Hearings Set to Discuss Conservatorship Law

A series of hearings across the state will give lawyers, community leaders and citizens an opportunity to discuss what works with the present conservatorship law, and how practice and procedure in conservatorships could be improved. The series begins on Sept. 20 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville, with a 1 to 5 p.m. hearing. Other events are scheduled in Memphis Oct. 23,  and East Tennessee locations Nov. 13-14. Hearings are being conducted by the TBA Special Committee on Conservatorship Practice and Procedure under the leadership of chair and Jackson lawyer Pam Wright. The committee welcomes written comments and brief testimony on the merits of the present conservatorship law found at TCA Title 34, Chapters 1 and 3, as well as suggestions for modifications that could improve its fairness, respect for rights, administration and procedure. Learn more about the hearings

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
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Patricia T. Demarest, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Pro Se.

A. Ensley Hagan, Jr., Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Estate of Ronald Joseph Kroll, and Administrator, Jennifer M. Porth.


Alleged creditor filed a claim against the decedent’s estate seeking $524,160 for personal services she claims to have provided to the decedent during the last ten months of his life. She claims the decedent agreed that she would reside in his home and provide the decedent with around the clock care. Upon motion for summary judgment filed by the administrator of the estate, the probate court denied the claim, finding there was no contract or quasicontract between the alleged creditor and the decedent because the decedent was mentally incapable of entering into a contract, and that the family service rule barred the alleged creditor from recovering because the alleged creditor and the decedent were engaged to be married at the time of the decedent’s death. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Peter J. Strianse, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cynthia Farrar.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; and Rebecca Lyford, Senior Counsel, Civil Rights and Claims Division, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


This appeal involves the forfeiture of property that had been either used or furnished in violation of the Drug Control Act. The property at issue was subject to a lien held by Citizens Bank. Following the forfeiture of the seized property, Citizens Bank notified the State of its lien and requested the return of the property. The State directed Citizens Bank to file an appeal with the chancery court. Instead, Citizens Bank sued Claimant for the balance owed on the property and an order of judgment was entered against Claimant. Claimant filed suit against the State in the Claims Commission, alleging that the State was negligent because it failed to notify the proper lienholder of the forfeiture. The State filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the Claims Commission. Claimant appeals. We affirm the decision of the Claims Commission.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Theresa L. Critchfield and Harold L. North, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas Edward Rodgers.

Sandra J. Bott, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bonnie Faith Rodgers.


This appeal arises from a divorce. Bonnie Faith Rodgers (“Wife”) sued her husband, Thomas Edward Rodgers (“Husband”), for divorce in the Circuit Court for Hamilton County (“the Trial Court”), alleging inappropriate marital conduct and irreconcilable differences. Wife and Husband had been married for more than 40 years. Husband answered and counterclaimed for divorce, also alleging inappropriate marital conduct. After a trial, the Trial Court divided the marital estate and awarded Wife periodic alimony. Husband appeals, arguing that the Trial Court erred in a host of ways, including its classification and division of the marital estate and its award of periodic alimony to Wife. Husband also appeals the Trial Court’s extending Wife’s Order of Protection against him for an additional five years. Wife raises her own issue regarding the allocation of certain vehicles. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court in its entirety.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Duncan E. Ragsdale, Memphis, Tennessee for Plaintiff/Appellants Stephanie and Eddie Woodard

Katherine M. Anderson, Memphis, Tennessee for Defendant/Appellees Lawrence B. Gross, M.D. and Eduardo V. Basco, M.D.

Leigh M. Chiles and Quinn N. Carlson, Memphis, Tennessee for Defendant/Appellee Methodist Healthcare-Memphis Hospitals

Judge: KIRBY

This is a medical malpractice case. The plaintiff patient presented at the hospital emergency room with chest pains; a stent replacement was performed. Three months later, the plaintiff’s treating physician told the plaintiff that she had suffered a heart attack during the stent replacement. The plaintiff obtained all her medical records and filed a lawsuit against the surgeon who performed the stent replacement. This lawsuit was later dismissed without prejudice. After the plaintiff substituted counsel and the plaintiff’s substituted attorney reviewed the medical records, the plaintiff filed a new lawsuit against the emergency room physicians, asserting that they were negligent prior to the stent replacement. The emergency room physicians filed a motion for summary judgment, based in part on the three-year statute of repose. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant emergency room physicians, finding that the statute of repose had run on the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff patient appeals, arguing that there is an issue of disputed fact as to whether the defendant physicians engaged in fraudulent concealment, so as to toll the time limit under the statute of repose. We affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Chad Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Freddie L. Osborne.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rob McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Freddie L. Osborne, appeals from the trial court’s summary dismissal of the pro se petition for habeas corpus relief filed by Petitioner. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus trial court.

Hooker May Challenge Blumstein's Impartiality

John Jay Hooker on Friday told The TNReport that he expects to file a motion challenging Special Court Justice Andrée Sophia Blumstein's impartiality to hear his case on the constitutionality of the state’s judicial selection method. Gov. Haslam appointed Blumstein and four others to sit on a Special Supreme Court to hear the matter. Three of them recused themselves last week. Hooker says Blumstein's role on the editorial board of the Tennessee Bar Journal, a publication of the Tennessee Bar Association, poses a conflict because the association is in favor of the Tennessee Plan.

Blackwood Says He Has Not Lost Objectivity

In an order made public today, Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood wrote that he has not lost his objectivity and will not step down in presiding over the torture slayings of a Knox County couple. "The court concludes that a person of ordinary prudence in the court's position, knowing all the facts known to the judge, would not find a reasonable basis for questioning the judge's impartiality," Blackwood wrote. The Knox County District Attorney General's pushed Blackwood to recuse himself from the cases of three of four defendants in the January 2007 slayings. The News Sentinel reports

Balkwill is New CASA Association President

Kevin Balkwill, disciplinary counsel in the Litigation Division of the Board of Professional Responsibility, is the new president of the Tennessee CASA Association. Meagan Frazier Grosvenor steps down from the position after serving two years.

Executive Order Clarifies Ethics Policy; Gov's Meetings Stay Secret

Gov. Bill Haslam issued Executive Order No. 20 last week on "ethics policy and disclosures" in the executive branch of state government. While spokesman David Smith said the new order brings "clarity by combining everything from the two (previous orders) into a single executive order," it does not open up information on private meetings held by the governor as had been requested by the online news service TNReport. "There's just a lot of discussions that we have, that any governor needs to have, as part of the decision-making process that we go through on so many different issues," the governor told TNReport, though adding he might "revisit" his stance at some point. The News Sentinel reports

Judge Ash Gears Up to Slow Down

Judge Don Ash talks with the Daily News Journal as he prepares to step away from the Circuit Court and into a new position as senior judge. Ash says he wants to travel the state and take on new responsibilities, especially with appellate opinions, while preparing for an opportunity to spend more time with his family.

Case to Look at Obscenity, Free Expression in the Courtroom

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear a case Sept. 21 that explores how far a judge can go in curbing expression in a courtroom. The issue arises from pro se litigant Robert Peoples' reaction after a South Carolina federal district judge dismissed his lawsuit last year. That caused Peoples to tell a clerk that the judge should "get the f--- off all my cases." The next day the judge, Cameron McGowan Currie, gave Peoples a four-month stint behind bars. The National Law Journal looks at obscenity and courtroom expression.

Childers' Daughter Dies, Court Closed This Week

Division IX of Shelby County Circuit Court will be closed this week, after the sudden death of Judge Robert L. Childers' daughter, Lisa Kay Childers Dickerson. She died Friday from complications of leukemia. Arrangements are incomplete at this time. For more information, contact court clerk Carlyse Nevels.

Ruling Expected This Week in Mayor Recall

The Tennessee Court of Appeals is expected to issue an opinion this week on the recall of Mayor Ron Littlefield. But no matter how the court rules, the Times Free Press points out, city voters still will be considering changes to recall rules in the City Charter in the Nov. 6 election.

Hamilton Co. Courthouse to Celebrate Centennial All Year

The Hamilton County Courthouse will celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2013, and there are many events planned to commemorate it. Events include a Christmas Open House, an Armed Forces Day Celebration in May, and Fourth of July festivities on the courthouse lawn that will include a laser light show and music. Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger is also planning a mini-museum featuring photographs of the current courthouse and its predecessors. The Hamilton County Herald has details


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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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