Conservatorship Hearing in Memphis Tuesday

The second Conservatorship Hearing conducted by the Tennessee Bar Association will take place Tuesday at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law’s Historic Courtroom. The hearing will give lawyers, community leaders and citizens a chance to discuss what works with the present conservatorship law and how practice and procedure in conservatorships could be improved. The event is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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
01 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
08 - 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

SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Workers Comp Appeals

JOHN FREEMAN v. GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY ET AL.

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Kent E. Krause, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, General Motors LLC.

Jonathan Williams, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, John Freeman.

Judge: KURTZ

The employee sought reconsideration of workers’ compensation settlements concerning a back injury in 2003 and a right knee injury in 2006. The trial court granted the petition and increased the previous permanent partial disability awards to 30% to the body as a whole for the back injury and 100% to the leg for the knee injury. The employer has appealed, contending that reconsideration of the back injury was barred by the statute of limitations, that the awards for both injuries were excessive, that the trial court incorrectly awarded benefits in excess of six times the anatomical impairment for the knee injury, and that the trial court erred by awarding benefits in a lump sum. The employee contends that the trial court erred by failing to award permanent total disability benefits. We conclude that the employee’s petition for reconsideration of the settlement of his back injury was not timely filed and reverse that part of the judgment. We affirm the judgment in all other respects.


TN Court of Appeals

JANE FIELD v. THE LADIES’ HERMITAGE ASSOCIATION

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

W. Gary Blackburn and C. Dewees Berry, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jane Field.

Robb S. Harvey, Heather J. Hubbard and Mark M. Bell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Ladies’ Hermitage Association.

Judge: CANTRELL

This is the second round in a long-running dispute over the provisions in a warranty deed conveying historic Tulip Grove to the Ladies Hermitage Association (LHA). In the deed LHA agreed to make certain payments to the grantor and her heirs. In a prior appeal this Court affirmed the chancellor’s ruling that the property did not revert to the heirs so long as LHA paid the heirs at least $600 every six months. On remand the chancellor held that LHA did not have an implied obligation to keep the property open for paid tours and that LHA did not have to share with the heirs the income derived from renting the property for special events. We affirm the chancellor on the implied obligation and reverse the holding on the heirs’ right to a portion of the special event income.


DANIEL A. RILEY, C.N.A. v. JOHN DREYZEHNER, M.D., M.P.H., IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Frank J. Scanlon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daniel A. Riley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sara E. Sedgwick, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, John Dreyzehner, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health.

Judge: STAFFORD

Appellant nurse assistant’s name was placed on the Abuse Registry after the Appellee Tennessee Department of Health concluded that he had committed an act of abuse on an elderly person in his care at a nursing home. Appellant appeals, arguing that substantial and material evidence does not exist to show that he committed an act of abuse on the nursing home resident. Having determined that substantial and material evidence in the record supports the decision of the Tennessee Department of Health, we affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CONSTANCE ELAINE ARCHER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jefre S. Goldtrap, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Constance Elaine Archer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Roger Moore and Katherine Barnes, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Constance Elaine Archer, was convicted of theft of property valued at $500 or less, a Class A misdemeanor, and criminal trespass, a Class C misdemeanor, and sentenced to an effective term of eleven months, twenty-nine days to be served on probation. On appeal, she argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain her convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MELL THOMAS BRUTON, aka MEL T. BRUTON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mell Thomas Bruton, aka Mel T. Bruton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rob McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Mell Thomas Bruton, aka Mel T. Bruton, appeals the revocation of his community corrections sentence, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking the sentence based on the defendant’s unauthorized trip out of state when the trip was necessitated by a family emergency. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


JERRY D. CARNEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jerry D. Carney, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Jerry D. Carney, appeals the dismissal of his third petition for writ of error coram nobis, arguing that due process should toll the statute of limitations and that he is entitled to coram nobis relief on the basis of newly discovered evidence of the criminal activities and official misconduct of the medical examiner who testified at his trial. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRIS CUMMINS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Patrick S. Butler, Waynesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chris Cummins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Doug Dicus and Brent Cooper, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Chris Cummins, was indicted for first degree murder. The State’s proof included the testimony of an inmate who had been housed with the defendant in prison and who claimed the defendant confessed to the crime. The defendant moved for a continuance based on the fact that he was only made aware of this witness on the morning the trial began, and the trial court denied his motion. The jury returned a guilty verdict, and the defendant was sentenced to life in prison. The defendant asserts on appeal that he is entitled to a new trial because the court erred in denying his request for a continuance. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


NICHOLAS FLETCHER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Zipporah C. Williams, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nicholas Fletcher.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; and Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Robert Ratton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Nicholas Fletcher, appeals from the post-conviction court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. In this appeal, Petitioner argues that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel: (1) failed to investigate concerning certain witnesses at his trial; (2) failed to present Petitioner’s testimony at the pre-trial hearing on the motion to suppress Petitioner’s inculpatory statement to police; and (3) failed to adequately explain to Petitioner the State’s negotiated plea agreement offer. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TIMOTHY EUGENE KELLY, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Elaine Heard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Eugene Kelly, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and J. Wesley King, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Davidson County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Timothy Eugene Kelly, Jr., of one count of especially aggravated robbery and two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of thirty-seven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and the sentences imposed by the trial court. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


TARIK ROBERTSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Randall B. Tolley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tarik Robertson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Tarik Robertson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of observation without consent, a Class A misdemeanor, and sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days, suspended to probation following service of four months in the county workhouse. On appeal, the petitioner contends that it was error to deny him post-conviction relief because: (1) the conviction was based upon evidence obtained pursuant to an unlawful arrest; (2) there is newly discovered evidence in the case; (3) he was denied the effective assistance of counsel; and (4) there were cumulative constitutional errors in the trial process. Following review of the record and arguments of the parties, we affirm the decision of the postconviction court.


PATRICK THURMOND v. HENRY STEWART, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Patrick Thurmond, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Patrick Thurmond, appeals the denial of his sixth petition for writ of habeas corpus, claiming that his conviction of aggravated rape is void. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


11 File to Fill Court of Appeals Opening

Eleven attorneys have applied to fill the vacancy on the Tennessee Court of Appeals Eastern Section created by the retirement of Judge Herschel P. Franks. The Judicial Nominating commission will hold a public meeting to interview the following applicants: Brian K. Addington of Kingsport; Esther L. Bell of Knoxville, Jerri S. Bryant of Athens, Jesse Dewayne Bunch of Cleveland, Michael A. Faulk of Church Hill, Thomas Radcliffe Frierson of Morristown, David Edward Long of Knoxville, Jimmie Alice Carpenter Miller of Kingsport, Hugh J. Moore Jr. of Chattanooga, Sarah Yarber Sheppeard of Knoxville and Daniel P. Street of Blountville. Read more at TNCourts.gov.


Meningitis-Related Suit Filed in Columbia

A Maury County couple is seeking $12.5 million in a meningitis-related lawsuit filed Friday in Columbia. Basil McElwee received steroid injections at St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center in Nashville on Aug. 20 and Sept. 4, became seriously ill and is currently hospitalized there, the lawsuit says. Columbia attorney Patrick Carter is representing the McElwees in their suit against New England Compounding Pharmacy, manufacturer of the injectable steroid.


Vanderbilt Sues Former Employee, Partner Convicted of Fraud

Vanderbilt University has filed a civil lawsuit against the two men convicted of defrauding the school of more than $560,000, the City Paper reports. On Oct. 9, Jason Hunt, former administrative manager at Vanderbilt Law School, and his partner Samuel Wakefield pled guilty to fraud, theft and statutory rape. The lawsuit asks for compensatory damages, interest, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.


Voter ID Laws to Remain Intact for Now

Attorneys representing two Memphis residents whose votes were not counted because they lacked proper photo identification, on Thursday asked a three-judge Appeals Court panel to throw out the state’s voter ID law, claiming it is unconstitutional. A decision is expected in the coming weeks, but meanwhile, early voting is underway with the ID requirement still in place, the Tennessean reports.


State Rep. Graduates from TBI State Academy

State Rep. Eric Watson was among the inaugural class of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) State Academy, an intensive six-week training program to help Tennessee law enforcement personnel expand their education and training in the crimination justice field. Watson chairs the House Judiciary Committee and co-chairs the National Conference of State Legislatures Law and Criminal Justice Standing Committee, the Cleveland Daily Banner reports.


DOJ Files Suit for LSAT Disability Discrimination

According to the National Law Journal, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have filed suit against the Law School Admission Council on behalf of 22 students, alleging the council violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by denying  proper accommodations for taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Council administrators state that their process for granting accommodations is rigorous but fair, and does not violate anyone’s rights. 


Council to Explore Sexual Harassment Allegation

The Fort Oglethorpe City Council will go into a closed session tonight to discuss sexual harassment allegations brought against Councilman Charles Sharrock by a female police detective, the Times Free Press reports. This will be the third complaint against Sharrock, who declined to comment on the issue to reporters.


Justice Sharon Lee to Speak on POWs

As part of the East Tennessee History Center’s Brown Bag Lecture series, this Wednesday at noon Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee will present “American Heroes with Common Bonds: Story of Five American Soldiers held as German POWs,” a compelling lecture detailing the story of solders captured and held as prisoners of war by the Germans in World World II. If you or someone you know has a family member who was a prisoner of war,  contact Justice Lee to share information about that person. She can be reached by email or by phone at (865) 594-6707.


Justice Outlines Access to Justice Efforts to Law Students

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder and Access to Justice Commission Chair Buck Lewis spoke to University of Tennessee College of Law students about court Access to Justice efforts, and the commission’s upcoming two-year plan.


Martha O’Bryan Center Hosts Legal Clinic

The Nashville Pro Bono Program, Martha O’Bryan Center, and Walker, Tipps & Malone PLC will host a legal clinic at the Martha O’Bryan Center, 711 S. Seventh St., from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. The clinic will provide advice/counsel and referral to low-income individuals. Contact Lucinda Smith of the Legal Aid Society for more information.


WTLS to Host Free CLE Program

West Tennessee Legal Services is hosting a free Continuing Legal Education course on National Mortgage Settlement this Wednesday at the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, 197 Auditorium St., from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, contact Kathryn Tucker. See a full list a Celebrate Pro Bono Month Events.


 
 

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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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