Feds Release Rules to Curb Risky Mortgages

Federal regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unveiled new rules today aimed at ensuring that mortgage borrowers can afford to repay loans they take out, reports the Memphis Daily News. The regulations impose a range of obligations and restrictions on lenders, including bans on “interest-only” and “no documentation” loans. Lenders also would be required to verify and inspect borrowers’ financial records and avoid approving debt payments totalling more than 43 percent of the borrower’s annual income.

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
04 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - 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 Workers Comp Appeals

TERRY FLATT v. ERMC

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Jeffrey G. Foster and David E. Goudie, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, ERMC.

Edward L. Martindale, Jr., Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Terry Flatt.

Judge: CHILDRESS

An employee sought reconsideration of his workers’ compensation settlement after his position was terminated due to a reduction in workforce. His employer subsequently offered employment to the employee on two occasions after his termination. His employer contended that the employee did not have a loss of employment. The trial court found that the employee was eligible for reconsideration and awarded additional benefits. The employer has appealed, contending that the trial court erred by finding that the employee was eligible for reconsideration. In the alternative, the employer contends that the trial court’s award was excessive. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


ANTHONY N. JORDAN v. WHIRLPOOL/JACKSON DISHWASHING PRODUCTS

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

P. Allen Phillips, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Whirlpool/Jackson Dishwashing Products.

Floyd S. Flippin and Terri Crider, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the appellee, Anthony Jordan.

Judge: PARISH

An employee alleged an injury to his shoulder caused by repetitive work activity. His employer denied the employee’s workers’ compensation claim because the initial report of the injury and early medical records described only injuries to the employee’s hand and wrist. The trial court found that the shoulder injury was compensable and awarded workers’ compensation benefits. The employer appealed, arguing that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s findings on the issues of causation and notice. After reviewing the record and considering the employer’s arguments, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


LATOSHA READ v. HILL SERVICES, INC. ET AL.

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Kenneth M. Margolis and Handel R. Durham, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Latosha Read.

Sean Antone Hunt, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Hill Services, Inc., Broadspire Services Inc., and American National Property and Casualty Company,

Judge: CHILDRESS

An employee was found dead at a job site, and his widow made a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits. The claim was denied by his employer. A trial court found that the widow did not sustain her burden of proving that her husband’s death was caused by his employment and entered judgment in favor of the employer. The widow has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s finding. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


RAYMOND DARRYL YOUNG v. BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Neal Agee, Jr., Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raymond Darryl Young.

Nicholas S. Akins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC.

Judge: HARRIS

In this workers’ compensation appeal, the employee injured his right shoulder in the course of his employment in July 2009. He missed only a few days of work and reached maximum medical improvement in August 2010. Prior to his reaching maximum medical improvement, a collective bargaining agreement reduced the hourly wages of all of the employer’s production workers. The trial court held that he had a meaningful return to work, thereby limiting his award of benefits to one and one-half times the anatomical impairment in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A). The employee has appealed, contending that the trial court’s interpretation of the statute was erroneous.1 We affirm the judgment.


TN Court of Appeals

DANNY GRUBBS DODD v. JUDITH GAIL PARIS DODD

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

S. Jason Whatley, Sr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Danny Grubbs Dodd.

Bruce N. Oldham and Sue Hynds Dunning, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Judith Gail Paris Dodd.

Judge: DINKINS

In this divorce proceeding, Husband appeals the trial court’s award of alimony in futuro to Wife. Finding no error, we affirm.


ERNEST B. KLEIER, JR., M. D. v. TENNESSEE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Sara Elizabeth Sedgwick and William E. Young, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.

Daniel Davis Warlick, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Ernest B. Kleier, Jr., M. D.

Judge: DINKINS

A physician convicted of driving under the influence in another state was adjudged to have engaged in “unprofessional, dishonorable or unethical conduct”, as proscribed by Tenn. Code Ann. § 63-6-214(b)(1), by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners; the Board placed the physician’s medical license on probation and ordered him to obtain treatment and counseling. On petition for review, the Chancery Court held that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and reversed the Board’s decision. We reverse, holding that Tenn. Code Ann. § 63-6-214(b)(1) provides sufficient notice to the physician that his conduct was subject to potential discipline by the Board.


IN RE: PAULINE MARTIN, DECEASED

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

David H. Stanifer and Lindsey C. Cadle, Tazewell, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Edward Martin.

Floyd W. Rhea, Sneedville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Edith M. Ramsey and Mary E. Horton.

Judge: SWINEY

Edith M. Ramsey and Mary E. Horton filed a petition seeking a declaratory judgment with regard to the interpretation of the Last Will and Testament of Pauline Martin (“the Will”). Specifically, Ms. Ramsey and Ms. Horton sought an order establishing the location and width of a right-of-way granted in the Will. After a trial, the Trial Court entered its judgment on October 11, 2011 finding and holding, inter alia, that the right-of-way referenced in the Will was a farm road with a width of twelve feet as shown on an August 25, 2009 survey. Charles E. Martin, another beneficiary under the Will, appeals to this Court. We find and hold that the right-of-way referenced in the Will is not the farm road, but is what is referred to as the Ramsey right-of-way as shown on the August 25, 2009 survey, and we reverse the Trial Court’s judgment as to the location. We affirm the remainder of the Trial Court’s judgment.


MELINDA SANFORD v. RICKY BAINES ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Ronnie Baines, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Anthony Ensley Hagan, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Melinda Sanford.

Judge: PER CURIAM

This is an appeal from an order granting a Motion for Default and authorizing the clerk and master to sell the parties’ real property. Because the order appealed does not resolve all the claims between the parties, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.


WILLIS BENJAMIN WILLOCKS v. IRENE WARD WILLOCKS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory H. Harrison, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Irene Ward Willocks.

John K. Harber, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Willis Benjamin Willocks.

Judge: CANTRELL

In this action for divorce the Chancery Court of Jefferson County awarded the parties a divorce, divided the marital property and awarded the wife alimony in futuro. On appeal, both parties attack the appropriateness of the alimony award. The wife also asserts that the court erred in classifying one asset as the husband’s separate property. We affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

OCTAVIS ARNOLD v. CHERRY LINDAMOOD, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Octavis Arnold, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; and D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Octavis Arnold, pro se, appeals the Hardeman County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus from his 2006 convictions for robbery and his resulting effective eight-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing his habeas corpus claim that he was denied pretrial jail credit. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


TOM PERRY BELL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Tom Perry Bell, Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se.

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

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Tom Perry Bell, appeals the summary dismissal of his petitions for postconviction relief, wherein he challenged his 1983 conviction of petit larceny and his 1978 conviction of receiving stolen property. Because the petitions are time-barred and because the petitioner failed to establish grounds for tolling the statute of limitations for filing a petition for post-conviction relief, we affirm the judgments of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEXTER COX

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Claiborne H. Ferguson and Bridgett Stigger, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dexter Cox.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Ray Lepone and Dean Decandia, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

A Shelby County grand jury indicted appellant for first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, attempted first degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery. A jury returned verdicts of guilty on both counts of first degree murder, the lesser-included offense of attempted second degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery, for which the trial court sentenced appellant to an effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Appellant challenges his convictions, claiming that his confession was the product of an illegal arrest and was involuntary. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. THOMAS JAMES HEFFNER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard Kenneth Mabee (on appeal); and Blake Murchison (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Thomas James Heffner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Matthew Rogers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Thomas James Heffner, appeals the revocation of the community corrections sentence imposed for his Hamilton County Criminal Court conviction of theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RYAN JAMES HOWARD

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jeffery C. Kelly, District Public Defender, and William Carter Donaldson and William Louis Francisco, Assistant District Public Defenders, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ryan James Howard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; and Dennis Wayne Brooks and Janet Vest Hardin, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Ryan James Howard, was convicted by a Washington County Criminal Court jury of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-210, -211 (2010). He was sentenced to consecutive terms of twenty years for second degree murder and five years for voluntary manslaughter. On appeal, he contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred in (2) allowing hearsay testimony into evidence; (3) allowing unauthenticated recordings of telephone calls into evidence; and (4) sentencing him to an effective twenty-five years’ confinement. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NICHOLAS LARSEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Blake D. Ballin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Nicholas Larsen.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Susan L. Taylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Nicholas Larsen, entered a guilty plea to driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI), a Class A misdemeanor, after the trial court denied his motion to dismiss the indictment. Larsen’s guilty plea hearing indicated that he attempted to reserve a certified question of law on appeal pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37 at the time he entered his guilty plea. Following the dismissal of his appeal on the basis that the appellate record contained no attachment or corrective order setting out a certified question of law, Larsen filed a petition to rehear, arguing that the attachment containing the certified question referenced on the judgment form “became detached from the judgment sheet before the record was prepared and transmitted.” This Court subsequently granted Larsen’s petition to rehear and motion to supplement the appellate record with this attachment and vacated its previous order dismissing the appeal. Larsen timely supplemented the appellate record with the missing attachment, which stated the following certified question of law: “[W]hether the Court erred in denying the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss based on the fact that his pre-trial detention was not for a valid remedial purpose but rather was punitive.” Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


TERRANCE ROSE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael R. Working, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terrance Rose.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Paul Goodman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Terrance Rose, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to properly communicate with him and to prepare him to testify at trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


ERIC THOMAS v. HENRY STEWARD, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Eric Thomas, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, Henry Steward, Warden.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The Petitioner, Eric Thomas, appeals the Circuit Court of Lake County’s denial of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


New Senate Judiciary Chair Named, Among Others

Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey today removed Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, as head of the Judiciary Committee and replaced her with Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown. Beavers told reporters she suspected that her efforts to ramp up accountability for judges might have played a role in the decision. "I think a lot of the judges really objected to us redoing their ethics," she told the Associated Press. Ramsey denied the move was in response to pressure from anyone saying, “We wanted to take a different direction.” The Memphis Daily News has the story. Other chairs also were named this week. See the list of all House chairs and Senate chairs at Knoxnews.com.


Legislature Re-Elects Constitutional Officers

The General Assembly has unanimously re-elected Secretary of State Tre Hargett for a four-year term and Comptroller Justin Wilson and Treasurer David Lillard for two-year terms. Hargett is a former chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and represented Bartlett in the state House from 1997 through 2006. Wilson is a Nashville tax attorney and former aide to Gov. Don Sundquist. Lillard, of Germantown, is a former member of the Shelby County Commission and a financial and tax attorney. All three were first elected in 2009. The Memphis Daily News has more.


House Caps Bills at 15 Per Member

The House of Representatives voted today to cap at 15 the number of bills each member can introduce. House Speaker Beth Harwell originally had proposed a limit of 10. Democrats criticized the move calling it censorship. In other news, the House also voted for a rule supported by Harwell barring members from asking others to cast votes for them when they are absent. The Tennessean reports.


Caucus Chair Calls for Bipartisan Meeting on DCS

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner sent letters today to Gov. Bill Haslam, House Speaker Beth Harwell and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey requesting a joint Government Operations Committee meeting to investigate the Department of Children’s Services' (DCS) refusal to release records on child deaths. He also requested an investigation into reports that DCS has returned children to homes where there is evidence of abuse, according to The Tennessean. Turner’s request comes two days after a hearing in Davidson County Chancery Court on a lawsuit brought by The Tennessean and other media outlets around the state. News also came out today that DCS fired two top staffers on Tuesday whose duties at the agency included reviewing the deaths of children.


Kyle Asks GOP to Open Meetings

Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis is calling on Republicans to make the chamber subject to open government laws, saying he wants to see more transparency in the legislative branch. Currently, the legislature does not fall under open government laws that apply to other government agencies, and it cannot bind future General Assemblies to its rules. But Kyle said the chamber could at least adopt the open meetings laws for the two-year session that began this week. While some Republicans called the move political, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, agreed to take up the issue at an upcoming Rules Committee meeting, reports the Memphis Daily News.


Stites Lawyer Elected Chair of Anti-Death Penalty Group

Stites & Harbison attorney Robert Goodrich has been elected chair of the board of directors for Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (TADP) – a non-profit organization that seeks repeal of the state’s death penalty. TADP will hold its 7th annual Student Conference on the Death Penalty at Lipscomb University in Nashville on Feb. 23. The free conference is open to high school, college and graduate students interested in learning about the death penalty issue and hearing from those directly impacted by the system. The conference keynote speaker is Ray Krone, the nation’s 100th death row exoneree, who spent 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Learn more about the conference


Schedule Announced for Same Sex Marriage Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court this week released its oral argument schedule for the March sitting, which will include arguments in two same-sex marriage cases, according to SCOTUSblog. The court will hear Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California Proposition 8 case, on March 26, and United States v. Windsor, involving a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, on March 27.


AWA Hosts Annual Banquet Next Week

The Association for Women Attorneys (AWA) will host its 33rd Annual Banquet and Silent Auction Jan. 17 at the Tower Center at Clark Tower, 5100 Poplar Ave., Memphis 38137. This year's event will honor U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paulette J. Delk. Also at the event, Frances M. Riley, bankruptcy court law clerk, will take office as president of the organization. A cocktail hour with cash bar and silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner and program following at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $60 for AWA members, $70 for nonmembers and $40 for law students. For more details and tickets, contact AWA Banquet Co-Chair Keating Lowery at keatingl@lawrencerussell.com or (901) 844-4438. Download an announcement about the meeting.


Services Set for Chattanooga Lawyer

Family and friends will remember retired Chattanooga lawyer Hal Fredric Sherman Clements at a memorial service Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 305 West 7th St., Chattanooga 37402. Visitation will precede the service beginning at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center, or St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Clements died Dec. 29 at the age of 73. After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1965, Clements developed a practice representing management in labor and employment matters. In 1981, he co-founded the law firm of Clements, Ingham and Trumpeter, which merged with Miller & Martin in 1987. He spent the rest of his career at Miller & Martin, serving as chair of the labor and employment department. He retired from the firm in 2010. Read more about his life


 
 

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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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