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Applications are now available for lawyers interested in being appointed to any of the more than 600 positions for which the American Bar Association (ABA) president makes appointments. The deadline for submitting applications is Feb. 25. The Tennessee Bar Association's ABA Resource Committee is offering assistance to lawyers interested in applying for service on the various committees, commissions and other entities to which the ABA president appoints. Contact ABA Resource Committee Chair Jonathan Cole or ABA State Delegate Randy Noel for further information about ways in which the committee can be of assistance.

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - 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

JOSHUA COOPER ET AL. v. LOGISTICS INSIGHT CORP. ET AL.
With dissenting opinion

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys:

Scott Carey and Mark Baugh, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, ProLogistics, Inc., Logistics Insight Corp., and Joe Murray.

Daniel C. Todd, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, MasterStaff, Inc. and Discover RE.

Judge: HOLDER

An employee was injured at work as a result of the actions of a third-party tortfeasor. The employee suffered permanent injuries that required future medical care. The injured employee filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and filed a lawsuit against the third-party tortfeasor. The employer intervened in the lawsuit pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-112 (2008) to protect its subrogation lien against any recovery from the third-party tortfeasor. The employee settled the lawsuit with the third-party tortfeasor and voluntarily dismissed the case. The employer requested that the case be set for trial, claiming that it was entitled to a lien against the settlement proceeds for the cost of future medical benefits that may be paid on behalf of the injured employee. We hold that the employer’s subrogation lien provided by Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-112 does not include the cost of future medical benefits that may be provided to an injured employee.


TN Court of Appeals

MARTHA McCORMICK v. WARREN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Ricky L. Stacy, McMinnville, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellant, Warren County Board of Education

Sonya W. Henderson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellee, Martha McCormick

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a GTLA claim for personal injuries arising out of alleged negligence. The plaintiff suffered personal injuries after falling in a hole in a school football field. The plaintiff filed this lawsuit against the defendant board of education alleging negligence by failure to maintain the school premises and failure to warn. As defenses, the defendant board of education asserted governmental immunity and comparative fault. After a bench trial, the trial court held that the board of education had constructive notice of the hole in the football field and so did not have governmental immunity, and awarded the plaintiff monetary damages. The board of education now appeals, challenging the trial court’s holding on governmental immunity and arguing the plaintiff’s comparative fault. We affirm the trial court’s holding as to governmental immunity, but remand on the issue of comparative fault for findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHELLE DAWN GANN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and Jessica A. Greene, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Richelle Dawn Gann.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Debbie Malone, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Richelle Dawn Gann, challenges the trial court’s denial of judicial diversion for her convictions for theft of $500 or less and possession of both Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, and Diazepam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, with intent to sell. She contends that the trial court erred by failing to consider all of the required factors in deciding her suitability for judicial diversion and by finding that the circumstances of the offense outweighed all the factors that favored a grant of judicial diversion. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


MONROE MANGIUM, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Daniel Rogers, Medina, Tennessee, for the appellant, Monroe Mangium, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Jerald Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Monroe Mangium, pled guilty to attempted first degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated robbery. He received agreed sentences of twenty years at one-hundred percent for attempted first degree murder, twenty years at one-hundred percent for especially aggravated kidnapping, and ten years at thirty percent for aggravated robbery to be served concurrently for an effective twenty-year sentence. In this appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief, Petitioner asserts that his guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary because he received ineffective assistance of counsel. More specifically, he argues that counsel failed to investigate his case by not interviewing Randy Tyus, Tony Hammond, or other potential witnesses listed by the State. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


CLARENCE D. SCHREANE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Clarence D. Schreane, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; and William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

In 2004, a Hamilton County jury convicted the Petitioner, Clarence D. Schreane, for committing first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in 1991, and the trial court sentenced him to 60 years of incarceration. This Court affirmed his convictions and sentence on appeal. State v. Clarence David Schreane, et al., No. E2005-00520-CCAR3- CD, 2006 WL (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Apr. 5, 2006), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 28, 2006). The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the postconviction court dismissed. We affirmed the dismissal on appeal. Clarence David Schreane v. State, No. E2009-01103-CCA-R3-PC, 2010 WL 3919264 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Oct. 7, 2010), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 18, 2011). Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a writ of error coram nobis, in which he alleged that the trial court erred when it admitted his statement to police during the trial because the trial court did not review the statement first, outside the presence of the jury. The coram nobis court dismissed the writ. After a thorough review of the record, the briefs, and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


ALONZO EUGENE TERRELL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William E. Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alonzo Eugene Terrell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Wesley King, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Alonzo Eugene Terrell, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for attempted first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. Pursuant to a negotiated guilty plea, he pled guilty to aggravated robbery and received a Range II sentence of 12 years, and the count charging attempted first degree murder was dismissed. He subsequently filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief, and an evidentiary hearing was held. Petitioner appeals from the post-conviction court’s ruling denying relief. After a complete review we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


MICHAEL TERRELL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Constance Andrielle Wooden Alexander, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Terrell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Corliss Shaw, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Michael Terrell, appeals as of right from the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On May 28, 2009, the Petitioner pled guilty to attempted first degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated robbery, and he received an agreed sentence of seventeen years at 100% in the Department of Correction. The Petitioner challenges the voluntariness of his guilty plea and the performance of trial counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICCO R. WILLIAMS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

George Douglas Norton, Jr., Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricco R. Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joni R. Livingston and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Lauderdale County Circuit Court jury convicted the defendant, Ricco R. Williams, of five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony having been previously convicted of a felony, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of 72 years’ incarceration. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and also contends that the jury was exposed to prejudicial information during voir dire and that the imposition of partially consecutive sentences violated his Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury. Because the trial court committed plain error by failing to require the State to elect a predicate felony for the defendant’s conviction under Code section 39-17-1324 and because 39-17-1324(c) precludes the defendant’s conviction when the underlying dangerous felony is aggravated kidnapping or especially aggravated kidnapping as charged in this case, the defendant’s convictions in counts seven and ten are reversed, and those charges are remanded for a new trial on the offense of employing a firearm during the commission of an aggravated burglary. Because principles of double jeopardy preclude dual convictions for the aggravated robberies of Mr. and Ms. Currie, the defendant’s conviction of the aggravated robbery of Ms. Currie is reversed and modified to a conviction of the lesser included offense of aggravated assault. Because the evidence was insufficient to support the defendant’s conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, that conviction is reversed, and the charge is dismissed. The defendant’s convictions of and sentences for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and the aggravated robbery of Mr. Currie are affirmed.


Court Re-Affirms Reimbursement Limits In Worker’s Comp Case

The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed two prior rulings in which it held an employer’s subrogation right against an employee’s recovery from a third party in a negligence case does not include the amount of future medical benefits be provided to the employer. In Joshua Cooper v. Logistics Insight Corp., Cooper sought workers compensation benefits from his company MasterStaff after being assigned to work at ProLogistics, Inc and being injured by a ProLogistics employee. After winning his negligence case against ProLogistics, Cooper reimbursed MasterStaff for the medical expenses paid on his behalf. MasterStaff then asserted that the settlement did not dispose of all the claims regarding future medical expenses. 


Court to Review Statutory Rape Precedent

In the single criminal case it granted review this week, the Tennessee Supreme Court will be considering whether it should modify the existing rule classifying the victim of statutory rape as an accomplice and requiring corroboration of the victim’s testimony. Read more about the case and a forecast in the Raybin and Perky Tennessee Supreme Court Hot List.


Obama Unveils $500 Million Gun Violence Prevention Plan

President Barack Obama unveiled today a $500 million program to curb gun violence that includes requiring federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a full-time director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and directing the Centers of Disease Control to research gun violence. Obama issued 23 orders that do not require congressional approval, but said Congress must act soon to implement the rest of the changes,  the Tennessean reports.


New MBA YLD President To Focus on Mentoring, Pro Bono

Annie Christoff of Bass, Berry & Sims has been voted the new 2013 president of the Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association. The Memphis-native and Georgetown University Law School graduate hopes to continue the group’s focus on the mentoring of young lawyers and  increased pro bono participation. Christoff also works with local nonprofits Church Health Center and the American Cancer Society, which she hopes to parlay into her coming year as president. Read the full feature on Christoff in the Memphis Daily News.


Haslam Announces Plans to Boost Higher Ed

Gov. Bill Haslam announced yesterday he plans to boost Tennessee college graduation rates by 23 percent by 2025. Currently only 32 percent of adults in the state hold a post-secondary degree, which is not enough to meet the requirements of the modern job market, Haslam said. He appointed Randy Boyd to lead a group consisting of heads of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Board of Regents, and University of Tennessee systems to find ways to tackle the “iron Triangle” of affordability, access, and quality issues for public colleges and universities across the state.


New Bill Expands Reward for Justice Program

President Barack Obama has signed into law the expansion of the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, which is aimed at capturing the world’s most serious human rights abusers, WRCB.com reports. Established in 1984, the program gives the secretary of the state the authority to offer a reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of anyone who plans, commits, or attempts international terrorist acts. The new law, which passed Congress with bipartisan support, now allows the State Department to publicize and pay rewards for information about people involved in transnational organized crime or foreign nationals wanted by any international criminal tribune for war crimes or genocide.


Teacher with Child Phobia Sues School

An Ohio high school teacher has sued her district for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by reassigning her to an elementary school, the ABA Journal reports. The suit contends the transfer constituted disability discrimination since she has a phobic fear of young children.


Fleischmann Appointed to Key House Subcommittee

Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann has been appointed to the House Appropriations Committee’s Energy & Water Development Subcommittee, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The committee oversees funding for the U.S. Department of Energy, and handles Tennessee Valley Authority issues. According to a committee news release, Fleischmann will also serve on appropriations subcommittees dealing with homeland security and labor, and health and human services.


ABA Promotes Equality Through Town Hall Series

The American Bar Association will hold a Town Hall Discussion “Advocating for Equality in the Next Generation-Disability Rights” at Vanderbilt University Law School on Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. in the Moore Room. The ABA Town Hall Series is designed to encourage dialogue among law students, young lawyers, experienced members of the bar, and others in the community about how the legal profession should address issues of inequality, intolerance and discrimination in the profession and in society. Paula Pearlman, executive director of the Disability Rights Legal Center will be the keynote speaker. Registration is free. RSVP by Jan. 23 to irr@americanbar.org


 
 

Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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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