Court Adopts Forms for General Sessions Courts

The Tennessee Supreme Court today adopted a set of six forms for use in General Sessions Courts. The forms were first proposed by the General Sessions Judges Conference in June 2011 after consultation and assistance from the Tennessee Bar Association Creditor’s Practice Section. The court’s Access to Justice Commission provided more review during the public comment period and later worked with the Commission on further revisions. The order today includes an appendix with forms for:
1. Protected Income and Assets (Affidavit of Claim Exemptions)
2. Request to Make Payments (Motion and Affidavit for Installment Payment and Order)
3. Request Not to Pay Fees for Appeal (Pauper’s Oath in Lieu of Appeal Bond)
4. Request to Postpone Filing Fees and Order (Uniform Civil Affidavit of Indigency)
5. Request to Protect Income and Assets (Motion to Quash Garnishment/Execution and Claim Exemption Rights)
6. Sworn Denial (Sworn Denial on Account)

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.

02 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
06 - 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


Bill M. Wade, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Curtis Myers.

Joseph M. Clark and Edd Peyton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Arsalan Shirwany, M.D., and East Memphis Chest Pain Physicians, PLLC; Marty R. Phillips and Michelle Greenway Sellers, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee EM-I Medical Services, P.C.; W. Timothy Hayes, Jr., and Kimberly Cross Shields, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, AMISUB (SFH), Inc., d/b/a St. Francis Hospital.

Judge: LEE

The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action against several health care providers and subsequently dismissed the lawsuit. He re-filed the action after the legislature enacted Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121, which requires a plaintiff who files a medical malpractice suit to give health care providers who are to be named in the suit notice of the claim sixty days before filing the suit; and Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-122, which requires a plaintiff to file with the medical malpractice complaint a certificate of good faith confirming that the plaintiff has consulted with an expert who has provided a signed written statement that there is a good-faith basis to maintain the action. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint based on the plaintiff’s failure to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated sections 29-26-121 and 122. The trial court denied the motion, finding that the plaintiff’s original suit constituted substantial compliance with the statutes’ requirements and that extraordinary cause existed to excuse compliance with the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121. Upon interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed. We hold that the statutory requirements that a plaintiff give sixty days presuit notice and file a certificate of good faith with the complaint are mandatory requirements and not subject to substantial compliance. The plaintiff’s failure to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-122 by filing a certificate of good faith with his complaint requires a dismissal with prejudice.


Court: TN Supreme Court


Elliott Ozment and Andrew Free, Nashville, Tennessee; Trina Realmuto, Boston, Massachusetts; William L. Harbison and Phillip F. Cramer, Nashville, Tennessee; Thomas Fritzsche and Daniel Werner, Atlanta, Georgia, for the plaintiffs, Daniel Renteria-Villegas, David Ernesto Gutierrez-Turcios, and Rosa Landaverde.

Saul Solomon, Director of Law; Keli J. Oliver and Derrick C. Smith, Assistant Metropolitan Attorneys, Nashville, Tennessee, for the defendant, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Jerry Martin, United States Attorney; Matthew M. Curley, Assistant United States Attorney; Tony West, Assistant Attorney General; David J. Kline, Director; Jeffrey Robins, Assistant Director; Craig A. Defoe, Trial Attorney, for the defendant, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Scott P. Tift, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amici curiae, George E. Barrett, C. Dewey Branstetter, Jr., and Hon. Marietta M. Shipley.

Tricia Herzfeld, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amici curiae, The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, ASISTA Immigration Assistance, The National Center for Victims of Crime, and The National Crime Victim Law Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School.

Judge: LEE

We accepted a question of law certified by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to determine whether the October 2009 Memorandum of Agreement between the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, by and through the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, violates the Charter of Nashville and Davidson County or other state law. We conclude that the Memorandum of Agreement does not violate the Charter or any other state law cited by the plaintiffs.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Troy L. Bowlin, II, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mark Joseph Graves.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Kimberly Morrison, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Mark Joseph Graves, entered a best interest plea to attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, in exchange for a two-year and one-day sentence, as a Range I standard offender, at thirty percent. As part of the Defendant’s plea agreement, he reserved a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) as to whether an affidavit in support of a search warrant must allege when the illegal activity occurred. After reviewing the record and applicable law, we conclude that the Defendant is not entitled to relief. Accordingly, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction.

CORRECTION: The first paragraph of page 1 (the last line of the first paragraph, which is line 11) has been changed from S.W. 2d to S.W. 3d.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Jonathan A. Marion, Sneedville, Tennessee (on appeal), and Gerald Eidson, Rogersville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Christopher Bryan Hancock.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Kim Morrison, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Hamblen County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Christopher Bryan Hancock, of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery, all based upon a theory of criminal responsibility. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions, the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury as to the lesser-included offense of accessory after the fact, and the trial court’s instruction regarding criminal responsibility. Upon review, we affirm the appellant’s convictions of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, but we must reverse his conviction of especially aggravated kidnapping and remand for a new trial for the trial court to instruct the jury as mandated by our supreme court in State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559, 580-81 (Tenn. 2012).

TN Attorney General Opinions

Secondary Transportation Agents for Persons with Mental Health Disabilities

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-20

Opinion Number: 88

Court Fees for Expungements

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-20

Opinion Number: 89

Handgun Carry Permit Fees and Fines for Unlawfully Carrying Weapons

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-24

Opinion Number: 90

Exemption from the Cosmetology Act for Medical Professionals

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-25

Opinion Number: 91

Governmental Hiring and Contracting Practices

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-03

Opinion Number: 92

Manufacture of Intoxicating Liquors in Hamilton County

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-03

Opinion Number: 93

Varlan Named Chief Judge

U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan has been named chief judge of the Eastern District of Tennessee, succeeding U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier of Chattanooga, who has served as chief judge the past seven years, reports.

Court: Sheriff Can Perform Immigration Duties

The Davidson County Sheriff’s office did not violate Metro Charter or other state laws when it contracted with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to perform immigration enforcement duties, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today. The court ruled against plaintiffs Daniel Renteria- Villegas, David Gutierrez-Turcios and Rosa Landaverde, who challenged the agreement arguing that only the Chief of Police has authority under the Charter to provide immigration enforcement. Read the full opinion.

Summitt Says in Affidavit She Felt Pressure to Resign

Was Pat Summitt forced to step down as the Lady Vols' basketball coach? University of Tennessee athletic officials say no, but an affidavit from the coaching legend filed Wednesday suggests she had initially felt that way. The statement was filed in federal court by lawyers for former Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings, who is suing the university alleging unlawful discrimination and retaliation, the Tennessean reports. In the affidavit, Summitt says she initially felt she was being forced to step down, but that athletic director Dave Hart later told her she had misinterpreted his comments.

Haslam Review Finds No Fault for DCS

While Gov. Bill Haslam said the deaths of 31 Tennessee children who had come to the attention of the Department of Children’s services was “incredibly distressing,” he told editors of the Tennessean on Tuesday that he found no evidence to substantiate recent allegations that the agency acted inappropriately.

Brentwood Man Sentenced in Ponzi Scheme

The former financial advisor and owner of A.D. Vallett & Co. has been sentenced to 120 months in prison for running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 30 victims of over $5 million, BrentwoodHomePage reports. Aaron Vallett pleaded guilty to orchestrating the Ponzi scheme. His sentence was announced as the Department of Justice kicks off a series of investment fraud summits in cities across the country, including Nashville. The event was held at Vanderbilt School of Law this morning.

South Leads Nation in Law Firm Mergers

More law firm mergers have occurred in the South than anywhere else in the country, the Memphis Business Journal reports. According to Atlman Weil MergerLine, 6 of the 14 nationwide mergers or acquisitions during the most recent quarter were in the South. Among recent mergers in Memphis: Williams McDaniel PC  merged with Kentucky-based Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP; and Adelman Law Firm PLLC merged with Mississippi-based Wilkins Tipton PA.

Parole Official Out After Critical Audit

A top parole official has resigned following the exposure of systemic problems with the state parole system, the Tennessean reports. Gary Tullock, assistant commissioner for community supervision at the Department of Correction, resigned Wednesday after a subcommittee hearing where lawmakers blasted officials for supervising dead felons and improperly supervising live ones.

Legal Costs Mounting in Shelby School Dispute

Legal expenses are piling up for both sides in the Shelby County schools merger dispute, Fox13 news in Memphis reports. The county has been billed $215,000 so far and has moved $800,000 to a legal expense fund. Suburban areas seeking to create their own municipal school districts are also racking up legal expenses. All sides in the suit must have their final proof in the case filed by Thursday for Judge Samuel Hardy Mays. Mays will then rule in a written decision on whether the state law that opened the door for municipal school district is constitutional.

Lawyer Helps Charter School Students Attend Debate

Leigh Chiles of Baker Donelson helped raise more than $15,000 for 20 seniors at Soulsville Charter School who were invited to attend the vice presidential debate next week at her alma mater, Centre College in Danville, Ky. Chiles works with the Leadership Memphis program to improve college access to several Memphis high schools, including Soulsville Charter School, which graduated its first senior class last spring. All 51 students were accepted into college, the Commercial Appeal reports.

Memphis to Appeal Decision in Voter ID Case

The City of Memphis is taking its voter-photo identification case to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, filing an application to appeal late Wednesday. The appeal comes a week after a Nashville judge declined to block the photo-ID requirement in the upcoming elections, the Commercial Appeal reports.

Hamilton County Judicial Vacancy

The Governor’s Office is currently accepting applications to appoint a special judge for the General Sessions Court of Hamilton County, Division IV. Qualified attorneys must apply by Oct. 19.


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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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