Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Legal Aid Announces Hall of Fame Inductees

Legal Aid of East Tennessee has inducted four people into its Pro Bono Hall of Fame, the Chattanoogan reports. The attorneys were chosen based on their commitment to pro bono, access to justice and the Legal Aid mission. This year's honorees are Richard D. Crotteau with Miller & Martin; Sam Elliott with Gearhiser, Peters, Elliott & Cannon; Joseph C. Simpson with Husch Blackwell; and Glenn C. Stophel with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel. 

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


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Thomas W. Tucker, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, R. J. Wherry & Associates and Westport Insurance Corporation.

Brian Dunigan, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Eric Miller.

Judge: KOCH

This workers’ compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 51. After the employee sustained a compensable injury to his lower back, the parties reached a settlement of the claim at a benefit review conference. As part of the agreement, the employer agreed to provide a job for the employee within the medical restrictions arising from the injury. The employer eventually decided not to rehire the employee after he failed to return to work. Thereafter, the employee filed a petition in the Circuit Court for Davidson County seeking reconsideration of his settlement. The trial court granted the petition and increased the disability award. On this appeal, the employer takes issue with (1) the trial court’s adoption verbatim of the employee’s proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, (2) the trial court’s conclusion that the employee was entitled to reconsideration, (3) the exclusion of evidence related to the employee’s prior back problems, and (4) the claimed excessiveness of the award. We affirm the judgment.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Tracy Jackson Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kimberly Matthews.

Brian T. Mansfield, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Club Chalet Homeowners’ Association, Inc.


The defendant appeals from a judgment entered on a jury verdict holding her liable to her employer for her involvement in a co-worker’s misappropriation of funds. The jury found that the defendant’s involvement included (1) intentional misrepresentations, (2) concealment of facts relevant to the misappropriation, and (3) breach of contractual duties owed to the employer. The sole issue before us is whether the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion for a directed verdict made at the conclusion of the proof. The motion was based upon the defendant’s assertion that the statute of limitations barred the claim. We affirm.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Application of Private Investigators Licensing Act to Digital Forensics Providers

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-10

Opinion Number: 84

Court Clerk’s Application of Delinquent Tax Sale Proceeds to Pay Taxes for Subsequent Years

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-10

Opinion Number: 85

Use of Public Funds to Promote Adoption of Charter County Form of Government

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-11

Opinion Number: 86

Volunteers Assisting the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-17

Opinion Number: 87

TBA Program Looks at Civility in Memphis Schools Controversy

The TBA last night kicked off its new statewide educational program on civility and free expression with a lively discussion at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. The project is being conducted in association with Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy — A National Dialogue, a nationwide initiative of the American Bar Association (ABA) Division for Public Education, with funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The next presentation in the series will focus on civility and the courts. It will be held at Lipscomb University on Oct 16 at 6 p.m., with public viewing of the second presidential debate to follow. See photos and learn more about the Memphis event.

Feds and HCA Settle Referral Charges

Nashville-based HCA has agreed to pay the federal government $16.5 million to settle accusations that its subsidiaries paid physicians for referrals. The government accused HCA of giving financial benefits to Diagnostic Associates of Chattanooga, another physicians group, to get more patients to come to HCA–owned Parkridge Medical Center in Chattanooga. HCA does not admit any guilt as part of the settlement. Bill Killian, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, announced the deal today. The company still faces other charges related to billing for heart procedures. The Nashville Business Journal reports.

Discrimination Ordinance Adopted, Delayed for 30 Days

The Memphis City Council voted 7-5 to add sexual orientation to its ordinance banning discrimination based on age, disability and national origin for city employment. But the council then voted to delay the amendment for 30 days while the legal department decides if the provision is legal under the city's charter. The Memphis Flyer has more.

HOA Claims Exemption from Honeybee Law

The homeowners association (HOA) of a Spring Hill subdivision told a resident he must remove a honey-producing beehive from his backyard because it violates a bylaw banning non-household pets as well as conducting business or trade from home, News Channel 5 reports. A Tennessee state law protects the rights of property owners to keep honeybees, but a lawyer for the HOA says the organization is not a form of government and is therefore exempt from that law. The case will go before the Tennessee Attorney General for an opinion.

Songwriter Loses Home Over Outstanding Legal Fees

Songwriter Danny Tate’s Belle Meade home was auctioned to cover more than $150,000 in fees amassed during a two-year legal battle with his brother, WSMV Nashville reports. Tate’s brother alleged Tate was a drug addict and sought a conservator to safeguard his wealth. Tate fought the conservatorship but was ordered to pay his own and his brother’s legal fees.

KBA to Host Minority Law Student Reception

The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) Minority Opportunities Committee, the University of Tennessee College of Law and the Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law will co-host a reception for minority law students on Sept. 27. Area lawyers are asked to volunteer to adopt a student as their “buddy” for the night. The event will be held at Old City Entertainment, 118 S. Central Street from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero also will be in attendance as a special guest. RSVP to (865) 522-6522 or on the KBA’s website

Services Tomorrow for Nashville Lawyer

Nashville lawyer Robert Peck Ziegler died Monday (Sept. 17) at the age of 77. Following graduation from Vanderbilt University Law School, he was associated with the law firm of Loewenstein Ziegler & Buffaloe. Visitation will be held Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Belmont United Methodist Church, 2007 Acklen Ave. A funeral service will follow. A private burial will take place later in the day at Elmwood Cemetery in Springfield. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be given to the Belmont United Methodist Church Benevolent Fund or the Nashville Humane Society. The Tennessean has more on the arrangements.

Retired Tax Judge Dies

Retired judge Lapsley Walker Hamblen Jr., 85, died Sept. 10 at his home in Virginia. Originally from Chattanooga, Hamblen graduated from the McCallie School but moved to Virginia to attend the University of Virginia and the its law school. He went on to serve as a law clerk to U.S. Tax Court Judge Craig Atkins, regional counsel for the IRS office in Atlanta, deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and partner in the Lynchburg law firm of Caskie, Frost, Hobbs and Hamblen. In 1982, he was appointed to the U.S. Tax Court and in 1992, was elected chief judge. He served in that role until he took senior status in 1996. Hamblen retired from the court in 1999. A memorial service will be held Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the McCallie School c/o The Hamblen Fund, 500 Dodds Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37404 or the University of Virginia Law School Foundation, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Read more about his life in the Chattanoogan.

Alabama Lawyer Suspended

The Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspended the law license of Alabama lawyer Lance William Parr on Sept. 12 for his failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the Supreme Court. Download the BPR notice

Sumner County Lawyer Suspended

By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court on Sept. 12, the law license of Sumner County lawyer Cheryl Skidmore was transferred to disability inactive status. Skidmore cannot practice law while on inactive status. She may return to the practice of law after reinstatement by the court. To be reinstated, she must show by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and she is fit to resume the practice of law. Download the BPR notice

Shelby County Lawyer Suspended

By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court on Sept. 14, the law license of Shelby County lawyer James Wesley Hodges Sr. was transferred to disability inactive. Hodges may not practice law while on inactive status. He may return to the practice of law after reinstatement by the court. To be reinstated, he must show by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law. Download the BPR notice

55 Lawyers Reinstated From CLE Suspension

After being suspended on Aug. 31 for failing to comply with Rule 21 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court, which requires mandatory continuing legal education, 55 lawyers have completed the required hours and have been reinstated. See the updated list


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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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