Opinion Flash

January 9, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 006

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
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


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN HILL FERGUSON

Court:TCA

Attorneys:   

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Christine M. Lapps,
Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

J. Daniel Freemon, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, John
Hill Ferguson.                       

Judge: CANTRELL

First Paragraph:

The trial court restored the citizenship rights of a convicted felon,
including the right to obtain a handgun permit.  The district attorney
filed a motion for the court to reconsider its decision in regard to
gun rights, in light of statutes that disqualify individuals convicted
of drug offenses from obtaining or carrying handguns.  The trial court
denied the motion.  We reverse.

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

CARLTON FLATT v. TENNESSEE SECONDARY SCHOOLS ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys: 

G. Thomas Nebel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carlton
Flatt.

Richard L. Colbert, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tennessee
Secondary Schools Athletic Association and Ronnie Carter.

Mac E. Robinson, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Scott
Brunette.                         

Judge: CANTRELL

First Paragraph:

A high-profile high school football coach and athletic director filed
a defamation and false light invasion of privacy claim against the
athletic association his school belonged to and other defendants.  The
Circuit Court of Davidson County granted summary judgment to the
defendants because it found no evidence from which a jury could infer
malice.  We affirm.

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

SARAH MASSIE JOHNSON (NEELEY) v. KEITH ROBERT JOHNSON

Court:TCA

Attorneys:  

Jon S. Jablonski, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sarah
Massie Johnson Neeley.

Joe Binkley, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Keith Robert
Johnson.                        

Judge: CANTRELL

First Paragraph:

The trial court granted the father's petition to suspend the mother's
impending visitation with the parties'13-year-old daughter.  The
mother then moved the trial judge to recuse herself from any further
involvement in proceedings relating to custody of the child or to
visitation.  She claimed that an ex parte communication between the
father's attorney and the judge prior to the hearing on the father's
petition created the appearance of partiality or bias.  The judge
denied the mother's motion to recuse.  We affirm.

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

WALTER E. PRESTON v. W.G. LUTCHE, et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys: 

Walter E. Preston, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor
General and Pamela S. Lorch, Assistant Attorney General, for the
appellees, W.G. Lutche.                          

Judge: CAIN

First Paragraph:

Appellant filed, pro se, a Petition for Writ of Certiorari.  He was
convicted of a Class X felony in 1982 and now seeks to rescind his
April 9, 1986 waiver executed pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated
section 41-21-236.  The trial court dismissed the Petition for failure
of Appellant to respond to an Order requiring him to submit a copy of
his inmate trust account showing all activity in the account for the
six months immediately prior to the filing of the action.  The trial
court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the Petition on such
basis.  We hold, on the merits, that Appellant is not entitled to the
relief sought.  We affirm the trial court.

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

LAURA C. TOTTY, et al. v. JOHN THOMPSON, M.D., et al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:

E.Covington Johnston,Jr., Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants,
Laura C. and Alvin Mitchel Totty. Michael A. Geracioti and Dale A.
Tipps, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, John Thompson, M.D.
and Nolensville Family Care Center.

Michael A. Geracioti and Dale A. Tipps, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellees, John Thompson, M.D., and Nolensville Family Care Center.   
                    
Judge: CAIN

First Paragraph:

In this medical malpractice case, Plaintiff appeals summary judgment
based upon the failure of Plaintiff's medical expert to establish the
requisite familiarity with the standard of care in the community in
which Defendant practices or in a similar community.  We affirm the
action of the trial court.

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

STEVEN L. HASSELL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE 

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:  

John S. Colley, III, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven L.
Hassell.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe,
Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney
General; and Michael Joseph (Jay) Fahey, II, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.                        

Judge: RILEY

First Paragraph:

The petitioner was originally convicted of first degree murder and
attempted second degree murder and sentenced to an effective life
term.  He now appeals the denial of post-conviction relief, arguing
trial counsel denied him the right to testify and ineffectively failed
to present closing argument.  We affirm the judgment of the
post-conviction court.

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

DONALD RAY MIDDLEBROOKS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee (at hearing and on appeal), and
John E. Herbison, Nashville, Tennessee (at hearing), for the
appellant, Donald Ray Middlebrooks.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General;
Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and John C.
Zimmerman and Roger D. Moore, Assistant District Attorneys General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee.                    

Judge: RILEY

First Paragraph:

The petitioner has been sentenced to death and now appeals as of right
the judgment of the Davidson County Criminal Court denying his
petition for post-conviction relief.  The petitioner argues: (1) the
post-conviction court erred in denying his ex parte request for funds
for expert services; (2) the post- conviction court erred in denying
his request for a continuance; and (3) he did not receive effective
assistance of counsel during his resentencing hearing.  We affirm the
judgment of the post- conviction court.

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

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