Opinion Flash

November 06, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 204

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
02 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

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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


STANLEY DAVID ALFORD v. PAMELA WARD ALFORD

Court:TSC

Attorneys:                          

Janice H. Snider, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stanley
David Alford.

Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Pamela Ward
Alford.

Judge: DROWOTA

First Paragraph:

We granted permission to appeal in this divorce case to determine: (1)
whether the Court of Appeals erred in applying a "joint benefit"
definition of marital debt and holding that debt incurred by Wife
during the parties' ten-year separation was marital debt; and (2)
whether the Court of Appeals correctly allocated this debt when it
held that Husband should be required to pay Wife's marital debts.  We
hold that debts  incurred by either or both spouses during the course
of a marriage are properly classified as marital debt; therefore the
debts at issue in this case are marital. In allocating marital debts,
trial courts should consider the following four factors: (1) the
debt's purpose; (2) which party incurred the debt; (3) which party
benefitted from incurring the debt; and (4) which party is best able
to repay the debt.  Because the record does not contain sufficient
evidence to determine how the debts in this case should be allocated,
this case is remanded to the trial court to determine the proper
allocation of the marital debts.  The trial court's determination
shall be guided by the four factors set out above.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/alfords.wpd

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN L. PHILLIPS, ET AL.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Richard McGee and Jodie A. Bell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellants, John L. Phillips and Carolyn Phillips d/b/a Low Riders
Club.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, and Richard H.
Dunavant, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Tennessee.

Judge: KOCH

First Paragraph:

This appeal involves the forfeiture of two motorcycles and $15,910
seized by the District Attorney General for the Twentieth Judicial
District as part of a proceeding to abate a motorcycle club as a
nuisance.  The owners of the club requested the Criminal Court for
Davidson County to return the motorcycles and cash because they had
not been used to maintain or conduct the motorcycle club.  The trial
court conducted a bench trial and ordered that the property be
forfeited.  The motorcycle club's owners have appealed.  We have
determined that the evidence supports the forfeiture order with regard
to the two motorcycles and all but $680 of the cash.

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

LAURA C. TOTTY, ET AL. v. JOHN THOMPSON, M.D., ET AL.
CORRECTED OPINION

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

E.Covington Johnston,Jr., Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants,
Laura C. and Alvin Mitchel Totty.

Michael A. Geracioti and Dale A. Tipps, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
appellees, John Thompson, M.D., and Nolensville Family Care Center.

Judge: CAIN

First Paragraph:

In this medical malpractice case, Plaintiff appeals summary judgment
based upon the failure of Plaintiff's medical expert to establish the
requisite familiarity with the standard of care in the community in
which Defendant practices or in a similar community.  We affirm the
action of the trial court.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD PHILLIP MATHER

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

J. Thomas Marshall, Jr., District Public Defender; and Nancy C. Meyer,
Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Richard Phillip
Mather.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry,
Assistant Attorney General; James N. Ramsey, District Attorney
General; and Jan G. Hicks, Assistant District Attorney General, for
the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

First Paragraph:

The appellant, Richard Phillip Mather, pled guilty in the Anderson
County Circuit Court to criminally negligent homicide.  The trial
court sentenced the appellant as a Range I standard offender to two
years incarceration.  On appeal, the appellant contends: (1) the trial
court erred by failing to recuse himself from the proceedings; and (2)
the trial court erred by rejecting the initial plea agreement.  Upon
review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment
of the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/matherr.wpd

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