TBA Announces Law Day Contest Winners

The TBA Young Lawyers Division today announced this year's Law Day Art & Essay Competition winners. Winchester eighth grader Jonathan M. Brewer from South Middle School took first place in the art contest, while Knoxville 10th grader Caroline Julie Rogers of Bearden High School won first place in the essay contest. This year’s theme "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All,” asked students to explore civil and human rights movements in America and the impact they have had in promoting the ideal of equality under the law.

Other winners were Jackson Ahern, a fourth grade student at Cedar Bluff Elementary School in Knoxville, who took second place in the art competition; Zee Marie Schumacher, a fourth grader at Immaculate Conception School in Clarksville, who placed third in the art contest; Savannah Oliver, a junior at Forrest High School in Chapel Hill, who won second place in the essay contest; and Delaine Lorio, a ninth grader at Tennessee High School in Bristol, who took third in the essay contest. Winners will receive cash awards and have their work displayed at the TBA Convention in Nashville, June 12-15. This year's competition was coordinated by Chattanooga lawyer Ellie Hill with Patrick, Beard, Schulman & Jacoway.

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
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

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


James H. Bradberry, Dresden, Tennessee, for the appellants, William Salyers and Pam Salyers

Phillip G. Hollis, Camden, Tennessee, for the appellees, John R. Conder and Paula S. Conder


This appeal arises from a boundary line dispute. Appellees and Appellants both provided expert testimony and surveys from their respective surveyors. The trial court concluded that Appellees’ surveyor’s line was correct, and was not in conflict with the historic deeds. Accordingly, the court set the common boundary line between the parties’s properties in compliance with Appellees’ survey. In addition to the competing surveys, the court based its decision, in part, upon Tennessee Code Annotated Section 28-2-109, which creates a presumption of ownership in a party who has paid taxes on property for more than twenty years. Based upon tax records, the court determined that Appellees had paid the property taxes on the disputed property for the relevant statutory period. Appellants appeal. We conclude that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s determinations. Affirmed and remanded.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Henry Joshua Nagorny, pro se appellant.

Grainger County Sheriff Scott Layel, appellee.


This appeal arises from a dispute over the calculation of jail credits. Henry J. Nagorny (“Nagorny”), an incarcerated individual, filed a petition for writ of mandamus in the Circuit Court for Grainger County (“the Trial Court”) seeking to compel Sheriff Scott Layel to award him jail behavior credits that allegedly were due him. The Trial Court dismissed Nagorny’s petition, stating that the calculation of credits is an administrative matter. Nagorny filed an appeal to this Court. We hold that the record in this appeal is insufficient for proper appellate review. Namely, the Trial Court’s final order in the record before us apparently is incomplete and missing certain material. We remand to the Trial Court so that it may correct the defect in the record in keeping with our Opinion.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Harold R. Gunn, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonious Jamal Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Garry Brown, District Attorney General; Jerald Campbell and Jason Scott, Assistant District Attorneys General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Antonious Jamal Brown, challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his jury conviction for first degree murder. Specifically, he contends that there was insufficient evidence presented to prove that he shot the victim and that he did so with premeditation. After reviewing the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mark Stephens, District Public Defender, and Robert C. Edwards, Assistant District Public Defender, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Somer M. Bullard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General, and Ta Kisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Somer M. Bullard, was convicted of six counts of aggravated robbery representing two alternate theories of three separate offenses. The trial court merged the two convictions for each offense and sentenced appellant to concurrent sentences of eleven years for each of the three convictions, to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Appellant raises the following issues in this direct appeal: (1) whether the trial court violated her right to a speedy trial; and (2) whether the trial court erred in sentencing her to an eleven-year effective sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James M. Judkins, Smithville, Tennessee, for the appellant Francisco I. Bustamonte.

David N. Brady and Allison Rasbury West, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Scott Carroll, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Randy York, District Attorney General; and Greg Strong and Gary McKenzie, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


This case is the consolidated appeal of two defendants, Franscisco I. Bustamonte and Scott Carroll, Jr., who were convicted for the initiation of a process intended to result in methamphetamine, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant Carroll as a Career Offender to thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The trial court sentenced Defendant Bustamonte as a Range I, standard offender to eleven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant Carroll contends that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress evidence found during the search of the residence. Additionally, both Defendants assert that: (1) the trial court erred when it allowed the State to amend the indictment to change the date of the offense; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain the conviction; (3) the trial court erred when it failed to instruct the jury on the charges of manufacture of methamphetamine, promotion of methamphetamine, and unlawful drug paraphernalia; (4) the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence the State’s inventory list of the ingredients found during a search of the residence and photographs taken during the search; and (5) the trial court erred when it sentenced them. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude there exists no error in the judgments of the trial court. We, therefore, affirm the trial court’s judgments.

CORRECTION: The case style was incorrect on the version filed April 29, 2013.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Edward Shawndale Robinson, Pro Se, Pikeville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General, and Sean B. Duddy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Following a traffic stop on Interstate 40, Appellant, Edward Shawndale Robinson, was indicted by the Hickman County Grand Jury in August of 2009 for possession of more than ten pounds of marijuana with the intent to deliver and following traffic too closely. Appellant sought unsuccessfully to have evidence seized from him suppressed prior to trial. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of possession of more than ten pounds of marijuana and sentenced to six years as a Range II, multiple offender. Appellant presents the following issues for our review on appeal: (1) whether Appellant received a fair and impartial jury; (2) whether the stop and subsequent search of Appellant’s vehicle was valid; and (3) whether Appellant received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. After a review of the law and applicable authorities, we conclude Appellant’s failure to include transcripts of the hearing on the motion for new trial and hearing on the motion to suppress results in a waiver of the issues raised on appeal. Further, Appellant has failed to show plain error that would result in our review of the issues despite the waiver. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Tennessee Delegation Heads to Equal Justice Conference

Members of Tennessee’s Access to Justice community will gather in St. Louis this week for the 2013 Equal Justice Conference, sponsored by the American Bar Association and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. The annual event draws lawyers, law students, members of the judiciary and other supporters of access to justice work from across the country. The conference will include sessions on innovations in technology, collaborations, research and resource management, and tangible ways to increase the capacity of pro bono programs and those supporting pro se litigants.

Legal Sector Jobs Reach 4-Year High

Jobs in the legal sector are at their highest level in four years according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Details released Friday show gains in the last two months as the legal sector added 2,100 jobs in April and 3,500 jobs in March (up from a predicted increase of 2,000 jobs). The total number of legal jobs now stands at 1.13 million, up by 10,000 from April 2012. At its pre-recession high in May 2007, the legal sector had 1.18 million jobs. AM Law Daily summarizes the findings.

Tennessee to Create 9 ‘Recovery Courts'

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will create nine recovery courts to combat mental health and substance abuse issues across the state by combining services currently found in drug courts, mental health courts and veterans’ courts. A department spokesperson said the decision to combine resources was based on the fact that so many people dealing with substance abuse also have a mental health issue. Locations have not yet been determined for the courts, but the department says it has been working with community leaders, law enforcement and the treatment community to identify the best places for the new resources. The Chattanoogan has more.

DCS Appeals Cap on Document Production Charges

Lawyers for the Department of Children’s Services say they will appeal a judge’s ruling limiting how much the agency can charge for records of children who died or nearly died in its care. Instead of the 50-cent per page cost ordered by Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy, lawyers for the state argue the department will spend thousands of dollars to hire, train and supervise contract paralegals to review the records before making them public. By its internal calculations, DCS predicts it will cost $5 a page or an average of $212 for each case to produce the records.

New Meningitis Suit Filed in Nashville Court

An 86-year-old Nashville woman has become the fourth victim of the fungal meningitis outbreak to file suit against Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center, The Tennessean reports. In a complaint filed late last week, attorneys for Virginia Neely allege that she was sickened after getting two injections of a tainted spinal steroid. She is seeking $3 million in compensatory damages. Neely previously sued the New England Compounding Center, the company blamed for shipping the tainted medicine. That suit, however, has been put on hold because the company has filed for bankruptcy. Neely’s suit is expected to be sent to Judge Joe P. Binkley Jr., who already is handling the three previously filed cases.

Cooper Continues Support for Nashville Courthouse

The Tennessean today followed up on the discussion of whether a new federal courthouse is needed in Nashville, quoting U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, who said a report critical of the project overlooks some of the ways in which the current court building is outdated. Cooper, a Democrat who has made fiscal conservatism his calling card in Congress but has long pushed for a new federal courthouse in Nashville, told the newspaper that, “We played by the rules. We haven’t elbowed our way in the federal line. We shouldn’t be punished for that.”

Justice Lee to Receive Leadership Award

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee will receive the Lizzie Crozier French Women's Leadership Award on June 14 at the East Tennessee Women's Leadership Summit in Knoxville. Lee is being recognized for supporting and empowering women advancing in society, the Knoxville Daily Sun reports. The award is named for French, who fought for women’s suffrage and was the first woman to address the Tennessee General Assembly and run for the Knoxville City Council. Lee is a past president of the East Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women, board member of the Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women and the first woman to serve on the Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Registration information for the event is available online.

Sen. Kelsey Tops Firearms Group's Target List

John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, is urging members to “refocus efforts to remove” lawmakers who oppose gun rights, and state Sen. Brian Kelsey, R- Germantown, is at the top of that list, The Tennessean reports. Others targeted for removal by the group are senators Lowe Finney, D-Jackson, Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, and John Stevens, R-Huntingdon; and state representatives Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, and House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville.

Senate Passes Internet Tax Bill

The U.S. Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act yesterday by an easy 69-27 vote. But the bill faces an uphill battle in the House, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The measure would allow for the collection of state sales tax on most Internet purchases. Under current law, retailers have to collect taxes only in states where they have a physical presence. The bill also attempts to address concerns that the new requirement will burden small businesses by exempting retailers that sell less than $1 million worth of goods. Some online retailers say that exemption is too small. In a statement issued after the Senate vote, for example, eBay pledged to push the House to raise this exemption to $10 million in sales or 50 employees.

Services Friday for Memphis Lawyer, Advocate for Domestic Violence Victims

Sonja White, managing attorney of Memphis Area Legal Services’ (MALS) Family Law/Domestic Violence Unit, died this past Saturday (May 4). She was 49. Visitation will be Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday. Both will be held at the East Side Baptist Church, 3232 Covington Pk., Memphis 38128 according to the Memphis Bar Association. White graduated from Hofstra University School of Law and was president of the Memphis Area Women’s Council and a member of the Memphis Bar Association. She previously chaired the Memphis & Shelby County Domestic Violence Council, and served on Shelby County Unified Family Court Task Force in 2007. She joined MALS in 2001. Last year, White sat down with the Memphis Commercial Appeal and talked about her work.

YLD Service Projects in the News

TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) district representatives are holding their annual service projects across the state and getting media coverage for their efforts. In Knoxville, young lawyers will provide free wills for first responders at a Wills for Heroes clinic on May 18. Knoxnews reports on the event and how to get involved. In upper East Tennessee, young lawyers are sponsoring a Bears from the Bench project to collect new stuffed animals for local juvenile court judges to give to abused and neglected children who appear in their courtrooms. Donations may be made throughout the month of May. Learn more about the effort and see a list of law firms participating on Tricities.com.


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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