Bills Give AOC Power to Name Statewide E-Filing Vendor

Most states do not yet have court e-filing and the few that do usually do not mandate a single vendor or e-filing system, instead leaving it to local courts to decide, Gavel to Gavel reports. Tennessee legislators are taking a different approach however. Bills introduced recently in the House and Senate would give the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) power to identify a single provider that must be used in all courts in the state. The bills, HB 418 by Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, and SB 1050 by Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, give the AOC until January 2014 to identify an e-filing provider and ensure that all courts in the state are utilizing the same system.

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
03 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - 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


C. Tracey Parks, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robert S. Adamczyk and Tracy Adamczyk.

Betty Lou Taylor, Hartsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mary Jane Bridgewater.

James David Bass and James L. Bass, Carthage, Tennessee, for the appellees, James S. Green and Mike Gibbs.


This appeal arises out of a boundary line dispute. On appeal, the landowners argue that the trial court erred in finding that the disputed property was owned by their adjoining landowner. The landowners further argue that the trial court erred in dismissing their thirdparty complaint against the individuals that sold them the property, and for refusing to award them an abatement in the purchase price based on the deficiency in acreage. After throughly reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Geoffrey Coston, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Yolanda Uria

D. Scott Parsley, Joshua G. Strickland, , Tennessee, for the appellee, Steve Uria


This appeal involves post-trial motions in a divorce case. Several years after the divorce decree was entered, the father filed a petition to modify the parenting plan to seek more parenting time, and he filed a petition for contempt, alleging that the mother had prevented him from exercising his parenting time. The father later filed a motion asking the trial court to alter or amend the original divorce decree’s child support provision in order to reduce his child support obligation retroactive to the date of the decree, and the arrearage that he had accrued over the years. The trial court modified the parenting plan, found the mother in contempt, and altered the portion of the original divorce decree pertaining to child support, thereby reducing the father’s child support arrearage. The mother appeals. We affirm in part and reverse in part and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Hannah Leah Wade, Franklin, Tennessee, pro se.

Michael B. Menefee of Menefee & Brown, LLP, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee.


The appellant (“Mother”) appeals from an order of the trial court entered on November 27, 2012, which granted the counter-petition to alter or amend the parties’ Permanent Parenting Plan and to relocate to Indiana filed by the appellee (“Father”). The November 27, 2012 order stated that “[a]ll other issues raised” in Mother’s response in opposition to the petition to relocate and counter-petition to modify custody as well as Mother’s initial Motion for Contempt were “reserved for further hearing.” It is clear that the order appealed from does not resolve all issues raised in the proceedings below. As such, the order is not a final order and this appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Paul J. Morrow, Jr., and Kelly A. Gleason, Office of the Post-Conviction Defender, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Petitioner, Jerry Ray Davidson

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, William E. Young, Solicitor General, and Scott C. Sutherland, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Alsobrooks, District Attorney General and Robert S. Wilson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Respondent, State of Tennessee


The Dickson County Circuit Court denied the Petitioner, Jerry Ray Davidson, post-conviction relief from his convictions of first degree premeditated murder and aggravated kidnapping and his sentence of death. The Petitioner appeals. Having discerned no error, we affirm the post conviction court’s denial of relief.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); and Angela J. Hopson, Jackson, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Justin Gray.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and James W. Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Justin Gray, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery and sentenced to concurrent terms of life imprisonment and fifteen years, respectively. On appeal, he argues that: (1) it was error for his case to be transferred to circuit court; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; and (3) the trial court’s jury instruction on criminal responsibility was erroneous. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Adam Elrod, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Gary S. Mayes.

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

Judge: WITT

On December 12, 2011, the petitioner, Gary S. Mayes, filed a pro se petition for a writ of error coram nobis alleging newly discovered evidence related to the Knox County Criminal Court’s 2008 denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The coram nobis court summarily denied relief. We affirm the denial of relief.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Thomas G. Slaughter, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darrick Eugene McAllister.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Knox County Criminal Court denied Defendant Darrick Eugene McAllister’s motion to suppress all evidence seized in a warrantless search. Subsequently, Defendant entered a guilty plea, and according to the amended judgment in the record, Defendant pled guilty to possession with intent to sell less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony, and received a sentence of eight (8) years as a Range II multiple offender. The amended judgment and the negotiated plea agreement documents show that Defendant reserved a certified question of law for appeal. The transcript of the guilty plea hearing is not in the record. After a review of the record, we affirm the amended judgment of the trial court. We note, however, that the negotiated plea agreement documents reflect that Defendant was going to plead guilty to the Class C felony offense of attempted possession of more than 0.5 grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a drug free zone (a park). However, we did not have jurisdiction in this case to do anything but affirm the amended judgment (which we do) or reverse the amended judgment and dismiss the charges. The trial court, however, may review the entire record and take appropriate measures, if any, to correct the amended judgment.

Memphis Attorney Named RNC General Counsel

John Ryder of the Memphis firm Harris, Shelton, Hanover & Walsh has been appointed the new general counsel of the Republican National Committee (RNC). In a press release, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus stated, “I am confident that John’s legal expertise and political experience make him the ideal choice. His understanding of the inner workings of the committee from his tenure as an RNC committeeman and a delegate will be an invaluable asset in providing the RNC with guidance and leadership as we move ahead.” Ryder was elected as a national committeeman from Tennessee in 1996 and served as a delegate for the 1984, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Republican National Conventions. He also currently serves on the RNC's Rules Committee.

Murfreesboro Attorney Reappointed to BPR

Murfreesboro attorney Susan McGannon has been reappointed to a three-year term on the Board of Professional Responsibility by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Daily News Journal reports. The board consists of nine lawyers and three non-lawyers from across the state who assist the court by issuing formal ethics opinions to help attorneys interpret the Rules of Professional Conduct. The board also administers the disciplinary system governing the activities of lawyers licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

Former Trustee Attorneys Get Judicial Diversion

Knox County’s former delinquent tax attorney Chad Tindell and former Trustee Office chief of staff Josh Burnett received judicial diversion on misdemeanor charges connected to their participation in a fraudulent bonus program within the Trustee Office, Knoxnews reports. Both have also resigned from their positions. Trustee John Duncan III was accused of giving monetary incentives to himself and other employees for educational classes they never completed. Under diversion, Tindell and Burnett can seek to clear their record if they abide by the terms of their probation.

Council Votes to Rename Parks Despite Pending Bill

The Memphis City Council this week voted to rename three Civil War-themed parks in the city, despite a bill pending in the state legislature that supports the current designations. The Memphis Daily News reports that the council approved new names for the Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Confederate Park. Meanwhile, state Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads, and state Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, are pushing the Tennessee Heritage Preservation Act, which would forbid changing the name of any park in the state named in honor of a military veteran or commemorating a war. Their legislation also would forbid removing statues, markers and other items from parks. The council's action provided temporary names for the parks. As early as next month, it could approve permanent names. 

Medicaid Expansion Ban on Hold

With Gov. Bill Haslam telling reporters today that he will not decide whether the state should expand its Medicaid program before the end of the legislative session, Republican leaders in the General Assembly have put a hold on legislation to ban expansion, the Nashville City Paper reports. Twenty-six Republicans in the House and 16 in the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors of legislation to ban an expansion, but House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey say they want to delay that effort to give the governor time to consider all options. Ramsey said fellow Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey has agreed to delay consideration of his bill. Harwell said her chamber will take a wait and see approach.

Education, Jobs, TennCare Top Chamber’s Priority List

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce released its 2013 state legislative agenda yesterday, identifying its top priorities for Tennessee lawmakers. The Nashville Business Journal reports that improving primary and secondary education topped the list in terms of importance, followed by job creation, support for the federally funded TennCare/Medicaid expansion, workers’ compensation reform and immigration reform.

Appalachian Law to Host Open House

The Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., will host an open house March 2 for prospective students and their guests, the Kingston Times reports. The event is open to anyone interested in pursuing law school, with the opportunity to meet faculty, tour the facilities and speak with a financial aid counselor. Participants are asked to reserve seats through the school's Admissions Office.


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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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