Opinion FlashFebruary 20, 2004
Volume 10 Number 034
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):
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Howard H. Vogel
CITY OF COOKEVILLE, TN by and through COOKEVILLE REGIONAL MED. CTR. v. WILLIAM M. HUMPHREY, M.D., ET AL. Court:TSC Attorneys: William H. West, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Daniel F. Coonce, M.D., William M. Humphrey, M.D., John P. Limbacher, M.D., George O. Mead, M.D., and Putnam Radiology, P.C. Andree Sophia Blumstein, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Cookeville by and through Cookeville Regional Medical Center. William B. Hubbard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Hospital Association. Brian W. Holmes and David L. Steed, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amici curiae, American College of Radiology, American Medical Association, Medical Staff of Cookeville Regional Medical Center, Putnam County Medical Society, and Tennessee Medical Association. Judge: HOLDER First Paragraph: In this declaratory judgment action, the plaintiff, a private act hospital authority established pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated sections 7-57-601 to -604, seeks a declaration that it has the authority to enter into an exclusive contract for professional imaging services. The defendants, four radiologists who currently have clinical privileges at the Imaging Department of a hospital operated by the plaintiff, filed a counterclaim. We affirm the judgments of the lower courts, holding that Tennessee Code Annotated section 7-57-603 permits the hospital authority to enter into an exclusive provider contract, that the Board of Trustee's decision to close the staff of the Imaging Department did not violate the medical staff bylaws, and that the defendants are not legally or constitutionally entitled to a hearing if their clinical privileges are terminated upon the entry of an exclusive provider contract. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/cookevillecityof.wpd
JUDITH CHRISTENBERRY v. STANLEY F. TIPTON, ET AL. Court:TCA Attorneys: David L. Buuck, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Judith Christenberry. J. Gregory O'Connor, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company. William Arthur Simms, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Stanley F. Tipton. Judge: SUSANO First Paragraph: This case arises out of an automobile accident. The primary focus of this appeal is on questions pertaining to uninsured motorists ("UM") coverage. At the time of the accident, Judith Christenberry ("the plaintiff") - a single woman - was riding as a backseat passenger in an automobile owned and driven by her friend, the defendant Stanley F. Tipton ("the defendant driver"). The plaintiff sued the defendant driver and "John Doe" - the unidentified motorist who caused the defendant driver to lose control of his vehicle - for damages resulting from serious personal injuries sustained by her in the accident. The plaintiff secured service of process on State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company ("State Auto") seeking UM benefits under a "commercial auto insurance policy" ("the Christenberry policy" or "the policy") issued to Christenberry Trucking and Farm, Inc. ("the Christenberry company") and Clayton V. Christenberry, Jr., the plaintiff's former husband. State Auto contends that the plaintiff, when riding in a non-covered vehicle, is not an "insured" under the Christenberry policy and, as a consequence of this fact, is not entitled to UM benefits under the policy. State Auto moved for summary judgment as did the defendant driver. The trial court granted both motions. The plaintiff appeals, challenging both rulings. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/christen.wpd
IN RE: M.E.A. BY: ELIZABETH JOY ARGO EXUM, ET AL. v. KIMBERLY DARLENE MOODY, ET AL. Court:TCA Attorneys: David W. Camp, Jackson, For Appellant, Kimberly Moody Catherine B. Clayton, Jackson, For Appellees, Elizabeth Joy Argo Exum and James L.Exum Judge: CRAWFORD First Paragraph: This is an appeal of a termination of parental rights case. Appellant mother contends that the petitioners have no standing to bring the petition and also that the petitioners failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence the grounds for termination and that the termination was in the best interest of the child. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/mea.wpd
RONNIE M. CAUTHERN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Donald E. Dawson, Post-Conviction Defender; and Paul J. Morrow, Deputy Post-Conviction Defender, for the Appellant, Ronnie M. Cauthern. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Glenn Pruden, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Arthur F. Beiber, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WITT First Paragraph: The petitioner, Ronnie M. Cauthern, appeals the Montgomery County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. In 1988, the petitioner was convicted by a jury of two counts of felony murder and sentenced to death. He was also convicted of the related crimes of first degree burglary and aggravated rape. His convictions were affirmed on direct appeal by the Tennessee Supreme Court, but his death sentences were reversed and remanded for a new sentencing trial. Upon retrial before a jury in 1995, the petitioner received the death penalty for the murder of one victim and a sentence of life imprisonment for the second victim's murder. Those sentences were appealed and affirmed, following which the petitioner instituted a collateral proceeding seeking post-conviction relief from his convictions and sentences. Lengthy hearings were conducted on the petitioner's claims, the majority of which involved allegations that counsel representing him in his 1988 and 1995 trials rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel. On appeal, the petitioner contends (1) that trial counsel's services were deficient and prejudicial; (2) that the state suppressed exculpatory evidence in violation of his due process rights; (3) that the United States Supreme Court's opinions in Apprendi v. New Jersey and Ring v. Arizona require that his death sentence be set aside; (4) that he was entitled to but was not notified of his right to seek German consular assistance pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; (5) that the lower court erroneously concluded that some of his claims had been waived or previously determined; (6) that Tennessee's system of capital punishment is unconstitutional; and (7) that erroneous jury instructions impaired his right to a fair trial. After an extensive review of the record and consideration of applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/cauthernronniem.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TERRY CLARK Court:TCCA Attorneys: Columbus Wade Bobo, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terry Clark. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Richard H. Dunavant, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Kim G. Menke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WEDEMEYER First Paragraph: A Dickson County jury convicted the Defendant, Terry Clark, of driving under the influence of an intoxicant ("DUI") and assault. The Defendant alleges that the evidence is insufficient to support her assault conviction. After reviewing the record, we conclude that sufficient evidence exists and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/clarktd.wpd
RONNIE GRAVES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Clifford K. McGown, Jr., Waverly, Tennessee (on appeal); James T. Powell, Union City, Tennessee (at hearing), for the appellant, Ronnie Graves. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: RILEY First Paragraph: The petitioner was indicted for first degree murder and subsequently pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the petitioner was sentenced to fifteen years as a career offender with a 60% release eligibility date. The petitioner appeals the post-conviction court's denial of post-conviction relief, arguing: (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel; and (2) his guilty plea was made unknowingly with respect to his release eligibility status as a career offender. Upon review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court's denial of post-conviction relief. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/graves.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEJI A. OGUNDIYA Court:TCCA Attorneys: David L. Raybin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Deji A. Ogundiya. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Shelli Neal, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: After a mistrial in August of 2001, the Defendant, Deji Ogundiya, was retried and convicted by a jury of three counts of sexual battery. In this appeal, the Defendant raises several issues, including whether the trial court erred by failing to charge misdemeanor assault as a lesser-included offense of sexual battery. The State concedes that the trial court so erred. We agree that the trial court committed reversible error by failing to charge the jury with the lesser-included offense. Therefore, the Defendant's convictions are reversed and the case is remanded for a new trial. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/ogundiyada.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHAUN DAVID PIERCE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Andrew Jackson Dearing, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shaun Pierce. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Mike McCown, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: The Defendant, Shaun David Pierce, pled guilty to four counts of burglary of an automobile, a Class E felony, two counts of theft over one-thousand dollars, a Class D felony, two counts of theft over five-hundred dollars, a Class E felony, four counts of theft under five-hundred dollars, a Class A misdemeanor, and two counts of vandalism under five-hundred dollars, a Class A misdemeanor. The Defendant received an effective sentence of sixteen years. The sole issue in this direct appeal is whether the trial court erred by not allowing the Defendant to serve his sentence in the community corrections program. We affirm the judgments of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/piercesd.wpd
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