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Today's Opinions: January 5, 2005
Volume 11 — Number 002
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.
00 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
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

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 or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on-line at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.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


EDWARD HUTCHINSON, JAMES HUTCHINSON, AND SHARON HUTCHINSON v. ESTATE
OF ALLIEN DAY MORRISON NUNN BY AND THROUGH REBECCA D. OZIER, EXECUTRIX

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

John D. Horne, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Edward
Hutchinson, James Hutchinson, and Sharon Hutchinson.

J. Payson Matthews, Somerville, Tennessee, and H. Morris Denton,
Bolivar, Tennessee, for the appellee, Estate of Allien Day Morrison
Nunn by and through Rebecca D. Ozier, Executrix.

Judge: KIRBY

First Paragraph:

This is an action by remaindermen against a life tenant for property
damage and waste to real property.  The defendant's decedent had a
life estate in a 1,700 acre tract of land.  In September 1995, she
sold timber from the property to a timber company.  At that time, a
timber deed was registered in the county register's office.  The
timber deed was later extended through October 1997.  The decedent
died in February 1998.  The plaintiff remaindermen, who had received
title to the property in fee simple at the death of the decedent,
subsequently discovered that the deceased life tenant had clear-cut
all of the timber from the property.  In June 2000, the plaintiffs
filed this action against the decedent's estate, claiming damages from
the clear-cutting of the property.  The estate filed a motion for
summary judgment, arguing that the claim was time-barred based on the
applicable three-year statute of limitations.  It asserted that the
cause of action accrued in September 1995 when the timber deed was
registered, because registration of that instrument constituted
"notice to the world" under T.C.A. S 66-26-102.  The trial court
granted summary judgment in favor of the estate.  The plaintiffs now
appeal.  We reverse, concluding that registration of the timber deed
alone does not constitute constructive notice, and that genuine issues
of material fact exist as to when the damage occurred and when the
plaintiffs knew or should have known of it.

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

TERRI MITCHELL v. SARATOGA INVESTMENT COMPANY and WILLIAM LEIGHTON
REED

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

John S. Colley, III, Columbia, for the plaintiff/appellant Terri
Mitchell

G. Coble Caperton, Memphis, for the defendant/appellee William
Leighton Reed

John McQuiston, II, Memphis, for defendant/appellee Saratoga
Investment Company

Judge: KIRBY

First Paragraph:

This case is about enforcement of a settlement agreement.  In 1994,
the parties entered into a joint agreement for the development of
residential property.  In 1996, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against
the defendants, alleging breach of contract.  The parties attempted to
reach a settlement agreement to resolve the dispute.  This resulted in
a written agreement signed only by the defendant.  The defendant made
some payments pursuant to the written agreement, but further disputes
arose.  The defendant moved to enforce the settlement agreement.  The
plaintiff alleged that she never agreed to the final settlement
agreement.  The trial court held that the written settlement agreement
was binding on the parties.   The plaintiff then appealed this ruling,
again alleging that no settlement agreement ever existed, and, in the
alternative, that the defendant breached the settlement agreement by
not tendering the required payments. We vacate the order of the trial
court, finding that even if a valid settlement agreement existed, the
defendant breached the agreement by failing to tender the required
payments.

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

PAMELA D. VICKROY v. PATHWAYS, INC., DYERSBURG, TN, KIMBERLY BOYD, J.
FOREST-LAM, M.D., METHODIST HOSPITALS OF DYERSBURG, TN, COLEMAN FOSS,
ADMINISTRATOR, AND WESTERN MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE, BOLIVAR, TN

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Louis R. Lucas, Memphis, for plaintiff Pamela D. Vickroy.

Marty R. Phillips and Craig P. Sanders, Jackson, for appellee James
Forest-Lam, M.D.

Judge: KIRBY

First Paragraph:

This case involves involuntary commitment to a mental institution. 
Paramedics were called to the plaintiff's home by her roommate, and
she was brought involuntarily to the hospital for evaluation.  She was
admitted to the emergency room and examined by the physician on duty. 
She was interviewed by a mental health clinician.  The physician then
went off duty and the defendant physician took charge.  The defendant
physician examined the patient's chart, reviewed the history taken by
the prior physician and the mental health clinician, and then signed a
form committing the plaintiff to a mental institution.  The form
stated that the defendant physician had examined the plaintiff, but
the plaintiff was examined only by the prior physician, who was no
longer on duty.  The plaintiff then sued the defendant physician for
involuntarily committing her to a mental institution without
personally examining her.  The trial court granted summary judgment to
the defendant physician, classifying the action as medical malpractice
and finding that the plaintiff failed to offer competent expert proof
as required under T.C.A. S 29-26-115. We affirm the grant of summary
judgment as to claims of medical malpractice, and reverse the grant of
summary judgment for the claims of negligence and false imprisonment,
finding that T.C.A. S 36-6-402 requires that a physician or designated
professional who commits a patient to a mental institution must first
personally examine the patient, rather than relying exclusively on
medical records or someone else's examination of the patient.

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

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