June 6, 2003
Volume 9 Number 103
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):
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court Workers' Compensation Panel
||New Document(s) or Proposed Rule(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
||New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Attorney General (PDF format)
||New Judicial Ethics Opinion(s)
||New Formal Ethics Opinion(s) from the Board of Professional Responsibility
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Howard H. Vogel
BRIAN C. MAYES v. RONALD R. LEMONTE, JR.
Ronald R. LeMonte, Jr., Clarksville, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Brian C. Mayes, Clarksville, Tennessee, Pro Se.
In this dog bite case, the trial court awarded a meter reader $5000 in
compensatory damages against the dog owner. The dog owner claims on
appeal that he was not negligent in handling his dog and that the
sitting trial judge was biased and prejudiced against him. We affirm.
ROYAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. R & R DRYWALL, INC. AND TENNESSEE
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND INSURANCE
Lawrence B. Hammett, II and H. Brent Patrick, Nashville, Tennessee,
for the appellant R & R Drywall, Inc.
Blakeley D. Matthews and Kristen Murphy Anderson, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellee, Royal Insurance Company.
A workers' compensation insurance carrier assessed a retrospective
premium increase of over $60,000 against a contractor after auditing
the company's books and finding evidence that its subcontractors
employed more workers than the contractor had declared. The
contractor filed an administrative appeal of the assessment, arguing
that the additional workers were not actually employees of its
subcontractors, but members of de facto partnerships, and thus not
covered under the contractor's policy. The administrative law judge
agreed, and found that the contractor was not liable for the
additional premium. The Chancery Court of Davidson County reversed
the administrative law judge, finding that the insurance company was
entitled to the additional premium, because it had borne the risk of
liability to those workers for on-the-job injuries. We affirm the
LOLA ANN NEUGEBAUER TAYLOR v. JAMES RUSSELL TAYLOR
Jim Wiseman, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Russell
Charles Patrick Flynn, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lola
Ann Neugebauer Taylor.
This appeal arises from the dissolution of a four-year marriage. The
wife sought a divorce in the Circuit Court for Rutherford County
because of the husband's chronic drunkenness, non-support, and threats
of violence. Following a bench trial, the court granted the wife a
divorce on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct. The trial
court also divided the martial estate, gave the wife custody of the
parties' four-year-old daughter, and directed the husband to pay child
support. On this appeal, the husband asserts that the trial court
erred in its classification and division of the marital property, that
the trial court awarded an excessive amount of child support, and that
the trial court erred by denying his request to place a portion of his
child support in an educational trust fund. For her part, the wife
requests an additional award to defray her legal expenses for this
appeal. We conclude that the trial court (1) correctly classified and
divided the marital estate, (2) properly sequestered a portion of the
husband's assets to assure the timely and regular payment of his child
support, and (3) properly declined to establish an educational trust
fund for the child. We also conclude that the trial court erred by
failing to direct the trial court clerk to return the remainder of the
sequestered funds to the husband when his child support obligation
ceased. In addition, we decline to award the wife her legal expenses
for this appeal or to find that this appeal was frivolous.
THOMAS & ASSOCIATES, INC. v. THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE
AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, et al.
Vic L. McConnell, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, Thomas &
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore,
Solicitor General; Rachel L. Steele, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Transportation,
State of Tennessee.
This appeal involves a dispute between a road contractor and the
Tennessee Department of Transportation involving two construction
projects in the Nashville area. Following extensive construction
delays attributed to the relocation of utilities, the contractor filed
claims based on negligence and breach of contract with the Tennessee
Division of Claims Administration which were transferred to the
Circuit Court for Davidson County. The trial court granted the
Department's motion for summary judgment and dismissed all the
contractor's claims. We have determined that the trial court
correctly dismissed the contractor's negligence claims but that the
trial court erred by denying the contractor's breach of contract
claims. Accordingly, we vacate the portion of the judgment dismissing
the contractor's contract claims and remand the case for further
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORTLAND KESHIRA CATES
Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and Robert C. Edwards,
Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Cortland
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Braden H. Boucek,
Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney
General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
The defendant, Cortland Keshira Cates, pled guilty to two counts of
rape. The trial court sentenced him to eight years' incarceration for
each count, to be served concurrently. On appeal, the defendant
contends the trial court erred in denying probation. We affirm the
judgments of the trial court.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRIGITTE PAULI
John H. Henderson, District Public Defender; and Douglas P. Nanney,
Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Brigitte Pauli.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth T. Ryan,
Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney
General; and Lee E. Dryer, Assistant District Attorney General, for
the appellee, State of Tennessee.
A Williamson County jury convicted the defendant, Brigitte Pauli, of
three counts of theft of property over $60,000, one count of theft of
property over $1,000, and one count of forgery. The trial court
imposed an effective sentence of ten years and ordered the defendant
to pay $4,458,203 as restitution. In this appeal, the defendant
contends (1) the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions;
(2) the trial court erred in prohibiting the defendant from
questioning a witness regarding an alleged prior bad act by another
witness; (3) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the values
and costs of producing various products; (4) the state made an
untimely and improper election of offenses; (5) the trial court erred
in allowing the state to present the testimony of a rebuttal witness;
(6) the trial court erred in instructing the jury on flight; and (7)
the trial court erred in sentencing the defendant. Upon our review,
we merge the three counts of theft over $60,000 into one conviction
and remand for a redetermination of restitution. Otherwise, we affirm
the judgments of the trial court.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WALTER CLYDE RAINEY, JR.
Robert D. Massey, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Walter Clyde
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley,
Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General;
and Joel Douglas Dicus and Robert C. Sanders, Assistant District
Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Judge: MCGEE OGLE
The appellant, Walter Clyde Rainey, Jr., was convicted by a jury in
the Wayne County Circuit Court of seven counts of sexual battery by an
authority figure and seven counts of statutory rape. The trial court
sentenced the appellant to a total effective sentence of four years
incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal,
the appellant raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether
the evidence was sufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) whether
the trial court erred by consolidating the offenses for trial; (3)
whether the trial court erred in its ruling regarding the
admissibility of the testimony of prosecution witness Tabitha Smith;
(4) whether the prosecution's closing argument was improper; and (5)
whether the trial court erred in sentencing the appellant. Upon
review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments
of the trial court.
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