Wednesday, February 29th, 2012


Lawyer, Former State Rep. Runyon Dies in Clarksville

Longtime Clarksville lawyer and former state representative Frank Jasper Runyon II died today at 83. Mr. Runyon graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1957 and returned to Clarksville to practice law with his father. He served two terms in the state legislature from 1967 to 1970. For almost 50 years he was legal counsel to the City of Clarksville and the Clarksville Electric Power Board, and was active in the legal community, serving twice as president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, as a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, president of the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association and a founding member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society. A rosary service will be held March 2 at 7 p.m. at the Neal-Tarpley-Parchman FuneralHome, 1510 Madison St., Clarksville. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on March 2 and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on March 3 also at the funeral home. A celebration of his life will be held March 3 at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 709 Franklin Street in Clarksville. Burial will follow in Greenwood Cemetery. Donations may be made to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church School, 1901 Madison St., Clarksville 37043.

Today's Opinions

Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
00 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
01 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
02 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) 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.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Edward Howard North, III, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Susan Geary.

Clinton H. Swafford, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellees, Carl Robin Geary, Jr. and Rachel Geary Lawson.


This appeal presents the issue of whether a widow who signed a prenuptial agreement is entitled to an elective share of her husband’s estate. The evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s finding that the widow signed the prenuptial agreement knowledgeably. Given the validity of the prenuptial agreement, we affirm the trial court’s decision denying the widow an elective share.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Harold L. North, Jr., and Tom Greenholtz, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, Chris Harvey, Ricky Jones, Mark King, Mark Kimsey, Mark Williams and Jody Mays.

R. Dee Hobbs, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jim Hammond, Sheriff of Hamilton County, and Hamilton County, Tennessee.


Six sergeants (collectively “the Sergeants”) employed by Jim Hammond, the Sheriff of Hamilton County (“the Sheriff”), filed a grievance with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Civil Service Board (“the Board”) complaining that there is an unlawful disparity in pay among the 19 sergeants on the force. The Board found a disparity and ordered the Sheriff “to equalize their pay and if all [s]ergeants do the same job that they should be paid the same if there is no written criteria to establish standards.” The Sheriff appealed 1 to the trial court by petition for a writ of certiorari. The court (1) held that the Board was without authority to order the Sheriff to equalize the pay of the 19 sergeants and (2) declared the Board’s decision “null and void.” The Sergeants appeal. We modify the trial court’s judgment and remand to the Board with instructions.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Real Estate Commission Rulemaking Authority for Vacation Lodging Services

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-02-28

Opinion Number: 24

TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders


Court: TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders

Judge: KOCH



Court: TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders

Judge: KOCH


Knox DA to Allow Access to Baumgartner File

Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols this week agreed to release the entire TBI file on former Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner to any attorney challenging a clients' conviction or sentencing imposed in trials presided over by Baumgartner. The move marks a reversal from an earlier decision not to release the file and not to stipulate it as unchallenged evidence. All eyes now fall on Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, who will ultimately decide whether the TBI file should be made public. Learn more in the News Sentinel

Borod & Kramer Merges with Apperson Crump

The 97-year-old Memphis law firm of Borod & Kramer PLC is closing its doors according to the Memphis Daily News. The firm will leave its downtown office in Brinkley Plaza and move its attorneys and staff to 6070 Poplar Ave., where it will become part of Apperson Crump PLC. Borod & Kramer managing member Bruce Kramer has spent the last year looking for a law firm that would be the best fit for his attorneys and staff. He said he's at a point in his career where he didn't want to spend the remainder of his time managing a firm. Read more about Kramer and the move

Anonymous Reward Offered for West Memphis 3 Killer

A new, $100,000 reward is on the table for anyone with information to help exonerate the West Memphis Three, WMC-TV reports. The three men convicted for three brutal murders that happened nearly 20 years ago are hoping the reward, from an anonymous source, brings the real killer to justice. Jessie Misskelley Jr., Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols struck a deal last year that released them from prison but only after pleading guilty to the murders. They have maintained their innocence. Read more from the Memphis Business Journal

Federal Bar Memphis Chapter Names Officers

The Federal Bar Association's Memphis Mid-South Chapter has announced new officers for 2012. They are J. Gregory Grisham, president; Eric E. Hudson, president-elect; Craig A. Cowart, vice president; Mary Hale Morris, treasurer; Earl W. Houston II, secretary; and Michael E. Gabel, immediate past president.

Environmental Moot Court Team Reaches National Semifinals

The University of Tennessee College of Law's National Environmental Law moot court team, composed of Parker Azziz, Katie Doran and Jennifer Dusenberry, advanced to the semifinal round of nine teams in this year's competition of 77 teams. Azziz was recognized as best oral advocate in one of the preliminary rounds. In the semifinals, the team lost to the eventual winner from Ole' Miss. The law school reported the news

Memphis-based Organizations Seek Bids for Legal Services

Three economic development organizations in Memphis are jointly soliciting bids from law firms interested in providing general counsel, real estate and human relations services, as well as advice on environmental remediation, tax incentives and legislative/regulatory issues. Firms or individuals interested in applying for the contract should submit the required information by 2 p.m. on March 12. Questions should be directed to Reid Dulberger at (901) 275-0865 or Download the request for proposals

Law School Admissions Workshop Set for March 14

"Thinking about Law School?" is the theme of a workshop for prospective law students to be held March 14 at the University of Tennessee College of Law. The free event, to be held from 3 to 6:30 p.m., is for college graduates, currently enrolled college or community college students, high school students and school advisers. Participants will learn how they can prepare for law school as an undergraduate and how to choose the right law school. All sessions will be held in Room 132 of the law school. Learn more from the school

CAMP TLAP set for March 30

The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program will host its 7th annual CAMP TLAP March 30 to April 1 at Montgomery Bell State Park. Educational programming includes sessions on mitigating compassion fatigue, how to handle a BPR complaint and the role narcissism plays in addiction. The two-day retreat also will provide opportunities for personal reflection and group social events. Download an agenda for the program

Services Thursday for Memphis Lawyer

Henry Von Sutton, 80 of Memphis, died Feb. 27. A native of Crockett County, he practiced law in Memphis for 35 years. Mr. Von Sutton  earned his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1961. He was active in Democratic Party politics, serving as co-chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, delegate to the Democratic National Convention and elector of the Electoral College. He ran for U.S. Congress in 1966 on a platform of equality at the polls, at work and in life. The family will receive friends today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Family Funeral Care. Services will be Thursday at 2 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorial donations may be sent to The Kirby Pines Foundation, The Henry V. Sutton Memorial Fund, 3535 Kirby Road, Memphis 38115. Read more about Von Sutton's life in The Commercial Appeal

House Sponsor Stands by 'Don't Say Gay' Bill

The Republican sponsor of a proposal to ban the teaching of gay issues to elementary and middle school students said Tuesday that he's not backing off the legislation despite concerns from GOP leaders. Rep. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald acknowledged the proposal's language needs more work to avoid any unintended consequences but said, "It's certainly not off the table. We're moving forward with it." The Memphis Daily News reports


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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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