BPR Names Interim Head, Solicits Applications

The Tennessee Supreme Court today named James “Tony” Vick as interim chief disciplinary counsel for the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR), effective with the departure of Nancy Jones at the end of the month. Vick, who has been with the agency for more than 16 years, currently serves as ethics counsel. Vick already has said that he will not be a candidate for permanent appointment, so the court is accepting applications through Sept. 30 for the position. Watch the court's website for details and a job description.

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Robert L. Foster, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, A-1 Restaurant Equipment, Inc..

Leah N. Austin, pro se.


Plaintiff purchased a vent hood from defendant. The hood was paid for at the time of purchase and delivered, but was returned to defendant as being unworkable. Plaintiff brought this action for reimbursement of payment for the hood in Sessions Court. Sessions Court entered a Judgment for plaintiff and defendant appealed to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Judge entered Judgment for the plaintiff for $3,500 for the amount paid for the hood to defendant. On appeal, we affirm the Trial Court's Judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Melissa C. Reiners and Marty McDonald, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Debra Young and Kyle Lane.

Bryan L. Capps, Meridith C. Bond, and Terry G. Adams, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Rocky Top Realty.


This is the second appeal in this case. In the first appeal we held that the parties did not have a contract for the sale of the property, and we remanded it back to the Trial Court to determine a reasonable fee in quantum meruit for the plaintiff as the facilitator of the sale. Upon remand, the Trial Court heard proof and held that plaintiff was entitled to a 6% commission on the sale price. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment as modified.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Brandon L. Newman and James B. Webb, Trenton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffery D. Allen.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Garry Brown, District Attorney General; Larry Hardister and Hillary Lawler Parham, Assistant District Attorneys General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Jeffery D. Allen (“the Petitioner”) filed for post-conviction relief, challenging his convictions for first degree felony murder, criminally negligent homicide, facilitation of attempted first degree murder, and attempted especially aggravated robbery. As his bases for relief, he alleged several grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief, and this appeal followed. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that trial counsel (1) failed to call two witnesses to testify at trial, (2) failed to adequately cross-examine a witness, and (3) failed to move to sever the Petitioner’s offenses prior to trial. Upon a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Bryce W. McKenzie (on appeal) and Joseph A. Baker (at the suppression hearing), Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Matthew T. McGee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; James B. (Jimmy) Dunn, District Attorney General; and Gregory C. Eshbaugh, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Matthew T. McGee, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, first offense, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 55-10-401 (2008). He was sentenced to an effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days with forty-five days’ confinement and the remainder on probation. The Defendant’s plea agreement reserved two certified questions of law regarding the legality of the traffic stop. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Bobby Lee Scales, Jr., Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; and D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Bobby Lee Scales, Jr., filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus relief attacking two convictions of theft in Davidson County and one conviction of theft in Williamson County. The habeas corpus trial court dismissed the petition without an evidentiary hearing, and Petitioner appeals. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus trial court.

Decade Long Music Ownership Battle Ends

The 10-year legal battle over ownership rights to the 1993 hit song “Whoomp! (There It Is)” finally concluded with a $2 million award, The Tennessean reports. A Texas jury found in favor of Alvertis Isbell and his attorney Richard Busch of the Nashville firm King & Ballow over ownership rights to the composition.

Overcrowding Resolved at Washington County Jail

Washington County Attorney John Rambo says he expects the state to recertify the Washington County Detention Center after the jail rectified its overcrowding issue by transferring 86 inmates to state correctional facilities. Learn more in the Johnson City Press

Littlefield Recall Again Rejected by Appeals Court

For the second time this year, the Tennessee Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal to recall Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield. The court ruled that the petition seeking recall was invalid due to an insufficient number of dated signatures. Read the full court ruling at WRCBtv.com.

Man Sues Over Being Sent to a Women’s Prison

Karla Brenner -- a biological male, female impersonator -- filed a lawsuit with the city of Nashville and the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which operates a local correctional facility, for sending him to a female prison for three years, reports WSMV-TV Nashville. Convicted of felony theft, Brenner says he was examined by doctors and officials from the Metro Health Department who authorized his placement. Metro and CCA officials have not commented. 

City Manager Reprimands Court Employees

After imposing a five-day unpaid suspension on longtime East Ridge City Court Clerk Joanne Thomas last week following a disagreement over a case involving his daughter, East Ridge City Manager Tim Gobble this week reprimanded two other members of the clerk's office. Gobble notified the employees that letters of reprimand would go into their personnel files for failing to respond quickly enough to his inquiry regarding the scheduling of his daughter’s case. Learn more on Chattanoogan.com

Changes Made in Court Liaison Assignments

With the appointment of Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade to the position of chief justice, a number of changes have been made in the membership of boards and committees with court representation. Justice Sharon Lee will replace Wade on the Board of Law Examiners and the Knoxville Supreme Court Building Commission. Justice Connie Clark will replace Wade as the court’s liaison to the CLE Commission and the Tennessee Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection. And Justice William Koch will replace Lee on the Integrated Criminal Justice Steering Committee. The court announced the changes on Tuesday.

Federal Domestic Abuse Legislation to Expire

Money for groups that help domestic abuse victims will be drastically cut if legislation to renew the 1994 Violence Against Women Act does not pass, WATE.com reports. Amy Dilworth, a representative from the Knoxville Family Justice Center, said the group would lose “several hundred of thousands of dollars” used to help local abuse victims unless Congress acts.

Vanderbilt Law Benefactor Dies

Alyne Queener Armistead Massey of Nashville died Tuesday (Sept. 11). Originally from Columbia, Massey graduated from Vanderbilt University, and worked as a reporter with the Nashville Banner and as director of the Women’s Division of Commerce Union Bank. She later became a visible community leader and generous philanthropist, founding the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Massey’s husband Jack established the Alyne Queener Massey Library at Vanderbilt University Law School in her honor. A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church at a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the law school or Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art. Read more about her life in the Williamson Herald

16 Lawyers Suspended for Fee and IOLTA Violations

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued two new orders on Tuesday suspending Tennessee-licensed attorneys who did not pay their 2012 registration fee to the Board of Professional Responsibility and/or did not file a mandatory compliance statement that eligible client funds are held in accounts participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. See the updated lists and download the orders


Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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