Bar Exam Results Released Today

Results from the July Tennessee bar examination were released today with 343 successful applicants now poised to join the practice of law in the state. In a letter to the candidates mailed today, TBA President Jackie Dixon congratuled them on their achievement and urged them to become active in the bar association and its Young Lawyers Division saying, "There is no better way to meet and enjoy the company of other young lawyers across the state and to begin to establish the vital relationships that will be of great benefit throughout your career."  View the list of successful candidates

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


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; J. Wesley King, Assistant District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Carl J. Wagner.

Judge: CLARK

We granted the State’s application for permission to appeal to determine whether the Court of Criminal Appeals erred by finding the evidence insufficient to support the defendant’s convictions of especially aggravated robbery and felony murder. Affording the State the strongest legitimate view of the evidence presented at trial and the reasonable and legitimate inferences that may be drawn from the evidence, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the defendant’s convictions. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and reinstate the judgment of the trial court.

TN Workers Comp Appeals


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Raymond S. Leathers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vanderbilt University.

B. Timothy Pirtle, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Pamela A. Jones.


In this workers’ compensation action, the employee, Pamela A. Jones, suffered a workrelated injury in 2004 and reached a settlement agreement with her employer, Vanderbilt University (Vanderbilt). She filed this action arguing that Vanderbilt was required to pay for bilateral knee replacement pursuant to the settlement agreement. Vanderbilt alleged that the need for the requested medical treatment was not caused by the work injury. After a hearing, the trial court ordered Vanderbilt to pay for Ms. Jones’s bilateral knee replacement. Vanderbilt has appealed. We affirm 1 the judgment.


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


B. Timothy Pirtle, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Batesville Casket Company, Inc., and Fidelity & Guaranty Insurance Company.

Jill T. Draughon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Phillip Keele.


In this workers’ compensation case, the trial court awarded the employee, a truck driver who fell while attempting to get in his truck, 60% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole for injuries to his left knee and both shoulders. The employer has appealed, asserting that the award is excessive. The employer also maintains the employee failed 1 to prove that the injury to his right shoulder was work-related. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Mark C. Odle, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Laterone L.H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Marcie E. Green, Assistant Attorney General; and Martha A. Campbell, Deputy Attorney General; for appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children’s Services.


This is a termination of parental rights case. The trial court terminated Father’s rights based on clear and convincing evidence that Father was sentenced to incarceration for ten (10) years while the child at issue was younger than eight (8) years of age. The trial court further found that it was in the best interest of the child for Father’s rights to be terminated in order for the child to establish a permanent home with his foster family. Father appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in its best interest analysis. Discerning no error, we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


J. Al Johnson, Spencer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jacqueline Elaine Green.

B. Thomas Hickey, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Paul Roberts.


This is a premises liability case. Plaintiff/Appellant sustained injuries after she tripped over a steel post that was protruding just above the surface of a parking lot that is owned by the Defendant/Appellee. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellee, finding that the Appellee owed no duty to the Appellant, and that Appellant was at least 50% at fault for her own injury, thus negating her negligence claim. Discerning no error, we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Phillip L. Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sandi D. Jackson

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Sara E. Sedgwick, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Board of Nursing


The Tennessee Department of Health filed civil charges against Nurse Jackson alleging that she had inappropriately prescribed medications for her daughter. Before a hearing on the merits was held, however, the Department filed a Notice of Nonsuit without prejudice. After an Order of Voluntary Dismissal was entered, Nurse Jackson filed a Petition in the chancery court seeking dismissal of the case against her with prejudice, as well as her attorney fees expended, claiming that the Board of Nursing had subjected her to an unwarranted investigation and prosecution which was “not well grounded in fact and was not warranted by existing law, rule or regulation[.]” She did not, however, seek a consideration of the merits of the charges against her. The chancery court dismissed Nurse Jackson’s Petition. We find that the chancery court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider her Petition; therefore, the judgment of the chancery court is vacated and the case is dismissed.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Taylor D. Forrester, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffery B

Randi L. Johnson, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Clara B.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Alexander S. Rieger, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services


The parental rights of Mother and Father to their two children were terminated based upon abandonment, persistent conditions, and non-compliance with the permanency plans. We affirm in part and we reverse in part; however, we affirm the termination of the parental rights of Mother and Father.

First Federal Suit Filed in Meningitis Outbreak

According to most recent reports, 15 new cases of fungal meningitis were announced today, bringing the nationwide total to 184. As that number continues to grow, a group of plaintiffs have filed the first federal class action suit against the Framingham, Mass., pharmaceutical company alleged to be the source of the contaminated spinal steroids. The suit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Minnesota, charges that the company “had a duty to use reasonable care in designing and manufacturing the methylprednisolone acetate steroid doses such that they are not unreasonably dangerous.” The Tennessean has the story

Former Court Clerk Given Diversion

Former Germantown deputy court clerk Janet Donnell was placed on diversion after pleading guilty to felony theft for stealing $3,500 from the court, the Commercial Appeal reports. Donnell was facing a two-year prison sentence, but received diversion after numerous sources testified that the theft was out of character. The terms of Donnell’s probation allow her conviction to be erased after 10 years if she makes full restitution and abides by the law.

Report: Jail Must Improve Suicide Prevention Measures

Memphis' juvenile jail needs to take both immediate and long-term steps to better prevent detained youths from harming or killing themselves, according to a new national assessment. The report, authored by jail suicide prevention consultant Lindsay Hayes, is part of an ongoing overhaul of the Shelby County Juvenile Court and its detention center following the U.S. Justice Department's finding of due-process and safety violations. The jail has not had a suicide in almost 40 years, but the evaluation states that the court needs to improve suicide prevent training for staff and in-jail school teachers. The Commercial Appeal has more

Nashville Bar Directory Recognized

The Nashville Bar Association (NBA) was recognized with a Luminary Award from the National Association of Bar Executives Communications Section today during its annual workshop in Denver. The NBA and communications director Nikki Gray were honored for production of its annual membership directory.

Council Deadlocks on Moving to Elected Court Clerk

The East Ridge City Council deadlocked on a vote to change the judge-appointed city court clerk position to an elected, termed position, the Times Free Press reports. The vote now has been rescheduled for Oct. 25. Supporters of the move argue the change is necessary to comply with a 2008 attorney general opinion that cities should have an elected -- not appointed -- court clerk. If the ordinance passes, the city will hold a special election to choose a new court clerk, who will serve until regular elections in August 2013.

ACLU: School Board Should Cover Legal Fees

The Sumner County Board of Education and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will head to mediation to work out a compromise in legal fees after settling a lawsuit over prayer in the county's public schools. In the settlement, the school board admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed that teachers would not be allowed to pray with students or lead Bible study on school grounds, and youth ministers would not be able to visit schools unless they are visiting their own family members. Both parties agreed to mediation to determine attorneys fees. The ACLU is asking for $284,321 to cover fees and litigation expenses. A mediation date has not been set. The Tennessean has the story

Rutgers CLE Website Hacked

The ABA Journal reports that more than 1,500 lawyers who took continuing legal education (CLE) courses from Rutgers University's two law schools had their personal information compromised by hackers who accessed names, address, encrypted passwords and other data from about 100 university websites. A group called Team GhostShell claims responsibility, stating they were protesting rising education costs and student loan debt. Personal information that was posted online has been removed, and Rutgers said they have increased website security.

TBA YLD and Local Bar Host 'Wills for Heroes'

This Saturday, the Rutherford-Cannon County Bar Association and the Young Lawyers Division of the Tennessee Bar Association will host Wills for Heroes, a free legal clinic that provides basic wills, living wills and healthcare and financial powers of attorney to first responders and their spouses/partners. The event will run from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. at the Smyrna Town Center, 526 North Walnut St. in Murfreesboro. For more information, contact event organizer Aimee Luna.

Free Legal Clinic in Memphis Saturday

As part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month, the Memphis Bar Association and Memphis Area Legal Services are hosting a monthly legal clinic this Saturday at Ben Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. The event will last from 10 a.m to noon. It is free and open to the public. Contact Linda Seely for more information. See a list of all events here

4 Chattanooga Lawyers Inducted into Pro Bono Hall of Fame

Four Chattanooga attorneys were inducted into the Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s (LAET) Pro Bono Hall of Fame yesterday during the group's second annual event. Honorees are Dick Critteau, Sam Elliot, Joe Simpson and Glenn Stophel, each of whom were honored for their work on behalf of indigent applicants in civil court cases. In announcing the awards LAET pro bono director Charlie McDaniel praised the example set by the four saying, "Not only do these lawyers accomplish a tremendous amount of good, they serve as an inspiration and as role models to younger attorneys who see that, at least in Chattanooga, the very best lawyers in the city do pro bono." Read the full article at the Times Free Press.

Seigenthaler to Speak at Belmont Law

Belmont University is kicking off its new College of Law Speaker Series with a discussion on “First Amendment Challenges Posed by New Media Technology.” The presentation will be led by award-winning journalist and First Amendment advocate John Seigenthaler. The event will take place at Belmont’s Massey Concert Hall on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public, although tickets are required due to limited seating. View the invitation here


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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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