Opinion Flash

August 12, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 145

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
01 New Document(s) or Proposed Rule(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
03 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
00 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


SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE
SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS

Court:TSC - Rules

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_Rules/certlist_0811.wpd

PRODIGY SERVICES CORPORATION, INC. v. RUTH E. JOHNSON, COMMISSIONER OF
REVENUE, STATE OF TENNESSEE, ET AL.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; Margaret M. Huff, Assistant Attorney General, for
the appellant, Ruth E. Johnson, Commissioner of Revenue, State of
Tennessee, and the Attorney General.

Charles A. Trost and Michael G. Stewart, Nashville, Tennessee; Peter
J. Brann, Lewiston, Maine, for the appellee, Prodigy Services
Corporation, Inc.

Joseph W. Gibbs and Patricia Head Moskal, Nashville, Tennessee;
Richard P. Bress and John W. Westmoreland, Washington, DC, for the
amici curiae, Information Technology Association of America and U.S.
Internet Service Providers Association.

Judge: CANTRELL

First Paragraph:

The Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue assessed Prodigy Services
Corporation, Inc. for sales and use taxes on "telecommunication
services" as defined in Tenn. Code Ann. S 67-6-102(29)(now codified at
Tenn. Code Ann. S 67-6-102(31)(Supp. 2002)).  Prodigy challenged the
assessment in the Chancery Court of Davidson County.  The court
granted Prodigy summary judgment, concluding that Prodigy's online
computer information services did not meet the description of the
taxable event in the statute.  We affirm.

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

KEN STEPHENS v. ROANE STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Samuel W. Brown, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ken
Stephens.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, and William J. Marett,
Jr., Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Roane State Community College.

Judge: KIRBY

First Paragraph:

This is a sexual harassment case.  The plaintiff was a tenured
professor at the defendant college.  In 1996, one of the professor's
students filed a complaint of sexual harassment with the college,
alleging that the professor engaged in unwelcome sexual conduct and
created a hostile educational environment.  After a hearing, an
administrative law judge determined that the professor had committed
the acts charged.  Consequently, the professor was suspended without
pay for six months.  The professor appealed the administrative
decision to the trial court.  The trial court upheld the decision,
using a deferential standard of review, and the professor filed the
first appeal in this case.  On appeal, this Court reversed and
remanded for a review de novo on the record.  On remand, the trial
court reviewed the case de novo on the record and again upheld the
ALJ's decision.  The professor now appeals.  We affirm, finding that
the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow the
professor to testify in person at the rehearing on remand, and that
the trial court did not err in finding that the ALJ's decision was
supported by clear and convincing evidence.

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

JUDITH ANN WALKER v. CITY OF COOKEVILLE, TENNESSEE, D/B/A  COOKEVILLE
REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

H. Rowan Leathers III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, City
of Cookeville, Tennessee d/b/a Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Phillip P. Welty, Nashville, Tennessee, and Ronald Thurman,
Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Judith Ann Walker.

Judge: KOCH

First Paragraph:

This appeal involves an employment dispute between the Cookeville
Regional Medical Center and a senior management employee.  After the
hospital's chief executive officer removed the employee from her
position as Interim Assistant Administrator and Director of Quality
Management, the employee resigned and filed suit in the Circuit Court
for Putnam County alleging that the hospital breached her employment
contract by declining to pay her the severance benefits required by
her employment contract.  Following a bench trial, the court found
that the hospital had breached the employment contract and awarded the
employee severance benefits, prejudgment interest, and discretionary
costs.  The hospital argues on this appeal that the employee was not
entitled to severance pay because (1) she had voluntarily resigned,
(2) the parties understood that the employee's appointment as
assistant administrator was not permanent, and (3) the employee's
demotion did not materially alter her duties or status.  We affirm the
judgment because the hospital breached the employee's contract when it
demoted her and declined to pay her the severance benefits required by
her employment contract.

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

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