Learn how to avoid legal malpractice claims

Legal malpractice claims are growing more common and insurance coverage is becoming more expensive and difficult to obtain. This 3-hour seminar will discuss current legal developments in the area of legal malpractice, common (but often avoidable) mistakes by lawyers and ethical issues implicated by legal malpractice claims.

https://www.tba.org/onsiteinfo/legalmal_2005.html

  
TODAY'S OPINIONS: Wednesday, October 26, 2005
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 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
03 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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

SHERRY KAY HEPLER v. DONALD MERLE HEPLER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Clark Lee Shaw and Stephanie C. Hatchett, Nashville, TN, for the appellant, Donald Merle Hepler.

Pamela M. Spicer, Brentwood, TN, for the appellee, Sherry Kay Hepler.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a petition to modify custody. When the parties divorced in 2000, the mother received primary custody of the partiesā three children. After the mother sought an increase in the fatherās child support obligation, the father filed this petition to obtain primary custody of the children, alleging a material change in circumstances. The father later amended his petition to include allegations of physical abuse by the mother. The trial court declined to modify custody, finding the evidence insufficient to justify modification. We vacate the ruling of the trial court and remand for written findings on the abuse allegations, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-6-106(a)(8).

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/heplers102505.pdf


JOHN JAY HOOKER v. PHIL BREDESEN, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Janet M. Kleinfelter, Sr. Counsel, for the appellants, Phil Bredesen, Paul Summers Riley Darnell and Brook Thompson.

John Jay Hooker, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Judge: CAIN

Defendants appeal the refusal of the Chancellor to impose Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 11 sanctions against Plaintiff. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/hookerj102505.pdf

With concurring opinion
http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/hookerjcon102505.pdf

With dissenting opinion
http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/hookerjdis102505.pdf


RICK A. HUGHES and LISA J. HUGHES v. RICHARD C. POULTON and

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Gary Vandever, Lebanon, TN, for the appellants, Richard C. Poulton and Annette L. Poulton.

Tommy Edmondson, Nashville, TN, for the appellees, Rick A. Hughes and Lisa J. Hughes.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a property dispute between next-door neighbors over a gate across a driveway easement. The two neighbors shared a common driveway from the public road in front of both properties. After a clash between the two neighborsā dogs, one neighbor erected a fence on the boundary line with a gate across the other neighborās portion of the driveway. This lawsuit followed. The trial court enjoined the defendant neighbor from placing the fence and gate over a portion of an easement that was the only existing driveway to the plaintiffās residence on the adjoining property. The trial court found that the gate was not necessary for the defendantsā use and enjoyment of their property, and held that the defendantsā erection of the gate constituted an unreasonable interference with the plaintiffsā right to use the easement. The defendants appealed. We affirm, finding that, although the gate may not have been an unreasonable interference with the plaintiffsā right to use the easement, the evidence does not preponderate against the trial courtās finding that it was not necessary for the defendantsā use and enjoyment of the property.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/hughesr102505.pdf


BRADLEY LEWIS SLATON v. JANNA LYNN SLATON RAY
Corrected Case

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

E. Evan Cope, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bradley Lewis Slaton.

Richard L. Dugger, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Janna Lynn Slaton Ray.

Judge: CLEMENT

The father and primary residential parent of the partiesā two minor children appeals the denial ofhis request to relocate to Florida with the children. His stated reason is a better job opportunity with increased pay of seventy-five cents per hour. The childrenās mother opposes the move.The trial court determined the father spent substantially more time with the children, analyzed the case pursuant to Tenn. Code. Ann. ¤ 36-6-108(d), and concluded there was no reasonablepurpose for the move and the move was not in the best interest of the children. Thus, it denied the fatherās request and he appealed. We have concluded the evidence does not preponderateagainst the trial courtās findings and, thus, we affirm.

Corrected Case (Filing date was wrong)
http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/2005/slatonb102505.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DANE LEE DUCKETT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

G. Earl Patton, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dane Lee Duckett.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General; William Edward Gibson, District Attorney General; and Gary McKenzie and Kevin D. Poore, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Cumberland County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellant, Dane Lee Duckett, of attempting to manufacture methamphetamine, simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended license, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of six years in confinement. On appeal, the appellant claims that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions and that his sentence is excessive. Upon review of the record and the partiesā briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/duckettd102505.pdf


CHARLES GOODE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

R. Price Harris, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Goode.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Seth P. Kestner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Lee Coffee, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Charles Goode, appeals the trial courtās dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. In this appeal, Petitioner argues that his counselās representation at trial was deficient because he failed to adequately investigate Petitionerās case and failed to effectively cross-examine the victim. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/goodec102505.pdf


JAMES YATES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James Yates, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Seth P. Kestner, Assistant Attorney General; and Elizabeth Rice, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, James Yates, filed a pro se pleading seeking to have a conviction and sentence set aside as unconstitutional. The trial court treated the pleading as seeking a writ of habeas corpus and summarily denied the Defendantās claim for relief. The Defendant now appeals as of right. We affirm the trial courtās judgment.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/2005/yatesj102505.pdf


Legislative Discipline

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2005-10-26

Opinion Number: 05-163

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op163.pdf

Construction of Enactment Providing for Grant to the City of Spencer to Relocate CurrentlyPermitted Wastewater Discharge Point

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2005-10-26

Opinion Number: 05-164

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op164.pdf

Requirements for Utility Rates

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2005-10-26

Opinion Number: 05-165

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/AG/2005/op165.pdf

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