Amendment to Cut Legal Funds Still on Agenda

The budget amendment (#271) that strips all of the state funding -- $3.3 million -- from legal aid, transfers responsibility for administration of all appointed counsel and guardians ad litem to the state public defenders conference, and eliminates funds included in the Governor’s budget amendment to make up for chronic underfunding of the Davidson and Shelby county public defenders’ offices remains on the committee's active agenda. 

At the Senate Budget subcommittee meeting last night, amendment sponsor Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, indicated that he wants to continue discussion of the matter, but emphasized concern about the money for Nashville and Memphis. The subcommittee is expected to again take up consideration of amendments at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

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
00 - 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


Edward L. Boring, Pikeville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Clifford R. Barbee and Anna Melissa Barbee.

M. Keith Davis, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellees, Donald Hughes and Donna Hughes.


Donald Hughes and Donna Hughes (“Plaintiffs”) sued Clifford R. Barbee and Anna Melissa Barbee (“Defendants”) seeking, among other things, an order restraining Defendants from obstructing an alleged public roadway. After a trial the Trial Court entered its order on May 29, 2012 finding and holding, inter alia, that the road at issue “was a public road which had been in existence (and used by the public) for a number of years,” that Defendants had failed to prove that the road had been abandoned, and that the road was to “be opened for use by the public.” Defendants appeal to this Court. We find that the evidence does not preponderate against the Trial Court’s findings, and we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Orlando Stuart, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

A. J. Abdul Jaami, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Islamic Community of TDOC, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Arthur Crownover, II, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Derrick D. Schofield


Two inmates in the custody of the Department of Correction have filed a notice of appeal from an order entered on January 4, 2013, denying their post-judgment motions. Because the inmates did not file their notice of appeal with the trial court clerk within the time permitted by Tenn. R. App. P. 4, we dismiss the appeal.

STACEY MITCHELL and BRYAN MITCHELL, For themselves, and as next friend to Lauren Mitchell, a minor v. THE JACKSON CLINIC, P.A., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


William E. Bruce, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Stacey Mitchell and Bryan S. Mitchell, for themselves, and next friend to Lauren Mitchell, a minor.

James E. Looper, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, The Jackson Clinic, P.A., William H. Woods, M.D. and James A. Payne, M.D.


This is a medical malpractice case. The trial court granted summary judgment to Appellees, the doctors and clinic, on the basis that the Appellants’ only expert witness was not competent to testify pursuant to the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29–26–115. Appellants appeal, arguing that the trial court erred in excluding their expert. Under the Tennessee Supreme Court’s holding in Shipley v. Williams, 350 S.W.3d 527 (Tenn. 2011), we affirm the trial court’s exclusion of the expert’s testimony and its grant of summary judgment. Affirmed and remanded.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Robin P. Gunn, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wesley K.S.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Derek C. Jumper, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.


This is a termination of parental rights case focusing on Wesley S. (“the Child”), the minor child of Wesley K.S. (“Father”) and Kari F. (“Mother”). The parents were runaway teenagers when the Child was born in August 2007. Father was incarcerated several times during the Child’s first two years. Father’s latest incarceration began on May 14, 2009, and he has been in jail continuously since that date. The Child was taken into custody by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) on December 17, 2010. On May 31, 2012, DCS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Father. The sole ground alleged was abandonment, based on his conduct prior to incarceration exhibiting a wanton disregard for the welfare of the Child. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition upon its finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that Father had abandoned the Child due to his pre-incarceration conduct. The court further found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination was in the Child’s best interest. Father has appealed. We affirm.

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Unions Fight Workers’ Comp Overhaul

Union groups on Monday blasted Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to create a new workers’ compensation office and place it under the troubled the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Tennessean reports. “We are calling on the governor to put the brakes on moving such a vital process for injured Tennessee workers into the most dysfunctional department in the state,” the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council said in a statement. The bill, which has already cleared the Senate and is progressing in the House, would completely overhaul the workers’ comp program by moving claims out of the courts.

3rd Annual TBA Diversity Job Fair Set

The 3rd Annual TBA Diversity Job Fair is set for August 23-24 in Nashville. Building on the success of past events, this year’s job fair will provide legal employers the opportunity to interview diverse 2L and 3L law students from law schools in Tennessee and surrounding states. All legal employers in Tennessee are invited to take part, regardless of size or sector. Participants are asked to consider candidates for summer associate positions, clerkships and associate attorney positions. Learn more or sign up online or contact TBA Programs Director Lynn Pointer for more information. The TBA Diversity Job Fair is an initiative of the TBA Committee on Racial & Ethnic Diversity (CRED). All activities for this event will be held at the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. North, in Nashville.

Taxpayer Relief Act Affects Estate Planning

In his Tennessee Bar Journal column this month, Knoxville lawyer Eddy R. Smith explains how estate planning is affected by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Read his column and review the related chart showing the combined federal estate tax and Tennessee inheritance tax exposure for estates through 2016.

Campfield Defiant over Libel Lawsuit

Controversial Knoxville GOP Senator Stacey Campfield has been defiant in defending comments he posted on his blog that led to a $750,000 libel lawsuit, the Tennessean reports. In a deposition attached to a court filing last week, Campfield argued that he had no reason to believe the information about Democratic candidate Roger Byrge was inaccurate when he published the blog post. Campfield also said it was unlikely he would be able to pay any settlement. “Like I’ve got any money to give it even if you win,” Campfield said in the deposition taken in April 2011.

Equal Pay Day Highlights Women’s Wage Disparity

Pay inequality comes into a sharp focus today, the day now three months and nine days into 2013 when a woman will have earned as much as a man did in 2012. Writing about Equal Pay Day for the National Law Journal, ABA President Laurel Bellows says that women lawyers are not immune. Women equity partners in the nation’s top 200 largest firms earn 89 percent of what is earned by their male peers, and pay inequity is often a contributing factor to the disproportionately high rate of attrition of women from law firms.

Health Department Analyzes Pharmacy Bill Loophole

A bill that would create a loophole so compounding companies from all states could bypass patient-specific prescription requirements during drug shortages is being neither endorsed nor opposed by the Tennessee Health Department, the Tennessean reports. The proposal, which passed the Senate last week, would allow health care providers to obtain compounded drugs without having to identify a patient in cases where a product “is not commercially available.” The state’s chief medical officer Dr. David Reagan said the agency recognizes the difficulty of balancing measures to prevent another fungal meningitis outbreak with efforts to ease drug shortages. “You’ve got competing priorities here,” Reagan said. “You have an unprecedented number of drug shortages in this country and in this state. It is really difficult to understand how pervasive this has become. It is a real need and a real issue that is occurring at the same time as this other real need and issue about the sterility and safety of these compounded products.” The House has yet to schedule a vote. 

Free Legal Advice Clinic Saturday in Memphis

Memphis lawyers will be hosting a free legal advice clinic on Saturday at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue. Organized by Memphis Area Legal Services and the Memphis Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee, the clinic will run from 10 a.m. to noon, with attorneys and staff of Burch Porter & Johnson and the MBA Bankruptcy Section sponsoring the event.

Nashville Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

John E. Clemmons’ law license has been temporarily suspended. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Clemmons misappropriated funds to his own use and that his continued practice of law poses a threat of substantial harm to the public. Effective April 2, Clemmons is precluded from accepting any new cases and he must cease representing existing clients by May 2. Download the BPR notice.

Dyersburg Lawyer Suspended

Attorney Marin L. Howe of Dyersburg was suspended April 5 based upon 11 client complaints alleging he accepted fees and then neglected client’s cases and that he failed to communicate with clients and the Board. Another complaint was filed for his failure to provide the Court with advance notice of his suspension for noncompliance with continuing legal education requirement. Download the BPR notice.


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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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