Linda Rose Wins Immigration Award

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) awarded Nashville lawyer Linda Rose with the 2012 Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award yesterday during AILA's Annual Conference in Nashville. The award is in recognition of her outstanding service, over a period of years, in advancing the mission, development and value of AILA for its members and the public it serves. The association says Roses's service is "second to none," practicing immigration law for 25 years, 14 of them on the AILA board. Rose is the managing member of Rose Immigration Law Firm PLC and an adjunct professor of immigration law at Vanderbilt University Law School. She is also the leader of the jazz ensemble, Rose On Vibes Quintet, which you can hear tonight at Susie Wong's House of Yum 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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - 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 Workers Comp Appeals

SCOTT HOUSE v. YRC, INC. ET AL.

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen K. Heard and Adam O. Knight, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, YRC, Inc., d/b/a Yellow Transportation, Inc.

Russell E. Freeman, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Scott House.

Judge: DANIEL

Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this workers’ compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. This is a reconsideration case. The employee settled his claim for one and one-half times the anatomical impairment in 2007. In 2008, his employer merged with a second company to form a new corporate entity. The employee continued to be employed by the new entity in the same location, working under the same collective bargaining agreement that he had been under prior to his injury. The trial court found that he had lost his employment for purposes of Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241(d)(1)(B) and awarded additional permanent disability benefits. The employer has appealed, contending that the trial court erred by finding that a loss of employment occurred. In the alternative, Employer argues that the evidence preponderates against an award of additional benefits. We affirm the judgment.


TN Court of Appeals

JAMES JOHNSON AND WIFE, ELAINE JOHNSON v. THE TORRINGTON COMPANY, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

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.

Judge: COTTRELL

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.


DAVID R. SEATON, ET AL. v. WISE PROPERTIES-TN, LLC

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

H. Wayne Grant, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, David R. Seaton and Paul Ray Seaton.

Gary R. Patrick, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wise Properties-TN, LLC.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This appeal concerns a contract for the purchase and sale of property. The buyer refused to close pursuant to the terms of the contract and stopped payment on its earnest money check. The sellers brought an action for specific performance and breach of contract. The buyer alleged that the sellers breached the contract first. The trial court found in favor of the buyer, holding that because the sellers did not cause title to be examined ten days from the effective date of the contract, the buyer had a right to withdraw the earnest money payment. The sellers appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


CYNTHIA A. WILKERSON v. RAYNELLA DOSSETT LEATH
With Concurring Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

James A. H. Bell and John C. Barnes, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raynella Dossett Leath.

James S. MacDonald, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Cynthia A. Wilkerson.

This appeal involves a suit to restrain a surviving wife from inheriting from her deceased husband. Husband’s daughter filed a complaint against wife, alleging that wife intentionally killed husband, thereby forfeiting any right to inherit pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 31-1-106. When wife was convicted of first degree murder, Daughter filed a motion for summary judgment and attached the judgment of conviction. The court granted the motion, finding that no genuine issues of fact remained because the doctrine of collateral estoppel precluded litigation of whether wife killed husband. We reverse the decision of the trial court and remand this case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

NATHAN CORDELL BURKEEN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Matthew H. Dunkin, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathan Cordell Burkeen.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Dan Runde, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Nathan Cordell Burkeen, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel, which rendered his guilty plea unknowing and involuntary. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TINA M. DIXON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Kenneth (“Dale”) Quillen, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tina M. Dixon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Lisa Donegan, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Humphreys County jury convicted the Defendant, Tina M. Dixon, of possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver within 1000 feet of a school zone and of possession of over 0.5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver within 1000 feet of a school zone. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of twenty years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it denied her motion to suppress because the attachment order upon which she was arrested was unlawfully issued; (2) the trial court erred when it denied her motion to set aside her verdict because she was not properly charged with the crimes for which she was convicted; (3) she was denied due process of law because the presiding trial judge had previously prosecuted her for burglary and felony theft charges; (4) she was denied due process of law because the Assistant District Attorney General who prosecuted her case had previously been her public defender when she was convicted of burglary and felony theft charges; and (5) the trial court erred when it enhanced her sentence. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. JEFFERY B. JOHNSON, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William B. (Jake) Lockert, III, District Public Defender, and Dawn Kavanagh, Kathleen Mitchell, and Connie Jones, Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Jeffery Byrd Johnson, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Carey Thompson and Ray Crouch, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Jeffrey B. Johnson, Jr., was tried on two counts of first degree (premeditated) murder, and after a jury trial was found guilty of two counts of voluntary manslaughter, Class C felonies. The defendant was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to five years on each count, with the sentences to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of ten years. The defendant challenges the sentences imposed by the trial court, claiming error in the trial court’s application of certain enhancement factors, its failure to apply certain proffered mitigating factors, and its decision to order the defendant’s sentences to be served consecutively. Considering the State’s concession that the trial court’s application of two of the enhancement factors was error, the trial court’s failure to consider all of the evidence that was presented at trial during sentencing, and the state of the record before us, we conclude that this case should be remanded to the trial court for resentencing consistent with this opinion.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAKE L. MONROE, ALIAS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Mitchell T. Harper, Knoxville, Tennessee (at trial); and Richard Gaines, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); for the appellant, Jake L. Monroe, alias.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Leon Franks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Jake L. Monroe, alias, appeals as of right from a jury conviction for possession with intent to sell and deliver a controlled substance within a drug-free school zone, a class B felony. The Defendant contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court but remand the case for correction of the judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RIVERA L. PEOPLES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Nathan S. Moore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rivera Peoples.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Bret Gunn and Brian Ewald, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Rivera Peoples (“the Defendant”) appeals his jury conviction for first degree felony murder. In his appeal, he asserts that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction.


JONATHAN W. STEPHENSON V. RICKY BELL, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Andrew N. Egan, Hermitage, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan W. Stephenson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; and Deshea Dulaney Faughn, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Jonathan W. Stephenson (“the Petitioner”) filed for habeas corpus relief, challenging his convictions for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Following a hearing, the habeas corpus court dismissed the petition on the merits, and this appeal followed. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that his judgment is facially void because his 1994 guilty plea rendered his 1990 jury conviction a nullity. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we hold that the Petitioner’s first degree murder conviction stems not from the 1994 guilty plea but from the 1990 jury verdict that was affirmed on direct appeal. Accordingly, the 2002 judgment sentencing the Petitioner to death on his underlying jury conviction for first degree murder was not facially void. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES K. YOUNG

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jonathan M. Holcomb, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, James K. Young.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Kimberly Morrison, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, James Young, was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (DUI), first offense, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-401. The trial court suspended the Defendant’s driver’s license for one year and sentenced him to eleven months and twenty-nine days’ incarceration with all but thirty days to be served on probation. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for DUI, first offense. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


DOJ Meets With Memphians, Names Powell to Investigate Juvenile Court Failings

Last night in Memphis, Department of Justice officials held a forum that allowed citizens to pose questions to the department, which conducted a recent investigation that found a pattern of unconstitutional conduct in several areas of the Shelby County Juvenile Court system. Bill Powell, criminal justice coordinator for the county, announced his appointment to help correct the failures. He said he will head a committee of officials and citizens to brainstorm ideas to correct issues in the local juvenile justice system. County Commissioner Henri Brooks, who filed the complaint that triggered the federal investigation, criticized Powell's appointment, saying "it looks like the Department of Justice is asking Juvenile Court to monitor itself." The Commercial Appeal has the story


Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional in Arkansas

The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the state's execution law today, calling it unconstitutional. In a split decision, the high court sided with 10 death row inmates who argued that, under Arkansas' constitution, only the Legislature can set execution policy. Legislators in 2009 voted to give that authority to the Department of Correction. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said that at this point he doesn't plan to call a special session to address the court's ruling. "The death penalty is still the law in Arkansas, but the Department of Correction now has no legal way to carry out an execution until a new statute is established," Beebe said in a statement. WRCB-TV has the story


Busch Talks About Music Industry Profits

The Tennessean profiles the lawyer representing music giant F.B.T. Productions, the Detroit hip-hop producers behind rap artist Eminem’s musical success, about the win that would give an equal split of profits with their record company for downloads of Eminem’s music. The ruling, Richard Busch believed, would have huge implications for the entire recording industry in terms of how companies pay artists in a new era of digital music. In fact, the 2010 decision has spawned a series of other lawsuits brought by artists of all genres against their record labels. Earlier this month, Busch negotiated confidential settlements in similar cases for two clients — Peter Frampton and Kenny Rogers.


Bids for Anderson Co. Jail Work Reviewed

With a budget of $10 million set for expansion of the overcrowded Anderson County Jail, several bids came in under the mark, with Rouse Construction Co. of Knoxville having the apparent low bid of $9,660,000. The plan is to significantly redesign the existing facility and construct a new 45,965-square-foot building that will provide space for 212 beds. The News Sentinel has more


Shipley Starts Campaign for 3rd Term

Tennessee state Rep. Tony Shipley kicked off his re-election bid for a third term in office Thursday night with testimonials from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, other state lawmakers and local officials, according to the Kingsport Times News. Shipley, R-Kingsport, is again seeking the 2nd House District seat in the GOP primary and faces a challenge from former Kingsport Alderman Ben Mallicote.


4 Down, 5 to Go for Supreme Court

With decisions ranging from broadcast indecency to union fees and corporate fines, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for the term's biggest and likely most controversial rulings to come next week. After these four rulings, five cases remain, including health care and life without parole for juvenile murders. The court will return on Monday and may schedule an additional decision day later in the week. Learn more from the National Law Journal


 
 

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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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