TBA Files Amicus in Tennessee Plan Lawsuit

The TBA today filed a motion and provisional brief to proceed as amicus curie in the case of Hooker v. Haslam -- the latest case to test the constitutionality of the Tennessee Plan for merit selection, performance evaluation and retention elections. The brief was prepared by Pat Moskal and Edmund Sauer of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP serving as special counsel.

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
05 - 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


Brad W. Hornsby and Heather G. Parker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellants, Dana and Andrew Mitchell.

Stephen W. Pate, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kathryn S.


A couple who had cared for a minor child filed a petition alleging that the child was dependent and neglected. The juvenile court awarded the couple temporary custody, and after finding that the child was dependent and neglected, directed custody to remain with the couple. Mother appealed. Grandparents filed an intervening petition. After a trial de novo, the circuit court found that the child was not dependent and neglected, dismissed both petitions, and directed the juvenile court to implement Mother and child’s reunification. The couple appealed. Discerning no error and finding no clear and convincing evidence of dependence and neglect, we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John W. Rodgers and James Patrik Barger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jamie Dickerson and Jeremiah Dickerson.

Roger W. Hudson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Rutherford County, Tennessee.


Plaintiffs appeal the trial court’s award of summary judgment to Rutherford County on the basis of foreseeability and comparative fault in this negligence action under the Governmental Tort Liability Act. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Harry F. Burnette, Steven F. Dobson, and William H. Payne, IV, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul J. Frankenberg, III.

David L. Moss, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, River City Resort, Inc. and B. Allen Casey.


The former president and chief operating officer of a corporation brought this action against the corporation and its CEO, alleging that Tennessee Code Annotated § 66-13-101, which grants “employees and laborers of any corporation . . . a lien upon the corporate and firm property . . . for any sums due them for labor and service performed for the corporation,” provided him a lien in the amount of his alleged unpaid bonus and severance payments. The trial court dismissed the statutory lien claim, holding that the claimant was not included in the statutory definition of “employee.” The claimant has appealed. We hold that the Supreme Court’s ruling in State ex rel. McConnell v. People’s Bank & Trust Co., 296 S.W. 12 (Tenn. 1927) that a corporation’s “managing officers” are not “employees” as defined by Tennessee Code Annotated § 66-13-101 controls. We therefore affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Mark N. Foster, Rockwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Holly Geneace Garrett.

Brett A. York, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mark Anthony Garrett.

G. Earl Patton, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellee, the Cumberland County Board of Education.


This post-divorce appeal concerns the agreed-upon parenting plan designating Mother as the primary residential parent. When Mother registered the Children in a new school district, Father objected. The trial court entered an order requiring the Children to remain in their current school district, despite the Cumberland County Board of Education’s policy providing otherwise. The Cumberland County Board of Education filed a motion to intervene, which was granted. Following a limited hearing, the court designated Father as the primary residential parent, allowing the Children to remain in their current school district per the applicable policy. Mother appeals. We reverse the decision of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Greg W., Manchester, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Eric J. Burch, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jessica J.


This is the second appeal of this case, involving the issue of child support and arrears. In In re Jaiden C.W., No. M2010-01105-COA-R3-JV, 2011 WL 2306057 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 7, 2011), this Court vacated the trial court’s determination of Appellant Father’s child support obligation because the trial court did not base its determination on Father’s actual income. Upon remand, the trial court interpreted the law of the case to limit its review only to Father’s income, and to negate any consideration of other variables affecting child support. Because the trial court misinterpreted the law of the case to limit its review of the parties’ actual circumstances, we vacate the order on child support and remand for reconsideration. Vacated and remanded.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Lue Holcomb, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and David H. Findley, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Lue Holcomb, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, arguing that his discovery of a written statement containing the victim’s recantation of her allegations against him constitutes newly discovered evidence of his innocence of aggravated assault. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

CORRECTION: On the first page the appellant's attorney's name was misspelled.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Everette E. Parrish, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Edward Wilbourn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General, and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Charles Edward Wilbourn, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for one count of possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine for sale in a drug-free zone. On February 19, 2010, Appellant pled guilty in a negotiated plea to the charge and an eight-year sentence to be served at 100 percent. Appellant subsequently filed a timely petition for postconviction relief. After appointment of counsel, an amended petition was filed. One of the issues raised was that trial counsel afforded Petitioner ineffective assistance of counsel because she did not adequately investigate whether the incident actually occurred in a drugfree non-school zone. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. On appeal, Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred with respect to the above issue. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the post-conviction court did not err in denying the petition. Therefore, we affirm the denial of the petition for post-conviction relief.

Governor Sent 3 Nominees for Chancery Court

The Judicial Nominating Commission today recommended three nominees to Gov. Bill Haslam to fill a vacancy on the Third Judicial District Chancery Court. Those under consideration are Beth Boniface, an attorney in Morristown; Douglas T. Jenkins, a solo practioner in Rogersville; and William Erwin Phillips, a partner with Phillips and Hale in Rogersville. The district serves Greene, Hamblen, Hancock and Hawkins counties. Read more about each of the nominees on the AOC website.

Bar Exam Results Now Available

Results from the February Tennessee bar examination are now available. View the list of successful candidates

Frost Brown Todd to Expand Nashville Office

Louisville-based Frost Brown Todd has plans to expand its Nashville office to 50 lawyers over the next two years, with ambitions to reach 75 attorneys in the next five years, the Nashville Business Journal reports. The move would make the law firm the fifth largest in Middle Tennessee. The paper reports that the firm plans to expand its services to the region’s auto and health care industries.

Paper Speculates on U.S. Attorney Nominee

When Jerry Martin announced on April 3 that he was leaving his position as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, speculation began in earnest over who would replace him. The Nashville City Paper reports that the Obama Administration has indicated it would like to move quickly on a replacement, and speculates what the president might be looking for in his new appointee.

Juvenile Judge Guffee Reflects on First Months in Office

Sharon Guffee, who took office in December as Williamson County’s first juvenile court judge, not only is settling in to her new role, but also is making plans for the future, Franklin Home Page reports. One item on the wish list is a larger facility for the court, which shares a building with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, county jail, juvenile detention center and Alternative Learning Center, which is overflowing with more than 70 students. Guffee says the court outgrew the current space long ago. In an interview with the news website, Guffey also talks about her experience as a private attorney and as the county’s juvenile magistrate.

Justice Lee, Governor Meet with Medal of Honor Winner

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee met with Gov. Bill Haslam and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Col. Leo Thorsness at the state capitol this week. The event highlighted work of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, which will be implementing curriculum in schools across the country to educate students about the Medal of Honor. The foundation also will hold its 2014 convention in Knoxville. Read more and see a photo on the AOC website.

Reception Planned for Judge Gomes

The Memphis Bar Association’s Probate & Estate Planning Section will hold a reception April 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. in honor of new Shelby County Probate Court Judge Kathy Gomes. The event will take place at the office of Burch Porter & Johnson, located at 130 N. Court Ave., Memphis 38103. Please RSVP to Mary Lynes at mlynes@memphisbar.org or (901) 271-0660.

Gideon’s Promise Holds Nashville Event May 1

Atlanta-based Gideon’s Promise will host a “Law Day Soiree” May 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Nashville offices of Frost Brown Todd. During the event, the group's president will discuss the state of the nation’s public defense system and share about the mission of the organization. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean also will be honored and select outtakes from an upcoming HBO documentary, Gideon’s Army, will be shown. The event is sponsored by Nashville Public Defender Dawn Deaner; Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Bell Tennent & Frogge; Bone McAllester Norton; Dodson, Parker, Behm & Capparella; and Frost Brown Todd, located in the Pinnacle at Symphony Place, 150 3rd Ave. S., Suite 1900, Nashville 37201. RSVP for the event by April 24 to Roshonda Carter. Learn more about Gideon’s Promise, formerly known as the Southern Public Defender Training Center, by watching this recent New York Times video about a young prosecutor who graduated from its program.

Services Saturday for Lawyer, Artist

Nashvillian Patricia Jean Jordan died Wednesday at the age of 60. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jordan grew up in Billings, Mont., and earned her law degree from the University of Denver College of Law. She returned to Montana to work in the attorney general’s office in Helena. In 1999, Jordan moved to Nashville, where she also earned a bachelor of fine arts from the Watkins College of Art, Design & Film. Services are Saturday at St. David's Episcopal Church in Nashville. Visitation is at 10 a.m. with a service following at 11 a.m. Memorials may be made to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, Woodmont Blvd. Nashville, TN 37215; Friends of Warner Parks, 50 Vaughn Rd., Nashville, TN 37221; or the National Quilt Museum, 215 Jefferson St., Paducah, KY 42001.


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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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