.wpd
RICKY RIDDLE, et al. v. HEARTLAND NURSERY COMPANY Court:TCA Attorneys: Mark Stewart, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Heartland Nursery Company. Gregory M. O'Neal, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ricky Riddle, d/b/a R & R Nursery & Landscaping. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: In this action to collect the purchase price for the sale of nursery stock, the buyer alleged that the goods did not conform to the contract and that the number of units delivered was significantly short of the number specified in the invoice. The buyer also filed a counterclaim for the damage to its professional reputation resulting from the seller's breach. The Circuit Court of Franklin County resolved all the issues in favor of the seller and rendered judgment for the balance of the purchase price. Because we find that the buyer had accepted the goods and failed to carry his burden of proving that they were defective, we affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/riddler.wpd
PAUL RAY SEATON, et al. v. RICHARD ROWE, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: William T. Alt, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, Paul Ray Seaton and John Nolan Seaton. John W. Cleveland, Sweetwater, Tennessee, for the appellees, Richard Rowe, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Zola G. Howell, Faye Howell Jones, David Howell, Fredrick Howell, Frankie Howell, Steven Howell, Roger Howell, Debbie Howell, James D. Parks, and Brian Jones. Judge: SUSANO First Paragraph: This is an action for specific performance of an option agreement for the sale of some farmland acreage, from which a 60-acre tract was excepted. The trial court dismissed the action, holding that the option agreement did not satisfy the statute of frauds because the description of the excepted property was inadequate and that the deficiency could not be remedied by parol evidence. Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed a motion to "reopen the proof" to introduce evidence to support reformation of the description of the excepted property. The motion was denied. The plaintiffs appeal, arguing that the trial court erred in (1) finding that the option agreement did not satisfy the statute of frauds; (2) refusing to consider parol evidence of the location of the excepted property; and (3) refusing to "reopen the proof" on the issue of reformation. The defendants argue that the appeal is frivolous. We find that the option agreement is sufficiently definite to satisfy the statute of frauds and that parol evidence should have been admitted to locate the excepted property. We therefore vacate the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/seatonpr.wpd
RONALD STRICKLAND v. TAMI M. FRANKLIN Court:TCA Attorneys: Mark A. Rassas and Julia P. North, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald Strickland. John T. Maher, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tami M. Franklin. Judge: CAIN First Paragraph: This appeal involves the custody of a child born out of wedlock to a mother who was at all times married to another man. The trial court awarded the mother custody. The father of the child now appeals. We have determined that the trial judge did not err in failing to recuse himself and properly awarded custody to the mother. Accordingly, we affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/stricklandronald.wpd
JENNY C. WALKER v. JAMES M. WALKER Court:TCA Attorneys: Connie Reguli, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jenny C. Walker. Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, James M. Walker. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: After the parties separated, the husband borrowed a substantial amount of money to complete the renovation of marital property and to pay household expenses. The trial court divided the marital property pursuant to divorce, classifying the husband's post-separation loans as marital debt. The wife argues on appeal that the trial court erred in its classification and division of the post-separation debts. We affirm the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/walkerjc.wpd

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