Judge Donald to be Honored

The Hon. Bernice B. Donald is one of five “legends” who will be honored by the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis at its 2012 Annual Tribute Luncheon and Symposium. Donald is the first African American woman to sit on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. She was the first African American woman in the United States to serve as a bankruptcy judge and was the first African American woman to serve as judge in Tennessee. The Legends Award Reception is April 17 at 6 p.m. at the Columns in Memphis. The Annual Tribute Luncheon is April 26 at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Other honorees are civil rights activist Velma Lois Jones, Sylvia Goldsmith Marks, Dorothy Gunther Pugh and Dr. Shirley C. Raines, the first woman president of the University of Memphis. Get reservations and learn 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
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - TN Court of Appeals
00 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - 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 Court of Appeals

With separate concurring opinions.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


John D. Kitch, Nashville, Tennessee; David J. Callahan, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Respondent/Appellant, Catherine Dockery

Petitioner/Appellee Jerry Colley, Columbia, Tennessee, pro se

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves an attorney fee award. The appellee attorney was hired to represent the executor of an estate. After handling the estate, the attorney submitted a fee request to the trial court. The beneficiary of the estate objected, but the trial court awarded the fee amount requested. The beneficiary appeals, arguing that the attorney fee request was so excessive that it should be disallowed entirely under White v. McBride, 937 S.W.2d 796 (Tenn. 1996). In the alternative, if the fee request is not disallowed in its entirety, the beneficiary contends that the trial court erroneously relied on a percentage formula in the local rule, and that the fee should be reduced because the attorney sought fees for work that was either delegated to others or which did not benefit the estate. We hold that the amount of the attorney’s fee request and fee award is excessive. While the case presents a close question as to whether any fee should be allowed, we conclude that the lawyer should not be precluded from receiving any fee, and so modify the fee award to a reasonable amount.

Niceley Will Run for Faulk's Senate Seat

State Rep. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains said today he will seek the Republican nomination as successor to Sen. Mike Faulk of Church Hill. Faulk announced last week that he will not seek reelection to the Senate District 8 seat, which covers Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties. Knoxnews has more

Texas Questions Constitutionality of Voting Rights Act

Attorneys representing the state of Texas asked a federal panel yesterday to allow them to challenge the constitutionality of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, taking a direct shot at the statue that has blocked the state from enforcing tightened voter requirements. In a filing in Washington, the state asked to submit a petition charging that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act "exceeds the enumerated powers of Congress and conflicts with Article IV of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment." On Monday, the Justice Department had declared that Texas's photo ID rule could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered Hispanics statewide. WKRN carried this AP story

Court Clerk Denied Diversion

A former Bristol General Sessions Court deputy clerk has been denied pretrial diversion on a four-count official misconduct indictment involving court records allegedly altered for her own financial gain. In denying diversion, Sullivan County Assistant District Attorney Jim Goodwin said he does not believe she is “serious” about rehabilitation. The Times News has more

Assistant U.S. Attorney Going to Bradley Arant

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Ty Howard has left government service and will next month join the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. His practice will focus on defense work pertaining to white-collar and corporate investigations. NashvillePost has the story

More Schools Targeted for Employment Rate Fraud Suits

New York lawyer David Anziska announced plans yesterday to sue 20 more law schools in addition to 14 suits already underway, alleging that the schools committed fraud by inflating or misrepresenting their postgraduate employment data to lure students. “I truly believe that at the end of this process nearly every law school in the country will be sued,” he said in a press release. The National Law Journal has more

Sunshine Week Celebrates Keeping Government Transparent

It’s “Sunshine Week” in America, when news organizations and open government advocates celebrate keeping government honest. In 1974, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the most comprehensive legislation in the nation to insure that public business is conducting in full public view, Tennessee Code Annotated 8-44-101. In an opinion piece, the executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government reminds readers that although reporters are often on the front lines utilizing this law, “it is up to you to take the responsibility of knowing what your duly elected and appointed representatives are doing in your name.” WDEF carried the story

Report Damning to Stevens' Prosecutors

In a 525-page report released this morning, a special prosecutor detailed the mismanagement and misconduct that he believed characterized the Justice Department's handling of the prosecution against late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Among many findings, special prosecutor Henry “Hank” Schuelke III said in the report that he found evidence that certain prosecutors willfully concealed information from Stevens’ defense lawyers. The Blog of Legal Times has the story

Today is Jackson’s 245th Birthday

President Andrew Jackson was born on this day 245 years ago. Born in humble circumstances, he became a lawyer, merchant, farmer, general, hero and finally a public servant, becoming the seventh U.S. president in 1828. Read more about the man and his legacy in the Tennessean

Lawyer Outside Texas Courthouse Spared in Shooting Spree

A Texas lawyer who was parked in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse yesterday when a gunman shot four people not only witnessed a fatal shooting but, he says, came close to being shot himself by the gunman. “He looked at me directly. I’m in the field of fire and he’s changing clips and I look at him, my window is down, and I mouthed the words, ‘You don’t have to kill me,’” Johns told station KHOU. Instead of shooting at Johns' vehicle, the gunman randomly fired at the courthouse. The ABA Journal reports

Bergman is New LSC Government Relations Director

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today the appointment of Carol A. Bergman as director of government relations and public affairs. Beginning Monday, she will oversee LSC’s relationships with Congress, the Government Accountability Office and other government agencies. Read more about her from the LSC

Robinson to be Sworn-in Next Monday

The swearing-in ceremony for Phillip Robinson as Third Circuit Court judge will be Monday at 3:30 p.m. In the sixth floor lobby of the Historic Metro Courthouse in Nashville.


Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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.

© Copyright 2012 Tennessee Bar Association