Reeves to be Nominated for Federal District Court

President Barack Obama reportedly today announced his intention to nominate Knoxville attorney and former TBA President Pamela Reeves for the federal district court seat currently held by U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips, who plans to retire July 3. Reeves practices with Reeves, Herbert & Murrian PA focusing on commercial litigation, labor and employment law and dispute resolution. She is known statewide for her work as a Rule 31 registered mediator and as an approved mediator for the Eastern and Middle district federal courts. Reeves was the first female to serve as TBA president. She currently serves on the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission and on the Board of Judicial Conduct. She also writes a monthly column on business law for the Knoxville News Sentinel. Reeves earned her law degree in 1979 from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She is married to Charles Swanson, another former TBA president, who serves as Knoxville city attorney.

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
04 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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


Court: TN Supreme Court


Brett B. Stein (at trial and on appeal) and Larry Diamond (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Prince Adams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Patience Branham and David Zak, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

The defendant was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and received a life sentence. In his appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals, he alleged that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; that a discharged alternate juror improperly communicated with the jury foreman; and that the trial court erred by failing to exclude from the evidence certain photographs and recordings and by failing to provide a special jury instruction on diminished capacity. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the conviction and sentence. This Court granted permission to appeal to address whether the communication by the alternate juror to the foreman entitled the defendant to a new trial. Because the State successfully rebutted the presumption of prejudice that accompanies an improper communication with a juror, we find no error and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Imad Al-Deen Iben Abdullah, Bruce Anthony McMullen, JoAnn Coston-Holloway and Alan Jerome Wade, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, D’Army Bailey, Stanley Kline and John Kington, M.D.

Martin Andrew Wohlfarth and G. Patrick Arnoult, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Shelby County, Tennessee, The Shelby County Retirement Board, A. C. Wharton, Jr., Betty Loveless, Osie Ward, Cleo Kirk, Tom Moss, Pat Cole, Larry Potter, Ulysses Truitt, Williams Powell, Henry Hooper and James Huntzicker, Members of the Retirement Board.


Plaintiffs, former part-time Shelby County employees, claim they were wrongfully excluded from Shelby County’s retirement plan. The trial court dismissed all claims based on the sixyear limitations period applicable to contract actions. We affirm in part, reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Randy Starkey, Kingston Springs, Tennessee, Respondent/Appellant, Pro Se.

R. Spencer Hamlin and Eric K. Lockert, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the Petitioner/Appellee, Minor Miracle Productions, LLC, and David L. Richards

Judge: KIRBY

This is the second appeal in this case. In the first appeal, this Court affirmed the trial court’s enrollment of a foreign judgment acquired by the petitioners against the respondent in Idaho, and the case was remanded for enforcement proceedings. On remand, the respondent refused to comply with the Idaho judgment, so the petitioners filed a motion for contempt and for an order to compel compliance with the judgment. The respondent did not attend the hearing. The trial court found the respondent to be in contempt of court for refusing to comply with the Idaho judgment. The respondent now appeals. We dismiss the appeal, because the issues raised on appeal were not first raised in the trial court, and the respondent did not comply with either Rule 24(c) or Rule 27 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Tyrone Spates, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

William B. Mauldin and James I. Pentecost, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tracy Howell and Robert Preston


Appellant appeals the dismissal of his complaint against the prison’s medical staff for failure to properly diagnose and treat him. The trial court determined that Appellant prisoner’s claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations, which was not tolled by operation of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-26-121. Appellant also appeals the trial court’s findings concerning his status as an indigent person. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm and remand.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


David W. Camp, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jennifer Rose Wood.

Steve Conley, Union City, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert Trey Wood, III.


Mother appeals the trial court’s order naming Father primary residential parent and setting child support. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Kevin McGee and Richard McGee, Nashville, Tennessee for the appellant, Jackie Ray Elkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Jackie Ray Elkins, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for one count of possession with intent to sell or deliver not less than one-half of an ounce but not more than ten pounds of marijuana in a drug-free zone. This charge was the result of a traffic stop in Shelby Bottoms in Nashville, Tennessee and the subsequent search of the vehicle in which Appellant was travelling. Appellant filed a motion to suppress the proceeds of the search. The trial court denied the motion. A jury convicted Appellant as charged. On appeal, Appellant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion and asks this Court to review his complaint under the plain error rule. In addition, Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that plain error review is not necessary to do substantial justice and that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Sunday Deadline: Book Your TBA Convention Hotel Now

The cutoff to get special TBA hotel pricing for the Tennessee Bar Association Convention is this Sunday, May 19. Be sure to lock in the TBA rate of $155 and avoid higher prices and sold-out rooms by calling the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel at (800) 447-9825 by Sunday. For those who are interested, the TBA also is offering a limited number of rooms at The Hermitage Hotel at a special $239 rate.  Call the Hermitage at (888) 888-9414 to take advantage of this deal. The convention will take place June 12-15 in downtown Nashville.

Federal Appeals Court Slams Police Interrogation

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday reversed a Knoxville district court ruling that a defendant’s confession was voluntary, finding that the investigation was "a stark example of police impropriety and deplorable interrogation techniques." The decision came in the case of Jeffery Siler, who was questioned about a series of burglaries after being arrested for probation violations. During the interview, Siler reportedly was told he would have immunity for any information provided about a stolen gun as well as for a host of other charges the department was considering against him. With those promises, Siler confessed to the burglary and to selling the gun. Later, he was charged federally for felony gun possession and moved to suppress the confession. The appeals court agreed, saying the investigator went too far in making promises he could not guarantee and breaking promises not to turn Siler over to federal prosecutors. Local 8 News has the AP story.

Trucking Companies Add High-Profile Law Firm for Pilot Suit

Trucking companies suing Pilot Flying J over rebate fraud have hired the law firm of former FBI Director Louis Freeh to represent them, according to plaintiffs attorney Mark Tate. Freeh’s firm, Freeh Group International Solutions, has been involved in a number of high profile cases, including an investigation of Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and the New Orleans Saints’ response to the NFL’s bounty probe. The Nashville City Paper has the story.

TBA Offers Unique Opportunity for New Lawyers

The TBA is offering new lawyers – whether currently employed or still looking for work – a unique opportunity to meet and engage with attorneys and judges from across Tennessee. Held in conjunction with the TBA Annual Convention, the new lawyer programming offers networking opportunities that can’t be duplicated in any other setting. The program kicks off June 12 with sessions on what to expect during the first year of practice, how the TBA can help new lawyers jump start their careers and opportunities for getting involved in the TBA Young Lawyers Division. Events planned as part of the 2013 Convention also are designed to help new lawyers expand their networks. This is an opportunity not to be miss! Learn more about the line up of programs being planned.

LSC Seeks $16 Million Budget Hike

The Legal Services Corporation has submitted to Congress a 2014 budget request for $486 million, saying the increase is essential to meeting the overwhelming need for legal services and to fulfill the nation’s promise of “justice for all.” The request, which is $16 million more than requested last year, includes $5 million for a new grant program to encourage innovations in pro bono legal services. Read a summary of the budget request or download the full submission on the LSC's website.

Presenters Sought for 2013 Equal Justice University

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) is currently seeking presenters for its 2013 Equal Justice University, scheduled for Oct. 9-11 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. Areas of interest include health, benefits, employment, family, housing, consumer, immigration, special education and juvenile law. The group also is interested in ethics and professionalism sessions. Perspective speakers should submit proposals by June 30 to

Drink Some Coffee for CASA

Do you love drinking coffee and want to support Tennessee CASA at the same time? Then visit the group’s Just Love Coffee Roasters online store. Just Love Coffee Roasters is a brand of hand-roasted coffee produced by people who also have a desire to help others in their efforts to make the world better. A portion of the proceeds from purchases will go directly to Tennessee CASA.

Senate Committee Approves 3 Judicial Nominees

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today approved three judicial nominees, including Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Raymond Chen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and Jennifer Dorsey to a federal district court in Nevada. Srinivasan, currently the principal deputy in the Office of the Solicitor General, was approved on a unanimous vote. If confirmed by the full Senate, he will be President Obama’s first nominee to a court often seen as a stepping stone to the U.S. Supreme Court. WRCB TV3 NBC has the AP story.

YLD Membership Event Planned in Johnson City

The TBA Young Lawyers Division will host a membership event on May 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served and a cash bar will be available. Young lawyers in the area are encouraged to drop by and to bring a stuffed animal for district’s public service project. “Bears from the Bench” will provide stuffed animals for local juvenile court judges to hand out to abused and neglected children who appear in their courtrooms. For more information about the membership event or the service project, email Rachel Ralston Mancl or call her at (423) 378-8871.

Conference on Human Trafficking Set for May 23

A workshop on combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery in the mid-south will be held May 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rhodes College in Memphis. The training session is designed for service providers, medical professionals, religious leaders, translators, law enforcement, immigrant advocates or anyone concerned about the growing problem of human trafficking, slavery and exploitation. The event will be held in the McCallum Ballroom, located at 2000 N. Parkway. A fee of $15 covers all materials and lunch. For more information email Bonnie Blair or call her at (901) 752-0328.

11 Lawyers Suspended for Fee and IOLTA Violations

The Tennessee Supreme Court this week issued two orders suspending Tennessee-licensed attorneys who did not pay their registration fee to the Board of Professional Responsibility and/or did not file a mandatory compliance statement that eligible client funds are held in accounts participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. Lawyers who since have complied with the requirements are noted as reinstated. See the updated lists and download the orders.


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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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