Opinion Flash

February 25, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 033

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
01 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
02 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




John E. Eldridge and Robert R. Kurtz, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Berkley Ottie Buchanan.

Dennis B. Francis, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brenda
Watson Buchanan.                         


First Paragraph:

This is a divorce case.  Both parties sought a divorce.  Brenda Watson
Buchanan ("Wife") was granted an absolute divorce from Berkley Ottie
Buchanan ("Husband") on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct. 
In its judgment, the trial court decreed, among other things, that
Wife was to be paid alimony in the amount of $750 per month for 24
months; costs of $579.70; and attorney's fees of $1,850.  Husband
appeals contending that the trial court erred in making all of these
decrees.  We affirm.

JAMES EUGENE GLOVER v. TETYANA GLOVER Court:TCA Attorneys: Ronald J. Attanasio, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tetyana Glover. Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, James Eugene Glover. Judge: SUSANO First Paragraph: The trial court entered a judgment granting the complaint for annulment filed by James Eugene Glover ("Husband"). Within 30 days of the entry of the judgment, Tetyana Glover ("Wife") filed a motion seeking to set aside the judgment. She claims that she did not have prior notice that the complaint was to be considered on June 19, 2002, the date on which the record reflects this case was heard. The trial court, finding that it lacked jurisdiction to consider Wife's motion, denied her request to set aside the judgment. Wife appeals. We vacate the trial court's order refusing to consider Wife's motion and remand this matter to the trial court for consideration of the motion. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/gloverje.wpd
TERESA MALONE v. SHANE MADDOX, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Phillip C. Lawrence, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teresa Malone. William A. Lockett and Michael A. Kent, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company. Judge: SUSANO First Paragraph: This case focuses on an insurance company's liability under the uninsured motorist ("UM") provisions of an automobile insurance policy. It arises out of an automobile accident involving Teresa Malone ("the policyholder") and Shane Maddox ("the uninsured motorist"). The policyholder appeals the trial court's judgment decreeing that the policyholder's uninsured motorist carrier, Harleysville Mutual Insurance Company ("the UM carrier"), cannot be held liable for prejudgment interest under the facts of this case because such an award would cause the total judgment against the UM carrier to exceed the UM coverage limit in the policy. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/malonet.wpd
MICHAEL D. MATTHEWS v. NATASHA STORY, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Phillip L. Boyd, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael D. Matthews. Patrick Ledford and Tausha M. Carmack, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellees, Natasha Story and Tammy Y. Morelock. Judge: SUSANO First Paragraph: This case arises out of a one-vehicle accident in which the plaintiff, Michael D. Matthews, was injured. The plaintiff filed suit, naming Tammy Y. Morelock ("Morelock") as the sole defendant. He alleged that Morelock was a passenger in the vehicle the plaintiff was driving and that Morelock's negligence had caused his injuries. When the plaintiff later learned that the negligent passenger was actually an individual by the name of Natasha Story ("Story"), the plaintiff attempted to amend his complaint to add Story as a defendant. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff's claim against Story, holding the statute of limitations barred the amendment. The trial court also granted the defense's motion for summary judgment, finding that the family purpose doctrine does not apply to the facts of the case at bar. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/matthewsmd1.wpd
EDWARD HOWELL, SR., Executor of the Estate of ORANGIE E. HOWELL, v. NHC HEALTHCARE-FORT SANDERS, INC., ET AL. Court:TCA Attorneys: F. Michael Fitzpatrick and Dan D. Rhea, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellants. Richard C. May and Loring E. Justice, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee. Sadler Bailey and J. Mark Benfield, Memphis, Tennessee and Cameron Jehl, Little Rock, AR, for Amicus Curiae. Judge: FRANKS First Paragraph: The Trial Court refused to enforce an Agreement for Mediation and Arbitration. On appeal, we Affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/nhchealth.wpd
HENRY WATSON, AND WIFE, EVELYNE WATSON v. L.B. BALL, AND WIFE, WILMA ROSE BALL, AND JOE BROWDER, AND WIFE, GAIL BROWDER Court:TCA Attorneys: Bert Bates, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellants, L.B. Ball, and wife, Wilma Rose Ball. Robert B. Wilson, III, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Henry Watson, and wife, Evelyne Watson. Judge: SWINEY First Paragraph: A Chancery Court judgment was entered in 1980, providing Henry Watson and Evelyne Watson ("the Watsons") an easement across land currently owned by L.B. Ball and Wilma Rose Ball ("the Balls"). The judgment held the Watsons had acquired an easement "for the purpose of providing ingress and egress for farm equipment only and for no other purpose." The Watsons did not use the easement or take any steps to prepare it for use for nearly twenty years. In 1999, the Watsons began construction of a road within the easement. Joe Browder and Gail Browder ("the Browders"), owners of adjoining property, placed a gate across the easement. The Watsons sued for injunctive relief. Trial was held and an order was entered on May 14, 2001, holding, inter alia, the easement had not been abandoned and that the Balls were not entitled to damages for destruction of trees within the easement. In response to the Balls' motion for additional findings of fact, an order was entered on November 13, 2001, that provided a definition of "farm equipment." The Balls appeal. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/watsonh.wpd
ELIZABETH DONAHUE WHITAKER v. LAWSON S. WHITAKER, III Court:TCA Attorneys: Michael E. Richardson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lawson S. Whitaker, III. Leslie B. McWilliams, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Elizabeth Donahue Whitaker. Judge: SUSANO First Paragraph: In this post-divorce case, Lawson S. Whitaker, III ("Father") filed a complaint against Elizabeth Donahue Whitaker ("Mother"), seeking to hold her in contempt of court for depriving him of visitation privileges and parenting time with the parties' minor daughter, Grace Anne Whitaker (DOB: September 6, 1996) ("the child"). In response, Mother filed, inter alia, a counterclaim for contempt and for modification of the parties' Parenting Plan. The trial court found a substantial and material change in circumstances justifying a modification of the Parenting Plan. In addition, the trial court held Father in contempt due to his failure to follow the court's prior orders and for harassing Mother. Father appeals both the modification and the court's finding of contempt. Mother seeks attorney's fees for this appeal. We affirm and remand to the trial court for that court to set attorney's fees for Mother in connection with this appeal. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/whitakered.wpd
RONNIE LEE HOUCK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Mike Whalen, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Ronnie Lee Houck. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Christine M. Lapps, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Leland L. Price, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee. Judge: WITT First Paragraph: The Knox County Criminal Court denied petitioner Ronnie Lee Houck post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. The petitioner challenged his 2000 conviction of aggravated sexual battery on the grounds that his guilty plea to that offense was unknowing and involuntary and the product of ineffective assistance of counsel. From the denial of post-conviction relief, the petitioner appeals. We find no error and affirm the lower court's judgment. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/houckr.wpd
Powers of Utility District Date: February 19, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-017 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP17.pdf
Licensed Security Officers and Citizen Arrests Date: February 19, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-018 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP18.pdf

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