Harbison Elected to Lead TBA in 2015

Tennessee Bar Association members have elected William “Bill” Harbison of the Nashville firm Sherrard & Roe PLC as their new vice president. After serving a year as vice president, Harbison will ascend to president-elect in 2014-2015 before taking over the organization’s leadership in June 2015. Harbison has previously served as general counsel and as secretary on the TBA Board of Governors and has been president of the Nashville Bar Association. In his campaign for the office, Harbison said he wanted to contribute to the TBA’s role as a voice for the legal profession in Tennessee. Also elected in the voting, which ended Monday, was Jonesborough attorney Erin McArdle, who was chosen to serve as First District Governor. You can see a complete list of TBA leaders elected in 2013 to serve in the 2013-2014 membership.

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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


Tiffany M. Campbell, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tiffany B.

Michael S. Jennings, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Michael S. B., Jr. and Rebecca L. B.

Misty L. Harris, Chattanooga, Tennessee, guardian ad litem for the minor, Taliah L. B.


This is a termination of parental rights case in which Custodial Parents sought termination of Mother’s parental rights to the Child. The trial court granted the termination petition, finding that Mother willfully failed to support and visit the Child and that termination was in the best interest of the Child. Mother appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Mark N. Foster, Rockwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jennifer Waldo.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, and Warren Jasper, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee ex rel. Kathlene Waldo.


This is an appeal by a mother from the juvenile court’s judgment finding her in civil contempt for failure to pay child support and incarcerating her until she paid $400 toward the arrearage to purge the contempt. Finding the evidence inadequate to support a finding that the mother had the ability to pay child support when it was due or that she had the ability to pay $400 at the time of the hearing in order to purge the sentence, we reverse.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mark Christopher Scruggs, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Olivia Kathleen Epps.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark Bryan Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Nathan S. Nichols, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Olivia Kathleen Epps, pleaded guilty to first offense driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. § 55-1-401 (2010). She was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to eleven months and twenty-nine days, all suspended but fortyeight hours. The Defendant’s plea agreement reserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of the traffic stop that led to her arrest. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Cleo Henderson, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Cleo Henderson, appeals the Circuit Court of Lauderdale 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.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Michael Thacker, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The Petitioner, Michael Thacker, appeals the Circuit Court of Hardeman 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.

Senate OK’s Workers’ Comp Bill

Legislation to change the way workers’ compensation claims are considered in Tennessee on Monday overwhelmingly passed the Senate 28-2, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The companion bill was set for consideration by the House Finance Committee today. Opponents to the bill say it would reduce benefits and remove impartiality from the judgment process.

Moses Elected YLD VP, 1 Contested Race Set for June

Cookeville lawyer Rachel M. Moses has been elected vice president of the TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) and will serve as its president in 2015-2016. She will take office in June. Moses, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, has served for many years as YLD District 6 Representative. She also is a member of the TBA Public Education Committee and chair of its YouTube Video Contest Subcommittee. She previously was president of the Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association, a group she was instrumental in forming. Moses was deemed elected after the filing deadline passed and she was unopposed for the post. The YLD will decide one contested election – that of District 9 Representative – at its Annual Meeting June 14 in Nashville. Candidates for that position are Jonathan S. Carlton with Harrington Law Office and Charles L. “Chip” Howorth with Smith Cashion & Orr. Both are in Nashville. See a report of all election results.

Media Requests DCS Death Records Released at No Cost

The Tennessean and other media groups asked Chancellor Carol McCoy to require the Department of Children’s Services to release at no cost information about the deaths of children who had come in contact with the state agencies. After the successful lawsuit to require the state to release the documents, officials said it would cost more than $34,000, which the groups are calling “grossly excessive” and impeding upon the fundamental right of access to government records. Knoxnews has the story.

Cooper Says His Support of Gay Marriage Hasn’t Changed

Rep. Jim Cooper said yesterday that he has long favored recognition of gay marriage although he recognizes some churches might not want to do the same.  A report in The Hill, a Washington publication that focuses on Congress, implied that Cooper changed his position. In response, he said in a statement that his view does not represent a change in position and that he has said for years that “people who are willing to enter into a committed, life-long relationship should be able to do so.” The Tennessean has the story. 

Juvenile Offender Program May Lose Funding, Close

The REAL program (Reaching Excellence As Leaders), which helps keep juvenile offenders from returning to the system, is in danger of closing when a grant from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth expires June 30. Over the past three years, the program has helped more than 300 young people, with 85 percent not reoffending after graduation. The Justice Policy Institute listed Tennessee as one of the top five states in the nation for reducing juvenile confinement. WKRN has the story.

Appeals Court Decision May Slow Health Care Fraud Prosecution

A federal appeals court has thrown out nearly $94 million worth of Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases won by U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin’s office in Nashville, possibly restricting how federal prosecutors can pursue health-care fraud cases in the future, the Tennessean reports. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision on Monday reversed an $11.1 million judgment against a Georgia medical company with three local clinics accused by federal prosecutors of Medicare fraud. The reversal comes just months after an $82.6 million judgment against three other local companies was also dismissed.

Horse Trainer Indicted for Soring

A Fayette County grand jury has indicted Tennessee Walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell and two co-defendants on 38 counts of animal cruelty for illegally soring and torturing horses, the Chattanoogan reports. The indictments followed an undercover investigation by the Human Society of the United States in 2011. McConnell is already serving three years of probation and has been fined $75,000 for federal felony convictions.

Georgia May Sue for Access to Tennessee River

Georgia legislators passed a resolution authorizing the state’s attorney general to sue Tennessee if it does not voluntarily give up a 1.5-square-mile parcel of land along the Nickajack Reservoir in order to access water from the Tennessee River. The debate over the land has been an issue since 1818 when surveyors incorrectly mapped out the border between the states and placed it too far south, according to Georgia lawmakers. The Tennessean has the story.

Who Has the Unhappiest Job? Take a Guess

Associate attorneys rank at the top of the list ... the list of "unhappiest jobs" in America, that is. The ABA Journal reports that CareerBliss complied the list on reviews completed by more than 65,000 employees last year, rating key factors that affect happiness on the job, including work-life balance, relationships with bosses and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and control over daily work. Improving health and happiness will be part of a program at this year’s Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention in Nashville. The session “Keep on the Sunny Side: Better Next Year” offers a range of opportunities to explore a healthier life, build better relationships, manage stress, and use relaxation techniques to find the balance needed at home and at the office. The program will be a part of the CLE lineup during the June 12-15 event.

7 Lawyers Suspended for Fee and IOLTA Violations

The Tennessee Supreme Court on April 1 issued two orders suspending Tennessee-licensed attorneys who did not pay their registration fee to the Board of Professional Responsibility, and those who did not pay the fee and also did not file a mandatory compliance statement that eligible client funds are held in accounts participating in the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. Lawyers who since have complied with the requirements are noted as reinstated. See the updated lists and download the orders.

Veto Threat Halts Senate Election Bill

Gov. Bill Haslam said he would likely veto a Republican bill to remove voting power for Tennessee’s two U.S. senators from the voters in open statewide primaries to the state legislators, the Commercial Appeal reports. A few hours after Haslam’s announcement, the House version of the bill was deferred to 2014. The Senate version was delayed by sponsor Sen. Frank Nicely, R-Strawberry Plans, to the last day of the 2013 legislative season.

TBA Membership Renewal Underway

The Tennessee Bar Association membership renewal program for 2013-2014 began on Monday with an email to all members. If you did not receive an email to take part in the online Express Renewal program, you can still visit the TBA website to participate. Members who prefer to receive a printed membership form will receive one at the end of the Express Renewal campaign. The TBA Complete Membership includes three pre-paid CLE credits, free Premium-Level online legal research through Fastcase, and timely information through TBAToday and the Tennessee Bar Journal.


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.

© Copyright 2013 Tennessee Bar Association