Opinion Flash

April 25, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 075

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
00 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
08 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




Suprena Brooks, Pro Se

Michael K. Brooks, Pro Se                         


First Paragraph:

This is a pro se proceeding apparently seeking property allegedly due
plaintiffs pursuant to a decedent's will which has not been probated
and to award plaintiffs a money judgment against the executor named in
the will.  After a nonjury trial, the trial court granted judgment to
defendant.  Plaintiffs have appealed.  We affirm.

THE TOWN OF COLLIERVILLE, TENNESSEE v. NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, JANE PORTER FEILD and JOEL H. PORTER, and SCHILLING, INC. Court:TCA Attorneys: Ralph T. Gibson, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellant, Norfolk Southern Railway Company. Robert A. McLean and Georgia A. Robinette, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellee, Town of Collierville, Tennessee. John McQuiston, II, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellee, Schilling, Inc. Joel H. Porter, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellees, Joel H. Porter and Jane Porter Feild. Judge: LILLARD First Paragraph: This is a condemnation case on appeal for the second time. At three places at which roads were to cross over an existing railroad track, the town filed a petition to condemn property in which the railroad owned a right-of-way, in order to build railroad crossings. The trial court initially found that the railroad could not challenge the town's right to take the property and granted the town's motion for the writs of possession. The railroad appealed for the first time. In the first appeal, this Court reversed the trial court and found that the railroad was entitled to a hearing to determine whether the railroad crossings would materially impair or interfere with the railroad's prior use of the rights-of-way. On remand, the trial court found that they would not, thus concluding that the town had the right to condemn the property. The trial court then considered the damages for the condemnation. The railroad sought incidental damages related to its depreciation costs, as well as costs for its increased exposure to liability because of the additional crossings. The trial court determined that the railroad, as a matter of law, could not recover depreciation costs, and also held that the railroad failed to produce proof to support an award of damages for increased liability exposure. The railroad appeals. We affirm, finding that the railroad can recover neither depreciation costs nor damages for increased exposure to liability from the additional crossings. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/collierville.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE ex rel. THE COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION v. TOMMIE GOODWIN and ARLENE GOODWIN Court:TCA Attorneys: Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter, and George G. Boyte, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, State of Tennessee ex rel. Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. Richard Gossum, Trenton, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tommie Goodwin and Arlene Goodwin. Judge: LILLARD First Paragraph: This is a condemnation case. The State filed a petition to condemn a portion of property owned by the defendants for the improvement of a highway. The defendants did not challenge the State's right to condemn the property, but they asserted that the amount proffered by the State as payment for the property was inadequate. After a jury trial, the jury returned a verdict of $13,500. The defendants moved for a new trial or, in the alternative, for an additur. The trial court concluded that the jury's verdict did not adequately compensate the defendants for either their financial loss or the loss to their business resulting from the condemnation, so it granted the motion for an additur, suggesting an additur of $12,000. The State accepted the additur under protest and now appeals. We affirm, finding that the trial court's suggested additur did not constitute an impermissible award for lost profits. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/goodwint.wpd
GINGER SWEETON v. ANGELA ORANGE, et al. Court:TCA Attorneys: Marshall A. Raines, Jr., Jasper, For Appellant, Ginger Sweeton James S. Stephens, Tracy City, For Appellees, Angela Orange, James Orange, and David Caldwell Judge: CRAWFORD First Paragraph: This is a dispute between two adjoining property owners concerning the location of the common boundary between their respective properties. A survey of the line indicates that the land in question is property of Appellees. Appellant contends that, due to actions taken by her predecessors in interest, she has claim to the property by virtue of adverse possession. The trial court found that the land in question, with the exception of certain buildings used for storage, is the property of Appellees. Appellant appeals. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/sweetonginger.wpd
SHARON TAYLOR v. DOUGLAS BUTLER and CITY AUTO SALES Court:TCA Attorneys: Sam F. Cole, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sharon Taylor. Joseph D. Barton, Millington, Tennessee, for the appellees, Douglas Butler and City Auto Sales. Judge: LILLARD First Paragraph: This case involves the enforceability of an arbitration agreement. In June 1998, the plaintiff signed a contract to buy a used car from the defendant car dealership for approximately $10,000. In the sales contract, the plaintiff agreed to pay the dealership approximately $1,000 as a down payment on the car and finance the remainder. The sales contract included an arbitration provision. The plaintiff gave the dealership the down payment, and the dealership gave the plaintiff possession of the car pending final approval of the financing. Approximately a week later, the car dealership told the plaintiff that her application for financing had been rejected, and asked her to return the car. The plaintiff refused. The dealership then repossessed the car and kept the down payment and other personal property that the plaintiff had in the car. The plaintiff sued the dealership, claiming fraud, violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, and conversion. The dealership filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff's claims were subject to the arbitration provision in the sales contract. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff's lawsuit, and the plaintiff now appeals. We reverse, finding that the plaintiff stated a claim for fraudulent inducement of the contract, which is not subject to the arbitration provision. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/taylors.wpd
Constitutionality of Imposing the Tennessee Sales Tax on Newspaper Sales Date: April 16, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-045 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP45.pdf
Charter Schools Date: April 16, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-046 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP46.pdf
Mandatory testing to determine blood alcohol level Date: April 22, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-047 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP47.pdf
Liability of Driver to Passengers Not Wearing Safety Belts Date: April 22, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-048 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP48.pdf
Reverse Raffle and Auction as Lottery Date: April 22, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-049 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP49.pdf
Bail Bond Secured by Real Estate Date: April 22, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-050 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP50.pdf
Powers of the Watauga River Regional Water Authority Date: April 23, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-051 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP51.pdf
Constitutionality of H.B. 652 Date: April 24, 2003 Opinion Number: 03-052 http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/OP52.pdf

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