McCallie Bests Chattanooga Rival for Mock Trial Title

McCallie School of Chattanooga claimed the state high school mock trial championship title this past Saturday, defeating rival Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association, in the 32nd annual Tennessee State High School Mock Trial Competition. The team now will represent Tennessee at the National High School Mock Trial Competition in Albuquerque, N.M., May 3-6. The two-day state competition, which took place Friday and Saturday, involved 13 teams and 200 volunteers, including lawyers, law students and paralegals. In addition, sitting judges in the state presided over the trial rounds at the Metro Davidson County Courthouse in downtown Nashville. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade presided over the championship match Saturday evening. It was McCallie’s second year in a row to compete in the championship round. It lost to White Station High School of Memphis last year. 

See complete results, pictures and the list of volunteer judges and lawyers

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
09 - 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









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TN Supreme Court

SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Court of Appeals

THE FARMERS BANK v. CLINT B. HOLLAND, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Bruce N. Oldham, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the Appellant, The Farmers Bank.

Beth Angel Garrison, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Clint B. Holland, Sr., and Kenya Holland.

Judge: DINKINS

This appeal arises out of a bank’s suit seeking to reform a deed of trust to correct a mutual mistake, prevent unjust enrichment, and impose an equitable lien against the defendants’ property. The bank appeals the finding that there was no mutual mistake and the dismissal of the complaint. Because the order appealed does not resolve all claims, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment and remand the case.


CYNTHIA H. KOVACS-WHALEY, DIRECTOR AND SHAREHOLDER OF WELLNESS SOLUTIONS, INC. v. WELLNESS SOLUTIONS, INC. ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Edward A. Hadley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cynthia H. Kovacs-Whaley, on behalf of and as Director of Wellness Solutions, Inc., and as a Shareholder of Wellness Solutions, Inc.

Russell B. Morgan and Emily R. Walsh, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Wellness Solutions, Inc., Steven L. Scesa and Laura S. Reaves.

Judge: CLEMENT

Plaintiff, an employee, shareholder, and director of Wellness Solutions Inc., filed this action against the Company and shareholders Steven Scesa and Laura Reaves following the termination of Plaintiff’s employment with Wellness Solutions, Inc., asserting a shareholder derivative action and claims for breach of fiduciary duty and duty of good faith. Following her termination and the initiation of this action, the Company exercised a call option contained within the Shareholders’ Agreement and purchased Plaintiff’s stock. Plaintiff then amended her complaint to include claims for breach of contract and false light invasion of privacy against Mr. Scesa. The trial court summarily dismissed all of Plaintiff’s claims. We reverse the summary dismissal of Plaintiff’s claim for breach of contract finding there are genuine issues of material fact. We also reverse the summary dismissal of Plaintiff’s claim for false light invasion of privacy finding that Mr. Scesa, as the moving party, failed to negate the essential element of damages or demonstrate that Plaintiff cannot prove the essential element of damages at trial. We affirm the summary dismissal of Plaintiff’s claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of good faith, and breach of the duty of loyalty upon the finding the Defendants demonstrated that the business judgment rule applies to their decisions at issue, which negates an essential element of each of these claims. Further, we deny Defendants’ request for attorneys’ fees pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 47-56-401(c) upon the finding that Plaintiff did not properly bring a shareholder’s derivative action.


DAVID B. TODD, III et al. v. TRUDY CAMPBELL et al.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

David B. Todd, III, Manchester, Kentucky, Pro Se. Loraine C. Todd, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

John Edward Quinn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Re/Max-Elite, Rod Campbell, and Trudy Campbell.

Judge: PER CURIAM

This is an appeal from a final judgment dismissing an inmate’s complaint. Because the inmate did not file his notice of appeal with the trial court clerk within the time permitted by Tenn. R. App. P. 4, we dismiss the appeal.


SHAUN L. TYUS v. PUGH FARMS, INC. ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Lashawn A. Williams and Darrell J. O’Neal, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shaun L. Tyus.

James A. Hamilton, III, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, Pugh Farms, Inc., Steve Pugh and Eugene Pugh.

Judge: FARMER

This appeal arises from injuries Plaintiff sustained after being assaulted by a co-worker while working for the Defendants. Plaintiff filed a complaint against the Defendants alleging vicarious liability for the assault committed by the co-worker, and liability for the negligent hiring, supervision, and retention of the co-worker, and liability for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Subsequently, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants after concluding that they owed no duty to Plaintiff and that the assault was not within the co-worker’s scope of employment. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a motion under Rule 60.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and a motion to recuse. The trial court granted the Rule 60.02 motion, denied the motion to recuse, and Plaintiff appealed. After reviewing the record, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COURTNEY BISHOP

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Todd Mosley (on appeal); and Robert Parris (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Courtney Bishop.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Kevin Rardin and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Courtney Bishop, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions for felony murder and attempted aggravated robbery, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the trial court’s refusal to suppress his pretrial statement to police. Because the trial court erred by failing to suppress the defendant’s statement, the defendant is entitled to a new trial. Because the evidence was insufficient to support the defendant’s convictions for attempted aggravated robbery and first degree murder in the perpetration of attempted aggravated robbery, those convictions are reversed. The conviction for attempted aggravated robbery is dismissed. The conviction for first degree murder is modified to one for second degree murder. Accordingly, the case is remanded for a new trial on the modified charge of second degree murder.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES WILLIE BLAIR

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

B. Jeffery Harmon, District Public Defender; Robert G. Morgan, Assistant Public Defender, Jasper, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, James Willie Blair.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; James M. Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steven M. Blount, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

A Franklin County Circuit Court jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, James Willie Blair, of public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor, and imposed a fifty dollar fine, and the trial court sentenced Blair to a thirty-day sentence in the county jail. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence was sufficient to support Blair’s conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


ANTHONY D. BYERS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Todd Mosley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony D. Byers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Summer Morgan, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Anthony D. Byers, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty plea convictions for seven counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, four counts of aggravated robbery, and one count of possessing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The petitioner raises stand-alone claims that: (1) his convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony are void because they are in direct contravention of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324(c); (2) his convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony are voidable on double jeopardy grounds; and (3) three of his convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping are contrary to State v. Dixon, 957 S.W.2d 532 (Tenn. 1998). The petitioner also argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were involuntarily. After review, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief from the petitioner’s convictions for seven counts of especially aggravated kidnapping and four counts of aggravated robbery. However, we reverse the denial of post-conviction relief from the petitioner’s conviction for possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and vacate and dismiss that conviction and sentence.


RENE S. GUEVARA v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Neil Amstead, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rene S. Guevera.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Garland Erguden, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Rene S. Guevara, pled guilty in March 1995 to the felony offense of possession of marijuana with intent to sell. A little more than fifteen years later, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief attacking the 1995 conviction. Petitioner asserted he was entitled to relief because his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to advise him regarding “immigration consequences of a guilty plea.” Petitioner claimed that this right was a new constitutional rule of law announced in Padilla v. Kentucky, _____ U.S. _____, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), and that this new constitutional rule of law should be retroactively applied to Petitioner’s case. The post-conviction court entered an order dismissing the petition because it was filed beyond the one-year statute of limitations contained in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-102(a), and because the rule of law was not required to be applied retroactively. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


JON DOUGLAS HALL v. RICKY BELL, WARDEN, AND STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jon Douglas Hall, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew Hamilton Smith, Assistant Attorney General; and Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Jon Douglas Hall, appeals the Davidson County Circuit Court’s denial of his second petition for a writ of habeas corpus from his 1997 first degree murder conviction and resulting death sentence. The Petitioner contends that his conviction and sentence are void because (1) the trial court did not have jurisdiction to change the venue of his trial, (2) the procedure used to implement the death penalty is unconstitutional, and (3) his confinement and death sentence violate double jeopardy principles. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


MARQUISE HARRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Marquise Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The petitioner, Marquise Harris, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief as untimely. On appeal, Harris contends that due process considerations tolled the one-year statute of limitations for post-conviction relief. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


ALBERT FRANK KELLY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Albert Frank Kelly, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Albert Frank Kelly, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JIMMY DALE QUALLS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Shana Johnson and Parker Dixon (at trial), Somerville, Tennessee, James O. Martin, III, (on appeal), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jimmy Dale Qualls.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe L. VanDyke and Lisa Borden, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Hardeman County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Jimmy Dale Qualls, of thirty-seven counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and one count of incest, Class C felonies, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of thirty-two years in confinement. On appeal, the appellant contends that he is entitled to a new trial because the State failed to make an election of offenses for the sexual battery convictions. The State acknowledges that the trial court committed reversible error. We agree with the appellant and the State that the appellant’s convictions for sexual battery by an authority figure must be reversed because the State failed to make an election of offenses. The case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial for those offenses. The appellant’s conviction for incest is affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MAURICE SHAW, SR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Thomas Caldwell, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maurice Shaw, Sr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General; and Billy G. Burk, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

A jury in Tipton County found Defendant, Maurice Shaw, Sr., guilty of delivery of 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant to fifteen years as a Range II offender. Defendant appeals, contending that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the conviction and that he is entitled to a new trial because “the evidence was so tainted by improper actions and testimony of the drug task force officer and confidential informant.” After review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Democrats Sue Over Redistricting Plan

Opponents of Republican-drawn lines for the Tennessee Senate are suing for the redistricting plan to be thrown out on the basis that it ignored proposals made by the Legislature’s Black Caucus, their lawyer, Bob Tuke, said Friday. Tennessee lawmakers in January approved new boundaries for the 132 seats in the Tennessee General Assembly and the state’s nine seats in the U.S. House. House Democrats had complained that the proposal, which placed five black incumbents into three seats, could reduce the number of African-Americans serving in the Legislature. The Leaf-Chronicle has the AP story


Rep. Hawk Arrested on Domestic Assault Charges

According to the Greene County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee State Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, was arrested Sunday morning and charged with domestic assault. Hawk remained in the Greene County Jail as of Sunday evening. Hawk pleaded not guilty to the charge this morning in an appearance in Greene County General Sessions Court. He told the Greeneville Sun that he is innocent and "did not do what has been alleged against me. I did not harm my wife."


House Committee to Review 'Life Defense Act' This Week

Doctors who perform abortions in Tennessee could see their names listed online, and women who undergo the procedures could be unintentionally identified under a bill pending in the state legislature. House Bill 3808, known as the Life Defense Act of 2012, sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, is scheduled to come up Wednesday in a state House committee.  Read more in the Tennessean


Pillsbury Interviewing for Nashville Jobs

When Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman opens its Nashville office for back-office operations this summer, only 26 current employees will be making the move. Among those who will be transferring are chief financial officer Sean Whelan and chief information officer Martin Metz. They are currently interviewing job applicants. In all, the firm plans to employ 150 people in Nashville. ABAJournal.com reports


Editorial: Sunshine Law Needs Uniformity, Penalties

In an editorial, the News Sentinel points out some “flaws” in the Tennessee Open Meetings Act that need to be addressed, for instance that there is no policy or law directing the 200 or more boards and commissions subject to the law to uniformly inform the public of their meetings. And, the paper says, there are no penalties for violations. The editorial praises Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposed revisions to his administration's policy to create a uniform statewide protocol for responding to records requests.


Editor: Prison's 'Revolving Door' and Parolees

The Jackson Sun’s editorial page editor explains how felons who are out of parole don’t go right back to prison even if they violate the terms of their parole. “The state Department of Probation and Parole can’t order every person caught in such circumstances held in jail, because there is no place to put them, which, in fact, is why most of them are out of prison to begin with,” he writes. Read the column


Jarret Will Stay as Law Director Until Armstrong Takes Office

When Richard "Bud" Armstrong won the Republican primary for Knoxville Law Director, current director and Armstrong's opponent, Joe Jarret said he would leave the post at the end of March. So a search for an interim position began, with hopes from the county commission that Armstrong would apply and start his job early. But he did not apply. On Saturday, Jarret said he would not resign, but would stay on until Armstrong takes office in the fall. Jarret said he has a vacant office in the department, which Armstrong can use, and that he won't make any long-term decisions without consulting with him. The News Seninel has more


Rape Kits Now Being Tested Decades Late

According to some estimates, between 180,000 and 400,000 rape kits remain untested nationwide, despite DNA technology that can swiftly link rapists to crimes. Between 9,000 and 11,300 rape kits stored by Detroit police were collected two years ago by Michigan State Police, and testing has finally begun on some of these kits. They are being documented as part of a National Institute for Justice project. “Women go to the hospital and their bodies are a crime scene and treated as such,” said a woman who was raped in Texas in 1984 but whose rape kit was not tested for 24 years. “For these kits then to just to sit in a laboratory or in police vaults or wherever they sit, denies victims of sexual assault any opportunity for justice. I just wonder how many more there are?” The Times News carried this story


High Court Will Hear Cases on Death Row Inmates with Mental Issues

The U.S. Supreme Court granted cert today in two cases -- one from Arizona and one from Ohio -- raising the issue of whether death-row inmates with mental health problems are entitled to delays in their habeas proceedings. According to an opinion by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the Ohio case, experts agreed that Sean Carter suffered from schizophrenia, personality disorder and hallucinations. The ABA Journal brings you the story


Court Considers Torture Suit Against Rumsfeld

A federal appeals court in Washington is weighing whether an American contractor's torture suit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can proceed. The Blog of Legal TImes has details


 
 

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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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