Legal Aid, Others Snag $500,000 Grant

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and 19 victim services providers have received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Nashville Post reports. The grant will fund a three-year initiative that will allow Legal Aid Society to help more than 1,320 low-income victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. These cases impact many areas of law and society, such as domestic relations, health, housing, federal taxation, public benefits, employment and education.

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
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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Carl E. Seely, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason L.L.

J. Neil Thompson, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Amy J.W.


In this paternity case, Father appeals the Carroll County Juvenile Court’s rulings with regard to custody and parenting time with his minor child. The trial court’s ruling as to the paternity of the child is affirmed. However, because the trial court did not comply with Rule 52.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, we vacate the judgment of the trial court with regard to custody and the parenting schedule and remand for entry of an order with appropriate findings of fact and conclusions of law.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Aubrey B. Harwell, Jr., Gerald D. Neenan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, S & S Family Entertainment, LLC

James L. Smith, Karen Keyes Diner, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellees, James D. Holder and Barbara L. Holder


Plaintiff purchased family entertainment center businesses from defendants and it leased, from defendants, buildings in which the entertainment centers were operated. Plaintiff also purchased certain assets from defendants, but a dispute ultimately arose regarding certain assets’ inclusion within the sale. At the expiration of the building leases, defendants filed suit claiming that plaintiff had damaged their property, that plaintiff had improperly removed certain items from the buildings, and that it had failed to remove other items which it should have removed. Plaintiff filed an answer and counterclaim asserting ownership of the allegedly damaged, improperly removed, and non-removed property, and further claiming that defendants had reneged upon an agreement to sell it one of the buildings at issue. The trial court entered a brief order awarding defendants damages and dismissing plaintiff’s counterclaim. Plaintiff moved the trial court to alter or amend its judgment and for entry of a final order. The trial court denied plaintiff’s motion, finding there were no remaining issues in need of resolution. We find that the order appealed is not a final judgment, and therefore, that this Court lacks jurisdiction in this matter. Thus, we must dismiss this appeal and remand to the trial court for appropriate findings and entry of a final order.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Sammie Netters, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Pamela S. Lorch, Lead Counsel, for the appellee, Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.


This appeal involves an inmate’s petitions for writ of certiorari challenging the Board of Probation and Parole’s decisions to deny him parole on two separate occasions. The trial court dismissed the inmate’s claims related to one parole hearing but requiring further proceedings as to his claims related to the second parole hearing. Because the order appealed does not resolve all the claims between the parties, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David Christensen, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, William J. Ferris, Sr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Doug Carriker, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


William J. Ferris, Sr. (“the Petitioner”) filed for post-conviction relief from his jury convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and aggravated burglary, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on direct appeal. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Alexander Brown, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Eugene Rutherford.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Leon Franks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Michael Eugene Rutherford, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court’s order revoking his probation for aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and ordering his fiveyear sentence into execution. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to revoke his probation, (2) there is new evidence related to testimony relied upon by the trial court in revoking his probation, (3) the trial court erred by allowing the victim of the Defendant’s new theft charge to testify at the revocation hearing, and (4) the court erred by insufficiently weighing his good behavior. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Jurors in Knox Retrial Will Be From Jackson

Jurors will be selected this Friday in Jackson for the retrial of Vanessa Coleman, one of four defendants who had been convicted in one of Knoxville's most horrific crimes. New trials have been ordered for all of the suspects in the 2007 torture-slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, after revelations that the judge presiding over the original trials — Richard Baumgartner — was himself breaking the law. The state challenged the retrial orders in all but Coleman's case. The Knoxville News Sentinel has more.

Tennessee Faces Deadline on Health Exchanges

State officials appear divided on whether to create a Tennessee health insurance exchange program or leave the job to the federal government. With a deadline for the decision approaching next week, Gov. Bill Haslam tells WPLN News that he’d rather the state run its own program, but GOP leaders in the legislature may have other ideas.

Holder Discusses Staying Around as AG in Law School Talk

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is leaving open whether or not he plans to continue serving in a second Obama administration. Speaking at the University of Baltimore School of Law two days after the election, Holder said, “I will have to think about—can I contribute in a second term?" The Blog of The Legal Times said he did not say outright if he wants to remain on board.

Burke Takes Step Toward Mayoral Race

State Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, moved a step closer to running for mayor today, picking up official papers to qualify for the Chattanooga mayoral election, the Times Free Press reports. Berke had previously announced his intention to give up his senate seat and run for mayor. He’s since raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the campaign.

Campbell to Take Oath on Nov. 16

John Wheeler Campbell will be sworn in as judge in Division VI of the Criminal Court at 2 p.m. on Nov. 16 at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex, 201 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38103. A reception will follow in the Division VI Courtroom on the 6th floor.

Lipscomb Doc Series Explores Health Care Issues

Lipscomb University’s HumanDocs Film Series will present “The Waiting Room” Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in Shamblin Theatre on campus. The film explores the nation’s health care system by weaving together the stories of patients and caregivers at a public hospital in Oakland. A panel discussion featuring Tennessee Justice Center director Gordon Bonnyman, medical student Italo Brown and veteran emergency room physician Harold Smith will take place before the screening.

Montana Voters: Citizens United Ruling Was Wrong

Montana residents used their votes to protest a U.S. Supreme Court decision that had overturned that state’s 1912 campaign finance law, the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reports. Voters in Montana gave 75 percent of their vote to support an initiative disputing the high court’s constitutional analysis and directing the state’s congressional delegation to propose a constitutional amendment overturning the court’s 2010 Citizens United campaign finance ruling.

Avoid Malpractice: The Risks and Opportunities of Social Media

Social media is unavoidable in today’s world and legal profession. Its use by lawyers, clients, and adversaries presents opportunities but also legal ethics and malpractice risks. Maximizing the opportunities while avoiding the risks requires a unique understanding of the application of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Regardless of your firm’s current involvement in social media. Join Christian Stiegemeyer, the Director of Risk Management for The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company, at any of three programs across Tennessee: November 13 in Knoxville, November 14 in Nashville, and November 15 in Memphis.


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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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