Reminder: Civility, Free Speech and Courts Event Tuesday

The Tennessee Bar Association, Lipscomb University's Institute for Law, Justice & Society and the First Amendment Center will hold a public forum on the issue of free speech and civility tomorrow evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Lipscomb's Ezell Center. A public viewing of the Presidential Debate will follow at 8 p.m. Refreshments will be served and free parking is available. Read media coverage of the event from News Channel 9 in Nashville and WATE News 6 in Knoxville.

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
01 - 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


Richard S. Busch and Andrew W. Coffman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey R. Cooper.

Stephen A. Lund and Cheyanne K. Kinghorn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Phillip Glasser, Richard Glasser and David Glasser.


Jeffrey R. Cooper (“Cooper”) sued Phillip Glasser, Richard Glasser, and David Glasser (“the Defendants ”) in the Circuit Court for Davidson County (“the Trial Court”) 1 for, among other things, breach of contract. Cooper previously had filed two lawsuits arising out of the same underlying facts as those of this lawsuit. Both previous lawsuits, the first in a California state court and the second in a United States District Court in Tennessee, were voluntarily dismissed. The Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The Trial Court held that the second voluntary dismissal in federal court was a judgment on the merits under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and, res judicata prevented Cooper from filing suit for a third time in Tennessee. Cooper appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Stephen A. Marcum, Huntsville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Timothy Scott Marcum and Audrey L. Marcum.

Dudley W. Taylor, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Haskel “Hack” Ayers and Tomi Ayers.


Timothy Scott Marcum and Audrey L. Marcum (“Plaintiffs”) purchased real property containing a house originally constructed by Haskel “Hack” Ayers and Tomi Ayers (“Defendants”). After the purchase, Plaintiffs discovered problems with the house. Plaintiffs and Defendants entered into a settlement agreement. Subsequently, Plaintiffs discovered additional problems with the house. Plaintiffs sued Defendants. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Trial Court granted Defendants summary judgment after finding that the settlement agreement constituted an unambiguous release of all claims past, present, and future. Plaintiffs appeal to this Court. We affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender, and Rickey Griggs and Shana Johnson, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Melissa R. Cole.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Bob Gray, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant was found guilty by a jury of second degree murder, a Class A felony, arson, a Class C felony, and tampering with evidence, a Class C felony. Prior to trial, the defendant pled guilty to an additional count of tampering with evidence, a Class C felony. She was sentenced to four years for the arson and three years on each count of tampering with evidence, with each sentence to run concurrently but consecutive to a twenty-one year sentence for the second degree murder, for a total effective sentence of twenty-five years. On appeal, the defendant claims that the evidence is insufficient to support her conviction for second degree murder and that the trial court erred by sentencing her to partial consecutive sentences. After carefully reviewing the record and the arguments of the parties, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Tosha Taylor, Pro Se, Memphis, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The pro se petitioner, Tosha Taylor, appeals the denial of her motion to reopen her post-conviction petition. Because she failed to comply with the statutory requirements for seeking review of a dismissal of a motion to reopen a post-conviction petition, we dismiss the appeal.

Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR


Court: Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

Request by district attorney as to whether district attorney can ethically comply with requirements of TCA 40-32-101(g) when preparing petition for expungement.

Legal Battle May be Brewing Over Malpractice Caps

Legal opposition to the Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011 has been filed in federal court, arguing that Gov. Bill Haslam’s landmark tort law is unconstitutional The Tennessean reports. Nashville lawyer David Randolph Smith, who led the legal fight against the guns-in-bars law and the English-only ballot measure in the state, filed the suit. Federal Judge Kevin H. Sharp could either rule on the issue or send the question to the state Supreme Court.

NBA Releases Juvenile Judge Candidates Poll

The Nashville Bar Association (NBA) has released results of a member poll of candidates for the juvenile court judgeship vacated by Judge Betty Adams Green. Lawyers were asked to comment on three candidates: Sheila Calloway, Sophia Crawford and Carlton Lewis. Calloway received the greatest percentage of “highly recommend” votes (32.1 percent), followed by 28.6 for Lewis and 22.3 for Crawford. Download the survey results

Memphis Lawyer Surrenders License

Longtime Memphis attorney Mark Saripkin, 60, surrendered his law license following an investigation into allegations that he waived fees for a teenage client in exchange for oral sex, the Commercial Appeal reports. Saripkin, who has not been charged with a crime, allegedly began a relationship with his client when she was 17 and facing charges in Shelby County Juvenile Court. It continued when she was charged with child sex trafficking in federal court last year, the newspaper says.

Former Judge Taylor Gets Additional Jail Time, Probation

Former Hawkins County Judge James F. Taylor pleaded guilty Friday to stealing from private clients and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the Rogersville Review reports. Taylor received two three-year sentences, which will run concurrently. However, he only will have to serve one year, with the remaining years to be served on probation. The sentence is in addition to a three-year sentence imposed in Davidson County. Taylor also must pay $71,783 in restitution to former clients and $32,757 to the AOC. Finally, he agreed to not seek reinstatement until his probation ends in 2028.

7 Vie for Washington County Sessions Judge

Seven local attorneys met a deadline earlier this month to be considered for a new General Sessions judgeship created by the Washington County Commission. Applicants include Robert D. Arnold, Kenneth C. Baldwin, Douglas J. Carter, Stephen A. Darden, William Carter Donaldson, Michael D. Rasnake and Danny R. Smith. According to the Johnson City Press, interviews will be held Nov. 8, and the county commission will select the new judge on Jan. 3.

U.S. Attorney: Trafficking Crimes are a Priority

U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton, working in the Western Division of Tennessee, says his office views prostitution and sex trafficking as “akin to modern-day slavery" and as a priority. As prostitution continues to plague the Lamar Ave. area of Memphis, Stanton says, “We will be very vigilant in prosecuting and bringing to justice those individuals that would seek to sex traffic.” His comments come on the heels of high-profile statements about trafficking from President Barak Obama and ABA President Laurel Bellows. Read more from WMC-TV

Justice Kagan to Judge UT Appellate Competition

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will judge the final round of the University of Tennessee College of Law’s Advocates’ Prize, the college’s annual intramural appellate advocacy competition, on Oct. 18. Kagan will be the second justice to preside over the competition after Justice Clarence Thomas did the honors in 2010. Five federal appeals court judges also will help judge the competition. They include Judge Rosemary Barkett, Judge Marsha Siegel Berzon, Judge Jerome A. Holmes, Judge Adalberto Josè Jordan and Judge James A. Wynn. The competition takes place Oct. 15-18.

Lawyer Challenges Williams for House Seat

Republican Thom Gray, who is seeking to represent the Fourth District House seat in the Tennessee General Assembly, will square off against incumbent Kent Williams of Elizabethton in the Nov. 6 general election. Though Williams claims Republican affiliation, he was barred from officially running as a Republican after joining with Democrats in 2008 to defeat Republican nominee Jason Mumpower as speaker of the House. Gray, a solo practioner in Bristol, is a newcomer to politics. The Elizabethton Star has more about his first bid for public office.

Supreme Court to Hear Arizona Voting Law

The Supreme Court today agreed to take up an appeal from Arizona over its requirement that people prove they are American citizens before registering to vote. The justices will review a federal appeals court ruling that blocked the law, arguing that federal law – which allows voters to fill out a mail-in voter registration card and swear they are citizens under penalty of perjury – trumps state law. Tennessee is among four states that have a similar law. Arguments will take place in February, with a decision likely by late June. News Channel 5 has this AP story

MBA Hosts Pro Bono Recognition Event

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) on Tuesday will present Entertaining Motions 2012, a parody of Memphis legal life, to benefit access to justice efforts. The event, which kicks off at 6 p.m., will also feature award presentations to area volunteers. Those being honored include Monroe David, Maureen Holland, Lisa Leach, J. Michael Fletcher, Allen Malone, Linda Harris, Chris Martin and James Warner. The law firm of Littler Mendelson is also set to be recognized. The event will take place in the auditorium at Memphis Bioworks Foundation, 20 South Dudley. To attend, contact Mary Lynes at (901) 271-0660 or or Charlotte Gean (901) 527-3575 or

17 Lawyers Reinstated After Administrative Suspension

Seventeen Tennessee-licensed lawyers have been reinstated after being administratively suspended for failure to file the 2012 registration fee and IOLTA report or complete CLE requirements in 2011.


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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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