TennBarU Teleseminar: Changes in Federal Estate Tax and Tennessee
Inheritance Tax Laws & Family Limited Partnerships: Current
Developments in Wealth Preservation
April 26 Teleseminar

Speakers Paul Hayes and Thomas Buckner will examine the current
federal estate tax and Tennessee inheritance tax exemptions and
provide a practical solution to drafting estate plans for married
couples, which allow use of the maximum federal estate tax exemption
without creating a current Tennessee inheritance tax liability. This
course will also briefly discuss the following recent changes to
federal and state estate tax laws: (i) the repeal of the state death
tax credit, (ii) the new state death tax deduction, and (iii) the
effect of other states decoupling their estate tax from the federal
estate tax. Finally, this seminar will discuss the mechanics of this
wealth preservation tool and provide necessary guidance to estate
planners in the wake of the United States Tax Court decision in
Strangi II.

Today's Opinions: April 21, 2005
Volume 11 — Number 075
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.
01 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
02 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
08 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
09 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. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. • Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. • 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


MAYLENE E. LEDBETTER v. BRYAN K. LEDBETTER
CORRECTED OPINION

Court:TSC

Attorneys:                          

Johnny V. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maylene
E. Ledbetter.

James M. Webster and Michael R. Kelley, Clinton, Tennessee, for the
appellee, Bryan K.Ledbetter.

Judge: BIRCH

First Paragraph:

In this interlocutory appeal, we must determine whether the trial
court had the authority to enforce a mediated marital dissolution
agreement when one of the parties repudiated its terms prior to court
approval. Here, the parties, Maylene and Bryan Ledbetter, reached,
through mediation, a marital dissolution agreement pursuant to
Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31. Shortly after the mediation, and
prior to presentation for court approval, Mr.Ledbetter repudiated the
agreement. Mrs. Ledbetter then filed a motion to enforce the terms of
the agreement. Following a hearing, the trial court overruled Mrs.
Ledbetter's motion, ruling that the oral agreement reached in
mediation was not binding and enforceable against the parties. After a
thorough review of the record and relevant case law, we conclude that
because Mr. Ledbetter repudiated the terms of the agreement prior to
its presentation to the court, the trial court lacked authority to
enter a judgment on the agreement. Further, because the agreement had
not been reduced to writing and signed by the parties, it is not an
enforceable contract. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial
court.

CORRECTED OPINION
http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/2005/ledbettermaye.pdf

CONNIE FRANCES FRITTS v. SAFETY NATIONAL CASUALTY CORP.

Court:TSC - Workers Comp Panel

Attorneys:                          

Peter J. Alliman, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the
Plaintiff-Appellant, Connie Frances Fritts.

Kent Thomas Jones, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellee,
Safety National Casualty Corp.

Judge: HOLDER

First Paragraph:

The employee in this workers' compensation case suffered a spontaneous
and large right-lung pneumothorax while at work. The pneumothorax
required two corrective surgeries and resulted in treatment with
narcotics for chronic pain. After a careful review of the record, we
conclude that the injury sustained was an accidental injury arising
out of and in the course of her employment. We further hold that the
evidence supports the trial court's finding that the employee was
totally and permanently disabled. We affirm the trial court's judgment
and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2005/frittsconnief.pdf

RANDY LEE HAYES vs. FIRST SOURCE FURNITURE GROUP, ET AL.

Court:TSC - Workers Comp Panel

Attorneys:                          

S. Newton Anderson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellants, First
Source Furniture Group and Travelers Insurance Company.

Art D. Wells, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Randy Lee Hayes.

Judge: BROWN

First Paragraph:

First Source Furniture Group and Travelers Insurance Company have
appealed the decisions of the trial court in favor of Randy Lee Hayes.
First, the trial court awarded Mr. Hayes 25% permanent partial
disability to his left arm due to a new injury. Second, the trial
court, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(a)(2),
reconsidered Mr. Hayes' prior award and increased it by 7% to the body
as a whole. We affirm the decisions of the trial court while
correcting an admitted error regarding Mr. Hayes' workers'
compensation benefit rate for the arm injury.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2005/hayesrandyl.pdf

KATHY BROWN, ET AL. v. CLINT SEAL, ET AL.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Douglas T.Jenkins, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the Appellants
KathyBrown, Deanna Trent, Rodney Seal, Norman Seal, Tener Clemons,
Louise Welch, and Dennis Davis.

Floyd W. Rhea, Sneedville, Tennessee, for the Appellees Clint Seal,
Tony H. Seal, and Patricia G. Seal.

Judge: SWINEY

First Paragraph:

In the 1940's, Tyler Seal received a life estate interest in a parcel
of land with the remainder going to his heirs at law upon his death.
In 1968, Tyler Seal conveyed his interest in the property to his
brother, Clint Seal, via a deed which purported to convey a fee simple
interest. This deed was not recorded until 1991. Tyler Seal passed
away in March of 1996. Clint Seal deeded the property in fee simple to
his son and daughter-in-law, Tony and Patricia Seal, the following
year. This lawsuit was filed by various persons claiming an interest
in the land because they were remaindermen. Suit was brought against
Clint Seal as well as Tony and Patricia Seal ("Defendants").
Defendants claimed they were the rightful record owners of the
property or, alternatively, that they were entitled to ownership of
the property based on adverse possession. The Trial Court concluded
Defendants were entitled to ownership of the property because they had
adversely possessed the property for the requisite number of years and
further that Plaintiffs' seven year statute of limitations to file
suit had expired. We reverse.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/brownkathy.pdf

STATE OF TENNESSEE, ex rel., CONNIE MITCHELL v. PERCY MITCHELL

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Stuart F.
Wilson-Patton, Senior Counsel, For Appellant, State of Tennessee, ex
rel., Connie Mitchell

No appearance by Appellee.

Judge: CRAWFORD

First Paragraph:

This is a Title IV child support case. Father/Appellee was subject to
a court order requiring him to make monthly child support payments.
Mother allegedly requested to end Father's child support obligation
and Title IV-D services due to a private agreement between the parties
whereby Father paid some child support directly to Mother. The
State/Appellant, on behalf of Mother, filed a contempt petition
against Father seeking payment of child support and arrears. Following
a hearing, the trial court dismissed the support orders and forgave
any arrears. The trial court also denied the State's Motion to Alter
or Amend the Judgment. The State appeals based upon T.C.A. S
36-5-101(a)(5) because no petition or motion to modify child support
was filed and based upon T.C.A.S 71-3-124 because the State asserts it
is entitled to reimbursement from the arrears for public benefits paid
to Mother. We reverse and remand.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/mitchellconnie.pdf

JACKIE F. CURRY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Jackie F. Curry, Appellant, Pro se.

Mark A. Fulks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee,
State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Jackie F. Curry, petitioned the Johnson County
Criminal Court for habeas corpus relief from his three 2000 Knox
County convictions of aggravated rape. The court dismissed the
petition, and the petitioner appealed. The state has moved this court
to affirm the convictions pursuant to Tennessee Court of Criminal
Appeals Rule 20. Wesustain the court's motion and affirm the order of
dismissal.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/curryjackief.pdf

ELMER FRITTS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Elmer Fritts, Henning, Tennessee, pro se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; John Bledsoe,
Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Elmer Fritts, appeals from the trial court's order
dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The state has filed
a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's denial of
relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal
Appeals. The petition fails to establish a cognizable claim for habeas
corpus relief. Accordingly, the state's motion is granted and the
judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/frittselmer.pdf

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOANNE HURST

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender, and Robert C. Edwards,
Assistant Public Defender, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Joanne Hurst.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle Chapman
McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; Randall Eugene Nichols, District
Attorney General; and Deborah Herron, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

First Paragraph:

The appellant pled guilty to aggravated assault. At sentencing, the
trial court imposed a three-year sentence to be served on probation.
In this appeal, the appellant argues the trial court erred by denying
judicial diversion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/hurstjoanne.pdf

CARL ED LEMING v. VIRGINIA LEWIS, WARDEN

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Carl Ed Leming, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Seth P. Kestner,
Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney
General; and James William Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Carl Ed Leming, pled guilty in the Hamilton County
Circuit Court to two counts of aggravated rape. He received
consecutive sentences of forty years incarceration in the Tennessee
Department of Correction, with release eligibility after serving
thirty percent of his sentence. Subsequently, the petitioner filed in
the Bledsoe County Circuit Court a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus, alleging that his sentence was illegal because he received
statutorily impermissible release eligibility. The court dismissed the
petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, and the petitioner
now appeals. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we
affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/lemingcarle.pdf

ROBERT R. MCCRAY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Richard Tate, District Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for
the Appellant, Robert McCray.

William B. Harper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Robert R. McCray, petitioned the Sullivan County
Criminal Court for a writ of habeas corpus to gain release from that
court's 18-month sentence imposed for a conviction of selling a
counterfeit controlled substance. The court denied the petition, and
the petitioner appealed. The state has moved this court to affirm the
order via memorandum opinion pursuant to Tennessee Court of Criminal
Appeals Rule 20. We sustain the state's motion and affirm the order
pursuant to Rule 20.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/mccrayrobertr.pdf

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. STEVEN JAMES ROLLINS

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

H.Randolph Fallin, Mountain City, Tennessee; Roger G.Day, Johnson
City, Tennessee (on appeal); for the appellant, Steven James Rollins.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney
General; H.Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; Barry

P. Staubus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee,
State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Steven James Rollins, was convicted by a Sullivan
County jury of premeditated murder, felony murder, and especially
aggravated robbery. The felony murder conviction was merged with the
premeditated murder conviction. The jury found that the state had
proven five aggravating circumstances as provided in T.C.A. S
39-13-204(i): (2), the defendant was previously convicted of one or
more violent felonies; (5), the murder was especially heinous,
atrocious, or cruel in that it involved torture or serious physical
abuse beyond that necessary to produce death; (6), the murder was
committed for the purpose of avoiding the lawful arrest or prosecution
of the defendant; (7), the murder was knowingly committed while the
defendant had a substantial role in the commission of a robbery; and
(14), the murder victim was seventy years of age or older. Upon
findingthe aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating
circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury sentenced the
defendant to death. In a separate hearing, the trial court sentenced
the defendant as a career offender to a consecutive term of sixty
years for the especially aggravated robbery conviction. In this appeal
as of right, the defendant challenges his first degree murder
conviction and sentence of death. He contends that the trial court
erred in failing to suppress his statements to investigating officers,
in refusing to permit his co-defendant to invoke his privilege against
self-incrimination in the jury's presence, and in denying his motion
to dismiss the state's notice of intent to seek the death penalty.
After review, we conclude that no harmful error exists, and we affirm
the defendant's convictions and sentences.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/rollinsstevenj.pdf

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SANTITA MAKEVA SUTTON

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Donna Leigh Hargrove, District Public Defender, and Andrew Jackson
Dearing, III, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Santita
Makeva Sutton.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney,
Senior Counsel; William Michael McCown, District Attorney General; and
Ann L. Filer and Michael David Randles, Assistant District Attorneys
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Santita Makeva Sutton, pled guiltyin the Bedford
CountyCircuit Court to two counts of sale of one-half gram or more of
cocaine, a Class B felony, possession with intent to sell one-half
gram or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, possession of a weapon by a
convicted felon, a Class E felony, and simple possession of a schedule
VI controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court
sentenced her to eight years for each Class B felony conviction, one
year for the Class E felonyconviction, and eleven months and
twenty-nine days for the Class Amisdemeanor conviction. The court
ordered two of the three Class B felony convictions, the Class E
felony conviction, and the Class A misdemeanor conviction to run
concurrently with each other but consecutively to the other Class B
felony conviction for an effective total sentence of sixteen years in
the Department of Correction. The defendant appeals, claiming the
trial court erred in denying her alternative sentencing under state
law and the rule announced in Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. __, 124
S. Ct. 2531 (2004). We affirm the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/suttonsantitam.pdf

JOSEPH B. THOMPSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Mark H. Toohey, Kingsport, Tennessee (on appeal), for the Appellant,
Joseph B. Thompson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; and Michelle Chapman
McIntire, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of
Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Joseph B. Thompson, appeals from the Sullivan County
Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief,
in which he challenged his 2001 jury conviction of misdemeanor theft
on the grounds that he received ineffective assistance of trial
counsel and that the trial court committed certain errors. The state
has moved this court to affirm the order of dismissal pursuant to
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. We sustain the motion and
affirm the order.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/thompsonjosephb.pdf

County School Board Employee on County Election Commission

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-051

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op51.pdf

Limitation on health insurance benefits for members of General
Assembly

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-052

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op52.pdf

Hiring a Non-United States Citizen as a State Trooper

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-053

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op53.pdf

Bill to Ban Lobbying by Spouses of Certain State Officials

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-054

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op54.pdf

Constitutionality of Proposed Adequate Facilities Tax in Rutherford
County

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-055

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op55.pdf

Applicability of the Fifty-Dollar Fines Clause to Municipal Beer
Boards and Administrative Boards

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-056

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op56.pdf

Funding for Regional Planning Commission

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-057

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op57.pdf

Legality of Permitting Political Subdivisions to Discontinue or Modify
Non-Contributory Retirement for Their Employees

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-058

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op58.pdf

Pay for Accrued Sick Leave After Termination in Private Employment

Date: April 20, 2005

Opinion Number: 05-059

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op59.pdf

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