Judicial Candidates Face Hearings in Claiborne County

The Judicial Nominating Commission will interview six attorneys who applied for the Chancery Court vacancy in the 8th Judicial District during a public meeting Jan. 18 at 9 a.m. at Woodlake Lodge, Golf & County Club in Tazewell. The vacancy was created by the death of the Hon. Billy Joe White. During the hearing, attorneys and members of the public may express their approval or objections to the candidates. Applicants are Elizabeth C. Asbury, James L. Cotton Jr., Kathy Parrott, Charles Patrick Sexton, Thomas Jackson Tabor Jr. and Andrew R. Tillman.

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
07 - 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 Workers Comp Appeals


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Cynthia A. Wilson, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellants Daco Incorporated and Travelers Indemnity Company.

Walter S. Fitzpatrick III, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, James Short.

Robert E. Cooper Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General; and Alexander S. Rieger, Assistant.


This workers’ compensation case concerns the apportionment of liability between an employer and the Second Injury Fund. At trial, the parties stipulated that the employee had sustained a compensable injury to his lower back that rendered him permanently and totally disabled. Prior to his work injury, he had undergone back and neck surgeries, as well as coronary bypass surgery. The trial court found that his work injury caused a 90% permanent partial disability, irrespective of the pre-existing conditions, and it apportioned liability accordingly: 90% to the employer and 10% to the Second Injury Fund. The employer has appealed, and the appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Tennessee Supreme Curt Rule 51. We affirm the judgment.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Tyree B. Harris, IV and Katherine A. Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Martha Elaine Weaver Carter.

James H. Drescher, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, David Ray Carter.


In this post-divorce appeal regarding child support, we have concluded that the trial court erred in requiring mother to establish a trust account for gifts to the parties’ minor child. In all other respects, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; Jeffrey A. DeVasher, Assistant Public Defender; Melissa Harrison, Assistant Public Defender; and Jason Gichner, Assistant Public Defender, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, Bruce D. Mendenhall.

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


Defendant, Bruce D. Mendenhall, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for first degree premeditated murder, and he was convicted as charged following a jury trial. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life in prison. Defendant appeals his conviction and sentence and submits the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred by refusing to suppress evidence obtained from Defendant’s person, his truck, and his tractor trailer as a result of Defendant’s initial encounter with police Sgt. Postiglione, which Defendant asserts was a seizure not supported by reasonable suspicion; (2) whether the trial court erred by refusing to suppress Defendant’s statements to police officers; (3) whether Defendant’s statements to a fellow inmate should have been suppressed; (4) whether the trial court erred by admitting evidence that Defendant solicited another person to kill three potential witnesses; (5) whether the trial court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to exclude portions of Defendant’s phone calls recorded while Defendant was incarcerated; (6) whether the trial court erred by denying Defendant’s motion to present testimony from a ballistics expert at trial; (7) whether the trial court erred by admitting into evidence items recovered from Defendant’s truck; (8) whether the trial court erred by admitting into evidence photographs of the victim’s body; (9) whether the evidence is sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction; and (10) whether the trial court erred by ordering Defendant’s sentence to run consecutively to a previously imposed sentence. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Hewitt Chatman, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Danielle Sims.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Angela R. Scott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Danielle Sims, was convicted of aggravated statutory rape, a Class D felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class A misdemeanor, and received an effective sentence of three years, with eleven months, twenty-nine days to serve at 75% and the remainder on intensive state probation. On appeal, she argues that the evidence is insufficient to support her rape conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Officers under County Charter

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-11-02

Opinion Number: 103

Conflict of Interest – Member of County Board of Education

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-11-09

Opinion Number: 104

Authority of Carter County Planning Commission to Require Testimony Under Oath

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-11-26

Permissibility of Modifications to the TennCare Program

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-11-26

Opinion Number: 106

County Courthouse Security

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-11-26

Opinion Number: 107

Motor Vehicle Dealer Registration Plates

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-12-14

Opinion Number: 108

County Commission Meetings

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-12-14

Opinion Number: 109

Federal Courts Hold Line on Spending

Chief Justice John G. Roberts is defending the federal courts’ cost-containment strategy, stating in his year-end report that the Supreme Court will seek $75 million in the upcoming fiscal year, a 3.7 percent decrease from three years ago. Nationwide, federal courts spent about $6.9 billion last fiscal year, a “miniscule portion” of the overall federal budget Roberts said. In the report, Roberts also urged executive and legislative branches to fill open seats on the U.S. District and appellate courts which he said constitute “judicial emergencies.”

Lawyers to Appeal NFS Suit Dismissal

According to the Greenville Sun, lawyers representing 143 plaintiffs in the recently dismissed civil lawsuit against Nuclear Fuel Services (NFS) will meet to consider strategies for appealing the decision. The lawsuit alleged that NFS and other companies connected to its Erwin plant released hazardous and radioactive substances resulting in personal injury and property damage.

Senate Confirms TVA Board Appointees

The U.S. Senate confirmed President Barack Obama’s nomination of four people to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The appointees are V. Lynn Evans of Memphis; Peter Mahurin of Bowling Green, Ky; Mike McWherter of Desden; and Joe H. Rich of Huntsville, Ala.

New DOJ Antitrust Division Chief to Continue Aggressive Enforcement

In a 62-26 vote that only took a few minutes, the Senate confirmed William Baer of Arnold & Porter as the new chief of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Legal Times reports. Baer is considered likely to continue the recent push on merger challenges and cartel enforcement action. With a wide range of experience in both private practice and government enforcement, many in the antitrust bar have widely lauded his qualifications for the job.

Local Politicians Split on Fiscal Cliff Bill

Of the nine Tennesseans who represent the state in the U.S. House of Representatives, only Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, voted for the American Taxpayer Relief Bill yesterday, although he admitted he was not entirely happy with the agreement. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, voted against the legislation, claiming it produced "No real spending cuts. No real deficit reduction. No acknowledgement of America's out-of-control national debt." Meanwhile, both of the state’s Republican senators voted for the package. Sen. Bob Corker called it "legislation to rescue 99 percent of the American people from a rax rate increase." The Memphis Daily News has the story.

Report: Child Protection Improvements Needed

According to the 2012 Annual Report by the Second Look Commission, investigations into severe child abuse cases were left incomplete and failed to address the complicated needs of the family. The 23-page report details eight areas in which Tennessee can improve the protection of children including providing more training for child abuse investigators, Department of Children’s Services (DCS) caseworkers, mental health providers and law enforcement.

Sen. Jim Tracey to Run against Rep. DesJarlais

State Sen. Jim Tracy announced today he plans to challenge embattled U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in 2014 for a seat in the 4th Congressional District, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. This will be Tracey’s second campaign for congress, after finishing a close third in the 2010 Republican primary for the 6th Congressional District. Tracey is the first Republican to launch a formal campaign against DesJarlais.

Mock Trial Judges Needed for Commodore Classic

Practicing attorneys, judges, and law students are needed to judge the Fifth Annual Commodore Classic undergraduate mock trial tournament on Jan. 19-20 at Vanderbilt University. Twenty-four of the top collegiate mock trial teams from across the nation will participate in two mock trial rounds no longer than three hours both days. Contact commodorejudges@gmail.com with any questions. 


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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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