Sherrard Takes Office as NBA President

Tom Sherrard, a founding member of Sherrard & Roe, PLC, took office as president of the Nashville Bar Association during the group’s annual meeting and banquet Wednesday night. Charles Grant, a shareholder at Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, was elected president-elect. Others chosen to join the NBA’s board of directors were Kay Caudle, general counsel and vice president of corporate management for Smith Travel Research, the Hon. Randal S. Mashburn, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee, Andrea P. Perry, a partner with Bone McAllester Norton PLLC, solo practitioner Matt Potempa, Metro Legal Director Saul A. Solomon and Joycelyn A. Stevenson of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings.

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - 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

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TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Thomas E. Weakley, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jimmy R. and Roseanna R.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Bill Young, Solicitor General; Mary Byrd Ferrara, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children’s Services.


This is a termination of parental rights case, in which the trial court terminated Mother and Father’s parental rights to three of their children on the grounds of severe abuse and persistence of conditions. We reverse the ground of severe abuse as to Father, affirm as to Mother, and affirm the ground of persistence of conditions as to both parents. We also affirm the trial court’s finding that termination is in the best interests of the children. On that basis, we affirm the termination of Mother and Father’s parental rights.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Terry Patrick Dwyer, Defendant/Appellant, pro se

Danny H. Goodman, Jr., Tiptonville, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellee, Reed’s Track Hoe & Dozier Service

Judge: KIRBY

This is a breach of contract case. The defendant entered into an oral contract with the plaintiff to demolish a dilapidated building. After the building was demolished, the defendant disputed the amount charged by the plaintiff and so refused to pay the plaintiff for his work. The plaintiff filed this lawsuit against the defendant alleging breach of contract. After a bench trial, the trial court held that the parties had entered into an oral agreement under which the plaintiff would be paid hourly for the demolition services, and that the defendant owed the plaintiff for the time spent on the job at the rates claimed by the plaintiff. The defendant now appeals. The appellate record does not contain a transcript; it contains only a statement of the evidence submitted by the defendant and not acted on by the trial court. We decline to consider the appellant’s proposed statement of the evidence, on the basis that, on its face, it does not convey a fair, accurate, and complete account of what transpired in the trial court as required under Rule 24 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Left only with the technical record, we must assume that the evidence presented at trial supported the trial court’s decision. On this basis, the trial court’s decision is affirmed.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Matt Maniatis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Juan Alberto Blanco Garcia.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Juan Alberto Blanco Garcia, appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction relief, arguing that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary. Following our review, we affirm the postconviction court’s denial of the petition.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James O. Martin, III (on appeal) and Brian T. Boyd (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Lee Leggs.

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

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, David Lee Leggs, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of three counts of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and was sentenced by the trial court as a Range III, persistent offender to twenty-five years for each conviction, with one of the sentences ordered to be served consecutively to the other two concurrent sentences. Because the defendant had prior convictions for aggravated robbery, the sentences were also ordered to be served at 100 percent, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-501(k)(2), for a total effective sentence of fifty years at 100 percent in the Department of Correction. The sole issue the defendant raises on appeal is whether the trial court erred by ordering consecutive sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Jason M. Chaffin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jacob Steven Love.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Jacob Stephen Love, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for two counts of attempted aggravated sexual battery and effective eight-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that his guilty pleas were unknowingly and involuntarily made because he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Jeffery S. Frensley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Ochoa.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

Following a traffic stop and search of his vehicle that uncovered over five kilograms of cocaine, the defendant, Mario Ochoa, was indicted by the Sumner County Grand Jury with possession of over 300 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell or deliver, a Class A felony. He subsequently pled guilty to possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell or deliver, a Class B felony, in exchange for a Range I sentence of twelve years in the Department of Correction, reserving the following certified questions of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2)(A): (1) whether the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop his vehicle; (2) whether the officer exceeded the scope of the stop once he discovered that the defendant’s temporary license tag was valid; (3) whether the evidence should be suppressed because the defendant’s consent to search the vehicle was not sufficiently attenuated from the prior seizure; and (4) whether the search of the vehicle exceeded the scope of what a reasonable person would have understood to have been meant by the defendant’s consent. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Ashley Preston (on appeal), and Joy S. Kimbrough (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Calvin Taylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Amy Eisenbeck and Robert Homlar, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Calvin Taylor, appeals his Davidson County Criminal Court jury convictions of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, attempted especially aggravated robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the sentence imposed by the trial court. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Supreme Court to Hear Gay Marriage Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up California’s ban on same-sex marriage, allowing the justices the chance to rule on whether gay Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals. On Monday, justices will review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down California’s gay marriage ban. The court will also decide whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people.

Justices Struggle with International Custody Law

The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether American courts have any further say in a custody dispute between a U.S. soldier and a Scottish woman over their daughter, the Associated Press reports. In a complicated international custody fight, the justices seemed concerned by the idea that a foreign parent could escape U.S. court jurisdiction simply by leaving the country. has the story. 

Shelby County Municipal Mayors Meet to Resolve Lawsuits

A week after U.S District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays ruled against the Shelby County suburban municipalities' attempt at creating their own school districts, suburban leaders are not giving up. “My understanding is we're continuing to work toward the resolution of the lawsuits," Millington Mayor Linda Carter said, later adding: "We are working very hard to... reduce legal fees any way that we can for both sides." Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, and Millington mayors have met the past two days to discuss the education system possibilities. The Memphis Commercial appeal has the story.

Donelson, Jones, Magee Honored At MBA Annual Meeting

Lewis Donelson of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC was honored yesterday at the Memphis Bar Association (MBA) Annual Meeting. He received the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyer’s Lawyer Award, which honors an MBA member who has practiced law for more than 15 years and who during that time, has exemplified the aims and aspirations embodied in the Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct. Also at the meeting, Ken Jones was honored with the W.J. Michael Cody Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award by Memphis Area Legal Services, Inc. and Marcy Magee was awarded the Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award.

Haslam to Focus on Reducing Domestic Violence Rate

Gov. Bill Haslam says that while the crime rate is showing an overall decline in Tennessee, instances of aggravated assault, prescription drug abuse and domestic violence remain a major concern for his administration. He stated yesterday that domestic violence accounts for about half of all crimes committed in the state each year. This year, Haslam introduced and signed into law a measure to require mandatory jail time for repeat convictions for domestic violence, but it is too soon to tell if it has made a significant difference. Gov. Haslam said his Cabinet will continue to work with law enforcement to seek ways to reduce violent crimes and drug abuse.

Judge Allows Law School Alumni Suit Over Job Stats

San Diego Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman -- in what is being called the "first time that a court has held that misrepresentations regarding law school employment data are a violation of the law" -- ruled that four graduates of Thomas Jefferson School of Law have standing to bring suit against the school for using misleading post-graduate job statistics. "Consumers' rights to make informed, educated decisions when determining an education investment depends upon transparency and accurate information. To the extent that misrepresentations are made, consumers are injured by enrolling in an institution that is not what it purported to be," Pressman said.

Judge Denies Accused Christian Newsom Murder Ringleader Delay in Retrial

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz denied accused Christian Newsom torture-slaying ringleader Lemaricus Davidson’s bid to put a hold on a hearing next week on whether Davidson should have been granted a new trial, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. Davidson’s attorneys sought a Tennessee Supreme Court review of a midlevel appellate court’s decision to recuse Senior Judge Job Kerry Blackwood who ordered a new trial. "The issue is no longer one of recusal," Kurtz wrote. "In (appointing Kurtz), the chief justice exercised his statutory and inherent authority. This trial court is not in a position to overturn or modify the chief justice's order."

Rigsby Sworn in as New Juvenile Magistrate

Melinda Rigsby was sworn in this week as a new magistrate at Davidson County Juvenile Court, filling the vacancy created by the appointment of Sophia Brown Crawford as judge. Rigsby has worked as an assistant District Attorney since 1995 at Juvenile Court and later General Sessions Court. Read more at TN Courts.

Williamson County to Swear in First Juvenile Court Judge

Sharon E. Guffee will be sworn in next Wednesday as Williamson County’s first Juvenile Court Judge, the Williamson Herald reports. In June, the Williamson County Commission voted unanimously to appoint Guffee to the position effective Jan. 1, 2013. Guffee is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law and previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the 21st Judicial Districts and in private practice.

Professor: Good Time to Apply to Law School

Law school tuition is high and good jobs are hard to find after graduation, but according to journalist-turned-law professor Jonathan Glater, it may be a good time to apply to law school. In the New York Times' Dealbook blog, Glater suggests that a decline in applicants means less competition. “In every crisis, there is an opportunity,” he writes. Read more at the ABA Journal.

DUI Court Helps Change Lives

DUI Court is an effort by the Williamson County General Sessions Court and law enforcement officials to decrease the number of alcohol related crashes and fatalities, DUI arrests and repeat offenses. The two-year old court, modeled after the highly effective drug court, is open to offenders with between two and four DUI offenses. Read more in the Williamson Herald. 

Law Firm Associates Take Brunt of Recession

Researchers at the Memphis Business Journal reported today that Memphis-area law firm associates have taken the brunt of the recession, with the total number decreasing nearly 15 percent from 2008 to 2012. Partner numbers were stable during that same period, spiking above 400 in 2009 and 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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