Lawyers To Be Recognized for Service at TBA Event

Tennessee attorneys who generously gave their time and talents in service to others will be recognized this Saturday at the TBA Public Service Luncheon. The event is the centerpiece of this weekend's TBA Leadership Conference, and will feature former FCC Commissioner Deborah Tate as keynote speaker. Honored at the event will be Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteers of the Year Phillip Cramer, Bill Harbison, Elliott Ozment and John Farringer; Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Jean Crowe; and Law Student Volunteer of the Year Chris Martin. Also meeting this weekend are the TBA House of Delegates, the TBA Board of Governors and a number of TBA committees, sections and divisions.

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
04 - 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


Respondent Convention Center Authority appeals the trial court’s determination that the residential addresses of employees of third-party contractors contained in payroll records submitted by the contractors to the Convention Center Authority are not exempt from disclosure under the Tennessee Public Records Act. Petitioners cross-appeal the trial court’s denial of their request for attorney’s fees and costs. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Stephen J. Zralek and Charles Robert Bone, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, The Convention Center Authority of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Deborah Godwin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Martin D. “Red” Patterson and Wayne Wells.


Respondent Convention Center Authority appeals the trial court’s determination that the residential addresses of employees of third-party contractors contained in payroll records submitted by the contractors to the Convention Center Authority are not exempt from disclosure under the Tennessee Public Records Act. Petitioners cross-appeal the trial court’s denial of their request for attorney’s fees and costs. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Hope B. Calabro, Memphis, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellants, Service Management Systems, Inc.

Steven W. Pittman, Hernando, Mississippi, for Plaintiff/Appellee, Rev. J. M. Shaffer

Judge: KIRBY

This interlocutory appeal involves comparative fault and amending to add a defendant. The plaintiff suffered slip-and-fall injuries at the defendant airport. The day before the statute of limitations ran, the plaintiff filed this lawsuit against the airport, alleging negligence. The airport’s answer asserted comparative fault but did not identify an additional tortfeasor. In later discovery, the airport identified its janitorial service. The plaintiff amended her complaint to add the janitorial service as a defendant, citing T.C.A.§ 20-1-119. The defendant janitorial service filed a motion to dismiss, citing the statute of limitations. The trial court declined to dismiss the claims against the janitorial service, holding that the disclosure of the identity of the janitorial service in discovery triggered the 90-day statutory period under Section 20-1-119 in which the plaintiff is permitted to amend the complaint to add a defendant. We reverse, holding that, by the express terms of Section 20-1-119, the statutory 90-day period is not triggered by a defendant’s response to a discovery request.

MARY C. SMITH, as Surviving Widow of James B. Smith v. UHS OF LAKESIDE, INC., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Mimi Phillips and R.H. Chockley, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mary C. Smith.

Marty R. Phillips and Ashley D. Cleek, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, UHS of Lakeside, Inc.


Appellant appeals the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Appellee mental health facility, effectively dismissing the case. Having determined that the trial court failed to state the legal grounds upon which it was granting summary judgment, we vacate the orders at issue and remand for entry of orders that comply with Rule 56.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


William H. Thomas, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, John Charles Wilson and William H. Thomas, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter, and Bruce M. Butler, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Transportation.


The trial court dismissed Plaintiffs’ declaratory judgment action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs’ appeal. We affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David J. McKenzie, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cauley McCilton Cross.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Charles Frank Crawford, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Cauley McCilton Cross, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner is currently serving an effective ten-year sentence in the Department of Correction following his convictions for two counts of aggravated sexualbatteryand three counts of exhibition of obscene materials to a minor. On appeal, he contends that the postconviction court erroneously denied his petition because the proof established that he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel. On appeal, he specifically contends that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to dismiss the charges against the petitionerbased upon a constitutionalchallenge to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13504. Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of relief.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Donna L. Hargrove, District Public Defender; Michael J. Collins, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Desi Kris Moore.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; Michael Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Desi Kris Moore, was convicted of rape of a child, a class A felony, and aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and received an effective twenty-five-year sentence. In this appeal, the defendant claims his sentence is excessive and contrary to law. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

New Court Procedures Raise Privacy Concerns

Audio recordings from cases in Tennessee appellate courts will be available online starting this spring, and some attorneys and judges are upset. They say that easy access to sensitive information from oral arguments could produce privacy issues since there is no exception for juveniles or families going through personal divorce proceedings. Judge Frank Clement of the Court of Appeals wrote a three-page letter to the Supreme Court expressing his concerns. The Court told Nashville’s News 2 that the intent was to continue to promote the transparency and openness of the courts. “We do recognize a concern for possible misuse of the audio files and are developing measures to mitigate possible misuse of the proposed system."

New Mentoring Resources From TBA Task Force

The TBA Mentoring Task Force has worked intensively to find all attorney-mentoring programs in Tennessee and compile a list to assist lawyers in locating a mentor. This information is on the TBA’s web site so that members can now access this information at any time. The list of mentoring programs has been divided by Judicial Districts and counties within those districts for ease of reference.

State Rep. Pleads Guilty to DUI, Gun Charges

State Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, pleaded guilty today to DUI and gun-possession charges stemming from a 2011 traffic stop in Nashville, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Todd wills serve 40 hours in jail and perform 24 hours of community service. He was also fined $350 and lost his right to carry his gun during a year of probation, among other terms of his conviction.

Weather Forces Cancellation of Judicial Nominating Commission

Today's Judicial Nominating Commission meeting scheduled to interview candidates for the Chancery Court vacancy in the 8th Judicial District has been cancelled due to inclement weather. It will be rescheduled at a later date.

Yale Finds Great Demand for Law Ph.D.

Yale University was met with both applause and skepticism when it announced in July it would offer the first-ever Ph.D. in law, however it is now clear that there is a great demand for a program of its kind. The National Law Journal reports that Yale has received 82 applications for the first five spots in the program designed to prepare lawyers to be legal scholars and professors. Dean Robert Post stated there was a great deal of variety in applicants, with some fresh from law school and others who have been practicing for 30 years. The three-year program is shorter than a typical doctorate, and requires students to write a dissertation, sit for qualifying exams, takes classes on teaching, and teach two courses.

Baker Donelson Moves Up List of Best Companies to Work For

For the fourth consecutive year, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC was named to Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, jumping from 54th to 45th. The firm is listed as the highest-ranking company from Tennessee and one of only five law firms nationally. See the full ranking.

MLK Day: A Day On, Not A Day Off

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the National Day of Service, Nashville is holding its first-ever Day of Service Volunteer Fair Satruday at the Center for Nonprofit Management. From 10 a.m. to noon, attendees will have a chance to learn about volunteer opportunities available throughout the year with about 40 nonprofit organizations in Nashville.

Law Professor, Author to Speak on 'New Jim Crow' at MLK Event

Law professor and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander will be the keynote speaker during Vanderbilt University’s MLK Weekend of Service. Author of the best-selling book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” Alexander will be speaking at 7 p.m. Monday in Langford Auditorium. A limited number of free tickets are still available at the Sarratt Box Office.  Alexander will speak again Tuesday at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building at 7:30 p.m. Her lecture is sponsored by UT’s African Studies program and co-sponsored by several university departments and programs, including the College of Law.

Save the Date: NLBA Annual Meeting

The Napier-Looby Bar Association’s Annual Meeting will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Swett’s Restaurant. New officers will be elected and 2013 dues will be collected.

Choir, Alexander to Take Part in Inauguration

As the ranking Republican on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, Lamar Alexander will give a short speech from the inaugural platform before President Barack Obama is sworn in to a second term, the Jackson Sun reports. After his speech, Alexander will introduce Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor who will swear in Joe Biden as vice president. He invited the choir from Lee University in Cleveland to sing from the inaugural viewing area for an hour before the event.


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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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