CLE Opportunities for Small Firm, Solo Practitioners

Keeping up to date on a broad scope of practice areas can be a real challenge for solo practitioners and attorneys in small firms. To help, the TBA’s TennBarU has put together three programs this summer that will help you get the knowledge you need in the most efficient manner. The General Practice Bootcamp Aug. 16-18 in Nashville will pack 15 hours of live programming into two and one half days. Fast track programs will be offered Aug. 24 in Memphis and Knoxville, offering a combination of live sessions and online access.

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
07 - 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

SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Court of Appeals

CITY OF MARYVILLE, TENNESSEE v. WALLACE SCOTT LANGFORD

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

William L. Gribble, II, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wallace Scott Langford.

Matthew C. Haralson and Melanie E. Davis, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellee, the City of Maryville.

Judge: SWINEY

This appeal arises from a dispute over the constitutionality of City of Maryville (“Maryville”) ordinance 16-110 (“the Ordinance”). The Ordinance requires the issuance of a permit for certain public meetings and parades in Maryville. Wallace Scott Langford (“Langford”) and two associates engaged in street preaching at a Maryville intersection. Langford declined to apply for a permit and was cited for violating the Ordinance. After a default judgment was rendered against him in municipal court, Langford appealed to the Circuit Court for Blount County (“the Trial Court”). Langford challenged the constitutionality of the Ordinance on grounds that it is overly broad and vague. Following a hearing, the Trial Court entered an order upholding the constitutionality of the Ordinance. Langford appeals. We hold that the Ordinance is unconstitutional on its face as it is vague, overly broad, and affords too much discretion to the officials charged with issuing permits. We reverse the judgment of the Trial Court.


IN RE: ESTATE OF JACK B. HILL, JANE ANN STEFFEY, EXECUTRIX

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Donald Capparella and Candi Henry, Nashville, Tennessee, and Kimberlee Waterhouse, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeff W. Powell.

Terry G. Vann, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hill Estate.

Judge: FRANKS

This appeal involves a dispute over the decedent's Codicil to his Will. The Codicil divided decedent's real property between decedent's daughter and Jeff W. Powell. When decedent was on his death bed he asked a lawyer to prepare the Codicil, which described where certain property lines between the parties would be drawn, and the Codicil essentially gave 45 acres to decedent's daughter and 55 acres to Powell. During the administration of the Estate, the parties employed a surveyor to survey the property lines for the purpose of preparing the respective deeds. The surveyor determined that the description of the boundaries in the Codicil gave Powell 80 plus acres and the decedent's daughter 19 plus acres. Essentially, the Trial Court held that the descriptions created patent ambiguities, but he also concluded that even if the ambiguities were latent, extensive governance would be required to validate the Codicil, which is not appropriate. Accordingly, he voided the Codicil altogether. Powell has appealed. We reverse the Trial Court and hold that the decedent's intent was to give his daughter 45 acres and Powell 55 acres, and we reinstate the Codicil with directions to the Trial Court to direct the surveyor to reconfigure the boundaries to carry out the intent of the testator.


HONG SAMOUTH (SAM) RAJVONGS v. DR. ANTHONY WRIGHT

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

John F. Floyd and Jeremy A. Oliver, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dr. Mark Anthony Wright.

William Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hong Samouth (Sam) Rajvongs.

Judge: CANTRELL

A patient who alleged that he had been negligently injured by his podiatrist filed a complaint against him for malpractice, and then voluntary dismissed the complaint without prejudice. Less than a year later, he furnished the defendant podiatrist with the sixty day notice of potential claim required by a recently enacted statute, Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26- 121(a). He subsequently refiled his complaint in reliance on his rights under the saving statute, Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-1-105. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the complaint was time-barred under the saving statute because it was filed more than one year after the dismissal of the original complaint. The plaintiff contended, however, that he was entitled to the benefit of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(c), which extends the statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims by 120 days if the plaintiff has complied with the sixty day notice requirement. The defendant responded by arguing that Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26-121(c) does not apply to complaints filed under the saving statute. The trial court dismissed the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, but allowed him to file an application for interlocutory appeal because of the novelty of the legal question involved. After careful consideration of the relevant statutes, we hold that Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-26- 121(c) does apply to the saving statute, and we affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HARVEY BRIAN COCHRAN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James F. Logan, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Harvey Brian Cochran.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and James Harvey Stutts, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

A jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Harvey Brian Cochran, of reckless homicide, a Class D felony. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to serve three years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Cochran argues that the trial court erred at sentencing by allowing the State to introduce unreliable hearsay as proof of a prior conviction for enhancement purposes, by failing to consider the relevant mitigating factors, and by denying him an alternative sentence. Upon review, we reverse the trial court’s denial of an alternative sentence and order Cochran to serve a sentence of split confinement, with ninety days to be served in periodic confinement at the county jail and the remainder of his three-year sentence to be served on supervised probation with the terms of his probation and periodic confinement to be determined by the trial court. In all other respects, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JERRY L. CRAWFORD, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Harold R. Gunn, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry L. Crawford, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Larry Hardister and Hillary Lawler Parham, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

A Crockett County Grand Jury indicted appellant, Jerry L. Crawford, Jr., for one count of statutory rape and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A jury found him guilty of both counts, and the trial court sentenced him to consecutive sentences of four years for statutory rape and eleven months, twenty-nine days for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Appellant raises the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the State’s evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim “knowing” that she was under the legal age of consent; and (2) whether appellant possessed knowledge of the victim’s age simultaneously with the intent to engage in intercourse with her. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMAAL EDDIE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; and Harry E. Sayle, III; Tim Albers; and Mark Alston, Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Jamaal Eddie.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Dean Decandia and Jennifer Nichols, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

After a jury trial, the defendant, Jamaal Eddie, was convicted of aggravated child abuse and of first degree murder committed in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse. He is serving an effective life sentence. The defendant appeals, contending that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict of first degree felony murder, that photographs of the victim were admitted into evidence in error, and that the defendant’s confession was admitted in error because it was not given voluntarily. We conclude that the evidence is sufficient to uphold the verdict and that there was no error in the admission of the photographs or the defendant’s statement. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. O’NEAL JOHNSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender, and Harry E. Sayle, III (at trial and on appeal), and Michael Johnson (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, O’Neal Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Stephanie Johnson and Marianne Bell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony. He was sentenced to serve twenty years in prison as a Range II multiple offender. The defendant appeals the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction for second degree murder, based primarily on his contention that the evidence is not sufficient to show that he acted knowingly or without adequately provoked passion. We conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PAUL RICHARDSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism (on appeal) and Thomas Clifton Harviel (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Richardson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Paul Hagerman and Dean DeCandia, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

A jury convicted the defendant, Paul Richardson, of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and unlawful possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, a Class E felony. The trial court imposed consecutive sentences for the aggravated robbery and aggravated assault convictions; the aggravated burglary and felon in possession of a handgun convictions were to run concurrently with all other counts, for an effective sentence of thirty-nine years. On appeal, this Court overturned the aggravated assault conviction, and remanded to allow the trial court to restructure the service of the remaining sentences to include consecutive sentencing. On remand, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences for all three remaining convictions, for an effective sentence of forty-one years. The defendant appeals the imposition of consecutive sentences. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIE CALVIN TAYLOR, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James E. Lanier, District Public Defender, and Timothy Boxx, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Willie Calvin Taylor, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Karen W. Burns, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, who had previously been convicted of a felony drug offense, was convicted as a felon in possession of a firearm after a jury trial and sentenced to six years in prison. On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support the guilty verdict and that the jury was improperly influenced by information outside the evidence presented at trial. The trial court found that the evidence supported the conviction and the defendant was not prejudiced by any extraneous information. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


VINCENT LOVE WILLIAMS v. HENRY STEWARD, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Vincent Love Williams, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; and Rachel Willis, Assistant State Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Vincent Love Williams, appeals the dismissal of his pro se petition for the writ of habeas corpus, contending that the trial court erred in dismissing his petition without reviewing it or answering the allegations, that his judgment was void because of a defective indictment, and that his right against double jeopardy had been violated. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the trial court’s denial of the petition for habeas corpus relief.


County Names First Juvenile Judge

Sharon Guffee has been named the first juvenile court judge for Williamson County following the county commission’s unanimous vote to appoint her to the post, effective Jan. 1, 2013. Guffee will take the bench but will stand for election in the next general election, which will be held in 2014. Due to the increased demands and caseload, Williamson County created, by legislation, a separate juvenile court. Guffee is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law. She previously worked for the 21st Judicial District and in the private practice of law. She was appointed part-time Juvenile Court Magistrate in 2004 and full-time magistrate in 2007. Read more from the AOC


Immigration Lawyers Busy After President's Order

Immigration lawyers are seeing an increase in calls from people wanting to know how to apply for deferred action through the Department of Homeland Security. Nashville attorney Elliott Ozment, for example, said he had so many people making appointments that by Monday his calendar for the week was full. But he said some are being cautious about applying for the program, saying they would prefer to wait until after the November election to see if the program will survive. Nashville News 2 looks at the issue.


Waller to Open Austin Office

The Nashville-based law firm of Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis announced that it plans to open an office in Austin, Texas, and has hired Elizabeth Rogers, a partner and health care attorney in the Austin office of Vinson & Elkins, to manage it. The firm’s chairman said Waller was attracted to Austin because of its growing health care market. The Nashville Business Journal has more from the firm.


Davidson Co. Judge Shakes Every Hand

Some say it's a security risk, others call it gutsy, but Davidson County Judge Mike Jameson says it's no big deal. "Come on up. I don't bite," he told one defendant as he makes good on his personal commitment to shake the hand of everyone that comes before him on the bench. "As a judge, I get an air-conditioned parking garage. I get to ride up a private elevator. I get a fancy black robe. And I get to sit at a nice desk. And if you let that go to your head, then you're really not going to be an influence," Jameson said. "Every judge here has some technique they use to keep themselves grounded, and for me it's a handshake." WSMV TV reports


Holder, Committee Chair Meet Over 'Fast and Furious'

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was set to meet with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., this afternoon to discuss the release of documents that might postpone a contempt vote. Issa has scheduled a committee vote for Wednesday on a contempt measure against Holder, but has offered to postpone the vote if Holder authorizes access to additional documents. Issa has accused the attorney general of stonewalling an investigation into Fast and Furious – a botched federal firearms sting – and charges that the Justice Department gave Congress erroneous information about it. WCYB Tri Cities has more


High Court Declines to Review Residency Dispute

The Tennessee Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from Shelley Breeding, who wanted to run for Knox County's new seat in the state House but was ruled ineligible because her home is just outside the district, WATE reports.


Judge Randolph Receives Reprimand

The Court of the Judiciary has issued a public reprimand against Bradley County General Sessions Court Judge Sheridan Randolph in response to a complaint that he conducted a hearing and set release conditions for a defendant arrested in connection with a burglary in which he was the victim. When confronted with the complaint, Randolph admitted it was a mistake to hold the hearing. The court found that his actions violated Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 2A and Canon 3E(l)(d)(iv). Download the letter of reprimand


Memphis Lawyer Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court summarily and temporarily suspended the law license of Memphis lawyer Richard Bryan Fields today after finding that he failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the court. Fields may for good cause request such action. Download the BPR notice


Deadline Extended for PD Job

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has extended through July 16, the deadline for applying for the position of federal public defender in the Western District of Tennessee. The position, which is filled by the court, is located in Memphis and is vacant due to retirement of the incumbent. The successful candidate will serve a four-year term. A full public notice, application and qualification standards are available on the court's website


 
 

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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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