TBA Announces Law Day Art, Essay Winners

Two Knoxville students earned first place in the Tennessee Bar Association's annual Law Day Art & Essay Competition. Liana Hu, an eighth grader at Farragut Middle School, won first place in the art contest, while Gloria Yu, a junior at Hardin Valley Academy, took first place in the essay contest. Students placing in the top three slots will receive cash prizes and have their work displayed at the TBA's annual convention in Memphis. The results were announced today by the TBA's  Young Lawyers Division, which holds the  statewide annual competition in conjunction with Law Day -- a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. This year's competition was coordinated by Jackson lawyer Ashley Holliday with West Tennessee Legal Services. The theme, "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom,"  asked students to consider the importance of the courts and their role in ensuring access to justice for all Americans.

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
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 Supreme Court

With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TN Supreme Court


B. Duane Willis, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Fayetteville Public Utilities.

Sonya W. Henderson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Troy Mitchell.

Judge: WADE

The trial court awarded workers’ compensation benefits to an injured lineman who had violated a rule requiring the use of protective gloves while in a bucket lift. The employer appealed, contending that the statutory defenses of willful misconduct and, more particularly, the willful failure or refusal to use a safety appliance or device precluded recovery. The appeal was referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) (2008). After oral argument before the Panel, but before the Panel filed its opinion, the case was transferred to the full Court. Because the evidence establishes that the employee admitted his knowledge of a regularly enforced safety rule, understood the rationale for the rule, and willfully (rather than negligently or recklessly) failed to comply, the injuries he suffered because of the rule violation are not compensable. The judgment of the trial court is, therefore, reversed and the case is dismissed.

TN Court of Appeals

CORRECTION: Page 5, paragraph 1, line 10, has been changed to read "...application of the correct legal standards to the evidence found in the record." Eldridge v. Eldridge, 42 S.W.3d 82, 88 (Tenn. 2001). It is not the role of the appellate courts to "tweak [parenting plans] . . . in the hopes of achieving a more reasonable result than the trial court." Id.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Jon S. Jablonski, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Georgette Marie Bargmann.

John D. Schwalb, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kurt Alan Bargmann.


In this divorce action, Mother appeals the trial court’s permanent parenting plan, residential schedule, child support determination, and division of marital property and debt. We affirm the designation of Father as primary residential parent; modify the residential schedule and award of unpaid child support; and vacate the “paramour provision” in the parenting plan and the “equalization payment” from Mother to Father. In all other respects, we affirm the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Lisa M. Mack, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daniel Lee Coleman.

Jennifer H. Lawrence, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Andrea Gibson Coleman.


In this divorce action the parties engaged in mediation and resolved several issues in the case. The Trial Court entered a Divorce Decree without conducting an evidentiary hearing on the disputed issues remaining. The father appealed to this Court. We affirm that part of the Divorce Decree that was based on the mediated agreements. We vacate the Trial Court's Judgment awarding child support, and on the husband's disputed issue as to the allocation of marital debt. We remand for an evidentiary hearing on these issues.

IN RE: KYLER R.C.H., et al.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Matthew Edwards, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kelly H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Marcie E. Greene, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.


In this case for parental termination, the Trial Court found statutory grounds for terminating the parents' parental rights to their three minor children. Only the father has appealed, and we hold that the evidence preponderates in favor of the Trial Court's finding for grounds of abandonment, as well as termination of parental rights being in the best interest of the children.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James B. Webb and Brandon L. Newman, Trenton, Tennessee for the Defendant-Appellant, Keith Richard Gibson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Thomas (Tommy) A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and Kevin D. McAlpin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


Defendant-Appellant, Keith Richard Gibson, was convicted after a jury trial for possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell, a Class B felony, and simple possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender and received eight years’ incarceration for the felony and eleven months and twenty-nine days’ incarceration for the misdemeanor. He appeals the trial court’s denial of his motions to suppress evidence, arguing that the police lacked reasonable suspicion to support the investigatory stop of the defendant as required by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and article 1, section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution. Upon review, although we reject a part of the trial court’s reasoning in its denial of the motions to suppress, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Senate Confirms 3 to Federal Bench, First Asian-American Woman

The U.S. Senate confirmed three judges to federal courts late Monday afternoon, including the first Asian-American woman on any federal appellate court. The Senate voted 91-3 to confirm Vietnam-born Los Angeles federal Judge Jacqueline Nguyen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, filling a vacancy that had remained open since 2009. The Senate also confirmed two judges by voice votes: Kristine Gerhard Baker to be district judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and John Lee to be district judge for the Northern District of Illinois. The Blog of Legal Times has details

Lawyers' Professional Tax Due June 1

Attorneys are among the professionals required to pay an annual $400 Professional Privilege Tax, which is due June 1. Tenn. Code Ann., Section 67-4-1701, imposes the tax for the privilege of holding an active license or registration, without regard to whether the profession is actually practiced in the State of Tennessee. Get more information and pay online

Fast Money: LAET Hosts Fundraiser at Speedway

Legal Aid of East Tennessee -- in collaboration with the Bristol Motor Speedway, Speedway Children’s Charities and East Tennessee Region Sports Car Club of America -- held a benefit event at the Speedway on Sunday, where about 100 drivers competed in the “Solo Time” autocross. Competitors also had an opportunity to try out the drag strip. The first-time effort earned $9,000, to be shared between LAET and Speedway Children’s Charities. Commemorative t-shirts are available. For information, t-shirt, a schedule of upcoming fundraising events or registration information, contact Dave Yoder.

Crossville Attorney Arrested on Drug Charges

Crossville lawyer Walter Alan Rose, 31, was charged Sunday with illegal possession of a schedule II controlled substance and was booked at the Putnam County Criminal Justice Center. Law enforcement officials had been investigating Rose for bartering legal services for narcotics. The Cookeville Herald-Citizen reports

Editorial: Juvenile Court Should Move Forward, Not Blame

An editorial in the Commercial Appeal, acknowledging the recent Justice Department report critical of the Shelby County Juvenile Court, says it's time to use that information and build on the reforms the court already has put in place. It's not the time, the paper says, "for finger pointing and racial politics."

St. Andrews Wants Rehearing in Church Property Case

On the heels of a recent Tennessee Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a state trial court decision in favor of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, St. Andrew's Church has filed a petition for rehearing. The case stems from the Nashville church's efforts to break away from the diocese. NashvillePost.com reports

National Magazine Explores Copyright With Help From Local Lawyer

Nashville lawyer Stephen Zralek is interviewed in this month's ABA Journal cover story, which explores the unique business model that several newspaper publishers adopted to sue more than 250 individuals and entities around the world for copyright infringement. Zralek, who successfully defended one of these cases in federal court in Las Vegas, talks about the costs of litigating copyright disputes. “There are times when worthy plaintiffs can’t afford an hourly rate and can’t convince a lawyer to take it on contingency,” he says. "For someone who has a valuable work and there’s clear infringement -- and they have ability to pay and they would lose more money than not litigating -- the answer is simple.” Read the story

Chattanooga Bar Holds Law Day Event Thursday

The Chattanooga Bar Association will host its annual Law Day celebration on Thursday at the Sheraton Read House. The event will feature remarks from William T. "Bill" Robinson III, president of the American Bar Association; presentation of the 2012 Liberty Bell Award; announcement of the Law Day High School Essay Scholarship recipient; announcement of the 2012 class of Chattanooga Bar Foundation Fellows; and presentation of the Judge W. Neil Thomas III Paralegal Utilization Award. For more information contact the CBA at (423) 756-3222 or visit the association online.

Norton is Favorite in Poll

David Norton, who has been serving as interim judge since Judge Bob Moon's death, won the support of 52 percent of attorneys taking part in a Chattanooga Bar Association poll. The election to fill the post will be held on Aug. 2.  Learn more about the numbers from the Chattanoogan

Thompson Will Run for Senate in District 24

Brad Thompson formally announced his candidacy for State Senate District 24 last week, NWTN Today reports. He is director of community development for the City of Martin and served for many years as a top aide to Congressman John Tanner. The district includes Benton, Carroll, Gibson, Henry, Obion and Weakley counties.

Sen. Berke Annouces for Mayor Race

State Senator Andy Berke today announced his candidacy for office of the mayor of Chattanooga, the Chattanoogan.com reports.


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