More Lawyers in House Assured; Senate Suffers from Retirements

With results in a couple of races still uncertain, one thing is clear about the next General Assembly: there will be more lawyers in the House. In the Senate, retirements left a big gap to fill.

In the House, there will be at least six lawyers and possibly as many as nine when the legislature returns in January. Four incumbents -- Craig Fitzhugh, Mike Stewart, Vance Dennis and John Mark Windle -- are expected to return after receiving their party's nod. Linda Elam is the only incumbent lawyer who did not qualify to return.

Mike Carter will represent Ooltewah after claiming the Republican nomination there; Thomas Gray will represent the 4th District; and Jeremy Durham will represent a portion of Williamson County. Neither of the three faces opposition in the fall.

One race between Steven Glaser and William Lambert will feature a faceoff between two lawyers assuring a sixth seat. Sevierville lawyer Andrew Farmer is the Republican nominee in the heavily Republican 3rd District.

In the Senate, three incumbent Republican lawyer lawmakers -- Doug Overbey, Ken Yager and Mark Norris -- should return, along with Democratic Leader Jim Kyle, after each won their party races. With the retirement of Mike Faulk, Andy Berke, Roy Herron and Joe Haynes, the number of lawyers in the upper chamber will decline by at least one. Lawyer candidates Tim Barnes, John Stephens and Steve North all face what are expected to be hard fought fall campaigns to keep the body close to what it was in 2012.

Read complete legislative results and other election news now

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.

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00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
08 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
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TN Court of Appeals

ANCHOR PIPE COMPANY, INC. v. SWEENEY-BRONZE DEVELOPMENT, LLC ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Todd E. Panther and Stephen Andrew Lund, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anchor Pipe Company, Inc.

James Campbell Bradshaw and David Andrew Amonette, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Trust One Bank.

Judge: BENNETT

This appeal concerns the priority of two liens, a mechanic’s lien and a bank’s deed of trust. We have determined that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the bank. We have further determined that the mechanic’s lien is entitled to priority and that the trial court erred in failing to grant summary judgment on that issue.


ULYSSES DURHAM, JR. EX REL. ULYSSES DURHAM, III, A MINOR v. JOHN NOBLE, ET AL.
CORRECTED OPINION AS FOLLOWS: On page 4, paragraph 2, line 8, "capacity of negligence" should read "capacity for negligence"; On page 6, paragraph 3 under B. Apportionment of Fault Between the Parties, line 2, "top at the stop sign" should read "stop at the stop sign".

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Donald N. Capparella, Amy J. Farrar, Jeffery Shane Roberts, and Jonathan Levoy Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Ulysses Durham, III, a minor, by next friend, Ulysses Durham, Jr., and Kimberly Durham.

Richard W. Rucker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellee, John Noble and the City of Murfreesboro.

Judge: DINKINS

This appeal arises out of a lawsuit brought by the parents of a minor child who was struck by a school bus while riding his bicycle. The matter proceeded to a bench trial, and the trial court found that the child was 58% percent at fault for the accident and that the defendants were 42% at fault; judgment was entered in favor of the defendants. Plaintiffs appeal. The trial court’s finding that the child was negligent was proper, and the evidence does not preponderate against the court’s allocation of fault between the parties; the judgment is affirmed in all respects.


GOSSETT MOTOR CARS, LLC v. HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA, INC. ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Gary E. Veazey and Samuel J. Muldavin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gossett Motor Cars, LLC.

Jon D. Ross and Gerald Neenan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hyundai Motor America, Inc.; James William Cameron and Patrick W. Merkel, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee/intervenor, Homer Skelton Auto Sales, LLC; and Mary Ellen Knack, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee/intervenor, Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission.

Judge: BENNETT

This appeal concerns a car dealership’s protest of Hyundai’s proposal to enter into a franchise agreement with another dealership in the same market area. During the pendency of a contested case proceeding, the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission issued a license to the second dealership, which began doing business. Denied relief at the administrative level, the protesting dealership filed a petition in chancery court. The chancellor found that the motor vehicle commission had erred in dismissing the contested case proceeding of the protesting dealership, but dismissed the petition based upon the conclusion that the matter was now moot. We agree with the chancellor’s conclusion and affirm.


WESTGATE RESORTS v. JAMES G. NEELEY, COMMISSIONER ET. AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory F. Coleman and Mark E. Silvey, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cynthia L. Vukich-Daw.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Lindsey O. Appiah, Assistant Attorney General, General Civil Division, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Gregory C. Logue and J. Keith Coates, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Westgate Resorts.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This is an unemployment compensation case. Cynthia L. Vukich-Daw filed a claim for unemployment compensation following her termination from Westgate Resorts. The claim was originally granted by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and subsequently upheld by the Appeals Tribunal and the Board of Review. Westgate Resorts filed a petition for judicial review, and the trial court reversed the Board of Review’s decision, finding that Cynthia L. Vukich-Daw was ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits because she was a qualified real estate agent pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-7-207. Cynthia L. Vukich-Daw and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development appeal. We reverse the decision of the trial court.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

ROBIN PAUL CAGLE V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Charles S. Kelly, Sr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robin Paul Cagle.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; and C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Robin Paul Cagle (“the Petitioner”) filed a petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction of aggravated sexual battery, alleging that his guilty plea was constitutionally infirm and that it was entered due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief, and this appeal followed. Upon our careful review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DOUGLAS EMORY CARLTON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Beau E. Pemberton, Dresden, Tennessee, for the appellant, Douglas Emory Carlton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and Kevin McAlpin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Douglas Emory Carlton (“the Defendant”) appeals his jury conviction for burglary. On appeal, he asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement made to police officers. He also alleges 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.


TONY CHANDLER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Randall B. Tolley, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellant, Tony Chandler.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Katie Ratton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

In 2005, the Petitioner, Tony Chandler, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of theft under $500, two counts of aggravated robbery, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, and burglary. For these convictions, the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of sixteen years. In 2011, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief and for a writ of error coram nobis. The State filed a motion to dismiss because the petition was untimely filed. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition, finding that the petition was untimely filed. On appeal, the Petitioner contends the post-conviction court erred when it dismissed his petition without a hearing. Following our review of the record and the law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM FRANKLIN CHUMLEY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender; and Melissa A. Downing, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, William Franklin Chumley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant was convicted by a jury of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and sentenced to serve twenty-five years in prison. He appeals his conviction, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the conviction and contending that the victim’s identification of him to the sexual assault nurse should have been excluded as hearsay. Because we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction and that the identification was properly admitted into evidence, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


MELVIN CRUMP v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David M. Hopkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, Melvin Crump.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Default, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and John Zimmerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Melvin Crump, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder, felony murder in perpetration of a rape, and felony murder in perpetration of larceny. The trial court merged Petitioner’s convictions, and Petitioner was sentenced by the jury to life imprisonment. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed Petitioner’s conviction and sentence. A summary of the facts underlying Petitioner’s conviction can be found in this Court’s opinion in the direct appeal. State v. Melvin Crump, No. M2006-02244-CCA-R3-CD, 2009 WL 723524 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Nashville, March 18, 2009), perm. app. denied, (Tenn., Aug. 24, 2009). Petitioner sought post-conviction relief on the grounds that his trial counsel was ineffective. The post-conviction court denied relief after an evidentiary hearing. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


JOSEPH GUNTER V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Thomas Harding Potter, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Gunter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William P. Phillips, District Attorney General; John W. Galloway, Jr., Deputy District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Joseph Gunter (“the Petitioner”) filed for post-conviction relief from his convictions of first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The Petitioner also sought DNA analysis of certain evidence introduced in his trial. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief and denied the Petitioner’s request for DNA analysis. This appeal followed. Upon our thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


JOSEPH MAY V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Todd Mosley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph May.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Betsy Weintraub, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Joseph May (“the Petitioner”) filed for post-conviction relief from his conviction of first degree premeditated murder. The Petitioner contends that his trial lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. This appeal followed. Upon our careful review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES BYRON WRIGHT

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David Brady, District Public Defender; and John B. Nisbet, III, Assistant Public Defender, Cookeville, Tennessee, for appellant, James Byron Wright.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Randall A. York, District Attorney General; and Gary McKenzie, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, James Byron Wright, entered a guilty plea to violation of an habitual motor offender order and to driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI) 6th offense, and received concurrent two-year sentences on the convictions to be served by incarceration. Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-212, he was released from confinement and placed on supervised probation. A little less than two months later, a probation violation warrant was filed alleging that Defendant failed to report to his probation officer as required. The trial court, following a hearing, found Defendant had violated his probation, revoked his probation, and ordered him to serve the balance of the sentence by incarceration. On appeal, Defendant asserts that the trial court’s disposition that Defendant serve the balance of his sentence by confinement is too harsh. After full review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.


Appeals Court Judges Retained

Court of Criminal Appeals judges Jeffrey S. Bivins and Roger A. Page, the only two appellate judges standing for retention this election cycle, have been retained by Tennessee voters. Both won approval by approximately 3-1 margins in Thursday's election asking voters to retain or replace them. Bivins, on the Middle Division of the court, was appointed last summer. Page, on the Western Division, was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam last December. They both previously served as circuit court judges. WATE News 6 has the results.


Congressional Incumbents Hold On

All of the state’s congressional incumbents prevailed in party primaries Thursday and now turn their attention to the general election. In the one race that drew headlines, U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin handily prevailed over Lou Ann Zelenik in a rematch race for the District 6 Republican nomination. She is unopposed in the general election.


Maggart, Other House GOP Incumbents Defeated

In the 24 races where Republican state lawmakers were facing challenges, at least seven incumbents were defeated. They included two members of the House leadership: Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville, who was beaten by challenger Courtney Rogers, and Education Committee Chairman Richard Montgomery of Sevierville, who was narrowly defeated by Dale Carr. Other Republican incumbents defeated were Jim Cobb, of Spring City, who was bested by Dayton businessman Ron Travis; Linda Elam of Mt. Juliet, who lost to former Rep. Susan Lynn; Dale Ford of Jonesborough, who was defeated by James "Micah" Van Huss; Julia Hurley of Lenoir City, who was defeated by Kent Calfee of Kingston; and Don Miller of Morristown, who was defeated by Tilman Goins. Humphrey on the Hill has a wrap-up.


Five State Democrat Incumbents Lose

Among Democrats in the state House, at least four incumbents were unseated, mostly due to redistricting that pitted incumbents against each other. In Chattanooga, Rep. JoAnn Favors defeated Rep. Tommie Brown. In Memphis, Rep. John DeBerry defeated Rep. Jeanne Richardson and Rep. G.A. Hardaway defeated Rep. Mike Kernell. And in Nashville, Rep. Mary Pruitt defeated by Harold Love Jr. by just 40 votes. In the Senate, Jim Kyle defeated colleague Beverly Marrero. Humphrey on the Hill has a wrap-up


Niceley Wins Faulk’s Senate Seat

Former State Rep. Frank Niceley prevailed over three others to capture the Republican nomination for the newly renumbered 8th Senatorial District. The seat is being vacated by State Sen. Mike Faulk, who opted not to seek re-election earlier this year. There is no Democratic candidate on the November general election ballot, which means Niceley should cruise to victory in November. The Rogersville Review and the Times News have more.


Historic Vote Paves Way for 6 New School Districts

Voters in each of the six suburban towns and cities in Shelby County approved establishing municipal school districts in unofficial results from yesterday’s election. But voters in only five of the six localities approved a half-cent sales tax hike to provide the minimum local funding required for the school districts by state law. To add even more uncertainty, federal Judge Hardy Mays begins holding hearings next month in the court challenge to the constitutionality of the state law that permits and sets conditions for the formation of municipal school districts. The Memphis Daily News has more.


Agreement Finalized over Stieglitz Collection

After seven years and several court appeals, an agreement between Fisk University and Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton to sell a half-share of the $60 million Alfred Stieglitz Collection was finalized in Davidson County Chancery Court yesterday afternoon. The plan calls for rotating the collection between Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Fayetteville, Ark., and Fisk every two years. Fisk will receive $30 million in cash in exchange for the half-share but will set aside $3.9 million in a charitable fund to cover costs of maintaining the collection. State Attorney General Robert Cooper had challenged the agreement, claiming it violated the will of artist Georgia O’Keefe who donated the collection to Fisk in 1949. The Nashville City Paper reports

 


Juvenile Judge Announces Retirement

Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Betty Adams Green plans to retire from the bench in six weeks, ending 14 years in that role, the City Paper reports. The Metro Council will choose a replacement.


Knoxville Lawyer, Restaurant Owner Dies

Knoxville lawyer and restaurant chain owner Don Sproles died Wednesday (Aug. 1). Mr. Sproles, 61, graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1979 and served as president of the Knoxville Barristers in 1982. His LunchBox restaurant has been a mainstay luncheon spot for members of the local bar. A memorial service will be held Monday at 5 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, 425 N. Cedar Bluff Rd., Knoxville 37923, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Volunteer Ministry Center, 511 N Broadway St., Knoxville 37917 or the church. Read from his biography in the News Sentinel


 
 

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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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