Journal Readers Now Can Comment on Online Articles

A new feature, beginning this month, allows readers to comment on Tennessee Bar Journal articles posted online. Comments are not anonymous and can only be made by TBA members who are logged in to the site. This new capability is designed to make the online Journal more interactive and useful to readers. Also in this month's issue, Paul J. Krog walks you through the prior-suit-doctrine and James M. Patterson explains how to classify workers correctly as either independent contractors or employees. Columnists Edward G. Phillips, Monica Franklin, Don Paine and Bill Haltom weigh in with informative contributions, and in his last column as president, Danny Van Horn reminds readers to support and remain involved in the association as Tennessee law “faces a future where merit selection is in peril.” Watch for the Journal in your mailbox or read it online and comment now.

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
01 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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 Workers Comp Appeals


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Sean Antone Hunt, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Ken-Kel Management, Inc., d/b/a/ McDonald’s; Ken-Kel Management Services, Inc., d/b/a McDonald’s; and Bridgefield Casualty Insurance Co., Inc.

Christopher L. Taylor, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Cynthia Simmons


An employee filed a motion requesting that a former employer be ordered to provide postjudgment medical treatment. After a hearing, the trial court granted the employee’s motion. The former employer has appealed, contending that the trial court erred in granting the employee’s motion. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Phillip L. Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph C. Barna.

C. Bennett Harrison, Jr. and J. Cole Dowsley, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Preston Law Group, P.C., and G. Kline Preston, IV.


Plaintiff appeals from the summary dismissal of his legal malpractice claim against his former attorney who represented him during an arbitration of a securities dispute. Finding that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that Defendants negated an essential element of Plaintiff’s claim, causation, we affirm the summary dismissal of the action.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Steven C. Girsky, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Johnathan Matthew Florea.

Karla C. Hewitt, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Caroline Tippens-Florea.


Following a short marriage, the parties were divorced. The issues raised in this appeal by the husband pertain to the marital classification and valuation of the husband’s gun collection, the award of one year of transitional alimony to the wife, and the award of $15,000 for the wife’s attorney’s fees. For her part, the wife contends the husband has not paid the judgment for her portion of the marital estate, $8,065.94, and that she is entitled to post-judgment interest. We find no error with the valuation of the marital estate or the award of transitional alimony and attorney’s fees and, thus, affirm the trial court. As for the wife’s claim for postjudgment interest on any portion of the marital estate which the husband has not paid, it is an issue for the trial court to determine whether the husband has failed to timely pay any portion of the judgment and, if so, to award post-judgment interest pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 47-14-121 & -122. The wife also seeks to recover attorney’s fees she incurred on appeal. We find she is entitled to recover her reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees and remand for the trial court to make the appropriate award.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Ted. A. Puckett, Normandy, Tennessee, Pro Se.

John T. Bobo, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Bedford County Circuit Court.


This is an appeal from an order entered by the Circuit Court for Bedford County denying the appellant leave to proceed in that court on a pauper’s oath. Because the order appealed does not resolve all the claims between the parties, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


George E. Copple, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Roseann Stogner (Sullivan).

Sandra Jones, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Douglas Jay Stogner.


In this post-divorce proceeding, Mother appeals the trial court’s order enjoining the parties from allowing their child to be in the presence of a friend of Mother’s. Father appeals the trial court’s calculation of the number of days he exercises parenting time for purposes of determining his child support. Finding that the court erred in its calculation of the number of days of Father’s parenting time, we vacate the award of child support and remand for a redetermination. We affirm the trial court’s issuance of the injunction.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Patrick Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Rozbeh Zaire.

Cynthia S. McKenzie, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Amir Roshan-Far.


This appeal arises out of a lawsuit in which plaintiff sought recovery on claims of fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional misrepresentation with respect to the purchase of real property; the trial court awarded judgment to plaintiff only on the claim for negligent misrepresentation only. Both parties appeal. We affirm the judgement in all respects

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


John Pellegrin, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jacob Aaron Faulkner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; William G. Lamberth, II, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Jacob Aaron Faulkner, pled guilty to driving under the influence (DUI), first offense. Under the terms of the agreement, he received a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days in the county jail, suspended to probation following the service of forty-eight hours. As part of the plea agreement, the Defendant reserved a certified question of law challenging the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress the evidence resulting from his traffic stop: whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to believe he violated the “move over law.” After our review of the record, we dismiss the appeal because the Defendant failed to file a timely notice of appeal and there is no reason justifying waiver of the filing requirement.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; James O. Martin, III, Nashville, Tennessee; and Andrew Jackson Dearing, Assistant Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, David Edward Niles.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, David Edward Niles, was convicted by a Bedford County jury of first degree premeditated murder and was sentenced by the trial court to life imprisonment. On appeal, Niles argues: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized during the search of his residence; (2) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his ex parte motion for funds for a psychiatrist. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Haslam Appoints Phillips-Jones District Attorney General

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam yesterday announced the appointment of Lori Phillips-Jones as district attorney general for the Eighth Judicial District. She will replace current DA Paul Phillips when he retires Sept. 1. Phillips-Jones graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1999 and has been with the DA's office since 1997. She has served as a criminal investigator and a violent crimes prosecutor. The eighth district covers Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union counties. Read more from the governor's office

Judge Says Mosque Construction Can Proceed

Construction of a controversial mosque in Murfreesboro can continue according to a ruling out today. Earlier this week, Chancellor Robert Corlew III found that county commissioners did not give proper notice before approving the new Islamic center, but a footnote in the order issued today said that does not mean work has to stop on the mosque, and that such a matter would have to be taken up separately. WPLN reports

Hamblen Co. Honors Retiring Judge

Earlier this week, Hamblen County officials gathered to honor retiring General Sessions Judge Joyce M. Ward, who has served local citizens for 16 years. Morristown attorney Kelley Hinsley opened the ceremony and spoke about how Ward’s character made her not just a great judge, but also a cancer survivor. Also at the event, state Sen. Steve Southerland presented Ward with a certificate from Gov. Bill Haslam conferring on her an award of merit for faithful service. Ward made local history as the first woman to hold the general sessions judgeship in Hamblen County. See a photo from the event in the Citizen Tribune

Baker, Donelson Names 'Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year'

The Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has named five lawyers as its Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year. They are Leo Bearman, Lori Patterson, Kate Bogard, Gabe McGaha and Ashley Satterfield. The team was recognized for its work helping a group of Memphis voters involved in ongoing voting rights litigation arising from the proposed consolidation of the Memphis and Shelby County governments. Baker Donelson pro bono shareholder Lisa W. Borden praised the team for standing up for “the right of every person to vote, and to have that vote count equally.” Learn more about the firm’s pro bono efforts

New General Session Judge Approved in Washington Co.

Washington County's two general sessions court judges will spend the next few months developing a schedule and division of duties among themselves and a new judge, who is expected to start work in January. Judge James Nidiffer said he was pleased when the county commission approved the new position Tuesday night. Nidiffer also said he and Judge Robert Lincoln will need to discuss how the new court will be staffed. Nidiffer and Lincoln currently share equal duties, and the new judge will be included in that same process. The Johnson City Press has more

New Court E-Filing Rules Available

The Shelby County circuit and chancery courts have issued final rules governing e-filing in their respective courts. The proposed amendments will take effect June 25 unless prior to that date either court amends, modifies or withdraws them. Download the proposed rules

Ky. Considers Change to Execution Method

State officials in Kentucky signaled this week that they will change how prisoners are executed, opening the door to using a single drug instead of the current three-drug method that is being challenged as cruel and unusual punishment. New regulations are expected to be proposed by July 24. The move came after a circuit judge ordered the state to change the three-drug process or face trial to defend it. At least seven states use a single drug to carry out executions while three provide that option. Last week, Missouri became the first state to switch to propofol, the same anesthetic that caused the overdose death of pop star Michael Jackson. WRCB-TV in Chattanooga reports

Source: Justice Dept. Unlikely to Retry Edwards

The Justice Department likely will not retry John Edwards after the campaign finance fraud case against him ended in a mistrial, the Associated Press reports based on comments from an unnamed "knowledgeable law enforcement official." In related news, the ABA Journal looks at media coverage suggesting the verdict was a blow to the department’s public integrity section, which has been trying to rebuild itself after the failed prosecution of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens four years ago. 

Racial Imbalance Questioned in Robertson Co. Schools

Federal officials, reportedly questioning racial balance in the Robertson County public schools, say they plan to send investigators from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to review how the school board drew attendance zones. According to WDEF News, district officials say accusations of segregation are unfair and suggest that a new elementary school, scheduled to open in 2015, will more equally balance the racial makeup of the county's schools.

Court Says Anonymous Tips Need Corroboration

In an unanimous opinion yesterday, the Tennessee Supreme Court set aside the conviction of Guy Alvin Williamson for possession of a handgun while under the influence of alcohol because police did not corroborate an anonymous tip before stopping and frisking him. Citing the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Florida v. J.L., the Tennessee court said that an anonymous call alone does not provide the requisite degree of reasonable suspicion to justify such an action. Read more from the court or download the opinion

Breeding Will Let Appeals Process Play Out

Lawyers for state legislative hopeful Shelley Breeding say they will let the Tennessee Court of Appeals decide her residency question instead of asking the state Supreme Court to intercede directly. "The Court of Appeals set a timetable that everybody can live with," lawyer Bill Stokes said Thursday. Breeding wants to run as a Democrat in the newly formed 89th House District, which lies entirely in Knox County. A lower court judge ruled that she is legally an Anderson County resident because her house is located in that county though her mailbox and driveway are in Knox County. The News-Sentinel has more

'Ode to Otha' on Tap This Saturday

Nahshville lawyer Bill Ramsey's "Ode to Otha" Block Party is this Saturday at 1711 Sweetbrier Ave. in Nashville. The event, scheduled to run from 2 to 9 p.m., will feature food, drinks and live music for the adults, and clowns and piñatas for the kids. Learn more about the event, which celebrates the life of American music legend Otha Turner and benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank.


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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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