Memphis Files Direct Challenge to Photo ID Law

The city of Memphis is now mounting a direct challenge to the state’s voter photo identification law claiming the law adds a qualification beyond what is required in the state constitution. Attorneys for the city filed a motion Tuesday in federal court to amend their original suit, which sought approval for using photo library cards as valid voter identification. The new claim argues that Article 4, Section 1 of the Tennessee Constitution prohibits the imposition of additional qualifications beyond those enumerated: that voters be at least 18 years old, residents of the state and the United States, and registered in the county where the election is held. The Memphis Daily News has more

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
04 - TN Court of Appeals
00 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
01 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
00 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders

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TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, April Hunter Rigsby (Edmonds).

Howard L. Upchurch, Pikeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Aaron R. Edmonds.


April Hunter Rigsby (Edmonds) (“Mother”) and Aaron R. Edmonds (“Father”) divorced in 2008. Mother and Father are the parents of the minor child, Elijah E. (“the Child”). In the permanent parenting plan entered with the divorce, Mother was designated as the Child’s primary residential parent. Mother and Father were to have equal time with the Child. Mother later petitioned the Probate and Family Court for Cumberland County (“the Trial Court”) to relocate with the Child. The Trial Court granted Mother’s petition. In 2011, Father filed a petition to modify the final decree of divorce, attached to which was his new proposed permanent parenting plan wherein he requested to be designated the Child’s primary residential parent. Father argued, among other things, that because the Child was approaching school age, the child would be better served going to school in Father’s community. Mother filed an answer to Father’s petition, including her own proposed new permanent parenting plan. The Trial Court found in favor of Father, designated Father as the new primary residential parent of the Child, and set a new parenting schedule. The Trial Court also ordered Mother to pay child support. Mother appeals. We hold that no material change of circumstances occurred to justify a change in the Child’s primary residential parent. We affirm, in part, and, reverse, in part.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Almond Reid, Plaintiff/Appellee, pro se, Central Islip, New York

Nigel Reid, Sr., Defendant/Appellant, pro se, Morristown, Tennessee

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a dispute between brothers. One brother owned an apartment complex and leased one of the apartments to his brother. The tenant brother allegedly failed to pay rent to the landlord brother. The landlord brother filed a forcible entry and detainer action in general sessions court seeking possession of the property and a judgment for the unpaid rent. The general sessions court entered a judgment in favor of the landlord brother. The tenant brother appealed to circuit court. The circuit court conducted a trial de novo. After the trial, the circuit court awarded the landlord brother possession of the property and a judgment for the unpaid rent. The tenant brother now appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Andrew L. Wener, Memphis, Tennessee for Respondent/Appellant S.F.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Alexander S. Rieger, Assistant Attorney General Nashville, Tennessee for Petitioner/Appellee State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal arises out of dependency and neglect proceedings. The respondent mother has three children, one an infant. The infant suffered numerous unexplained injuries and was diagnosed with failure to thrive. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services filed a petition to have all three children declared dependent and neglected, and alleged severe child abuse as to the infant. The trial court declared all three children dependent and neglected, but declined to find severe abuse. The respondent mother now appeals the trial court’s finding of dependency and neglect, and the Department of Children’s Services appeals the trial court’s failure to find severe child abuse as to the infant. We affirm the trial court’s finding that all three children were dependent and neglected, but find clear and convincing evidence that the infant suffered severe abuse; therefore, we reverse the trial court’s finding on severe abuse.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Phillip L. Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David R. Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Kevin G. Steiling, Deputy Attorney General; and Michael K. Markham, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee National Guard.


Plaintiff was a full-time employee of the Tennessee National Guard until 2002 when he commenced active duty service in the Active Guard and Reserve. Near the completion of his active duty service in the Active Guard and Reserve, Plaintiff asked the Tennessee National Guard to rehire him pursuant to the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). When the Tennessee National Guard refused, Plaintiff filed this action alleging it violated USERRA. The Tennessee National Guard responded to the complaint by filing a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based upon sovereign immunity from USERRA claims. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss based on the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Because the Tennessee General Assembly has not passed legislation to expressly waive its sovereign immunity from claims based on USERRA, as other states have done, we affirm.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Electronic Signatures on Petitions for Municipal Formation and Annexation

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-08-02

Opinion Number: 80

Feds Reportedly Drop Arriola Tax Investigation

Nashville’s NewsChannel 5 reported this week that federal prosecutors have dropped an investigation into whether former Davidson County Clerk John Arriola cheated on his taxes. The news comes six weeks after Arriola resigned his position to avoid prosecution on state charges that he illegally pocketed almost $120,000 for weddings he performed on taxpayer time.

Mosque Granted Temporary Occupancy

After more than two years of legal hurdles, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro received permission this week to move into its new mosque. The 30-day temporary occupancy certificate was issued after the state fire marshal signed off on final inspection. Opponents of the mosque remain adamant that its opening is a violation of local and state law. The Tennessean reports

Feds to Investigate Segregation Allegations in Robertson Schools

Federal investigators plan to meet with Robertson County school officials this month to discuss allegations of segregation. The meetings come after years of complaints to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights about a lack of diversity and low test scores within the district’s schools – especially those inside Springfield city limits. In 2011, attorneys with the Departments of Justice and Education met with Springfield residents about these same issues. School officials say they're working to improve diversity and test scores. WTVF News Channel 5 reports

Texas Executes Man with IQ of 61

Marvin Wilson, a Texas man convicted of killing a police informant two decades ago, was executed this week after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments that he was too mentally impaired to face the death penalty. Wilson’s lawyers used a 2004 test that pegged his IQ at 61, below the generally accepted minimum of 70. The Supreme Court outlawed execution of the mentally impaired in 2002, but left it to states to determine what constitutes impairment. According to the Associated Press, Texas chose to incorporate a number of factors besides IQ. The state argued that Wilson’s claim wasn't supported by other assessments. In April 2011, the Tennessee Supreme Court set new standards for defendants in this state.

In related news, the American Bar Association last week filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that capital defendants should be entitled to stays in habeas proceedings if they are not competent to aid their lawyers. Read more about that in the ABA Journal

Juvenile Inmates Moved After AC Breaks

A broken air conditioner at the Memphis Juvenile Detention Center is forcing officials to move about 50 juvenile offenders to the adult jail. The boys will be housed separate from adults on a lower level with plenty of security, says Juvenile Administrator Rick Powell. WMC-TV Memphis reports

MALS Capital Drive Under Way

This summer, Memphis Area Legal Services launched a capital drive under the tagline “We’re All In.” The campaign is part of a multi-pronged strategy that will blanket the city’s lawyers and other legal professionals this year before broadening the message for the public portion of the fundraising effort in 2013. MALS Executive Director Harrison McIver talks to the Memphis Daily News about the campaign.

Clayton Threatens FEC Complaint Against Party

Mark Clayton, presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, has called on Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester to resign or be dismissed from his post for refusing to support a party nominee and using party resources to attack “a duly elected nominee.” The Democratic Party has disavowed Clayton and was pursuing options this week for invalidating his primary win and holding a new election. Clayton said that if Forrester is not out of office by Monday, he plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. The News Sentinel reports

Legal Aid Lawyer to Help Domestic Violence Victims

Norman Feaster, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, will be at the Lincoln County Courthouse on Monday morning to meet with victims of domestic violence and other low-income individuals in need of free advice. According to the Elk Valley Times, individuals interested in additional details may contact the Tullahoma office of the Legal Aid Society at (931) 455-7000 or (866) 898-0171.

TBA Website Update

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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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