Register Now For 2012 TBA Annual Convention

Registration is now open for the TBA’s 131st Annual Convention, scheduled for June 6-9 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Along with being the largest annual gathering of the Tennessee legal community, this year’s event is packed with interesting programming and fun activities. Highlights include a visit to the famed Stax Records Museum of American Soul Music, a Bench/Bar luncheon featuring Bill Courtney, the dynamic coach at the center of the Academy Award winning documentary “Undefeated,” and high-quality CLE programming on the new Code of Judicial Conduct, tips for growing your practice and 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
01 - 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


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Linda J. Hamilton Mowles, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, BFI Waste Services, LLC and Allied Waste North America, Inc.

Donald Capparella, Nashville, Tennessee; James L. Warren, III, Alexandra F. Markov, Jackson, Mississippi, for the appellees, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Travelers Property Casualty of America


After Metro’s waste-to-energy facility was damaged/destroyed by fire, Metro and the facility’s insurer filed suit against Defendants. Prior to trial, Defendants’ expert was precluded from testifying regarding the facility’s value, its condition prior to the fire, and the alleged pre-fire plans to discontinue its operation. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiffs, and Defendants appeal. On appeal, Defendants challenge the exclusion of certain evidence, the jury charge regarding damages, and an adverse inference jury instruction given as a sanction against Defendants. Additionally, Plaintiffs challenge the denial of prejudgment interest. We affirm the trial court in all respects.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Ryan C. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donna Leigh Pearson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


In two separate cases, the Petitioner, Donna Leigh Pearson, pled guilty to burglary and theft of over $1000. The trial court sentenced her to ten years on each count, to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction at 45%, and, because the Petitioner committed one offense while released on bond for the other offense, the trial court ordered consecutive sentences. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, and the post-conviction court dismissed the petition but granted the Petitioner the opportunity to seek a delayed appeal of her sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that: (1) she received the ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) her guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered; and (3) the trial court erred when it sentenced her. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the post-conviction court’s dismissal of her petition and we affirm her sentence.

4 Tennessee Courthouses Face Possible Closure

Four Tennessee federal courthouses are on a list of buildings the government is considering closing based on categories that include cost, usage and location. Among the 60 courthouses listed were those in Jackson, Winchester, Cookeville and Columbia. The Associated Press has the full list

Judge Ward to Step Down in Hamblen County

Hamblen County General Sessions Court Judge Joyce M. Ward will retire June 1, after serving 16 years in the position. County commissioners accepted her decision Thursday and discussed plans for filling out the remainder of her term, which runs through 2014. The body will appoint a replacement to take office June 1, then hold an election in August so voters can choose someone to fill the remainder of the term. Read more in the Citizen Tribune

Disaster Declaration Approved for 10 Counties

President Barack Obama has approved a federal disaster declaration for 10 counties in Tennessee, stemming from severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding in the state from Feb. 29 to March 2. Individuals in Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton, and Polk counties may apply for individual assistance by calling 800-621-FEMA. The TBA, its Young Lawyers Division and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) will operate a toll-free disaster legal assistance hotline for those in affected areas. Details about how to access the hotline or volunteer to handle cases that come in over the hotline will be announced next week. Learn more from FEMA

Batts to Lead Statewide Drug Court Group

Mt. Juliet attorney Kevin Batts has been elected to serve as president of the Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals (TADCP). Batts is the Drug Court Coordinator for the 23rd Judicial District, based in Dickson County. He also is an adjunct professor at Lipscomb University,  and has also been a news anchor for WSM Radio for 23 years, the Tennessean reports.

Top 10: Which Law Schools Generate Highest Loan Numbers

The amount of debt law students accumulate in law school varies greatly, according to a new U.S. News & World Report study. At some schools, the debt reaches $165,000 by graduation. The report also lists the 10 schools where grads generate the least debt. Read more from the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog

Services Set for Chancellor Kilcrease

Funeral services for Chancellor Irvin H. Kilcrease Jr. will be held Monday at Kayne Avenue Baptist Church, 1025 12th Avenue South, Nashville 37203. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m., with funeral services following at noon. Lewis & Wright Funeral Directors will handle arrangements.

Services Held Today for Cleveland Attorney

Funeral services were held today for Cleveland attorney James G. "Jim" or "Gentleman Jim" Cate Jr. He died Wednesday (March 21) at the age of 89. A graduate of the University of the South and Duke University’s law school, Mr. Cate had been a long-time member of Miller & Martin PLLC. Before joining the firm, he was vice president, general counsel and secretary of Bowaters United States Coporation, Bowaters Southern Paper Corporation and Bowater Carolina Corporation. Mr. Cate also wasactive in his community and profession, serving as campaign chairman and president of the United Way of Bradley County, president of the Bradley County Bar Association and director of Junior Achievement of Bradley and McMinn Counties. He also hadbeen a trustee and a member of the Board of Regents of the University of the South, and had served as president of its alumni association. Memorials may be made to St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 320 Broad St. NW, Cleveland 37311 or University of the South, 735 University Avenue, Sewanee 37383.

Mountain City State Rep. Not Seeking Reelection

Rep. Scotty Campbell of Mountain City became the third Republican to announce he will not run for reelection in the House. Ten Democratic incumbents have announced they won't seek re-election this year, the Commercial Appeal reports.

Judge Dismisses Campaign Defamation Suit

Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley on Wednesday dismissed a defamation lawsuit against former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik. The lawsuit had been filed against her by U.S. Rep. Diane Black’s husband, David, regarding statements made in a campaign ad about his firm, Aegis Sciences. The Tennesseean reports that the firm says it will appeal the ruling.


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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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