David Veile Takes Office as YLD President

David Veile, a lawyer with the Franklin firm of Schell Binkley & Davies LLC, took office as the TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) president at the division’s annual meeting and elections Friday afternoon in Memphis. Also taking office were President-Elect David McDowell of Chattanooga, Vice President Stacie Winkler of Memphis, Secretary Marisa Combs of Nashville and Treasurer Steven King of Memphis. Two contested elections also were decided at the meeting, with Knoxville lawyer Paul Whitt retaining his seat as East Tennessee Governor and Nashville lawyer Mary Beth Haltom being reelected as Middle Tennessee Governor. Jackson lawyer Ashley Holliday was elected to fill a vacancy for West Tennessee Governor. See photos from the meeting

Members of the outgoing TBA YLD Board gathered that evening for a final dinner and award ceremony recognizing service during the past year. The event also featured the annual meeting of the TBA YLD Fellows. See photos from the dinner

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
02 - 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


Darrell J. O’Neal, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael McGhee.

Martin W. Zummach, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shelby County Government.


This is a breach of contract case. Appellant, a former employee of Appellee Shelby County, filed suit against Shelby County for alleged breach of a settlement agreement. Specifically, Appellant alleges that Shelby County breached the contract by failing to change Appellant’s employment record to reflect that he resigned, rather than that he was fired, and/or by informing Appellant’s potential employer that Appellant was fired. Shelby County filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that the six-year statute of limitations for breach of contract actions had expired. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. We conclude that: (1) the contract is severable; (2) Appellant’s cause of action for Shelby County’s breach of its obligation to change his employment records was correctly dismissed on the statute of limitations ground; (3) Appellee’s contractual obligation to answer employment inquiries pursuant to the terms of the contract was not implicated until the condition precedent occurred (i.e., until inquiry was made by a third-party); and (4) the breach of this obligation accrued when Shelby County disseminated information counter to that contemplated in the settlement agreement. Accordingly, the Appellant’s claim that Shelby County violated the express terms of the settlement agreement in 2010 by informing the Appellant’s potential employer that he was fired is not barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Robin G. Gordon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, DMX Works, Inc.

Stephen James Zralek, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Ron Fausnaught, Jr., M.D.


Defendant corporation, which failed to appear for trial, appeals the trial court’s entry of a judgment against it. Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in denying its Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02 motion for relief from judgment and in awarding the plaintiff damages that exceeded the ad damnum clause of the complaint. Finding no error, we affirm.

Sellers, Helper Elected to TBA Board

At the meeting of the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors on Saturday, two were elected to fill open seats. Andrew Sellers will represent the 7th District and Kim Helper will represent the 6th District until next year's election.

Legal Aid Lawyer On the Job at Erlanger

Emily Lay has been Legal Aid of East Tennessee's full-time lawyer in Chattanooga's Erlanger Hospital for several months now, helping patients who may need legal assistance, such as a setting up a power of attorney, applying for social service benefits, working out child custody, writing living wills or obtaining protective orders for domestic violence victims. This is the first such health-law partnership at Erlanger, and Charlie McDaniel, pro bono project director for Legal Aid in Chattanooga, says the first hurdle to setting up the program was in persuading the hospital to bring in lawyers to the facility. Another challenge was to commit a full-time attorney, not just volunteers, to be in the hospital and available at a moment's notice. Read how Lay does her job, and what it takes for a partnership like this to work, in the Times Free Press.

2 Nominated for Appeals Court D.C. Circuit

President Barack Obama has named two prominent appellate attorneys to fill long-standing vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the White House announced today. Obama chose Srikanth Srinivasan, principal deputy solicitor general of the United States, and Caitlin Halligan, general counsel for the New York County District Attorney’s office. The Blog of Legal Times reports

Facebook Not Worth Effort for This Law Firm

The marketing coordinator for Bone McAllester Norton, Courtenay Rogers, writes in a column for the Nashville Business Journal about why the firm doesn't rely on Facebook anymore. By analyzing traffic to their web site they discovered that their traffic does not come from Facebook, and decided it was not a good use of their efforts to maintain. The firm does rely on Twitter, however, because it drives twice the amount of visitors to the firm's site, Rogers says. The firm uses Twitter to share information about the law, its attorneys and to direct readers to its lawyers' blogs.

Editorial Questions Blackwood's Secrecy

In an editorial, the News Sentinel says that Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood has shown "a disturbing propensity for secrecy in dispensing justice" and that matters related to the Christian/Newsom murder cases should not be decided in secret. Blackwood had cited the paper in emails referring to the "prying eyes of the media" and that he had "grown weary over the last several months with the number of legal experts that are associated with the mass media here in Knox County." The paper questions Blackwood's fitness to serve and says that "court proceedings and documents, with few exceptions, must be open to the public to protect the rights of defendants, the interests of the people and the integrity of the judicial system."

Online Efforts Don't Impress Open Government Advocates

Gov. Bill Haslam announced moves to give taxpayers access to state construction and traffic tie-up data on their smartphones this fall and just finished a massive overhaul of the state’s website in an effort to give residents more information. But various open government groups give Tennessee’s website grades ranging from a “B” overall, to a “C+” for transparency of the state budget process to a “D-” for online access to government spending data. The Tennessee Report looks into it

DOJ to Set Public Meeting on Shelby Juvenile Court Report

U.S. Department of Justice officials came to Memphis on May 31 and met with Larry Scroggs, the court's chief administrative officer, and other officials, including District Attorney General Amy Weirich and Chief Public Defender Stephen Bush, to address a recent report that showed patterns of discrimination against black youths in Shelby County's juvenile system. The DOJ canceled a public meeting that had been scheduled for May 30, but have said they will schedule another soon, according to the Commercial Appeal

The Commerce Clause's Crucial Role in Health Care Decision

As the nation awaits the Supreme Court's decision -- expected by the end of June -- on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how that will affect this year's presidential election, constitutional scholars know there is much more at stake here than an individual election. Just how much is illustrated by the legal history of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Most scholars agree that the ACA presents a watershed, a potential breaking point with the legal framework that has undergirded our modern economy. "The expansive understanding of the Commerce Clause has been the basis of minimum wage legislation, of workplace safety legislation, of economic protections, and in fact of our civil rights laws," says Jeff Shesol, author of Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court. "The conservative legal establishment has been very open about its interest in undoing the New Deal at the constitutional level," and "this would be the first great success of the movement." National Public Radio looks at history of the Commerce Clause and how important that is in the decision on health care.

New District Pits Two Established Memphis Dems Against Each Other

Democratic primary voters in Memphis must choose between two of the party's Memphis leaders -- State Sens. Jim Kyle and Beverly Marrero -- as a result of this year's redistricting of the state legislature. Shelby County is losing one of the six Senate seats it has held since the 1960s because of slower population growth than other areas, placing Kyle and Marrero together in a newly configured Senate District 30. Read about the candidates in the Commercial Appeal, and the issues the redistricting raises for them.

Jackson Lawyer Put on Disability Inactive Status

The law license of Madison County lawyer Roger Alan Staton was transferred to disability inactive status pursuant to Section 21, Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9, on June 5. He cannot practice law with this status, but may return to practice upon showing the court that the disability has been removed. Download the BPR news release


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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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