Olympics Keep Tight Rein on Social Media, Marketing

During what's been dubbed the first "social media" Olympics, the International Olympic Committee is encouraging athletes to share their experiences with the world. Its social media guidelines suggest that they communicate "in first-person, diary-type format." But the medal hopefuls will have to watch what they post, blog, and tweet because the IOC, as the owner of the Games (and author of the Olympic Charter), has set limits on what they can say. There are similar strict controls on related marketing and advertising. Amy Savela, associate general counsel for marketing at the U.S. Olympic Committee, says that she and the legal department there will be monitoring a running list of social media concerns ranging from the language that companies use to talk about athletes and the Games to what athletes themselves say. Law.com has the details

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
03 - 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 Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Workers Comp Appeals


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Michael L. Mansfield, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gerdau Ameristeel US, Inc.

Spencer R. Barnes, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeff King.


An injured employee returned to work for his pre-injury employer. The employee was moved to a different area and worked fewer overtime hours because of his medical restrictions. The trial court held that the employee did not have a meaningful return to work pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A) (2008) and awarded permanent partial disability benefits in excess of one and one-half times the anatomical impairment. The employer appealed. We hold that the employee had a meaningful return to work and that Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A) limits the employee’s recovery to one and one-half times the anatomical impairment. We therefore modify the judgment of the trial court.

TN Court of Appeals

With dissenting opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals


David L. Leonard, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Melissa H. Armbrister.

Thomas C. Jessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellee, Andrew K. Armbrister.


The parties were divorced on September 2, 2009, and the Trial Court entered a Permanent Parenting Plan. On February 11, 2011, the father filed a Motion to Modify the PPP, alleging a change in circumstances. Following trial of the issues, the Trial Court increased the number of days the father would have the children and reduced the award of child support. The mother has appealed, we reverse the Trial Court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Donald Capparella and Candi Henry, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellant MVT Services, Inc., d/b/a Mesilla Valley Transportation

Ben M. Rose and J. Matthew Blackburn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellee American Zurich Insurance Company

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves retrospective insurance premiums on a workers’ compensation insurance policy. The defendant trucking company operates in several states, including Texas and Tennessee. Tennessee requires employers to maintain worker’s compensation insurance for certain employees, but Texas does not. The defendant trucking company purchased workers’ compensation insurance for its Tennessee employees from the plaintiff insurance company. The trucking company employed over-the-road truck drivers who were Tennessee residents. The trucking company decided to classify its Tennessee-resident over- the-road drivers as Texas employees whose on-the-job injuries would not be covered by the Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance policy. Consequently, the trucking company did not pay insurance premiums to cover those employees. The plaintiff insurance company conducted a retrospective premium audit; in the audit, it determined that the Tennessee- resident over-the-road drivers presented a risk of loss to the insurance company. Consequently, the insurance company notified the trucking company that it owed retrospective premiums based on those drivers. The trucking company refused to pay, so the insurance company canceled the insurance policy and filed this lawsuit for the retrospective premiums. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the insurance company, and the trucking company now appeals. We affirm, finding under the undisputed facts that the Tennessee-resident over-the-road employees presented a risk of loss to the insurer under the workers’ compensation insurance policy during the relevant policy periods.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


J. Thomas Caldwell, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Ray Henson.

Rebecca S. Mills, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeri Lynn Pilkington Henson.


The issue presented in this divorce case is which parent should be designated as the primary residential parent of the parties’ minor children. The trial court named the Appellee/Mother primary residential parent, and Appellant/Father appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James E. Lanier, District Public Defender; and H. Tod Taylor, Assistant Public Defender, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sherri A. Bogle.

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


Defendant, Sherri A. Bogle, appeals from the trial court’s order revoking Defendant’s probation and requiring her to serve the sentence in incarceration. Defendant argues on appeal that her sentence had expired before the State initiated revocation proceedings. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Stacy L. Street, Elizabethton, Tennessee, and James T. Bowman, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wendi Nichole Garrison.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; and Al Schmutzer, Jr., District Attorney General, Pro Tempore, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Carter County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Wendi Nicole Garrison,1 of the second degree murder of the victim, Joshua Perry. The trial court imposed a sentence of sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain her conviction, that the trial court erred in denying her request to charge assisted suicide as a lesser-included offense of second degree murder, and that the trial court erred in denying her request for a jury instruction regarding assisted suicide as a defense to second degree murder. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Joseph A. Hale, Wartburg, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; and Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Joseph A. Hale, appeals the Morgan County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his 2007 conviction for second degree murder and resulting seventeen-year sentence. He contends that his sentence is void because the trial court improperly sentenced him pursuant to the 2005 Sentencing Amendments when the offense date was 2004. The State has moved this court to affirm the trial court’s denial of relief by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The State’s motion for a memorandum opinion is granted, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Michael G. Hatmaker (at trial and on appeal) and D. Brent Gray (at trial), Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bert Durand Hatmaker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; Michael O. Ripley and Leif Jeffers, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Campbell County jury convicted the Defendant, Bert Durand Hatmaker, of one count of reckless endangerment, one count of assault, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to concurrent sentences of two years for the reckless endangerment conviction, eleven months and twenty-nine days for the assault conviction, and thirty days for the leaving the scene of an accident conviction, with sixty days to be served in jail and the remainder to be served on probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for reckless endangerment. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Charles R. Hughes, Jr., District Public Defender; Larry D. Wright, Assistant Public Defender, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Keisha M. Howard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Steven Bebb, District Attorney General and Stephen M. Hatchett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Keisha M. Howard, was indicted for theft of property valued at $60,000 or more and for violating the Tennessee Computer Act, both Class B felonies. She entered guilty pleas to the offenses as charged in the Bradley County Criminal Court, with the trial court to determine the length and manner of her sentence as well as the amount of restitution, if any. See T.C.A. §§ 39-14-103, -105(5), -602(a)(1) (2006). The trial court sentenced Howard as a Range I, standard offender and imposed concurrent sentences of eight years. Under the special conditions in the theft judgment, the court ordered that Howard “may apply to Community Corrections” and that she “owes $215,000 [and] cannot pay that amount but must pay no less than $200 a month.” Howard filed a motion to clarify the total amount of restitution owed, and the trial court, in determining that its previous judgment regarding restitution violated Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-304(c), ordered Howard to pay $1,000 per month for eight years, for a total of $96,000 in restitution. On appeal, Howard argues that the trial court’s order requiring her to pay $96,000 in restitution was unreasonable, given her financial resources and ability to pay. Upon review, we reverse the trial court’s order that Howard pay $1,000 per month for eight years for a total of $96,000 in restitution, and we amend the judgments to show that the victim’s loss in this case is $156,951.30 and that the restitution, based on the proof established of Howard’s present ability to pay, is reduced to $48,000, which shall be paid at the rate of $500 per month for eight years. In all other respects, the trial court’s judgments are affirmed.

Today's News

Hargett Calls for Investigation in Shelby Election

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett formally asked State Comptroller Justin Wilson on Friday to audit the administration of the Shelby County Election Commission and investigate election procedures and returns, where it is estimated that about 1,000 voters got the wrong ballot. State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville and Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester of Nashville called separately Thursday for a state review of election results in the county, the Memphis Daily Journal reports. “This is not a witch hunt. This is not finger pointing,” Norris said. “We need to know the process works.” Forrester called for the review because he said Republican political leaders “have failed over and over again to protect our voting rights.”

U.S. Attorney: Report Voter Fraud, Discrimination

U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said his office will be working with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to handle allegations of fraud and abuse during this election. Two staff attorneys have been set aside to take calls while polls are open Thursday. “Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination at the poll and must enjoy the assurance that their vote will be counted,” Martin said in a statement released today. He also urged anyone with specific information about discrimination or election fraud to make that information available immediately to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI. The Tennessean has more

Washington Co. to Begin Process for Hiring New Judge

At least six people are eying the third General Session judge position in Washington County, including Ken Baldwin, assistant district attorney general for the First Judicial District; Douglas Carter, an attorney in Johnson City; Suzanne Cook, with Hunter, Smith & Davis; Bill Donaldson, assistant public defender for the First Judicial District; Janie Lindamood, an attorney in Johnson City; and Dan Smith, an attorney in Jonesborough. The Johnson City Press reports that county commissioners have voted to appoint an eight-member legal services committee to work out the process for filling the new post, which will help the court take on additional responsibilities, including environmental issues.

Firm Honored for Death Penalty Representation

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP will be among those honored by the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation Project for its commitment to prisoners on death row, with the Exceptional Service Award. The firm, with offices in Nashville and six other Southeastern cities, has provided pro bono legal assistance for inmates on death row since 1988. In total, Bradley Arant lawyers have helped provide representation for 22 prisoners, nearly all of them from the extremely active death penalty jurisdiction of Alabama. The awards will be presented at the Project’s 2012 Volunteer Recognition & Awards Event this Friday during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Holmes Charged with 142 Counts, Courtroom Closed to Cameras

Nearly all states allow cameras in court; 44 permit them in criminal trials, although 10 of those on only a limited basis, this Washington Post writer reports. And when the alleged gunman in the recent Aurora, Colo., shootings appeared in court the first time, the nation was able to see his dazed look and pink-orange hair. But cameras were not permitted at James Holmes's court hearing today because of a request from his defense lawyers, which Judge William Sylvester granted and ordered the session closed to cameras. Today Holmes was charged with 142 counts, including 24 counts of first-degree murder, 116 counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of an explosive device and one count of a sentence enhancer for a crime of violence. The maximum punishment for the man suspected of killing 12 people and injuring 58 in the Aurora theater shooting is death. The minimum is life in prison without parole. Read more and see a drawing from the Denver Post

Subpoenas to Discover Newspaper Commenters Opposed, Supported

Lawyers from the Baker Donelson firm, representing the Shelby County Commission, have filed a subpoena in federal court asking for the identities of all those who commented on the Commercial Appeal's website about suburban areas trying to create their own school districts. Commercial Appeal editor Chris Peck and the newspaper's attorney, Lucian Pera, oppose the subpoena. Several members of the commission expressed surprise and anger after learning this, but other commissioners support the effort, saying it is aimed at finding out whether readers who made racially tinged comments also sought to influence lawmakers spearheading efforts to allow referendums on separate suburban school districts. The Commercial Appeal has the story

Old Jail to be Torn Down After Asbestos Abatement

Sparta's jail, more than 40 years old, may soon be demolished but not before city officials obtain services of a company certified in asbestos abatement, according to The Expositor. The city purchased the property several years ago after the building had been vacated for the new White County Justice Center.

6th Circuit Sides with Lawyer Over Free Speech Issue

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with a Kentucky lawyer who challenged, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, a threatened legal ethics case concerning his criticism of the state Legislative Ethics Commission ruling that dismissed a case against a prominent politician. The comments made by attorney John M. Berry Jr. were either based on facts or expressions of his own opinion, the court explained. ABAJournal.com has more


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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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