Opinion Flash

November 6, 2002
Volume 8 — Number 197

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
07 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


RONALD L. DAVIS v. THE TENNESSEAN, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys: 

Ronald L. Davis, Only, Tennessee, Pro se.

Alfred H. Knight, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, The
Tennessean, et al.

Judge: COTTRELL

First Paragraph:

The plaintiff filed a libel action against a newspaper, The
Tennessean, its publisher and its editor, alleging his reputation had
been harmed by a sentence in an article which stated that he had shot
a man, when, in fact, his co-defendant had killed the victim.  The
trial court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, finding the
plaintiff to be "libel proof" in this matter because he had been
convicted of aiding and abetting in the murder and incarcerated for
the remainder of his life for the crime, "render[ing] any reputation
he may have had virtually valueless." We affirm.

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

NORMAN HAMBY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCA

Attorneys: 

Stephen R. Leffler, Memphis, For Appellant, Norman Hamby

Tanda R. Grisham, Memphis, For Appellee, State of Tennessee                         

Judge: CRAWFORD

First Paragraph:

This is a premises liability case arising from Plaintiff's fall into a
ventilation pit on the University of Tennessee at Memphis (referred to
herein as UT) campus when an aluminum grate covering the opening
collapsed while Plaintiff was standing on it. The Commissioner of
Claims of the Western Division held that the accident was not
foreseeable and that UT did not have actual or constructive notice of
the dangerous condition of the grating over the pit. Plaintiff
appeals. We reverse and remand.

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

WILLIAM HAMER, et al. v. ROBERT C. HARRIS, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

Todd E. Panther, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert C.
Harris.

Ashley N. Arnold, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, William
Hamer and June Hamer.                          

Judge: LYLE

First Paragraph:

Homeowners sued a builder for defective construction.  The trial court
awarded damages for breach and attorney's fees under the Tennessee
Consumer Protection Act.  We reverse the award of attorney's fees
based upon no proof of deceptive, misleading or unfair conduct by the
builder.

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

HARPER-WITTBRODT AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, LLC v. SAM TEAGUE, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

J. Thomas Martin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Sam Teague
and Sam Teague Chrysler, Inc.

Benjamin C. Regen, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellee,
Harper-Wittbrodt Automotive Group, LLC.                          

Judge: FARMER

First Paragraph:

This is an appeal from an order of summary judgment enforcing an
option to purchase clause in a lease for commercial property.  The
trial court awarded summary judgment to the plaintiff, finding it had
exercised its option under the contract.  We reverse summary judgment,
finding a genuine issue of material fact as to the purchase price of
the property.

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

OSCAR LITTLE, et al. v. SAMUEL WATSON, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:  

John T. Maher, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Samuel
Watson and Marguerite Watson.

Edward Robertson, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Oscar
Little and Helen Little.                        

Judge: COTTRELL

First Paragraph:

Samuel and Marguerite Watson appeal the final judgment of the trial
court which found that a transaction between the Watsons and the
Littles involving the purchase of a house created a resulting trust. 
The trial court divested out of the Watsons and vested in the Littles
all interest in the house after the Littles obtained new financing for
the house and paid off the previous mortgage in the Watsons' name and
repaid the down payment with interest.  We affirm the decision of the
trial court.

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

NATIONS RENT OF TENNESSEE, INC. v. MEL LANGE, et al.
FORKLIFTS UNLIMITED, LLC, et al. v. DAVID Q. WRIGHT, et al.
SOUTHERN WOOD TREATMENT CO., INC. v. 
DAVID Q. WRIGHT, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:  

John T. Blankenship, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellants,
David Q. Wright and RLI Insurance Company.

Ewing Sellers, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Nations Rent
of Tennessee, Inc.

Robert P. Gritton, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellees,
Forklifts Unlimited LLC and Forklifts Unlimited, Inc.                        

Judge: LYLE

First Paragraph:

Vendors of rental equipment filed suit to collect unpaid invoices from
the landowner after the contractor abandoned the job.  The trial court
granted recovery based upon the Mechanics' and Materialmen's Lien
Statute and quantum meruit.  We reverse for insufficient proof on the
correct measure of damages.

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

DAN B. WILSON, JR. v. LAWRENCE H. RUBIN, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

W. Gary Blackburn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dan B.
Wilson, Jr.

Gail Vaughn Ashworth, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees,
Lawrence H. Rubin and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Company, LLC.                          

Judge: KOCH

First Paragraph:

This appeal involves the termination of an employee by a music
publishing company after one of its songwriters complained that the
employee had stalked and harassed her.  The employee filed suit in the
Chancery Court for Davidson County alleging gender and age
discrimination in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act.  The
publishing company moved for a summary judgment asserting that it had
a valid non-discriminatory ground for terminating the employee.  The
employee responded that the proffered non-discriminatory ground was
pretextual.  The trial court granted the summary judgment and
dismissed the employee's complaint.  On this appeal, the employee
asserts that genuine material factual disputes regarding the
publishing company's non-discriminatory reasons for terminating him
should have prevented the trial court from granting the summary
judgment.  We agree and, therefore, vacate the order dismissing the
employee's complaint.

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

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