Study: Pre Law Students Value Rankings Most

A new survey by Kaplan Test Prep suggests that students considering law school are more concerned about a school's rankings than its employment statistics. When asked, "What is most important to you when picking a law school?" 32 percent said ranking, 22 percent cited geographic location, 20 percent said academic programming; 13 percent said affordability/tuition, and only eight percent picked job placement statistics. Read a summary of the study or learn more in the ABA Journal

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
01 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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

CORRECTION: On page 7, footnote 6, first sentence, "reckless intention of emotional distress" is changed to "reckless infliction of emotional distress"

Court: TN Supreme Court


James F. Logan, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Betty Saint Rogers.

David F. Hensley, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Louisville Land Company and Joe V. Williams, III.

Judge: LEE

In this appeal, the defendants seek a review of the trial court’s decision to award the plaintiff compensatory and punitive damages based on the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of inadequate maintenance of the cemetery where the plaintiff’s son was buried. To recover damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s conduct was either intentional or reckless, was so outrageous that it is not tolerated by civilized society, and caused a serious mental injury to the plaintiff. The primary question presented is whether the plaintiff in this action proved the requisite serious mental injury to support the trial court’s award of compensatory and punitive damages. We hold that the plaintiff’s proof was deficient. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.

TN Workers Comp Appeals


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Gerald L. Ewell, Jr., Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joe Sissom.

Timothy Pirtle, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.

Judge: KURTZ

The employee alleged that he injured his right shoulder while working for the employer. The trial court found that the employee’s thoracic outlet syndrome stemmed from a congenital abnormality and not a work-related injury. The employee has appealed. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Bert W. McCarter, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Laurie Jo Edwards.

Michelle Blaylock-Howser, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary Wayne Edwards.


Wife was granted divorce on the grounds of Husband’s inappropriate marital conduct. The trial court distributed the marital property and awarded Wife transitory alimony for four years. Wife appealed, arguing she should have been awarded a larger portion of the marital estate and was entitled to alimony in futuro. She also argued she should have been awarded her attorneys’ fees. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all respects. The trial court equitably distributed the marital assets and did not abuse its discretion in awarding Wife transitional alimony to help her adjust to living as a single person again.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


James Campbell Bradshaw, Michael David Hornback, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, The Torrington Company.

George Benson Boston, Christopher V. Sockwell, Ryan Perry Durham, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, James Johnson and wife, Elaine Johnson.


The plaintiff was severely injured while working on the premises of his employer. Because the employer was immune from liability in tort under the Workers’ Compensation statutes, the employee’s negligence suit named as defendants two other companies whose equipment was implicated in his injury. After a five-day trial, the jury found that the employer was solely at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries, resulting in no award. The plaintiff then filed a motion for new trial. The trial court granted the motion ten months after it was filed, declaring that in his capacity as the thirteenth juror he had found the verdict to be against the weight of the evidence. The case was tried before a second jury, which reached a different verdict, finding that one of the defendant companies was 90% at fault for the plaintiff’s injury while the plaintiff himself was 10% at fault. The net verdict for the plaintiff amounted to $2,925,000. The defendant company argues on appeal that the trial court erred in vacating the first jury verdict, that the second jury verdict was “contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence,” and that the amount of the verdict was excessive. We affirm the jury verdict and the judgment based on it.

IN RE: PAYTON A.D.L., (d.o.b. 02/26/2011), A Child Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Rolfe A. Straussfogel, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tiffany E. P.

Robert L. Huddleston, Maryville, Tennessee, Guardian ad Litem for the appellee, Payton A.D.L.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.


This is a termination of parental rights case. Mother argues that the evidence presented to the trial court did not clearly and convincingly establish that termination of her parental rights was in the best interests of the child. After thoroughly reviewing the record, we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Matthew Allen Jared, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lynn Rogers.

James Frank Wilson, Wartburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jon Roach and wife, Brenda Roach, Roger Hill, Larry B. Daniels, Lowell D. Daniels, Wanda Brown, and Beulah Hill.


Landowner owns property that was once part of a single parcel of land. The only way she can access her property is over a gravel roadway approximately nine feet wide that crosses through her neighbors’ property. One of Landowner’s neighbors erected fence posts near the roadway that Landowner alleges interfere with her ability to pull her horse trailers back and forth to her property. Landowner filed a complaint alleging she has the right to a forty foot easement across her neighbors’ property. After Landowner presented her proof at trial, Defendant neighbors moved for involuntary dismissal pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 41.02. The trial court dismissed Landowner’s complaint. We reverse the dismissal as to the Landowner’s claim for interference with her use and enjoyment of the easement because she presented evidence to establish the elements of that claim. We also reverse the dismissal of the claim for damages resulting from the interference. Dismissal of the other claims by Landowner is affirmed. We remand this case for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John Patrick Cauley, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants, Richard Garvin and Serena Garvin.

Jeffrey Russell Smith, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jeffrey R. Smith, Vickie L. Smith, Ken Lamberson, Paula Lamberson, Anthony Langeland, and Melissa Langeland.


Homeowners in a subdivision used water from a sulfur well to water their lawn. Neighbors complained about the noxious odor, and when the Homeowners continued to use the sulfurous water, the neighbors sought and obtained an order permanently enjoining them from using their well for irrigation purposes. Three years later the Homeowners began using the sulfur well to water their lawn again, and the neighbors filed a petition seeking to hold the Homeowners in contempt for violating the court’s order. The Homeowners filed a retaliatory complaint against the neighbors, and the neighbors sought Rule 11 sanctions for having to defend that action. The trial court consolidated the hearing of the two motions, and following a hearing where testimony and documentary evidence were introduced, the court found the Homeowners had willfully violated the court’s order on at least nine occasions. The court also found the Homeowners’ action was filed in violation of Rule 11 and fined the Homeowners $1,000. The Homeowners appealed, claiming the two motions should not have been heard together and that the evidence did not support the court’s finding of willfulness beyond a reasonable doubt. We conclude the court did not abuse its discretion in hearing the two motions in the same proceeding, and that the evidence was not insufficient for the court to have found the Homeowners guilty of willfully violating its earlier order beyond a reasonable doubt. We thus affirm the trial court’s judgment.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


John R. Green, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General and Rachel Newton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner-Appellant, John R. Green, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his second petition for post-conviction relief, which the court treated as a motion to reopen his first petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, the petitioner does not address any of the procedural issues for which the post-conviction court denied the second petition. He instead argues, as he did in his first petition for post-conviction relief, that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on a failure to communicate a plea offer and to present a defense at trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


A. Philip Lomonaco (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, and Candice K. Mendez (on appeal), Dandrige, Tennessee, for the appellant, Doyle Everette Haney.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Joe C. Crumley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Doyle Everette Haney, was convicted of criminal responsibility for the facilitation of the sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class C felony, and delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. The trial court merged the two convictions and imposed a sentence of thirty years as a career offender. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions, the consistency of the verdicts, the jury instructions, and sentencing. All of his issues could be treated as waived for failure to comply with the requirements for appellate briefs. See Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. R. 10(b). However, after a review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; Tony N. Brayton (on appeal) and Constance Barnes (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant- Appellant, Komoyangi Komoyangi.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Robert Ratton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Komoyangi Komoyangi, of assault, a Class A misdemeanor, and he was sentenced to serve eleven months and twentynine days in confinement. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction given Komoyangi’s theory of self-defense. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Bass Berry Explains Rationale for DC Office

The Nashville-based firm of Bass, Berry & Sims PLC recently opened an office in Washington, D.C. Explaining the decision, Brook Lathram, a member in the firm’s Memphis office, told the Memphis Daily News that the firm believes companies prefer to work with an entitity that has a presence in the nation’s capital to keep up with changes in federal regulation. In addition, according to Lathram, the firm does an extensive amount of work for clients dealing with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which is administered in Washington. “It was a carefully considered decision,” Lathram said, but “Ultimately, we decided it was a no-brainer."

Event Raises $8,6000 for Teen Court

The annual Mary Ann Williams Scholarship Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction raised $8,600 for the Sumner County Teen Court earlier this summer. The event honored Williams, who worked for 20 years with the Department of Children Services before becoming the program coordinator with the Sumner County Juvenile Court. While serving in that role, she was instrumental in starting the first teen court program in the state. Money raised at the event funds several college scholarships, which the court awards to teen participants. This past year, the court awarded $7,500 in scholarships. The evening also included the presentation of awards and a celebration of the program’s 10-year anniversary. Download an article about the event

Appeals Court Upholds Moncier's Suspension

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals "severely chastised" Knoxville lawyer Herb Moncier in an 11-page ruling released this week, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel. The court takes issue with Moncier's repeated attempts to nullify an order that prohibits him from practicing in East Tennessee's federal courts. "It confounds the mind how Moncier (has) not come to grips with the fact that he has been disbarred from practice," Judge Danny Boggs wrote in a unanimous opinion from a three-judge panel of the court.

DA Candidates Discuss Juvenile Court Reform

Contenders for the Shelby County District Attorney General post addressed problems plaguing the Memphis Shelby County Juvenile Court at a forum on Monday. In discussing the Department of Justice's recent report about the court, Republican incumbent Amy Weirich focused on the lack of attention to victims of the system. "What is frustrating as a prosecutor of 21 years is that nowhere in that report does anyone mention the victims." She also defended the work being done to clean up the problems saying, "We're addressing those issues...In fact, we have a much more aggressive plan than the Department of Justice even asked us to accomplish." By contrast, Democratic challenger Carol Chumney maintained that the problems have been ongoing and persistent and "need to be dealt with." The Daily News reports

Budget Cuts Hit Legal Aid, Courts

Two news articles last week focused on the financial hardships hitting legal aid programs and courts around the country. The first, from WRCB-TV, looked at the impact of a $5 million cut expected to hit Puerto Rico's Legal Services offices -– a reduction officials say will force attorneys to drop at least 7,000 civil cases. The second, from News Channel 5, focused on widespread layoffs in the Los Angeles County court system. Officials there say the cutbacks will affect 431 employees and 56 courtrooms. The budget-cutting plan also ends the county's innovative juvenile traffic courts, removes court reporters from civil trials and consolidates restraining order processing. With alot unkown about the future, one court clerk lamented that while the "commitment of our judicial officers and staff to preserve access to justice is unwavering…our ability to follow through on that commitment may soon be exhausted."

Committee Holds AG in Contempt

Adding to the mounting tensions between Congress and the Executive Branch, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted today to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt after President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to withhold documents the committee was seeking. The contempt resolution now goes to the full House, where if approved, it could lead to federal charges. USA Today has a wrap up of the day's developments.

Scalia Releases Book on Textual Meaning

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner (editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary) this week released "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.” The book explores what textualism means, and spells out 70 canons, or guideposts, to explain the concept. Scalia said the goal of the book was to "help attorneys better understand how to present a client’s better understanding how judges interpret cases.” It is the second major book on legal thinking and writing by the pair. In 2008 they authored "Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges." Learn more about the new book in the ABA Journal

Judges to Speak at Book Release

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade and Judge Rex Henry Ogle will deliver remarks next Saturday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the King Family Library in Sevierville to support the release of a new book about the town. The book is the latest in the "Images of America" series by Arcadia Publishing. Learn more about the event in the News Sentinel

State Transportation Dept. Seeks Counsel

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is seeking to fill the position of Assistant General Counsel for the East Tennessee Region in its Knoxville office. Responsibilities include preparation of documents for the acquisition and disposal of highway rights-of-way, regulation of outdoor advertising, and general legal advice on various issues relating to the maintenance and operation of the state highway system. Applicants should submit a resume, cover letter, references, law school transcript and legal writing sample before July 16. Learn more on JobLink

MTSU Hiring Business Law Faculty

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is accepting applications for a full-time temporary (non-tenure-track) faculty position beginning August 2012. The successful candidate will have a specialty in business law and related areas and should have a law degree with relative experience. Interested individuals should apply online.  Review of applications will begin on July 1, and continue until the position is filled. Learn more on JobLink


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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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