Thursday, March 8th, 2012


Rep. Naifeh to Step Down at End of Term

Rep. Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election after 38 years in the House of Representatives. Naifeh, who was given the honorary title of speaker emeritus after holding the top House post for 18 years, said it's time to "pass the torch to the next generation of leaders." The former speaker was elected to the House in 1974 after losing his first bid for office in 1972. He was elected speaker in 1991 and holds the record as the longest serving speaker of the House in Tennessee history. During his time in office, Naifeh also served as floor leader, majority leader and president of the National Speaker's Conference. The Memphis Daily News has more

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


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Byrom.

Gregory H. Fuller and Julie Cochran Fuller, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Randstad North America, L.P.

Judge: KURTZ

The employee fell at work. He was then diagnosed to have a brain hemorrhage. The evidence showed that the fall occurred in an open area, that it was unlikely that the employee either slipped or tripped, and that he struck his head on the floor but not upon any objects. Employee had no recollection of the fall. The employer denied the employee’s workers’ compensation claim, asserting that the fall did not arise from his employment. The trial court found that the employee did not sustain his burden of proof as to causation. Employee has appealed, arguing that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s finding. We affirm the judgment of the trial court


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Patrick Thurman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald Eady.

C. Douglas Dooley and Benjamin T. Reese, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Commodore Express, Inc., and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.


In this workers’ compensation suit, the employee, a truck driver, alleged that he sustained a compensable injury to his back. His employer denied that an injury occurred and further contended that, if an injury did occur, it did not arise from or in the course of his employment. The trial court held that the injury was the result of the employee’s attempted assault on a co-employee and, therefore, did not arise from his employment. The complaint was dismissed, and the employee has appealed, arguing that the trial court’s finding was in error. We affirm the judgment.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Larry Hayes, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Amanda Hart Elcan.

David Scott Parsley and Joshua G. Strickland, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Clarence Andrew Elcan.


In this post-divorce dispute, the trial court granted father’s petition to modify the parenting plan and denied mother’s subsequent petition to modify the parenting plan. We affirm the trial court’s decisions.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Lawren Bryant Lassiter, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kevin Darrell Porter.

Robert Dudley Tuke and Walter Justin Adams, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Stephen William Newsome and Courtney Jean Wyatt Newsome.


The issue in this appeal of a parental termination proceeding is whether the trial court erred in failing to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the minor child. We agree with the father that the trial court was required by Rule 13 of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rules to appoint a guardian ad litem. Because the court failed to do so, the trial court’s decision must be vacated.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


David Dee Wolfe, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Morgan Phillips.

Stephanie J. Rountree, Charlotte, Tennessee, Pro Se.


In this divorce appeal, Husband challenges the trial court’s classification and division of the marital property and debts and its order requiring him to provide wife with his residential address. We find no error in the division of the marital estate, but agree that the trial court acted prematurely by including in the divorce decree a requirement that husband provide wife with his residential address.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Michael Wayne Davis, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General for the Appellees, Dwight Barbee, Warden and Henry Steward, Warden.


The Petitioner, Michael Wayne Davis, appeals the Circuit Court of Lake County’s denial of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Administration of Project-Based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Contracts

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-02-29

Opinion Number: 25

Discount Utility Rates for Senior Citizens

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-02-29

Opinion Number: 26

Authority of Physical Therapy Board

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-02-29

Opinion Number: 27

Contracts for Unmanned Traffic Enforcement Cameras

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Opinion Number: 28

Exclusion of Religious or Political Nonprofit Organizations from Certain State Contracts

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-03-02

Opinion Number: 29

House Election Contest

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-03-05

Opinion Number: 30

Adoptive Mother Must Pay Child Support

Torry Hansen has lost the child support lawsuit filed against her after refusing to appear in person. Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell granted a motion for default judgment against the former Shelbyville resident, who had been ordered to appear in court on Wednesday morning. In April 2010, Hansen sent her adopted Russian son back to Moscow alone on a plane with a letter saying he was violent, had psychological problems and that she didn't want him anymore. Since that time, she has refused to cooperate with investigators. Read more in the Shelbyville Times Gazette

Barbour's Pardons Ruled OK

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled today that pardons issued by former Gov. Haley Barbour are valid. In their 6-3 opinion, the justices wrote, "we are compelled to hold that — in each of the cases before us — it fell to the governor alone to decide whether the Constitution's publication requirement was met." Barbour pardoned 198 people, including 10 who were in jail at the time, before leaving office in January. Mississippi’s attorney general had challenged the pardons, arguing the state’s 30-day notice requirement was ignored. The Commercial Appeal reports

Recall Group to Appeal Hollingsworth Ruling

Members of the group seeking to recall Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield say they will appeal Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth's latest ruling in the case, which for the second time, invalidated a recall election. The group filed a notice of appeal this week and said at this time it is acting without the assistance of an attorney. Learn more at

Norton Resigns As Soddy Daisy Judge

David Norton, newly appointed judge in Hamilton County General Sessions Court, has resigned as Soddy Daisy judge. In his resignation letter to Mayor Jim Adams, Norton says that the last 27 years have been the best in his life serving the Soddy Daisy community, but that he feels it is in the best interest of the citizens of Soddy Daisy and the citizens of Hamilton County to devote his full attention to the General Sessions Court. Norton may also need to resign from two utility boards. The Times Free Press looks at that issue

Judge Stafford Named as American Bar Foundation Fellow

Court of Appeals Judge Steven Stafford of Dyersburg was recently named as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Judge Stafford, who was inducted into the group on Feb. 19, joins a list of 26 other Tennessee attorneys who were recently named to the foundation.

Holder to Deliver Vanderbilt Lecture

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. will deliver this year's Cecil Sims Lecture at the Vanderbilt University Law School March 16 at 3 p.m. He will speak on the topic of "DOJ Priorities, Successes and Recent Efforts to Protect Americans Against Crime and Fraud" in the school's Flynn Auditorium. Learn more here

Bell's Visibility, Effort Brought Victory

With the dust settling on Tuesday's upset victory of Nashville attorney Rachel Bell over incumbent Davidson County General Sessions Judge Mike Jameson, commentators are looking at how Bell did what she did. Many have concluded that sheer hard work and being out in the community whenever possible had a lot to do with her success. Though Jameson held advantages in name recognition, incumbency and finances, Bell managed to increase her visibility and name recognition through personal appearances, robo-calls and signs on trucks and MTA buses. Asked about her strategy Bell said, "I did everything I could to be everywhere I could every day." The Tennessean has more

Georgia Lawyer Suspended

Georgia lawyer James A. Meaney was suspended from the practice of law in Tennessee on March 6 after he failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. The suspension will remain in effect until dissolved or modified by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Download the BPR release


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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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