Opinion Flash

March 13, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 045

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
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
08 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




John W. Rodgers, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Terry L. Hill and John
L. Meadows, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, National Health

Larry R. McElhaney II and S. Alexa Whittemore, Nashville, Tennessee,
for the appellee, Charlotte McCall.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; and E. Blaine Sprouse, Assistant Attorney General,
Nashville, Tennessee, for the Amicus Curiae, State of Tennessee.

Gary S. Napolitan, D. Scott Bennett, and Bruce D. Gill, Chattanooga,
Tennessee, for the Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Defense Lawyers'
Association. April Carroll Meldrum, Clinton, Tennessee, for the Amicus
Curiae, Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association.

Judge: BIRCH

First Paragraph:

We granted interlocutory appeal in this workers' compensation case,
and in the companion case of Shelton v. ADS Environmental Services,
pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. 
These cases present the following issues: whether the trial court has
the authority to initiate temporary benefits pre-trial and, assuming
the trial court has this authority, whether it must hold a full
evidentiary hearing prior to initiating temporary benefits.  After
careful examination of the workers' compensation statutes and the
applicable case law, we hold that the trial court has the power to
initiate temporary workers' compensation benefits prior to trial and
that it may do so without first holding a full evidentiary hearing.

MITZI GAY GREGORY BLAIR v. JOHN DAVID BLAIR Court:TCA Attorneys: John R. Phillips, Jr., Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, John David Blair. Bruce N. Oldham and Sue Hynds Dunning, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mitzi Gay Gregory Blair. Judge: CAIN First Paragraph: This divorce case involves issues of property classification and division regarding real property purchased by Wife prior to the parties' marriage and titled jointly in both Wife and Husband's names. The property became the marital residence where the couple lived during their marriage, but the majority of payments on the house mortgage were made by Wife's parents. Husband contributed virtually nothing to the marriage and substantially dissipated the couples assets through gambling and drug use. The trial court found the house to be marital property and divided the equity by giving the first $75,000.00 to Wife, as her original contribution, then dividing the remaining equity between the parties: 75% to Wife, 25% to Husband. Husband claims that half of the $75,000.00 down payment was a gift made to him by Wife prior to the marriage and, thus, his separate property. We affirm the decision of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/blairmitzi.wpd
CARLOS JEROME CASTILLION v. SARAH SNODGRASS CASTILLION Court:TCA Attorneys: Alan R. Beard, Chattanooga, for Appellant. William H. Horton, Chattanooga, for Appellee. Judge: FRANKS First Paragraph: In this divorce case, the husband questions on appeal the valuation of marital property and distribution made by the Trial Court. We affirm the Trial Court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/castillionc.wpd
NAOMI HAUSLER v. DISCOUNTS R US, INC. Court:TCA Attorneys: Naomi Haulser, Carthage, Tennessee, Pro Se. Arthur C. Grisham, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Discounts R Us, Inc. Judge: CAIN First Paragraph: Plaintiff, pro se, appeals the action of the trial court in denying her Petition in the Nature of a Petition to Vacate a Void Judgment and Collateral Attack. We affirm the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/hauslernaomi.wpd
CHARLES R. HEAD, JR., et al. v. JAMES LYNN GIBSON, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: George J. Duzane, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Charles R. Head, Jr. And Donna M. Head. Richard Douglas Taylor, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: This is an appeal from a judgment granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. that the uninsured motorist coverage offered to the plaintiffs was not implicated under the circumstances of this litigation. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/headcr.wpd
Court:TCA Attorneys: Mark Walker, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Florence Hoffmeyer. Bryce C. Ruth, Jr., White House, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry Hoffmeyer. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter and Elizabeth C. Driver, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services; In the Matter of: A.L.H., child under the age of 18 years. Judge: CAIN First Paragraph: The natural parents of a seventeen year old girl appeal the action of the Juvenile Court of Robertson County terminating their parental rights based upon a finding of severe child abuse under Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-1-113(g)(4). Because the appellate record is incomplete, we vacate the judgment and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/hoffmeyerf_opn.wpd
Court:TCA COTTRELL CONCURRING http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/hoffmeyerf_dis.wpd
RICKEY A. MOORMAN v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION Court:TCA Attorneys: Rickey A. Moorman, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Rae Oliver, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Correction. Judge: KOCH First Paragraph: This appeal involves a dispute between a prisoner and the Tennessee Department of Correction regarding the calculation of his sentence credits and his release eligibility date. After unsuccessfully petitioning for a declaratory order, the prisoner filed a petition in the Chancery Court for Davidson County seeking a declaratory judgment regarding his entitlement to sentence credits as well as a determination that he was entitled to immediate release. The trial court granted the Department's Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion to dismiss, and the prisoner has appealed. We affirm the trial court's conclusion that the prisoner's petition fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/moormanra.wpd
BARBARA VARGO v. LINCOLN BRASS WORKS, INC. Court:TCA Attorneys: Mark C. Travis, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lincoln Brass Works, Inc. Alan D. Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Barbara Vargo. Judge: KOCH First Paragraph: This appeal involves a dispute between an employee and her former employer over severance pay. After the employee obtained a $13,750 judgment in the Metropolitan General Sessions Court of Davidson County, the employer perfected a de novo appeal to the Circuit Court for Davidson County. Following a bench trial, the trial court concluded that the employee had a vested right to severance pay under the employer's severance policy and awarded the employee $15,262.50. The employer has appealed. We have determined that the employer's severance policy contained an enforceable contractual obligation to pay severance pay to eligible employees. In the absence of proof that the employee was ineligible, we find that the trial court correctly interpreted and applied the severance policy. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/vargob.wpd
CHARLES LANKFORD WHITED v. CHRISTY D. FLEENOR, IN RE: CLF, born February 8, 2001 Court:TCA Attorneys: Judith Fain, Johnson City, Tennessee, for appellant. Timothy W. Hudson, Bristol, Tennessee, for Appellee. Judge: FRANKS First Paragraph: Trial Court ordered child's surname changed from mother's to father's. We reverse. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/whitedc.wpd
THOMAS J. MCKEE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Kelly S. Johnson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas J. McKee. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Angele M. Gregory, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and G. Scott Green, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: TIPTON First Paragraph: The petitioner, Thomas J. McKee, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction for first degree premeditated murder and resulting life sentence. He contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial attorney failed (1) to request a mental evaluation for him; (2) to make a contemporaneous objection to the state's improper closing argument; and (3) to object to the inclusion of the phrase "moral certainty" in the jury's instruction on reasonable doubt. We affirm the trial court's denial of the petition. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/mckeethomasj.wpd

Feel free to forward this Opinion Flash on to anyone you know of with an e-mail address.

See the intrsuctions at the beginning of this edition of Opinion Flash.

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

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


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

HomeContact UsPageFinderWhat's NewHelp
© Copyright 2003 Tennessee Bar Association