Contested Election Bill Fails; Eventful Judicial Selection Day

Legislation to abolish the Tennessee Plan and replace it with contested, partisan elections for all appellate judges in 2014 failed in what is expected to be the last meeting of the House Judiciary Committee late today. The vote was 7-7 on HB 173 by Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin.

First thing this morning, the Senate held the first reading on two resolutions that cleared the Senate Finance Committee as reported in TBAToday yesterday. Early voting on those resolutions though is not considered to be indicative of the final outcome. SJR 183 by Mark Norris, R-Memphis, permits the General Assembly to adopt a merit appointment system with retention elections. SJR 710 by Brian Kelsey, R-Collierville, forbids merit selection and provides for gubernatorial appointment and legislative confirmation before retention elections.

At midday, the House Finance Subcommittee recommended to the full committee adoption of HJR 830 by Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, as amended. This bill is considered the analog to Norris' SJR 183. The amendment requires merit-based selection "with the concurrence of the legislature” followed by retention elections. The analog to SJR 710, which is also sponsored by Rep. Lundberg was put over for consideration in the subcommittee until next week.

What does it all mean? It is always hazardous to predict legislative matters, particularly in the fluid, chaotic state of affairs at the end of a legislative session. However it does appear that some of the options for advocates of changing our system are narrowing, as are the options for renewing the current plan. Stay tuned for further developments.

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
03 - 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 Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Larry E. Parrish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Petitioner/Appellant, David Morrow.

Kenneth P. Jones, and M. Matthew Thornton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Respondent/Appellee, SunTrust Bank.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, William E. Young Solicitor General and Janet M. Kleinfelter, Deputy Attorney General, for the Intervenor/Appellee, Attorney General and Reporter.


The trial court determined that Petitioner’s petition to turn over assets was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Ronald D. Krelstein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Al H. Thomas.

Allan J. Wade and Brandy S. Parrish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Memphis.

Halbert Edwin Dockins, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joseph Lee, III.


The trial court denied Appellant’s motion to intervene as untimely. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Michael H. Meares, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Velda J. Shore.

John T. Johnson, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Maple Lane Farms, LLC, Robert A. Schmidt d/b/a Maple Lane Farms, and Al Schmidt d/b/a Maple Lane Farms.


The plaintiff homeowner appeals from the trial court’s dismissal of her complaint, in which the court found the defendants’ farm activities were protected from the application of the local zoning laws by the Tennessee Right-to-Farm Act, Tennessee Code Annotated section 43-26-101, et seq. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Taylor Takes 5th for 2nd Time

Hawkins County General Sessions Judge James "Jay" Taylor has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to a new request for information filed by the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary. The most recent inquiry focused on whether Taylor received funds from a client that he said he would invest and whether he misused funds collected for a courthouse display. In February, he invoked his right against self-incrimination in response to four theft-related charges. Taylor is scheduled to stand trial on April 25. He also faces charges about questionable billing practices involving the Administrative Office of Courts, a Board of Professional Responsibility probe and numerous civil lawsuits alleging wrongdoing in his private law practice. The Rogersville Review has more

Crime Spree Hits Nashville Law Firm

During a nine-hour layover in Nashville while traveling through on a Greyhound bus, William Todd managed to wreak havoc on the city, allegedly committing 11 felonies. Police say his crime spree included breaking and entering a business; stealing a Taser, revolver and shotgun; setting fire to a business; holding up four pedestrians, tasing one and pistol-whipping another; carjacking a cab; using stolen credit cards to buy $199 worth of items at Walmart; breaking into several hotel rooms posing as a female housekeeper; stealing $600 from a Canadian couple; crashing the stolen cab into a parking garage; and holding up another cab driver at knifepoint. Police caught up with Todd at Opryland, submerged up to his nose in a water-cooling vat. In the middle of the chaos, Todd reportedly broke into Nashville law firm King & Ballow, ransacked the office, defecated on a desk and smeared feces on some of the framed law degrees. Police say he is also wanted in Kentucky. WSMV has the story

Trial Set for Man Alleged to Have Forged Judge's Signature

A Chattanooga man serving time in state prison was arraigned Tuesday on charges that, in an attempt to get out early, he forged the signature of the federal judge who sentenced him in a separate embezzlement scheme. The document could have removed a federal hold, allowing possible release from state custody, where he's serving time on separate charges before beginning his five-year federal sentence. Trial is scheduled for June 18. If convicted, Shaun Steven Kidd could face up to 20 years on a tampering with evidence charge. The Times Free Press has more

Charges Filed in Trayvon Case

George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood-watch volunteer who fatally shot teenager Trayvon Martin, was charged today with second-degree murder. He reportedly is in police custody and has new defense counsel after his lawyers stepped down from the case yesterday. The AP has more

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promised that his office will take appropriate action if evidence of a civil rights crime is found. The Justice Department launched an investigation of the killing three weeks ago. Representatives have been in Florida talking with Martin’s family and working to reduce racial tensions. WRCB Chattanooga has this AP story.

Campaign Seeks End to 'Stand Your Ground' Laws

At an event at the National Press Club today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and leaders of African American organizations announced a national campaign against "stand your ground" self-defense laws. Bloomberg said the campaign would be a grassroots effort that would include outreach to lawmakers in all 50 states and creation of model legislation. New York Daily News has the story and a press release from the mayor's office.

Waller Lansden Names New Group Leaders

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP has named new leaders in five of its practice groups. In the Corporate Group, James Nixon takes over as group leader. He will be assisted by David Head, who has been named deputy group leader. In the Finance & Restructuring Group, Katie Stenberg takes over as new leader, having previously served as deputy group leader. In the Real Estate Group, Bo Campbell remains leader but will be assisted by new deputy group leader Rebekah Fisher. In the Tax Group, Richard Johnson has been named practice group co-leader, while Sean Sullivan has been named deputy group leader. Finally, in the Trial & Appellate Group, Heather Hubbard has been named deputy group leader. She will assist current group co-leaders, Travis Parham and Larry Childs. Read more about these appointments in the Nashville Post

Apply Now for ABA Business Fellows Program

The deadline for applying to be part of the ABA Business Law Section's Fellows, Ambassadors and Diplomat Program is just weeks away. The program is designed to increase section participation by young lawyers, lawyers of color and lawyers with disabilities, and enhance the section's image among young lawyers and minority and specialty bar associations across the country. Those selected for the program are provided funding to attend three section meetings each year for two years, assigned to a committee and matched with a committee mentor. The deadline for applying for the program is April 27. Learn more here

Federalist Society Hosts Discussion on Healthcare Law

The Memphis Lawyers' Chapter of the Federalist Society will present "An Overview of the Oral Arguments before the United States Supreme Court in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Cases" with Gregory G. Katsas of Jones Day – one of the attorneys who argued the case before the high court. The event will take place tomorrow (Thursday) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Madison Hotel. Cost is $25 for society members and $30 for non-members. Lunch is included. To register contact Greg Grisham at (901) 312-9413 or


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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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