U.S. Won’t Deport Illegal Child Immigrants

Major changes in the way the United States enforces immigration law were announced today by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Illegal immigrants now under 30 who were brought to this country before age 16 won't be deported and could be granted renewable two-year work permits if they meet certain criteria, although they won't be granted citizenship. Among the requirements are five years of continuous residency and the individual can't have a criminal record or pose a national security threat. He or she must also be a high school graduate or have earned a general equivalency diploma or be a military veteran. In a statement, American Bar Association President William T (Bill) Robinson III applauded the announcement, saying it "is consistent with American ideals of fairness and opportunity."  ABAJournal.com connects you to more coverage

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
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - 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

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TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Daniel W. Van Horn and Michael C. McLaren, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, William B. Benton and J. Kevin Adams.

John B. Philip, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Beach Community Bank.


This case involves personal guaranties on a loan to purchase real estate. The Appellants entered into a partnership for the purpose of buying and selling real estate. The partnership obtained a loan in the amount of $2,611,000.00 to purchase real property located in Florida. The Appellants each signed a personal guaranty on the loan in favor of the Appellee bank. By the express terms of the guaranties, the Appellants guaranteed “up to a principle amount of $795,600.00.” The partnership defaulted on the loan and the bank sued to enforce the guaranties. The Appellants answered that the guaranties were joint and several and that, because they were only 30% owners of the partnership, they could only be liable for 30% of the amount of the defaulted loan. In addition, the Appellants argued that the bank breached the covenant of good faith in failing to foreclose on the subject property. The trial court found that, under Florida law, the guaranties were not ambiguous, but were separate guaranties holding each Appellant separately liable for $795,600.00. The trial court also awarded interest on the entire debt. We affirm the trial court’s determination that the guaranties unambiguously require each Appellant to be separately liable for $795,600.00, but hold that the term regarding interest is ambiguous. Accordingly, we reverse the grant of summary judgment on this issue and remand to the trial court for the consideration of parole evidence regarding the amount of interest and fees chargeable to the Appellants. Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Helen Marie Harben Lee, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Case Handyman Services of Tennessee, LLC did not participate in this appeal.


Homeowner retained Contractor to remodel her residence and paid Contractor two out of three installments as provided in the contract. Homeowner was not satisfied with Contractor’s work and refused to pay the final installment. Contractor sued for breach of contract and Homeowner filed a counterclaim asserting Contractor breached the contract by failing to perform the job in a workmanlike and reasonable manner. Homeowner also claimed Contractor violated the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act by engaging in unfair and deceptive practices. The trial court dismissed Contractor’s complaint and held Contractor breached the contract by failing to perform the work in a reasonable and workmanlike manner. The court found Contractor was not liable for double or treble damages under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act because Homeowner did not prove its deficiencies were intentional or willful. Homeowner appealed, claiming the trial court erred in denying her motion to amend her counterclaim to assert a claim for rescission and erred in holding Contractor did not violate the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Michael H. Adler, Memphis, for the appellant, Jennifer Lee Kailar Cooper.

Tracey P. Malone, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Christopher Aaron Brown.


Upon the Court's inquiry as to whether the order appealed was a final judgment, Appellant filed an application for an extraordinary appeal pursuant to Rule 10 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Although we must dismiss Appellant's Rule 3 appeal, we grant Appellant's Rule 10 application and vacate in part the trial court's order of October 26, 2011, and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Stephen E. Grauberger, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sadler Homes, Inc.

Michael R. Jennings, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dan C. Ray and wife, Detra L. Ray.


Plaintiff-homeowners filed this action for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act against the builder and seller of their home alleging that the home was not constructed in a workmanlike manner. Following a bench trial, the trial court found that the defendant breached the contract and the express and implied warranties, and violated the TCPA. The court awarded damages of $90,000 for the diminution in value of the home. The court also held Plaintiffs were entitled to recover their attorney’s fees pursuant to the TCPA. Defendant appealed arguing that Plaintiffs failed to prove causation, that the trial court erred in awarding damages in the amount of $90,000 for the diminution in value of the home, and erred in finding it violated the TCPA for which the trial court awarded attorney’s fees. We affirm the trial court’s findings as to Plaintiffs’ claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty and affirm the trial court’s determinations as to damages; however, we find the evidence preponderates against the finding of a violation of the TCPA and therefore the trial court erred by awarding Plaintiffs their attorney’s fees.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Jay R. Slobey, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tom R. Smith.

Thomas Harding Potter, Jamestown, Tennessee, Pro Se.


The trial court granted the defendant’s motion for attorney fees and court costs and executed an order to that effect. The plaintiff filed a motion for relief pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60.02 arguing that the trial court violated his due process rights by awarding the defendant attorney fees without providing proper notice and the opportunity to be heard. We reverse the trial court.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Leslie I. Ballin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bryant Carter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Charles Bell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Bryant Carter, entered into a negotiated plea agreement and pled guilty to driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI), and properly reserved the following certified question of law for appeal: “Whether further prosecution of this case is barred by double jeopardy under the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions when the Defendant was detained under a pro forma policy of the General Sessions Criminal Court while properly out on a misdemeanor citation in lieu of arrest.” After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ramone Gholston.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Arthur Bieber, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Montgomery County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Ramone Gholston, of facilitation of first degree felony murder and facilitation of especially aggravated robbery. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered him to serve an effective sentence of nineteen years in confinement. On appeal, the appellant contends that his sentence is excessive because the trial court misapplied enhancement factors. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Tony N. Brayton (on appeal) and James Hale (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Hubbard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Pam Fleming and Kavitt Ostner, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Christopher Hubbard (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping. He appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for aggravated kidnapping. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Jeffrey A. DeVasher (on appeal) and Tyler Chance Yarbro (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Henry Wiggins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, and Amy Eisenbeck and Robert Homlar, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, William Henry Wiggins, was convicted in the Davidson County Circuit Court of felony possession of a controlled substance, namely oxycodone, and a violation of the sex offender registry. The trial court ordered the appellant to serve an effective sentence of six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence was not sufficient to support the convictions and that his sentence was excessive. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Today's News

Butler Snow Chair Says Recruiting Continues for Nashville Office

Last week Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada PLLC had two lawyers in its Nashville office one day and nearly 40 the next, when it added 37 attorneys formerly with the Nashville office Miller & Martin. And Donald Clark Jr., Butler Snow’s chairman, sees it as just the beginning. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Nashville leads the firm in growth from now on,” Clark says, adding the firm is still recruiting attorneys to join the Nashville office. Nashville Ledger has details

Arguments in 287(g) Case Spark Demonstration at Courthouse

More than 100 people marched to the Tennessee Supreme Court building in Nashville on Thursday to demonstrate their outrage against Metro’s participation in the 287(g) program, the federal immigration enforcement program that allows law enforcement to determine the immigration status of jail inmates and turn them over for federal deportation proceedings. The march occurred just hours before the Tennessee Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office’s authority to participate in the federal program. Fox 17 has video of the march and the arguments.

Group Asks High Court to Allow Live Broadcast of Health Care Decisions

A coalition of news organizations is asking the Supreme Court to permit live broadcast coverage of the upcoming announcement of its historic health care decisions. In a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., the group wrote, "There is a strong interest nationwide in the Court’s opinion and any comments by a member of the Court that may accompany its announcement. Such access would allow the public to be informed of the Court’s ruling in a timely manner." The Court announced today it would be sitting on Monday and Thursday of next week to issue decisions, and several sittings are also expected the following week, at the end of which the Court is likely to adjourn for the summer. But the Court never lets it be known in advance which decisions will be issued on which days. The Court's current practice is to release the audio of oral arguments at the end of the week in which they occur, thereby limiting their news value. The Blog of Legal Times reports

Program Will Verify Law School Admissions Data

The American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the Law School Admission Council today informed law school deans about a program for schools to certify the accuracy of their reporting of entering-class academic credentials. John O'Brien, chair of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar said that "the program gives schools a straightforward and efficient method to have their admissions data verified and to assure that they are accurately reporting admissions data to the ABA and to the public." To make the certification program possible, the ABA is now requiring schools to report information about their first-year students. The ABA and LSAC will use these reports to correlate and cross-check students and provide to schools that request it a report of their entering-class credentials. Learn more

DA's Role in Campaign Questioned

A Roane County election official is calling for an investigation into whether 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson violated the law by aiding the campaign of former state Rep. Dennis Ferguson for Roane County road supervisor, the News Sentinel reports. Johnson depicts the matter as a "lapse in judgment" in which an employee reserved a domain name for the candidate as an unpaid favor outside business hours. He said no further campaign work occurred.

Commissioners, Attorney Sued for Prayer at Meetings

Two Hamilton County residents sued county commissioners and County Attorney Rheubin Taylor in federal court today for prayers the body holds before its meetings. The complaint, filed by Attorney Robin Flores on behalf of Tommy Coleman and Brandon Jones in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, argues that the prayers violate rights guaranteed by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In May, Patrick Elliott, an attorney with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent a letter to commissioners asking them to discontinue prayers before meetings, citing the regular use of “in Jesus’ name” to conclude official prayers. The Times Free Press has the story

Candidate to Take Appeal to Supreme Court

Shelley Breeding will ask the Tennessee Supreme Court to hear the residency issue that is keeping her off a Democrat primary ballot for the new 89th House District seat. Breeding has disputed the accuracy of maps that show part of her residential lot, including her house, are in Anderson County, while her driveway and mailbox are in Knox County, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.


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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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