Opinion Flash

May 24, 2002
Volume 8 — Number 92

Following this index are summaries of each case, including its name, first paragraph, author's name, and the names of attorneys for the parties of each opinion.

This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
 
01 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
01 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court Workers' Compensation Panel
01 New Document(s) or Proposed Rule(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
00 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
04 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
06 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


JULIA BETH CREWS  v.  BUCKMAN LABORATORIES INTERNATIONAL, INC.

Court:TSC

Attorneys:

Donald A. Donati and William B. Ryan, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Julia Beth Crews.

Frederick J. Lewis, Thomas L. Henderson, and Whitney K. Fogerty, for
the appellee, Buckman Laboratories International, Inc.                       

Judge: BARKER

First Paragraph:

The sole issue in this case is whether an in-house lawyer can bring a
common-law claim for retaliatory discharge when she was terminated for
reporting that her employer's general counsel was engaged in the
unauthorized practice of law.  The trial court dismissed the
plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim, and the dismissal
was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.  We granted permission to appeal
to the plaintiff and hold that in-house counsel may bring a common-law
action for retaliatory discharge resulting from counsel's compliance
with a provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility that
represents a clear and definitive statement of public policy. 
Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and
this case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/crewsjuliabeth.wpd

PAMELA HARVEY V. AZTEX ENTERPRISES

Court:TSC - Workers Comp Panel

Attorneys:  

J. Scott Wesson and B. Chadwick Rickman, Allen, Kopet & Boyd,
Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Aztex Enterprises.

Garry Ferraris,  Farmer and Ferraris, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the
Appellee, Pamela Harvey.                        

Judge: PEOPLES

First Paragraph:

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special
Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann.
S 50-6-225(e) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and
conclusions of law.  The employer contends the trial court erred in
refusing to cap the award at two and one-half times the medical
impairment and that the award is excessive under the facts.  We affirm
the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/harveyp.wpd

IN RE: AMENDMENT TO TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT RULE 8, DISCIPLINARY RULE
4-101(C)

Court:TSC - Rules

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_Rules/rule8amend.wpd

CORRECTED OPINION: hanges "concurrent" to "consecutive" in the first
paragraph.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKY T. HUGHES

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Bruce Poag (on appeal) and Lionel Barrett and Daniel McMurtry (at
trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky T. Hughes.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney,
Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney
General; and Sharon L. Brox and Roger D. Moore, Assistant District
Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.                        

Judge: TIPTON

First Paragraph:

A Davidson County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Ricky
T. Hughes, of facilitation of first degree felony murder, a Class A
felony, and especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony.  The
trial court sentenced him to consecutive sentences of twenty-five
years as a standard offender for the facilitation conviction and
twenty-five years as a violent offender for the aggravated robbery
conviction.  The defendant appeals, claiming that (1) the evidence is
insufficient to support his convictions, (2) the trial court erred by
denying his motion to suppress his confession, and (3) the trial court
erred by not allowing him to testify about a prior consistent
statement.  We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TERRY NORRIS

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:  

Robert C. Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); Michael Johnson and
Garland Erguden, Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee (at
trial), for the Appellant, Terry Norris.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Kim R. Helper,
Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney
General; and Karen Cook, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
Appellee, State of Tennessee.                        

Judge: WEDEMEYER

First Paragraph:

A Shelby County jury found the Defendant guilty of second degree
murder, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty-one years
incarceration.  The Defendant now appeals his conviction, arguing that
he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial because (1) his
counsel failed to file a motion to suppress his confession based upon
a violation of the Defendant's Fourth Amendment rights; and (2) his
counsel argued a theory of defense to the jury that was contrary to
the Defendant's wishes and testimony.  We conclude that the
Defendant's trial counsel were not ineffective for failing to base the
motion to suppress the Defendant's confession on a violation of the
Defendant's Fourth Amendment rights.  We further conclude that
although the Defendant's counsel did not comply with the Defendant's
wish to proceed at trial under a theory of self-defense, any error in
this regard was harmless in light of the record as a whole.  We
therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT TAIT

Court:TCCA

Attorneys: 

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Kim R. Helper, Assistant
Attorney General; and Steve Jones, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellant, the State of Tennessee.

N. Craig Brightsen, III, and Terry D. Smart, Memphis, Tennessee, for
the appellee, Robert Tait.                         

Judge: WADE

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Robert Tait, who was charged with one count of driving
under the influence, see Tenn. Code Ann. S 55-10-401(a)(1), and one
count of driving with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .10%,
see Tenn. Code Ann. S 55-10-401(a)(2), sought dismissal of the second
count, arguing that it was barred by the statute of limitations.  The
trial court granted the motion, finding that sections 401(a)(1) and
401(a)(2) were separate crimes, rather than different theories of the
same crime.  The state was granted permission to appeal under Rule 9
of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Because Tennessee Code
Annotated section 55-10-401(a)(1) and (a)(2) provide alternate
theories of conviction for the same crime, the judgment of the trial
court is reversed and the cause is remanded for trial.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES ROBERT WILSON

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Peter J. Strianse, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James
Robert Wilson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Mark E. Davidson,
Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney
General; and Kimberly Haas, Assistant District Attorney General, for
the appellee, State of Tennessee.                         

Judge: WOODALL

First Paragraph:

Defendant, James Robert Wilson, was convicted by a Davidson County
jury of first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery. 
He was ordered to serve concurrent sentences of life imprisonment for
the felony murder conviction and twenty years for the especially
aggravated robbery conviction.  Defendant appeals his convictions and
presents the following five issues for review: (1) whether the trial
court erred by admitting audio taped threat evidence; (2) whether the
trial court erred by denying Defendant's motion for a mistrial based
on a witness's characterization of Defendant as a "robber"; (3)
whether the trial court erred by denying Defendant's motion for a
mistrial based on the State's comment that Defendant failed to call a
witness; (4) whether the trial court erred by denying Defendant's
request for a jury instruction on accomplice testimony; and (5)
whether the trial court erred in failing to charge all applicable
lesser-included offenses.  After a thorough review of the record, we
affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

Review of Attorney General Opinion No. 02-021

Date: May 17, 2002

Opinion Number: 02-064                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2002/OP64.pdf

Cities under the Public Records Act

Date: May 17, 2002 

Opinion Number: 02-065                           

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2002/OP65.pdf

Overcoming Mayoral Veto under Portland City Charter

Date: May 20, 2002

Opinion Number: 02-066                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2002/OP66.pdf

House Education Committee authority regarding appointees to State
Board of Education

Date: May 21, 2002

Opinion Number: 02-067                        

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2002/OP67.pdf

Maintenance of Support -- K-12 Funding

Date: May 22, 2002

Opinion Number: 02-068                      

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2002/OP68.pdf

Senate Bill 1201/House Bill 1767 - Primary Elections - Write-in
Candidates

Date: May 22, 2002

Opinion Number: 02-069                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2002/OP69.pdf

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