Opinion Flash

June 18, 2002
Volume 8 — Number 104

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):
 
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
06 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
01 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
 

TBA members can get the full-text versions of these opinions three ways detailed below. All methods require a TBA username and password. If you have forgotten your password, you can look it up on-line at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi . If you are a TBA member, but do not have a username and password, you can receive one online at http://www.tba.org/signup.mgi. Here's how you can obtain full-text version.

Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This option will allow you to download the original document.

Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

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


KRISTINA BROWN, Individually and on Behalf of All Other Individuals
and Entities Similarly Situated in the State of Tennessee, and BOBBY
DAVIDSON, Individually and on Behalf of All Other Individuals and
Entities Similarly Situated in the State of Tennessee v. TOM TAYLOR
CHEVROLET-PONTIAC OLDSMOBILE GMC TRUCK, INC. and UNION CITY
FORD-LINCOLN/MERCURY, INC.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:     

Gordan Ball, of Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby
Davidson, Individually and on Behalf of All Other Individuals and
Entities Similarly Situated In The State of Tennessee.

George T. Lewis, III, Baker, Donelson, Bearman & Caldwell, P.C., of
Memphis, Tennessee, for appellee Union City Ford-Lincoln/Mercury, Inc.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, and Wyla M. Posey,
Assistant Attorney General, of Nashville, Tennessee, for the
intervening appellee, Attorney General and Reporter.

Judge: LILLARD

First Paragraph:

This is a constitutional challenge to Tennessee Code Annotated S
67-1-112, which outlines how a dealer may pass along a business tax to
its customers.  The plaintiffs bought automobiles from the defendant
automobile dealers.  The dealers "passed on" their business tax
expense to the plaintiffs in an itemized invoice listing the tax as an
element of the purchase price.  The plaintiffs brought this class
action arguing, inter alia, that Section 67-1-112 is unconstitutional
because it unlawfully delegates taxation authority to the automobile
dealers, and because the discretion granted to the dealers in the
statute violates the equal protection clause of the Tennessee
Constitution.   The trial court upheld the constitutionality of the
statute and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. 
Plaintiff Bobby Davidson now appeals.  We agree with the reasoning of
the trial court, and therefore affirm.

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

JAMES H. KELLEY, et al. v. JOHN CAGE, M.D., et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

Daniel L. Clayton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, James H.
Kelley, et al.

Steven R. Walker, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellee, John Cage, M.
D. and Mid-State Cardiology Associates, P. C.

Judge: WHEATCRAFT

First Paragraph:

This appeal involves the granting of a summary judgment motion in a
medical malpractice case.  The issue is whether the trial court
properly granted summary judgment on the basis that there was never a
physician/patient relationship between the decedent, Lillie Donnette
Kelley, and Dr. John Cage, a cardiologist, and an employee of
Mid-State Cardiology Associates, P.C..

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

PATRICK MCGEE v. TIMOTHY BEST, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

G. Kline Preston, IV, Nashville for Appellant, Patrick McGee

Tim K. Garrett, Nashville, For Appellees, Timothy Best, Robert Frank,
David Ingram, Ingram Entertainment, Inc., and McGee, Best, Frank &
Ingram LLC

Judge: CRAWFORD

First Paragraph:

This case involves the termination of membership and employment of a
member of an LLC.  The terminated member and employee filed suit
against the LLC and the other members thereof alleging breach of
contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of
fiduciary duty, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, fraud, and
misrepresentation.  The trial court granted defendants' motion for
judgment on the pleadings as to all claims except the claim for breach
of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
Thereafter, the trial court granted defendants' motion for summary
judgment on the remaining two claims.  Plaintiff appeals.  We affirm,
modify, reverse in part, and remand.

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

FRANK G. PORTER, et al. v. RALPH H. FREEDLE, ET AL.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:  

William R. Goodman, III, Springfield, Tennessee, for appellants, Frank
G. Porter and Frank G. Porter Family Limited Partnership

John R. Bradley, Portland, Tennessee, for appellees, Ralph H. Freedle
and E. V. Freedle
                      
Judge: KURTZ

First Paragraph:

This appeal involves a dispute over a roadway easement and interests
in the use of a spring and springhouse.  The chancery court determined
that appellants abandoned the interest in the roadway easement and
access to a spring and springhouse and dismissed appellants' suit for
an injunction.  Appellants challenge the chancery court's decision
that the rights were abandoned.  As discussed below, we affirm the
judgment of the chancery court that there was clear, unequivocal
evidence that appellants abandoned any interest.

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

TENNESSEE FARMERS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, as Subrogee of Dwight E.
Paschal v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

Stephen D. Jackson, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant Tennessee
Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.

Jonathan Cole and Sandi L. Pack, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Ford Motor Company.

Judge: LILLARD

First Paragraph:

This is a consolidated appeal of three products liability cases. 
Three vehicles manufactured by the defendant automobile company were
destroyed by spontaneous combustion, allegedly caused by a defective
steering column.  No personal injuries resulted from the fires, and no
other property was damaged.  The plaintiff insurance company, which
insured the cars, paid the owners the value of the vehicles.  The
insurance company, as subrogee for the insureds, then filed the
actions below, seeking to recoup the payments from the defendant
automobile manufacturer to the insureds on a theory of products
liability.  The trial court dismissed the actions, holding that the
economic loss doctrine precluded recovery in tort, because the product
damaged only itself in each case.  The plaintiff insurance company now
appeals.  The appeals were consolidated for purposes of our review. 
We affirm the trial court in all respects, finding that the economic
loss doctrine precludes recovery in these cases.

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

IN RE:  ESTATE OF BRUCE DILLARD WYATT, SR., DECEASED

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

Timothy Boxx, The Agee Law Firm, of Tiptonville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Betty Scates Wyatt, personal representative of the estate
of Bruce Dillard Wyatt.

Mark L. Hayes and W. Lewis Jenkins, Jr., Wilkerson Gauldin & Hayes, of
Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, Sarah Wyatt Patton and
Patricia Wyatt.

Judge: LILLARD

First Paragraph:

This is a claim by devisees to enforce their right to exoneration
under a will.  The decedent died testate and devised to his three
children real property that was encumbered by a mortgage.  For a few
years, the children paid the mortgage on the property.  However, after
realizing that the debt belonged to the estate, they filed a motion to
compel the executrix of the will to make the mortgage payments and
thereby exonerate the realty from the lien.  The executrix objected,
claiming that the time to file such a claim had expired under the
Claims Act, Tennessee Code Annotated S 30-2- 306(c).  The trial court
granted the motion to compel the executrix to pay the mortgage,
finding that the Claims Act was inapplicable because the devisees were
not "creditors" under the Act.  The executrix now appeals that
decision.  We agree with the reasoning of the trial court, and
therefore affirm.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRENDA LEE HICKS

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Hank Hill, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brenda Lee
Hicks.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Kathy D. Aslinger,
Assistant Attorney General; and Rodney C. Strong, for the appellee,
the State of Tennessee.                        

Judge: WADE

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Brenda Lee Hicks, was convicted of vehicular homicide
and entered a plea of guilt to one count of driving without a license.
 The trial court imposed a sentence of six years for the vehicular
homicide and ordered service of 11 months and 29 days in jail.  The
balance of the sentence is to be served on supervised probation.  The
trial court imposed a concurrent sentence of 30 days incarceration for
the charge of driving without a license.  In this appeal as of right,
the defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support
the vehicular homicide conviction and questions the propriety of the
sentence for that offense.  The judgment of the trial court is
affirmed.

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

PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL!
Feel free to forward this Opinion Flash on to anyone you know of with an e-mail address.

GET A FULL-TEXT COPY OF AN OPINION!
See the intrsuctions at the beginning of this edition of Opinion Flash.

JOIN THE TENNESSEE BAR ASSOCIATION!
While Opinion Flash is a free service of the Tennessee Bar Association, you must be a member of the Tennessee Bar Association in order to access the full text of the opinions or enjoy the many other features of TBALink.

To join the TBA go to: http://www.tba.org/join_bar.mgi

SUBSCRIBE TO OPINION FLASH!
Would you like to receive the TBALink Opinion Flash free each day by e-mail? Anyone, whether a TBA member or not, is welcome to subscribe ... it's free! Sign up for text or HTML version.

Visit the TBALink web site at: http://www.tba.org/op-flash.mgi

UNSUBSCRIBE TO OPINION FLASH? ... SURELY NOT!

But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at: http://www.tba.org/op-flash.mgi

© Copyright 2002 Tennessee Bar Association