Storm Shutters All But Supreme Court

As the east coast braces for Hurricane Sandy this evening, federal offices, courts and a number of law schools were closed today. But fears of a storm did not deter the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court remained open this morning for arguments on the controversial issue of using wiretap authority to track terrorism activity. SCOTUSBlog has a recap of the day’s proceedings. The court is taking a more cautious approach tomorrow though. It announced today that Tuesday's arguments would be postponed until Nov. 1.

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
03 - 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 Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John E. Herbison, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellant Lori Gregory, in her capacity as personal representative of the Estate of James Ballentine

Saul A. Solomon, Director of Law, and Andrew D. McClanahan, James E. Robinson, and R. Alex Dickerson, Assistant Metropolitan Attorneys, for the Defendant/Appellee Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County

Judge: KIRBY

This is a negligence claim under Tennessee’s Governmental Tort Liability Act. The decedent was involved in a serious vehicular accident. A witness called the defendant municipality’s 911 emergency communications center for help. The 911 responders went to the accident scene and transported the decedent to a local hospital, where he died. The decedent’s mother filed this lawsuit against the municipality, alleging that the 911 operator was negligent in failing to summon emergency personnel from a neighboring county, because those responders were closer to the scene of the accident and could have provided aid to the decedent sooner. The municipality filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing inter alia that it owed no duty to summon aid outside of its jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff now appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John C. Harrison, and Jennifer H. Lawrence, Tennessee, for the appellants, Victor J. Thomas, M.D., and Lizbeth A. Kennedy, M.D.

Stephen D. Barham and Nathaniel S. Goggans, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Pediatrix Medical Group of Tennessee, P.C.


This action arises out of a dispute between the parties on issues arising out of an employment contract. The parties have been before this Court previously on this contract, and we ruled that they were required to arbitrate the issues, and remanded the case. Plaintiff employer filed a declaratory judgment action as a dispute arose over the selection of arbitrators. The employer had selected its arbitrator, and the Trial Judge ruled that its selection was appropriate and that the Trial Court did not have jurisdiction to determine whether the selected arbitrator was proper under the American Health Lawyers Association rules of procedure for arbitration. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Tony Seaton and Robert Bales, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Candace Young.

John Rambo, Jonesborough, Tennessee, for the appellee, Washington County, Tennessee.


The plaintiff, a probationer, charged Washington County with negligent oversight and supervision, after she was sexually assaulted and raped by a private entity’s probation officer. The trial court ruled in favor of the county, and the plaintiff appeals. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Lauren Zechman, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffery C. Grissom.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Senior Counsel; Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Thomas J. Miner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Jeffery C. Grissom, appeals as of right from the Warren County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel from one of his two attorneys at trial and from appellate counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Fred Allen Owens, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Senior Counsel; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Fred Allen Owens, pro se, appeals the Johnson County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus from his 2003 conviction for second degree murder and his resulting thirty-five-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying him habeas corpus relief from his conviction and sentence because the State failed to file notice of its intent to seek enhanced punishment, violating his due process and equal protection rights. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Haslam Appoints Siskin to 16th Circuit

Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed Keith Siskin to the 16th Judicial District Circuit Court, which serves Rutherford and Cannon counties. He fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Don Ash to a senior judge position earlier this year. Siskin has been a juvenile court magistrate since 2004 and is a past president of the Rutherford and Cannon County Bar Association. The Daily News Journal has more.

Judge Dismisses 1 Count in Baumgartner Trial

One felony count was dismissed against former Judge Richard Baumgartner today, according to WATE. While the defense had filed a motion asking the judge to dismiss the whole case, Judge Ronnie Greer dismissed just one count, which related to a conversation in which Baumgartner allegedly made material misrepresentations about his mistress to an Anderson County judge. The presiding judge said there was not sufficient evidence on that issue for a rational jury to find elements of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Truancy Class Action Rejected

Two lawyers who sought to challenge Knox County’s handling of more than 140 truancy cases have been turned back in their attempt to create a class action for young people they say should not have been jailed for minor offenses such as truancy, smoking or running away from home. In rejecting the appeal, Fourth Circuit Judge Bill Swan said that it was an issue for the state legislature to decide. The News Sentinel reports.

Putnam County Bar Elects Officers

The Putnam County Bar Association recently elected new officers. They are President Rachel M. Moses, Vice President Jason F. Hicks, Secretary Kelsy Austin Miller and Treasurer Richard Dale Bohannon. All practice in Cookeville.

Civil Rights Forum on Tap in Chattanooga

A forum titled “Inalienable Rights: Civil Rights and Social Justice” will be presented at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Tuesday with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by a program with William C. Killian, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Killian will speak on the topic Understanding Civil Rights in Today’s Diverse Society. The discussion will be moderated by Beverly Cosley with the Chattanooga Office of Multicultural Affairs. Read more about the event on

Real Property Training for Lawyers

Celebrate Pro Bono events continue Tuesday with a seminar in Nashville designed to help lawyers avoid costly mistakes when handling real property issues in divorce, elder law and probate cases. The session, co-hosted by the Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission and Vanderbilt University Law School, will run from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 2:15 to 4:30 p.m. The event will take place in the school’s Flynn Auditorium, 131 21st Ave. South, Nashville 37203. Contact Kelly Murray for details.

Pillar Law Firm Model Explained

Law firms in East Tennessee are invited to an informational meeting to learn more about the "Pillar Law Firm Model" -- a program designed to increase firm involvement in pro bono services. Attendees will hear from Terry Woods, director of the Pro Bono Project for Legal Aid of East Tennessee; Tennessee Access to Justice Commission Chair Buck Lewis; and representatives from firms who are participating in the program. The event will be held tomorrow from 4 to 5:15 p.m. at the University of Tennessee College of Law, Room 237, 1505 W. Cumberland Ave. It is being sponsored by the court's Access to Justice Commission and the Knoxville Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee. For details, contact Wynne du Mariau Caffey.

Free CLE in Cleveland

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host a free CLE Tuesday in Cleveland on the topic of James Madison and the Constitution. The seminar will take place at 1075 Blythe Avenue SE, Suite 8, Cleveland 37311. Contact Charlie McDaniel for details.

Hawkins County Lawyer Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Hawkins County lawyer James Franklin Taylor on Oct. 26 following his guilty plea to the count of felony theft. The court also directed the Board of Professional Responsibility to institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed as a result of the conviction.  Download the court's notice


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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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