Opinion FlashDecember 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):
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Howard H. Vogel
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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