Opinion Flash

December 19, 2001
Volume 7 — Number 234

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
05 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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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

ELLEN HOPSON BELL v. WILLIAM HALL BELL

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

Lawrence A. Welch, Jr., Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
William H. Bell.

Sandra Lee Stanbery, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ellen
Hopson Bell.                        

Judge: SUSANO

First Paragraph:

In this divorce case, the trial court awarded Ellen Hopson Bell
("Wife") an absolute divorce, and ordered William Hall Bell
("Husband") to pay one-half of her attorney's fees.  Husband appeals,
arguing that the trial court erred in awarding attorney's fees without
a hearing.  We vacate the trial court's grant of attorney's fees and
remand for further proceedings.

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

PAMELA K. CANTRELL v. JAMES MICHAEL CANTRELL, JR.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

B. Prince Miller, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellant James
Michael Cantrell, Jr.

Randy Sellers, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellee Pamela K.
Cantrell.                        

Judge: SWINEY

First Paragraph:

Pamela K. Cantrell ("Wife") filed for divorce from James Michael
Cantrell, Jr. ("Husband").  This was the second time the parties had
been married to each other.  After a trial, the Trial Court awarded
Wife a divorce on the basis of Husband's inappropriate marital
conduct.  The Trial Court divided the marital assets and awarded Wife
rehabilitative alimony.  Husband's main issues on appeal challenge the
division of marital assets and award of rehabilitative alimony.  We
modify the rehabilitative alimony award and affirm the division of
marital assets.

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

PHILIP OWENS, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated
v. BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY, INC.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

Gordon Ball, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Philip Owens, on
behalf of himself and all others similarly situated.

Kurt J. Pomrenke and Timothy W. Hudson, Bristol, Virginia, and Fred T.
Lowrence and Michael G. Adams, Charlotte, North Carolina, for the
appellee, Bristol Speedway, Inc.                        

Judge: SUSANO

First Paragraph:

In this putative class action suit, the plaintiff, Philip Owens,
alleges that the defendant, Bristol Motor Speedway, Inc. ("Bristol
Speedway"), engaged in a conspiracy to fix the prices of souvenirs
sold at its racetrack.  The trial court denied certification of the
alleged class and granted Bristol Speedway's motion for summary
judgment as to the plaintiff's individual claims.  We affirm.

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

SUNNYCREST APARTMENTS, LTD., et al. v. WILLIAM J. GAINES, AS ASSESSOR
OF PROPERTY OF UNICOI COUNTY, TENNESSEE, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

David E. Cypress, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Sunnycrest
Apartments Ltd. and Douglas L. White d/b/a Erwin Village Shopping
Center.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; and Winston B. Sitton, Assistant Attorney General,
for the appellees, William J. Gaines, as Assessor of Property of
Unicoi County, Tennessee, Assessment Appeals Commission of the State
of Tennessee, and Tennessee State Board of Equalization.

Judge: SUSANO

First Paragraph:

In general terms, this litigation focuses on the efforts of two real
property owners to challenge, through administrative channels, the
results - as applied to their properties - of a county-wide
reappraisal of property in Unicoi County.  The owners initially
contested the values assigned to their properties for 1997.  While
their appeal for 1997 was pending, they filed another appeal, this
time with respect to the 1998 tax year.  After the values assigned by
the tax assessor for 1997 were reduced on appeal, the property owners
voluntarily dismissed their 1998 appeal and moved the State Board of
Equalization ("the State Board") to apply the lowered 1997 values to
1998 and subsequent tax years.  The Board denied this request and the
property owners sought review in the trial court.  The defendants
moved the court to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief could
be granted.  The trial court granted the motion and the property
owners appealed.  We affirm.

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

WRIGHT MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY, INC. v. BERNARD GRISONI and BIOGENERATION,
INC.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:    

Leo Bearman, Jr., George T. Lewis, III, and Marianne B. Matthews,
Memphis, Tennessee, for the plaintiff/appellant, Wright Medical
Technology, Inc.

Ronald D. Krelstein, Germantown, Tennessee, and Steven M. Markowitz,
Memphis, Tennessee, for the defendant/appellees, Bernard F. Grisoni,
and Biogeneration, Inc.

Michael I. Less and Ted M. Hayden, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America.

Lucian T. Pera and W. Bryan Smith, Memphis, Tennessee, submitting
Amicus Curiae Brief for William H. Haltom, Jr.

Judge: LILLIARD

First Paragraph:

This case involves the alleged use of confidential information by an
ex-employee.  The defendant employee worked for the plaintiff employer
developing a medical product.  The employee signed an agreement
prohibiting the use of confidential information after his employment
ended, but did not sign a non-competition agreement.  The employee was
terminated and thereafter began manufacturing a competing medical
product.  The plaintiff employer sued and obtained a temporary
injunction prohibiting the ex-employee from manufacturing the product.
 The trial court later dissolved the injunction.  Subsequently, it
found the defendant employer liable for malicious prosecution and
punitive damages, awarding damages of over $9 million.  The employer
appeals. We affirm in part, reverse in part and modify.  We reverse
the finding of malicious prosecution, holding that the evidence is
insufficient to establish malice or lack of probable cause.  We also
reverse the award of punitive damages.  We affirm the trial court's
dissolution of the injunction against the former employee, and find
that the compensatory damages are limited by the amount of the
injunction bond.  Consequently, the award of compensatory damages is
modified to this amount.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TORREY LYONEL FRAZIER

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles B. Hill, II, and Spence Bruner, Kingston, Tennessee, for
appellant, Torrey L. Frazier.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Glen C. Watson,
Assistant Attorney General; J. Scott McCluen, District Attorney
General; and Frank A. Harvey, Assistant District Attorney, for
appellee, State of Tennessee.                         

Judge: SMITH

First Paragraph:

A Roane County grand jury indicted the defendant on one count of first
degree premeditated  murder.  Following a jury trial, he stood
convicted of second degree murder.  For this offense he received a
twenty-two year sentence as a violent offender.  After unsuccessfully
pursuing a motion for a new trial, the defendant brings the present
appeal to this Court raising four issues. More specifically, he avers
that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction; (2)
the trial court erred in admitting into evidence a tech-nine weapon
not associated with the offense; (3) the trial court erred in
permitting the State to question a defense witness concerning a
pending statutory rape charge; and (4) the trial court erred by
sentencing the defendant to twenty-two years. Upon review of these
issues, we find that all lack merit or constitute harmless error. We,
thus, affirm the conviction and sentence.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/fraziertorrey.wpd


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BOBBY GENE GOODSON

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:  

William A. Kennedy, Blountville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Bobby
Gene Goodson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore,
Solicitor General; Angele M. Gregory, Assistant Attorney General; and
B. Todd Martin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee,
State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

First Paragraph:

The Appellant, Bobby Gene Goodson, appeals his conviction by a
Sullivan County jury of driving on a revoked license, in violation of
Tennessee Code Annotated S 55-50-504(a)(1) (1998).  On appeal, Goodson
challenges his conviction contending that:  (1) the State is without
authority to regulate his right to travel; (2) the trial court was
without jurisdiction to try him; (3) he was not afforded a speedy
trial; and (4) the evidence in the record is insufficient as a matter
of law to sustain his conviction.  After a review of the record, we
find issues (1), (2), and (3) are without merit.  With regard to issue
(4), we find the indicted offense, driving on a revoked license,
impermissibly varied from the proof at trial, which established the
separate offense of driving on a suspended license.  Therefore,
Goodson's conviction for driving on a revoked license is reversed.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/goodsonbj.wpd

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