Convention Program Will Help You Thrive as a Lawyer

Have you met the better you? Want to meet the better you? The you that is energetic, engaged, creative, funny and smarter ... the sunny side of you? This summer’s TBA Annual Convention provides an introduction to that better you. You will experience a series of short rotating presentations, exhibits and demonstrations, all designed to help you become “Better Next Year.” It all takes place during the 2013 TBA Annual Convention in Nashville, June 12-15.

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - 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 Supreme Court

MARTA VANDALL v. AURORA HEALTHCARE, LLC d/b/a ALLENBROOKE NURSING & REHAB
With dissenting opinion.

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys:

Alex C. Elder, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Aurora Healthcare, LLC d/b/a Allenbrooke Nursing & Rehab.

Christopher L. Taylor, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Marta Vandall.

Judge: HOLDER

An employee fell while working for her employer and sustained a shoulder fracture. The employer contends that the injury did not arise out of her employment and was an idiopathic fall. The trial court held that the employee sustained the burden of proving that her injury arose out of her employment. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.


TN Court of Appeals

JEFFREY PAUL BENGS v. AMY DAWN BENGS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Daryl Miller South and John Carson Taylor, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jeffrey Paul Bengs.

Robert Scott Stevens, Smyrna, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Amy Dawn Bengs.

Judge: DINKINS

Husband and wife entered into a post-nuptial agreement detailing the division of their marital estate. Upon Husband’s subsequent filing of a complaint for divorce, wife moved for a declaratory judgment that the post-nuptial agreement was valid and enforceable. Husband appeals the trial court’s holding that the agreement is enforceable and implementing its provisions. We affirm, holding the post-nuptial agreement is sufficiently definite to be enforced and that the agreement is fair and equitable.


O'RANE M. CORNISH, SR. V. BENNIE G. NUNN, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

O'Rane M. Cornish, Sr., Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Michael William Miller, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Bennie G. Nunn and Sabra L. Nunn.

Judge: PER CURIAM

Appellant’s failure to timely file a notice of appeal deprives this Court of jurisdiction to hear the matter and therefore, this appeal must be dismissed.


IN RE: DAKOTA D., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kevin D. Angel, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charlie D.

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

Timothy G. Elrod, Knoxville, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem.

Judge: PER CURIAM

The order from which the appellant, Charlie D., seeks to appeal was entered on November 30, 2012. The Notice of Appeal was filed on January 4, 2013, more than thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the November 30, 2012 order. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.


RENITA DULANEY v. KARLA DAVIS, COMMISSIONER OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT and FEDERAL EXPRESS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Warren Jasper, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Karla Davis, Commissioner, Department of Labor and Workforce Development

No appearance on behalf of the appellee, Renita Dulaney

Judge: HIGHERS

This case involves a claimant’s right to unemployment compensation benefits. After initially being awarded such benefits, claimant was denied benefits based upon a finding that she had refused to return to her former position after being medically released to do so. The chancery court, however, reinstated her benefits concluding that her due process rights had been violated when a telephone hearing–as opposed to a face-to-face hearing–was conducted. We reverse the chancery court’s conclusion that the telephonic hearing violated claimant’s due process rights and we dismiss the case.


MICHAEL MILJENOVIC v. SHERRI E. MILJENOVIC

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Sherri E. Miljenovic, Knoxville, Tennessee, pro se.

Lisa A. White, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael Miljenovic.

Judge: PER CURIAM

This appeal sought under Tenn. R. App. P. 3 is from an Order to Register Foreign Decree entered by the trial court on December 14, 2012, which order gave “full faith and credit for enforcement and modification purposes” to the parties’ New Jersey divorce judgment and subsequent consent orders entered by the New Jersey court on the issue of child custody. Subsequent to the entry of the December 14, 2012 order, the appellee (“Father”) filed a petition to modify the child custody provisions of the New Jersey judgment and consent orders. The trial court entered an emergency order on January 9, 2013, temporarily modifying the child custody provisions of the New Jersey judgment and orders to change custody of the parties’ minor children from the appellant (“Mother”) to Father. Pursuant to Rule 10 of Tenn. R. App. P., Mother then sought and was granted an extraordinary appeal from the January 9, 2013 order. See order in Michael Miljenovic v. Sherri E. Miljenovic, No. E2013-00238-COA-R10-CV, (Tenn. Ct. App., Knoxville, Feb. 5, 2013). That case is now pending in this Court. She also sought this Tenn. R. App. P. 3 appeal as to the trial court’s order of December 14, 2012. Since the trial court’s order of December 14, 2012, is not a final order, we have no jurisdiction to consider her Tenn. R. App. P. 3 appeal.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KALVIN HARDAWAY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Barry W. Kuhn (on appeal) and Michael Johnson (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kalvin Hardaway.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pam Fleming, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Kalvin Hardaway, of reckless aggravated assault and initiating a false report, Class D felonies. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced him as a Range III, career offender to twelve years for each conviction to be served concurrently. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions and that the trial court erred by refusing to allow him to question the victim about the victim’s drug use. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY W. HUTCHINSON
CORRECTION: First full paragraph, 4th line "has a previous history" to "had a previous history"

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at trial); and J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Anthony W. Hutchinson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Clinton E. Frazier, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Anthony W. Hutchinson, was convicted of one count of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more, a Class D felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-14-103, 105. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction and (2) the trial court erred by denying alternative sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHAD ALLEN LOVE
CORRECTION: Page 3, last paragraph, line 4 "a couple of moths" to "a couple of months"

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Rolfe A. Straussfogel, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chad Allen Love.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and George C. Ioannides, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Chad Allen Love, was convicted of one count of aggravated robbery. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-402. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence was insufficient to establish the Defendant’s identity as the perpetrator of the crime. Accordingly, we reverse and dismiss the judgment of the trial court.


Today's News

8th District Chancery Court Judge Sworn In

Andrew Tillman became Tennessee’s newest judge after he was sworn in last week to fill the Chancery Court opening in the 8th Judicial District, which serves Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union Counties. The opening was created by the death of Chancellor Billy Joe White. Tillman, who graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1989, worked as a senior law clerk to Judge Charles D. Susano Jr. since 2009. Tillman also worked in private practice, clerked for U.S. Circuit Judge H. Ted Milburn, and taught at the UT College of Law as an adjunct professor. The Claibrorne Progress has the story.


Viewpoint: 1978 Vote Not Really About Merit Selection

In an opinion piece for the Tennessean, political journalist Jeff Wilson explains how a 1978 vote often cited as rejecting the Tennessee Plan was not really about the state's current method for picking appellate judges. According to Wilson, the 1978 constitutional amendment would have dramatically reshaped every aspect of the state judiciary, with merit selection as a side issue. The Modified Missouri Plan used during the late1970s was the model for merit selection in the constitutional amendment. The current Tennessee Plan wasn’t created until the 1990’s and improved the merit portion of merit selection, Wilson writes.


Humane Society Pressures for Veto of Animal Abuse Bill

The Humane Society of the United States is pressuring Gov. Bill Haslam to veto legislation that would require people catching animal abuse on camera to hand over those images to law enforcement within 48 hours, the Nashville City paper reports. The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters are also opposed to the bill, arguing that it has implications for journalists and penalizes whistleblowers.


Elvis Impersonator Dismissed from Ricin Case

Charges were dropped Tuesday against Elvis impersonator Paul Kevin Curtis over suspected ricin-laced letters reportedly sent to President Barack Obama, a U.S senator from Mississippi and a state-court judge, the ABA Journal reports. Cutis’ lawyer Christi McCoy said he may have been framed. "The searches are concluded, not one single shred of evidence was found to indicate Kevin could have done this," she told reporters. In an interview with CNN, Curtis expressed his happiness over being vindicated and topped off the interview by  serenading his attorney with a Randy Travis song


Councilwoman Names Attorney to Mayoral Campaign Team

At-large Metro Nashville Councilwoman Megan Barry began preparing for her 2015 mayoral run by appointing attorney Leigh Walton as treasurer. Walton, a member of Bass, Berry & Sims, served as Mayor Karl Dean’s treasurer during both of his campaigns. Although she has not formally announced her candidacy, Barry confirmed she has also hired one campaign staff member, calling it the “necessary legal steps to start raising money and building an organization … This is a complex and expensive undertaking,” she said. “There’s a lot involved in ramping up a mayoral campaign and the time is right for me to get started.” The Tennessean has the story.


Social Media Use At an All Time High for Counsel

According to a study released by Greentarget, Zeughauser Group, social media use by in-house counsel is at an all time high, the National Law Journal reports. The study confirmed findings suggested by surveys conducted since 2010. LinkedIn remains the top social media site used, with more than 67 percent of in-house counsel reporting having used it either during the past 24 hours or past week. Wikipedia also ranked highly, with 69 percent using it during the past day or week for personal reasons and 49 percent for professional reasons.


Armstrong Sued by DOJ

The Justice Department formally filed suit against cyclist Lance Armstrong and his company, Tailwind Sports, for approximately $40 million that the U.S. Postal Service spent to sponsor the cycling team from 1998 to 2004. In the wake of Armstrong’s doping confession, the government charges that the use of prohibited drugs constitutes a break of contract with the Postal Service. CNN Justice reports that the government could recover triple the amount of the sponsorship under the False Claims Act, which could bring a total of more than $100 million in damages.


Maximize Expert Testimony with Forum 2013

The Guide to Expert Witness Forum 2013 will provide practical, applicable insight from both attorneys and experts regarding how to maximize the effectiveness of expert testimony in your cases. Procedural issues including Rule 26 disclosures, relevant Rules of Evidence, discovery, scope of testimony, and raising and defending challenges to qualifications will be addressed in this Nashville CLE program, along with the practical questions of how to identify and ultimately choose potential experts. The May 1 program will also feature experts of various fields with an opportunity for participants to ask questions during expert panel sessions.


 
 

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.


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