Mergers Ahead? Harwell Talks on City's Legal Scene

In an interview with the Nashville Post, Aubrey B. Harwell Jr. talks about the city’s legal community, including salaries of entry-level attorneys, the Nashville School of Law's 100th anniversary and how he feels about local law firm mergers. He also predicts that in the next five years there will be more national and international firms establish a presence in Nashville.

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
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


J. Michael Fletcher, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, City of Memphis

Thomas E. Hansom, Leigh H. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Sandra Bellanti and Albert Bellanti


Plaintiff was severely injured when a padlock, which was allegedly thrown from a City of Memphis mower, broke through her vehicle window. Plaintiff and her husband successfully sued the City. On appeal, the City argues, among other things, that the trial court erred in denying its motion to amend its answer to assert the affirmative defense of the Public Duty Doctrine. Because the trial court’s order denying the City’s motion to amend fails to explain the basis for its denial, we are constrained to remand the case to the trial court for entry of a reasoned explanation of its actions regarding the City’s motion to amend its answer.

With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Jacqueline B. Dixon and James L. Weatherly, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Harold W. Duke, III.

Helen Sfikas Rogers and Lawrence James Kamm, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Kathryn A. Duke.


In this divorce action, Father appeals certain provisions of the parenting plan, the award of rehabilitative alimony and award of counsel fees to Wife, and the finding that he was in criminal contempt. Mother appeals the valuation and division of marital assets, the failure of the court to require that payments to Mother be secured, rulings with reference to certain pre-trial matters, and the classification of alimony. We remand the case for further consideration of the amount of Father’s annual contributions into the children’s educational accounts; we affirm the judgment in all other respects.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Felisha B. White, Seymour, Tennessee, for the appellant, Linda Haun Scarbrough

D. Mitchell Bryant, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary Lynn Scarbrough


Wife appeals the trial court’s classification of property and its division of marital property following the parties’ divorce. She also argues that Husband failed to demonstrate his need for spousal support and that the award exceeds Husband’s actual need. We affirm the decision of the chancery court. We find it appropriate to award Husband his attorney fees incurred on appeal, and we remand to the trial court for a determination of such fees reasonably incurred.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Donna F. Smith Thompson, Pro se.

Samuel P. Funk and Michael G. Abelow, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Deutsche Bank National Trust Company.


The trial court denied Plaintiff’s motion to continue and awarded summary judgment to Defendant Bank. We affirm.

Blackwood Orders New Trials Again, DA Calls for Recusal

A motion filed late Friday afternoon in Knox County Criminal Court reveals that Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood is planning to enter an order granting new trials in the January 2007 torture slayings without holding a hearing and despite a recent state Supreme Court ruling faulting his legal reasoning. Assistant District Attorney General Leland Price, in turn, is asking Blackwood to recuse himself from the case, accusing the special judge of "all manner of judicial misconduct," the News Sentinel reports.

6th Circuit Ruling Changes ADA Precedent

A decision handed down from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last week resulted in a change in precedent in the way the courts in the circuit have dealt with cases involving the Americans with Disabilities Act. Up until this point, the Jackson Sun reports, the courts have ruled that an individual would need to prove that his or her disability was the “sole cause” for adverse actions from an employer, such as termination. Now, individuals with disabilities only to need prove “but for” causation, in that they must prove that they would have retained their employment but for their disability.

Corporate Criminal Charges Come in Many Forms

In a News Sentinel column, Knoxville lawyer Brian Wanamaker explains what different levels of corporate criminal charges can mean to a company.

New Drug Database Law Has Critics, Supporters

Officials say a new law that requires Tennessee's doctors to use a drug-monitoring database and pharmacists to upload prescription information more often will allow state officials to determine which doctors are prescribing the most painkillers. Bill Gibbons, commissioner of the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security, who helped craft the bill, says he hopes the changes will make doctors more aware of the number of prescriptions they write and allow them to spot patients who are "doctor-shopping" to buy pain medication for an addiction or to resell. But some critics, including doctors, say the law puts a burden on all doctors rather than targeting the few who are careless or over-prescribe. Other critics say the law doesn't go far enough. The Times-Free Press has more

'Gay' Not Slanderous, NY Court Says

A New York state appeals court has overturned decades of precedent and ruled that calling someone gay is not slander per se. Prior rulings, the court wrote, were all "based on a false premise that it is shameful and disgraceful to be described as lesbian, gay or bisexual." Such a conclusion is "inconsistent with current public policy," particularly in light of New York's anti-discrimination and marriage equality laws. Read the Reuters story

Departure Stirs Speculation at Miller & Martin

Speculation on the future direction of Miller & Martin Nashville office continues to grow, the Nashville Post reports, following the recent departure of Todd Presnell — a former partner and head of the firm’s litigation department — who left Miller & Martin for the offices of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. Last week, firm spokesperson Frederick Strobel told the Post that “a number of attorneys” were leaving. (Subscription required for Nashville Post access.)

Rutherford Commission Sticks With Cope Firm

The Rutherford County Commission's Steering Committee last week recommended extending a general legal services agreement with County Attorney Jim Cope and his firm. The recommendation will include a resolution to contract with Cope for a flat fee rate of $259,000. Cope is currently paid a retainer and hourly rate, which causes fluctuation in costs, the Murfreesboro Post reports.

Cohen Begins Campaign in Earnest

Ninth District congressman Steve Cohen opened his Memphis headquarter Saturday, casting himself not only as a candidate for reelection but as an organizing figure in local Democratic politics. The Memphis Flyer has more

Watson Announces Re-election Plans

State Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, announced this weekend that he is seeking re-election to the House of Representatives' 22nd district, which is composed of Meigs, Polk and Bradley counties. Read his statement in the Cleveland Daily Banner

One Bill Vetoed, Many Left to Die Alone

Gov. Bill Haslam used his veto powers for the first time in his administration to kill one piece of legislation that passed after debate and discussion in the waning hours of the Tennessee House of Representatives’ final session, while others simply died in committees in the last days of the session that ended last month. The Murfreesboro Post shows you the bills


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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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