Opinion Flash

December 31, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 237

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
05 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
00 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
06 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


CHARLES F. GALBREATH v. BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE
SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE

Court:TSC

Attorneys:                          

Charles Galbreath, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se. 

James A. Vick, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Board of
Professional Responsibility.

Judge: BIRCH

First Paragraph:

We have this case on direct appeal, pursuant to Tennessee Supreme
Court Rule 9, section 1.3, from the judgment of the circuit court
approving the order of a hearing committee of the Board of
Professional Responsibility that suspended Charles F. Galbreath, the
appellant, from the practice of law for a thirty-day period.  The
circuit court essentially adopted the findings of fact and conclusions
of law entered by the hearing committee.  Galbreath does not contest
those factual findings but argues that the sanction imposed is
excessive.  Upon review of the record and applicable authority, we
conclude that the thirty-day suspension is appropriate.  Accordingly,
we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

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

RONALD E. BROWN v. BALATON POWER, INC.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

A. Russell Willis, William B. Hawkins, Nashville, Tennessee; John W.
Elwick, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant, Balaton Power,
Inc.

William L. Harbison, L. Webb Campbell, Ryan A. Rafoth, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellee, Ronald E. Brown.

Judge: CAIN

First Paragraph:

This case involves the issue of whether parties contracted for
arbitration to be the sole method of dispute resolution with regard to
contract disputes.  We find the intent of the parties unclear due to
an irreconcilable conflict between two sections of the contract
dealing with dispute resolution.  We, thus, affirm the trial court's
ruling that Plaintiff cannot be compelled to arbitrate.

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

ALMA D. (MURRAY) NEISWINTER v. MARK K. MURRAY

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Ernest W. Williams and Anna E. Freeman, Franklin, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Alma D. (Murray) Neiswinter.

P. Edward Schell, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mark K.
Murray.

Judge: KIRBY

First Paragraph:

This appeal involves modification of child custody and child support,
and contempt for failure to pay the support.  When the mother and the
father were divorced, the mother was designated as the primary
residential parent.  Three years later, custody was changed to the
father.  Subsequently, the mother filed a petition for change of
custody and for modification of her child support obligation.  The
State later filed a petition on behalf of the father to hold the
mother in criminal contempt for  failure to pay child support.  After
a trial on both the mother's petition for change in custody and
support and the State's petition for contempt, the trial court denied
the mother's petition for custody, reduced the support retroactively
because one child no longer lived with the father, and granted the
State's petition, holding the mother in contempt.  As punishment for
the contempt, the trial court sentenced the mother to forty days in
prison.  From that order, the mother now appeals.  We affirm the trial
court's determinations regarding child custody and child support.  We
reverse the trial court's finding of criminal contempt, finding that
the mother had in fact paid all of the required child support, based
on the trial court's retroactive order reducing the child support
obligation.

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

JAMES KENT PYLANT v. KAREN CARDIN SPIVEY

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

W. Charles Doerflinger, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant,
James Kent Pylant.

Joe W. Henry, Jr., Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellee, Karen Cardin
Pylant (Spivey).

Judge: COTTRELL

First Paragraph:

This appeal involves a dispute over the extent of a father's
obligation, under a provision in a property settlement agreement, to
pay for his daughter's college education.  The daughter chose to
attend an expensive private college.  The trial court found that
father should pay tuition equivalent to the cost of an out-of-state
public university.  Both parties appealed.  We affirm the trial
court's decision that the father is obligated to pay reasonable costs,
but vacate the judgment because there is insufficient proof of such
costs

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

EDWARD PAUL SILVA v. ALBERT W. BUCKLEY, JR.
WITH DISSENTING OPINION

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Robert L. DeLaney, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Albert W.
Buckley, Jr.

P. Edward Schell, Franklin, Tennessee, and John D. Kitch, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellee, Edward Paul Silva.

Judge: CANTRELL

First Paragraph:

This is a dispute between an attorney and his client over the
attorney's fee.  The trial judge held that the parties agreed that the
attorney would be entitled to an enhanced fee if he obtained a good
result in the client's divorce.  We affirm that interpretation of the
agreement and the amount set by the trial judge as reasonable fee.

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


DISSENTING OPINION
http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/silvaep_dis.wpd

SPRING HILL, L.P., et al. v. TENNESSEE STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION, et
al.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Grant C. Glassford, Bryan E. Pieper, Paul D. Krivacka, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellants, Spring Hill, L.P., Greentree Pointe,
L.P., and Acorn Hills, L.P.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; Margaret M. Huff, Assistant Attorney General, for
the appellees, Tennessee State Board of Equalization.

Robert O. Binkley, Lewisburg, Tennessee for the appellees Linda
Haislip, Marshall County Property Assessor, and Margaret Tyree,
Marshall County Trustee.

Michael R. Jennings, Lebanon, Tennessee for the appellees Jennifer
Bell, Wilson County Property Assessor, and Ernest Lasater, Wilson
County Trustee.

Judge: COTTRELL

First Paragraph:

Taxpayers appeal their property tax assessments for the1998 tax year. 
All of the properties in dispute  receive  federal income tax credits
authorized by S 42 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, under the
Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.  Taxpayers complain
that the county assessors improperly included the present value of the
federal tax credits in the valuations of their low-income housing 
properties, thereby making the assessments too high.  The trial court
affirmed the decisions of the State Board of Equalization, finding
that the tax credits were properly included in the valuations.  In
addition, Taxpayer Acorn challenges its reclassification from
residential to commercial for property tax purposes.  The trial court
affirmed Acorn's reclassification.  We affirm the judgment of the
trial court.

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

Rule-making authority of the Tennessee Title VI Compliance Commission

Date: December 10, 2003

Opinion Number: 03-161                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/op161.pdf

Interpretation of Tenn. Code Ann. S 54-5-804

Date: December 12, 2003

Opinion Number: 03-162                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/op162.pdf

Issuance of Emergency License Plates to Trauma Physicians

Date: December 23, 2003

Opinion Number: 03-163                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/op163.pdf

Jurisdiction of Drug Courts Created Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. S
16-22-101

Date: December 23, 2003

Opinion Number: 03-164                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/op164.pdf

Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Date: December 23, 2003

Opinion Number: 03-165                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/op165.pdf

Good-Time Credits

Date: December 23, 2003

Opinion Number: 03-166                         

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2003/op166.pdf

PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL!
Feel free to forward this Opinion Flash on to anyone you know of with an e-mail address.

GET A FULL-TEXT COPY OF AN OPINION!
See the intrsuctions at the beginning of this edition of Opinion Flash.

JOIN THE TENNESSEE BAR ASSOCIATION!
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

SUBSCRIBE TO OPINION FLASH!
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

UNSUBSCRIBE TO OPINION FLASH? ... SURELY NOT!

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