Former AG, Appellate Clerk Join NSL Faculty

The Nashville School of Law announced this week that it has added two attorneys to its faculty. The first, former Tennessee Attorney General Paul G. Summers, will teach administrative law, estate and business classes. The second, attorney Andra J. Hedrick, a former clerk for the Tennessee Court of Appeals, will teach estate planning. Summers is currently a partner at the Waller firm. Hedrick practices at Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin. Both are 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
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
08 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - 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 Court of Appeals

IN RE ASHLEY E., ROBERT E., JR., AND EVAN E.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kimberly Falls Lentz, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Georgia E.

James R. Potter, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Robert E., Sr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Lindsey O. Appiah, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: DINKINS

Parents appeal the termination of their parental rights to three children, contending that the court erred in finding that the Department of Children’s Services complied with the notice requirements of Tenn. Code. Ann. § 37-2-403. We affirm the judgment terminating parental rights.


IN RE ESTATE OF ROBERT BEAZLEY, JR.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

William Bruce Bradley, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Richard Vernon Beazley and Linda Ann Anderson.

Robert John Notestine, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Dennis C. Wright.

Judge: DINKINS

This case concerns a dispute over attorney’s fees. Attorney, who was hired to represent a client in connection with the probate of her uncle’s estate, sued his former client and the beneficiaries of the estate under theories of civil conspiracy and inducement of breach of contract. Court found in favor of attorney and held the attorney was entitled to $20,000 in damages. The court trebled the damages in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-50-109. Finding that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s holding regarding inducement of breach of contract, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.


BARRY W. BETHEL, ET AL. v. NEILL SANDLER BUICK PONTIAC GMC, INC., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

John P. Doyle, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Martin Duane Luplow.

John Isaac Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Barry W. Bethel.

Judge: DINKINS

This is an appeal of a jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff in an action for misrepresentation and breach of contract. The jury returned a general verdict finding Defendant liable and awarding Plaintiff $62,083.18 in compensatory damages. Defendant appeals, asserting that the elements of misrepresentation are not supported by the evidence and that the jury was improperly instructed on the issue of damages. We hold there is substantial and material evidence in support of a finding that Defendant breached the contract between the parties and affirm the jury’s verdict in all respects.


EDWARD LEE CARRUTH v. CITY OF ETOWAH

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Emily A. Cleveland, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, City of Etowah.

Randy G. Rogers, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellee, Edward Lee Carruth.

Judge: SUSANO

The City of Etowah appeals a decision of the trial court leaving in place an injunction prohibiting the City from demolishing a house owned by the plaintiff, Edward Lee Carruth. The City’s Building Inspector, on behalf of the City, directed that the house be demolished. He acted pursuant to a city ordinance governing the clearing of unsafe structures. Carruth filed a complaint seeking (1) judicial review of the administrative ruling or, in the alternative, (2) review by writ of certiorari. The trial court issued the writ and entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting the City from demolishing or otherwise destroying the house. Following a bench trial, the court found that (1) there was inadequate proof to sustain the City’s action; (2) Carruth did not receive a hearing from the City prior to the City’s action; (3) the City failed to make findings of fact, as required by statute, in support of its decision; and (4) the cost of repairing the house was less than fifty percent of its value. The City challenges each of the trial court’s determinations and it further challenges the trial court’s conduct of a hearing on a common-law writ of certiorari. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


ERIE INSURANCE EXCHANGE v. GARY ROSE, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A AMERICAN MASONRY AND CAPITAL BUILDERS, LLC

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

David B. Scott and T. William A. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Erie Insurance Exchange.

Brett A. Oeser, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Capital Builders, LLC.

Gary Rose, Lexington, Kentucky, Pro Se, not participating.

Judge: DINKINS

Defendant in a lawsuit filed in Williamson County appeals the dismissal of its separate action filed in Davidson County seeking a declaratory judgment; the Davidson County action was dismissed on the basis of prior suit pending. Finding no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE ex rel. PATRICIA KIMBROUGH v. BRIAN HALES
With Concurring Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Marcie E.Greene, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, State of Tennessee ex rel. Patricia Kimbrough

Kathryn J. Dugger-Edwards, Elizabethon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brian Hales

Judge: HIGHERS

In 1991, the parties divorced via a Final Decree which decreed that the husband was not the father of the wife’s expected child. In 2010, the State moved to establish the husband’s paternity and for Rule 60.02 relief. The trial court denied the State’s requests finding the 1991 paternity determination res judicata. Because we find the paternity provision void as against public policy, we find the trial court erred in dismissing the State’s Motion to Establish Paternity and its motion for Rule 60.02 relief. The case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


NORMA O’NEAL v. NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Mark Litchford and Tonya Kennedy McIntosh Cammon, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

Hubert E. Hamilton and Thomas H. O’Neal, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Norma L. O’Neal.

Judge: PER CURIAM

On May 23, 2012, this Court entered an order directing Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company (“Defendant”) to show cause why this appeal should not be dismissed as premature. Defendant responded to the show cause order and admitted that claims under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act remain outstanding. We dismiss this appeal for lack of a final judgment.


IN THE MATTER OF: STEVEN P.D. (D.O.B. 02/24/2007) and DALTON D. (D.O.B. 05/19/2008), Children Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert W. Hawley, Paris, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christina P.

Paul D. Hessing, Paris, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven D.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Alexander S. Rieger, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: FARMER

This is a termination of parental rights case. The trial court concluded that it was in the best interests of the children to terminate the parental rights of Mother and Father on the grounds of abandonment by incarcerated parents, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans, and persistence of conditions. On appeal, Mother and Father argue that DCS did not clearly and convincingly prove grounds for termination. Father further argues that DCS did not clearly and convincingly prove that termination was in the best interests of the children. Finally, Mother and Father argue that DCS failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify them with their children. After thoroughly reviewing the record, we affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

MICHAEL JONES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Scottie O. Wilkes, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Michael McCusker, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Michael Jones, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of postconviction relief from his conviction for second degree murder and resulting thirty-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was unknowing, involuntary, and unintelligent because he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RANDALL MASON NUNN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Andrew J. Gibbons, Assistant Public Defender, (on appeal); and C. Brad Sproles, Kingsport, Tennessee, (at trial) for the appellant, Randall Mason Nunn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Welles, Jr., District Attorney General; Patrick Denton,Assistant District Attorney General; and Joseph E. Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Randall Mason Nunn, pursuant to a plea agreement, pled guilty in the Criminal Court of Sullivan County to misdemeanor theft of services, a Class A misdemeanor, and to the Class A misdemeanor offense of failure to appear. Pursuant to the agreement, he received concurrent sentences of 11 months and 29 days with a 75% service of the effective sentence prior to eligibility for work release, furlough, trusty status, and related rehabilitative programs. The issue of whether Defendant would serve his sentence totally in confinement or by some other alternative sentence was to be determined by the trial court on a later date announced in open court and acknowledged by Defendant. Defendant, who was represented by counsel throughout the proceedings, failed to appear for his scheduled sentencing hearing, or for any of the three subsequently scheduled sentencing hearings. Each time Defendant’s counsel announced that Defendant had just reported to counsel that Defendant’s child had a medical condition which required Defendant’s presence at hospitals in Knoxville and later in Nashville. The trial court held the last scheduled hearing with Defendant absent and ordered Defendant to serve his entire sentence. Defendant appeals, arguing he should have been granted alternative sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSHUA SHELL

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Bryce W. McKenzie, Sevierville, Tennessee, for appellant, Joshua Shell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Tracy Jenkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Joshua Shell, appeals from the trial court’s order which revoked Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve by incarceration his effective sentence of four years for one count of burglary, three counts of vehicle burglary, and four counts of theft. The State concedes error in the trial court’s proceedings and admits the case must be remanded for a probation violation hearing. We agree and reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a probation violation hearing.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TARIK THOMPSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert Brooks and Handel R. Durham, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tarik Thompson.

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

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Tarik Thompson, of two counts of unlawful possession of dihydrocodeinone, a schedule III drug. The trial court merged the offenses, assessed a two thousand dollar fine, and sentenced the Defendant to eighteen months in the workhouse as a range one offender. On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for one of the two counts of unlawful possession of dihydrocodeinone; and (2) the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the valid prescription exception to the offense of simple possession of dihydrocodeinone. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


ALONZO QUAWNDELL VINSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William J. Taylor, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant, Alonzo Quawndell Vinson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E, Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kenneth Irvine, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Alonzo Quawndell Vinson, appeals the post-conviction court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. The sole ground for relief presented at the hearing was that Petitioner’s sentence for aggravated assault, imposed pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, is illegal, and the judgment of conviction is therefore void. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.


Funds Still Missing at Drug Task Force

Money unaccounted for at the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force at the beginning of the year still remains missing, according to a report from the state comptroller’s office. The current task force director says the group has exhausted all steps to locate the funds and cannot continue to search for the missing cash. Former task force director Steve Lee was indicted on theft charges in January and earlier this month was given a deferred probation of 11 months and 29 days. If he complies with requirements during the probation, charges will be dropped, authorities say. Meanwhile, charges remain pending against two other task force employees. Read the latest in the Jackson Sun


Article Captures Knox Courthouse History

An article in the News Sentinel by Robert J. Booker, former executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, details the history of the Knox County Courthouse, which was first established in 1792. According to Booker, at the laying of the current building’s cornerstone in 1885, the keynote speaker recounted how the original courthouse was burned to the ground by a lawyer “resolved to hasten the end of the unworthy structure.” Booker also provides details about subsequent structures used to house the court, and ultimately the construction of what at the time was called "the finest building of the kind in East Tennessee.”


Firm Reaches Out to Entrepreneurs, Emerging Companies

The Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC is helping entrepreneurs in a variety of business accelerator programs in the city, the Memphis Daily News reports. A spokesperson for the firm says it is committed to developing an emerging companies practice and has developed an online video service to offer entrepreneurs tips from the firm’s lawyers. Check out the service


Haslam Asks Congress to Help with Online Sales Tax

More than 21 states have simplified how they collect taxes in hopes of recovering an estimated $20 billion in sales taxes that go uncollected by out-of-state online merchants every year. But the nation's governors say they still need help from Congress. Speaking on behalf of the National Governors Association, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that it is not fair to local businesses that online sellers are not always required to collect and distribute state sales taxes. Read more of his remarks in the Bristol Herald Courier


Justice O'Connor Testifies on Civics Education

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today on her work with iCivics, civics education and judicial independence. She also called recent criticism of Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote to uphold the health care law as “unfortunate” and said presidential comments on pending cases are “not ideal.” Read more from Fox News or watch a video of the hearing


House Candidates Face Residency Issues

A number of state House candidates are facing an uncertain future as they have not yet established residency in the districts they're running to represent. In the wake of redistricting by the legislature, many candidates found that their homes were no longer within the boundaries of their new districts – some missing the line by just two or three blocks. Several have tried to be creative – listing barns and even a bison ranch – as their permanent residence, while others say they will move only if they win their primary race. WBIR has the story


Knoxville Lawyer Suspended

Knoxville lawyer Johnathan Kenneth Borsodi was suspended from the practice of law on July 25 after failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility about a complaint of misconduct. Download the BPR notice


 
 

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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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