Federal Courts Request Emergency Funding

The U.S. Judicial Conference has asked the White House for emergency funding, the Blog of the Legal Times reports. Court officials said the judiciary does not have the budget flexibility to absorb the large mandatory budget cuts that have caused furloughs in the nation's federal public defender and court offices. In a letter sent yesterday to the White House Office of Management and Budget, federal court officials said the courts need an emergency appropriation of $73 million — $41 million for federal public defenders and $32 million for court operations. The money would save 550 jobs in public defender and clerk offices, and prevent 24,000 furlough days for 5,000 employees, the letter says.

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
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


Kim Brown, Pro Se.

Mark J. Downton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, AutoZone, Inc. and CRC Industries, Inc.


The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this action asserting claims for fraudulent misrepresentation; civil conspiracy; negligence, breach of contract; and violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Plaintiff appeals; we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


H. Buckley Cole and Bryant C. Witt, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, TN Metro Holdings XII LLC and Selim Zherka.

John F. Teitenberg, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Federal National Mortgage Association.


Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”) initially brought this action for foreclosure and damages against a borrower, TN Metro Holdings XII LLC (“TN Metro XII”) alleging default by failure to make scheduled principal and interest payments, by improperly allowing liens against the mortgaged property in violation of the loan agreements and by misapplication of rents collected from leasing the mortgaged property. FNMA subsequently filed an amended complaint seeking relief in the nature of personal liability against Defendant Selim Zherka under the loan. The trial court granted FNMA summary judgment and held both the borrower and “Key Principal” liable for the deficiency following a foreclosure sale and for damages. We vacate the summary judgment, holding that (1) FNMA failed to provide written notice and a thirty-day period to cure the alleged defaults as required by the parties’ agreement; and (2) there are genuine issues of material fact making summary judgment improper regarding FNMA’s claim for damages resulting from the alleged misapplication of rents.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James William Taylor, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Mary Katharine White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Appellant, James William Taylor, appeals the Williamson County Circuit Court’s denial of his Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 36 motion for correction of clerical errors on the face of his first degree murder judgment. On appeal, the Appellant argues that the trial court erred in denying his Rule 36 motion. Upon review, we reverse the Appellant’s first degree murder judgment in case number 188-108 and remand the case to the Williamson County Circuit Court for entry of a corrected judgment showing that the Appellant was convicted of first degree murder and his conviction offense was a Class X felony pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-2-202 (Supp. 1987), that he was sentenced to a life sentence with release eligibility on that life sentence after service of thirty years pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-501(f) (Supp. 1987), and that the trial court imposed consecutive sentencing for the first degree murder, burglary, and robbery convictions.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James E. Williams, Pro Se, Pikeville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Assistant Attorney General; and C. Michael Lane, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


In 1987, the Petitioner, James E. Williams, was convicted of armed robbery, assault with intent to commit first degree murder, and aggravated kidnapping. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of life plus seventy-five years. This Court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions and sentence on appeal. State v. James E. Williams, No. 88-172-III, 1988 WL 138843, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Dec. 30, 1988), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Apr. 3, 1989). During the next sixteen years, the Petitioner filed two petitions for post-conviction relief and a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, all of which were denied by the post-conviction court. The Petitioner appealed each denial separately, and this Court affirmed the trial court each time. In 2012, the Petitioner filed a second petition for a writ of error coram nobis in which he presented multiple allegations. The coram nobis court summarily dismissed the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges that the coram nobis court erred when it dismissed his petition without a hearing, contending that he presented in his petition newly discovered evidence. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the coram nobis court’s judgment.

Supreme Court to Require Electronic Filing of Compensation Claims

The Tennessee Supreme Court is now requiring electronic submissions of all interpreter invoices as well as compensation claims for attorneys representing indigent clients. Effective July 1, the order requires that “all claims for attorney compensation and expenses shall be submitted utilizing the system established by the AOC for electronic submission.” The Administrative Office of the Courts began development of the electronic filing system in 2010. Users have been phased in over several years and the system has been used on a routine basis since early 2012.

Leader in Teacher Cheating Scheme Gets 7 Years

Former Memphis assistant principal Clarence Mumford was sentenced to seven years in prison for organizing a teacher cheating scheme throughout Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. According to prosecutors, between 1995 and 2010, Mumford falsified identification and enlisted teachers to impersonate others for teacher license exams, collecting more than $120,000. The Memphis Business Journal has the story.

DOJ to Investigate IRS' Potential Rights Violations

Attorney General Eric Holder said the FBI's criminal investigation of the Internal Revenue Service could include potential civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in some partisan political activities. Holder announced that the Justice Department was investigating the IRS after the agency acknowledged that agents had singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. "I can assure you and the American people that we will take a dispassionate view of this," he said. "This will not be about parties, this will not be about ideological persuasions. Anybody who has broken the law will be held accountable." The Memphis Daily News has the story.

Putnam County to Consider Family Justice Center

District Attorney Randall York received approval from the Putnam County Fiscal Review Committee to apply for a three-year, $80,000-per-year Family Justice Center grant that would help fund a Family Justice Center, a domestic violence center to assist victims in Putnam and surrounding counties. York cited the criminal court docket to support why a Family Justice Center should be started, the Herald Citizen reports. “When you go to a docket that’s more than 50 percent domestic-related, what we’re trying to do is break the cycle of violence, and we can only do it if we address the problems head on.” he said.

Law Prof: Eliminate C Grades

Law schools should substantially eliminate C grades, according to University of Little Rock law professor Joshua Silverstein. In a paper set for publication in the University of San Francisco Law Review, Silverstein says U.S. law schools should set their required grade point average for good academic standing at the B- level, giving C grades only for unsatisfactory performance. Silverstein says many law schools ranked in the top tier by U.S. News have essentially eliminated the use of C grades, while fourth-tier schools award large numbers of Cs, often under policies that encourage or require it. The ABA Journal has the story.

Henry Cites Health, Money for Not Seeking Re-Election

After announcing he would not seek re-election to the Senate seat he has held since 1971, Sen. Douglas Henry told the Memphis Daily News that his health and the high cost of campaigning were major factors. Henry, who turns 87 this month, said he had been disregarding his doctor's request that he not run again but finally decided to heed his advice. He also said the amount of money he spent on his 2010 election was "obscene." Henry's first year of the recent 108th Tennessee General Assembly made him the "longest serving member of the General Assembly ever in Tennessee history," according to legislative librarian Eddie Weeks.

Sponsors of the Vetoed Ag Gag Bill Will Try Again

After Gov. Bill Haslam vetoed the so-called “Ag Gag” bill, sponsors Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, and Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, are planning to try again in 2014. Knoxnews reports that the two legislators issued a joint statement saying there would be no override attempt, but they plan to file a new bill with revisions aimed at meeting objections from Haslam and questions about the bill’s constitutionality raised by Attorney General Bob Cooper.

Greene County Lawyer Censured

On May 8, Duncan Cates Cave received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for failing to prepare an order for the court. After being personally served with a show cause order commanding him to appear and show cause why he had not submitted the order, Cave failed to attend the hearing. The court held Cave in contempt of court for continually and willfully failing to comply with an order of the court and failing to appear. 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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