Environmental Law Writing Competition Underway

The TBA Environmental Law Section has announced the sixth annual Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award writing competition for law students enrolled in a Tennessee law school in 2012 or 2013. The competition is held in memory of one of the section's most outstanding founding members and has a cash prize pool of $1,200. It is a juried competition for the best legal writing on a topic of Tennessee or federal environmental law. Entries are due April 1, 2013. The competition rules and announcement are available here in downloadable format.

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
00 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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 Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Ardena J. Garth and Richard Kenneth Mabee (on appeal), and Erinn Rene O’Leary (at trial), Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alberto Eddie Deleon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Cameron Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

On appeal, the petitioner, Alberto Eddie Deleon, contests the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, asserting that he was incarcerated for an excessive time span prior to instigation of extradition proceedings. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James L. Johnson, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, James L. Johnson, pro se, appeals the Bledsoe County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus from his 2006 convictions for rape and attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery and his resulting ten-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying him habeas corpus relief. He argues that his convictions and sentences are void because the indictment for rape was defective and his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Meningitis Suit Filed in Nashville

The Nashville law firm of Kinnard, Clayton and Beveridge yesterday filed what it says is the first meningitis-related suit in the state stemming from contaminated steroid injections at area hospitals. The plaintiff is a 71 year-old Hendersonville woman who says she was infected with fungal meningitis in August after receiving a steroid injection at Saint Thomas Hospital. The suit seeks $15 million for medical expenses and pain and suffering. Randall Kinnard, a principal at the firm, said the lawsuit is the first of at least a dozen more he plans to file on behalf of area victims. The Tennessean reports on the case

Littler Mendelson Moving to Downtown Nashville

The Littler Mendelson law firm is moving its Nashville office from West End to Downtown Nashville by mid-January, according to the Nashville Business Journal. The firm will take over 6,000 square feet of space on the 14th floor of the AT&T building. Jennifer Robinson, managing shareholder at the firm, said the move will put the company closer to clients and accommodate future growth. Since opening the Nashville office in 2011, the firm has grown from two to six attorneys. The new space will accommodate 11 attorney offices.

Flood Lawsuits Likely Hard to Win

Several Middle Tennessee companies are suing for more than $350 million in damages from the May 2010 flood, but they have “a tough road ahead of them,” according to Paul Figley, a law professor who previously was a top Department of Justice official. Gaylord Entertainment Corp., Gibson Guitar, Nissan North America and several other companies sued the government earlier this year accusing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Weather Service of acting negligently before and during the flood. The government has asked the judge to dismiss the suits, claiming immunity under a 1928 law and the “discretionary function exception,” a provision in tort law that gives agencies legal protection when they make discretionary decisions based on policy considerations. The Tennessean has more.

Judge Dismisses 'Bachelor' Discrimination Suit

A federal judge in Nashville has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Christopher Johnson and Nathaniel Claybrooks against the ABC television show The Bachelor for racial discrimination, NPR reports. The African American plaintiffs alleged that the show discriminates against people of color in casting the bachelor, bachelorette and other contestants. The court ruled that under the First Amendment, the show’s producers and casting directors were free to cast or reject whomever they please. Read the full court decision here.

Ethics Complaint Filed Against DesJarlais

The D.C. based organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, alleging that he engaged in a sexual relationship with a female patient he was treating for a medical condition. The group filed the complaint after a news story suggested that DesJarlais pressured a patient with whom he was involved to seek an abortion. According to the Nashville City Paper, the congressman says he knew the woman was not pregnant and was using "strong language" in hopes she would admit the truth.

In related news, the Chattanooga Times Free Press is reporting that the Tennessee Conservative Union (TCU) is debating whether to ask DesJarlais to resign his seat. It also indicates that TCU Chairman Lloyd Daugherty is talking with other Republican-leaning groups to see if a coalition can be built to demand the doctor’s resignation from Congress.

Previewing Tonight's Civility Forum

TBA President Jackie Dixon and First Amendment Center's Gene Policinski previewed tonight's Civility, Free Speech and Courts event this morning on Nashville's Channel 5+ Morningline program. The event is jointly sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association, Lipscomb University's Institute for Law, Justice & Society and the First Amendment Center. See a clip from the program.

UT Law Students to Learn of Access to Justice Efforts

Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder and Access to Justice Commission Chair Buck Lewis will be discussing what the court has done to promote access to justice in Tennessee during a program Wednesday at the University of Tennessee College of Law. The session will also lay out what the commission has planned for the next two years and why more law students and lawyers are needed to help. The event will be at noon in room 237.

Legal Clinics Wednesday Include Landlord/Tenant Disputes

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands will host two legal clinics on Wednesday as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. First, the Nashville Pro Bono Program partners with lawyers from Walker, Tipps & Malone to provide counsel and referral to low-income individuals at the Martha O'Bryan Center Legal Clinic. The event is from 9 a.m. until noon at the Martha O'Bryan Center, 711 South 7th St., Nashville 37206. Then, from 10 a.m. to noon, the Nashville Pro Bono Program, Vanderbilt Legal Aid Society and lawyers from Bass Berry & Sims will partner in the Landlord/Tenant Project, meeting with low-income clients to provide help in landlord/tenant disputes. The event, which requires an appointment, is at the Legal Aid Society, 300 Deaderick St., Nashville. For information on either event, contact Lucinda Smith at lsmith@las.org  or (615) 780-7127.

Lawyers Partner with Operation Stand Down at Clinic for Veterans

The Nashville Pro Bono Program and lawyers from Neal & Harwell, in partnership with Operation Stand Down Nashville, will provide counsel and referral to veterans at a clinic Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m., at 1125 12th Ave. South, Nashville. Clients must pre-register by contacting Tonya S. Glasgow at tonya@osdnashville.org or (615) 248-1981. Lawyers may contact Lucinda Smith at lsmith@las.org or (615) 780-7127 for more information.

700 Pro Bono Events Scheduled Nationwide

Much like lawyers in Tennessee, attorneys across the country are honoring their responsibility to the legal profession and local communities by participating in annual pro bono celebrations. Nationally, the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service is sponsoring National Pro Bono Celebration, Oct.21-27,  as part of Celebrate Pro Bono Month. “The National Pro Bono Celebration focuses the nation's attention on the increased need for pro bono services during these challenging economic times, and celebrates the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year,"  ABA President Laurel Bellows said. More than 700 pro bono events will take place during the month throughout the nation. Read more at Lawyer Monthly or view the list of Celebrate Pro Bono events in Tennessee.


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.

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