Court Issues Draft Revision to Discipline Rule

The Tennessee Supreme Court today issued a draft "comprehensive revision" and reorganization of its rule on lawyer registration and discipline. Comments on the 118-page proposal are due Feb. 8, 2013. The TBA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility will review the proposal for the TBA. Download a copy of the proposal

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
05 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
01 - 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


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Duncan E. Ragsdale, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony D. Childs and KaSandra Brook Childs.

Albert C. Harvey and Elizabeth T. Collins, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, UT Medical Group, Inc. and Robert S. Egerman, M.D.

Jerry E. Mitchell and Andrea N. Malkin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bill C. Mabie, M.D.


Plaintiffs filed a voluntary notice of nonsuit in this medical malpractice action in July 2009. They refiled their claim in September 2010. The trial court dismissed Plaintiffs’ claim for failure to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121 Plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Carrie W. Gasasay, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Brooke Anthony Dobbs.

Jamie Douglas Winkler, Carthage, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Susan Elaine Dobbs.


In appeal from final decree in divorce action, Husband contends that the trial court erred in designating Wife as primary residential parent, in valuing the marital residence which was awarded to Wife, and in failing to require Wife to refinance the marital residence in her name alone. We affirm the designation of Wife as primary residential parent and the court’s valuation of the marital residence and remand the case for the court to determine a reasonable length of time for Wife to secure Husband’s release from the indebtedness on the marital residence and to amend the final decree accordingly.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Charles F. Rye, Bartlett, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Jerome Fuller.

Robert D. Meyers and Kathryn T. Parham, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Memphis.


The trial court found that Defendant City of Memphis was not liable for injuries to Plaintiff resulting from an automobile accident in which Plaintiff’s vehicle was struck by a vehicle operated by a third party. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Michael T. Fort, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, John M. Poindexter, Sr.

John R. Phillips, Jr., and Brandon R. Meredith, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Catherine Lee Poindexter.


This is a divorce action filed by the wife and counter-complaint by the husband both seeking the divorce. After the trial, the Trial Court divided the marital property, granted the wife a divorce, and granted the wife alimony. The husband has appealed. We affirm the award of alimony, but modify the marital property division.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Trisha A. Bohlen, Bell Buckle, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Sandra M.

Brenda S. Bramlett, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, David M.

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


Mother and Father appeal the termination of their parental rights. Finding that two grounds for parental termination have been established and that termination is in the best interests of the children, we affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Kevin L. Loper, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for appellant, Robert E. Bostick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and William Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Robert E. Bostick, was indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury for first degree murder, aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated burglary, Class E felony theft, and Class E felony vandalism. Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, Petitioner pled guilty to second degree murder, a lesser included offense of first degree murder and received an agreed sentence of 20 years at 100%. All other charges were dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement. Defendant timely filed a petition for post-conviction relief which was dismissed by the post-conviction court following an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner appeals, raising two issues: (1) The post-conviction court erred by ruling his guilty plea was intelligently and voluntarily entered, and (2) Petitioner should be allowed to obtain a “second opinion mental evaluation” in order to prove he was incapable of agreeing to a plea agreement voluntarily and intelligently. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; Emma Rae Tennent, Assistant Public Defender; and Mary Kathryn Harcombe, Assistant Public Defender, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brittany Renee Chambers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Brian Ewald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Brittany Renee Chambers, pled guilty to burglary, a class D felony, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement. The parties agreed that the sentence would be eight years as a Range III persistent offender, that three other counts of the indictment would be dismissed, and that the trial court would determine the manner of service of the sentence. After finding that Defendant had at least nine prior felony convictions, fourteen misdemeanor convictions, and had violated probation and parole several times, the trial court ordered Defendant to serve the entire sentence in the Department of Correction. Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court should have ordered the sentence to be served in the alternative sentencing of community corrections. After a thorough review of the entire record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Harry E. Sayle, III (on appeal) and Jennifer Case (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Troy Ector.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General, and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Troy Ector, of especially aggravated kidnapping, carjacking, and employing a firearm during the commission of a felony, and the trial court sentenced him to a twenty-two year effective sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions and that the trial court erred when it denied his request for a jury instruction on the lesser-included offense of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Curtis L. Wren, Warburg, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; and Russell Johnson, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Curtis L. Wren, filed a petition for habeas corpus relief in the Morgan County Criminal Court, seeking relief from several convictions in the Shelby County Criminal Court. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition without an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner has timely appealed that ruling. We affirm the habeas corpus court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.

Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR


Court: Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

Inquiry is made concerning the ethical propriety of employment of lawyers admitted to practice in other jurisdictions but not admitted to practice in Tennessee.

Survey: Public Does Not Recognize Plight of Courts

The ABA Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System wrapped up two years of work this week with a presentation of its findings. A survey conducted by the group shows that lawyers face serious challenges in educating the public about the dangers of the current court funding crisis. The survey found that the public does not fully recognize the financial plight facing state courts and does not have great confidence in their state court systems. Pollsters involved with the survey suggested that court supporters focus on messages involving the financial stewardship of the courts, the importance of preserving access to justice and how delayed justice costs victims and taxpayers alike. Read more from the ABA

Website, Hotline Explain Mortgage Settlement

With 49 state attorneys general and the feds reaching an agreement with the nation's largest loan servicers, as much as $25 billion in relief will be available to distressed borrowers and government agencies. Homeowners also have a new online resource to help them determine eligibility for relief under the settlement. General information for those struggling to keep their homes is available here or from a new hotline, which can be reached at (855) 876-7283.

Metro to Update Archaic Laws

Fifty years after voters decided to merge the Nashville and Davidson County governments into one metro entity, council members are looking to delete outdated ordinances. Metro Council attorney Jon Cooper, along with council members, are looking for “anachronistic, unenforced or unenforceable” provisions rather than those that, while objectionable, annoying or just plain inconvenient, are still “fairly debated points of law.” Cooper said the council should have legislation to consider soon. The Tennessean has more

Carter Sworn in as New DA

Robert Carter was sworn in as the new district attorney general for the 17th Judicial District during ceremonies last week at the Lincoln County Courthouse. The oath of office was administered by Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell. Carter succeeds Charles Crawford, who had held the seat since 2006. See a photo in the Elk Valley Times.

Comments Sought on Judicial Disqualification Rules

The ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence met during the annual meeting in Chicago last week and issued a draft of revised judicial disqualification rules designed to deal with the influx of cash into judicial races. Sept. 15 is the deadline for comments on the draft revisions. Learn more from the ABA Journal

Judge Green Honored for Legacy

Davidson County Juvenile Court Judge Betty Adams Green was presented with the juvenile justice conference’s McCain-Abernathy Memorial Award for outstanding service yesterday. In accepting the honor, she reflected on the advancements Tennessee has made in keeping children safe while she has served on the bench. Though she did not take credit for any of the improvements, local observers said her impact could not be overstated. Read more in the Tennessean.

Magazine Highlights Strangest Lawsuits

Inside Counsel offers up seven of the strangest lawsuits making headlines, including a nude beauty queen, Humphrey Bogart's coat and fancy fonts on billboards. Read about them all here

Goins: No Time for New Democratic Primary

State Election Coordinator Mark Goins says there is not enough time to hold another primary to address the state Democratic Party's rejection of Mark Clayton as its nominee to take on U.S. Senator Bob Corker this fall. Clayton won the nomination but the party has disavowed him, saying he is associated with a hate group. Goins’ ruling came in response to fourth-place finisher Larry Crim's request for a new primary election. In a letter to Crim, Goins said the party could have disqualified Clayton within a week of the filing deadline, but that there is not enough time for a new election now as military ballots must be mailed by Sept. 22 for the general election.

Kernell Leaves 'Dream Job' After 38 Years

Rep. Mike Kernell talks with the Memphis Daily News about his 38 years in the House, calling it "a dream job." Kernell lost in last week's primary to fellow Democratic incumbent G.A. Hardaway. “We just flat ran out of money,” Kernell said. The District 93 race was where local election officials first acknowledged voters received incorrect ballots. By some estimates several hundred votes were affected. But with Hardaway's unofficial margin exceeding 1,000 votes, Kernell said he is unlikely to challenge the result.

Weakley County Attorney Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Aug. 1 suspended the law license of Weakley County attorney Kyle Eric Crowe for three years, but allowed him to serve all time on probation if he makes restitution to his trust account, returns clients’ funds, does not engage in solo practice, terminates his access to client funds, and extends his Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program monitoring agreement. If he fails to comply with these terms, probation will be revoked. The court took the action after it found that Crowe misappropriated funds and failed to reconcile and properly disburse trust funds. Download the BPR notice

Services Set for Former Kingsport Judge

The family of former Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge Edgar Phillip Calhoun will receive friends tomorrow (Thursday) from noon to 2 p.m. at Carter-Trent Funeral Home, 520 Watauga St., Kingsport 37660. A funeral service will follow in the chapel at 2 p.m. Military graveside services will take place at East Lawn Memorial Park, 4997 Memorial Blvd., Kingsport 37664. Contributions in Judge Calhoun’s name may be made to the Holston Children’s Home, P.O. Box 188, Greeneville, TN 37744, or to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. Read more about Judge Calhoun's life and career.

Brentwood Lawyer Dies

Brentwood lawyer Logan G. Fulks Jr. died on July 19 after battling lymphoma. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, he was working as assistant vice president for claims at State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company at the time of his death. Memorial donations may be made to the Davis House Child Advocacy Center, 101 Forrest Crossing Blvd., Suite 106, Franklin, TN 37064. Read his obituary in the Tennessean


Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2012 Tennessee Bar Association