10 Apply for Court of Appeals Western Section Opening

The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet June 29 to consider 10 applicants for the upcoming vacancy on the Court of Appeals Western Section caused by the retirement of Judge Alan E. Highers. The commission will send three names to Gov. Bill Haslam for consideration. The 10 applicants are: Frank S. Cantrell, Judge Robert Lawson Childers, Dale Conder Jr., Brandon Owen Gibson, Chancellor Arnold B. Goldin, William H. Haltom Jr., Rhynette Northcross Hurd, Hubert Bailey Jones, Melissa Ann Maravich and Lawrence A. Pivnick.

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
03 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - 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

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TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Harold R. Gunn, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willie Beverly, Deacon of the Antioch Baptist Church.

Andrew H. Owens, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Farm Bureau Insurance and Tennessee Farmers Insurance Company.


A general sessions judgment was appealed to circuit court. In the circuit court, the Plaintiff filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, claiming that there were errors in the Defendant’s notice of appeal and appeal bond that rendered the documents ineffective. The circuit court denied the motion, and the case was resolved on its merits. The Plaintiff appeals, arguing that the circuit court should have dismissed the appeal based on the alleged errors in the notice of appeal and appeal bond. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Thomas Irvin Bottorff, Tisha Celess Baldwin, Brentwood, Tennessee; and Melanie Totty Cagle, Centerville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Barry Gordon and Roger Farley.

T. Holland McKinnee and Keith Jeremy Woodruff, Franklin, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Timothy O’Keefe and Sharon O’Keefe.


Purchasers of home brought suit against sellers, purchasers’ investment advisor and real estate agent, title company, and several other parties seeking damages and other relief arising out of their purchase of the home. Jury found seller liable for intentional and negligent misrepresentation, negligence, breach of warranties, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and found purchasers’ investment advisor liable for intentional misrepresentation. Trial court ordered rescission of the sales contract and awarded purchasers damages and attorneys fees for seller’s violation of the Consumer Protection Act Seller and awarded plaintiffs damages against their investment advisor. Seller and investment advisor appeal. Finding no error, we affirm.

RICHARD RANDALL v. SHELBY COUNTY UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD (inclusive of the former Memphis City Schools Board of Education), ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Dorsey E. Hopson, II and Cecilia S. Barnes, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Shelby County Unified School Board and Kriner Cash.

Darrell J. O’Neal, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee(s), Richard Randall.


The trial court reversed the Board of Education’s decision to dismiss a City of Memphis school teacher. We reverse the trial court and reinstate the Board of Education’s dismissal of the teacher on the ground of unprofessional conduct.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Terry Michael Allen.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Sean B. Duddy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Terry Michael Allen, was indicted by a Hickman County Grand Jury for delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. § 39- 17-417 (2010). Pursuant to his plea agreement, Allen entered an open guilty plea to the charged offense in exchange for a sentence of two years as a Range I, standard offender, with the manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court. The trial court subsequently ordered Allen to serve his sentence of two years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Allen argues that the trial court erred in denying him a sentence of full probation or an alternative sentence. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

CORRECTION: Concurrent opinion from Judge D. Kelly Thomas has been added

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Rickey W. Griggs, Assistant Public Defender, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeremy J. Edick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Bob Gray, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Jeremy J. Edick (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of one count of rape of a child, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, one count of solicitation of rape of a child, and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of fifty years’ incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence regarding his conviction for rape of a child. He also argues that the trial court erred in ordering partial consecutive sentencing. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and John E. Finklea, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Michael T. Shelby, Clarksville, Tennessee, pro se.


In this State appeal, the Defendant, Michael T. Shelby, was indicted for promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Defendant filed a motion to suppress, claiming the search warrant lacked probable cause. After a suppression hearing, the trial court granted the Defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that the search warrant was legally defective, and suppressed the evidence seized pursuant to the warrant. The State appeals, contending that the trial court erred when it granted the Defendant’s motion to suppress because the informant provided sufficiently reliable information upon which the warrant could be properly issued. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James R. Hickman, Jr., Sevierville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Justin E. Stinnett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General, James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Ashley McDermott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Justin E. Stinnett, appeals from the Sevier County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation. Stinnett previously entered a guilty plea to robbery and received a ten-year suspended sentence after service of one year “day for day.” On appeal, Stinnett argues that the trial court erred in revoking his probation. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Laura A. Frost, Hendersonville, Tennessee (at revocation hearing and on appeal), and Laura Wood, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee (at guilty plea submission hearing), for the appellant, Karen Jo Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Tara Wyllie, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Karen Jo Williams, entered guilty pleas to forgery, two counts of theft of property valued at $500 or less, and violation of an order of protection. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court imposed an effective four-year sentence to be served in community corrections and ordered the sentence to be served consecutively to a probationary sentence from Kentucky that she was serving at the time. Subsequently, the trial court held a revocation hearing, after which it revoked appellant’s community corrections sentence and ordered execution of her four-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Appealing the trial court’s judgment, appellant raises the following issues: (1) whether a community corrections revocation warrant alleging violation of a direct order was valid when appellant’s Tennessee sentence had not yet begun; (2) whether an amended warrant alleging a new criminal conviction was invalid; and (3) whether the trial court abused its discretion in revoking her unserved community corrections sentence and ordering execution of her full sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Justice Alito to Speak at Belmont Law’s Inaugural Graduation

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito will speak at Belmont University College of Law’s inaugural graduation commencement on May 10, 2014, university officials announced today. College of Law Dean Jeff Kinsler said, “It is an honor for any law school to have a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court as its commencement speaker, but it is an especially great honor for a law school to have a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court Justice as its first commencement speaker.”

Faith-Based Initiative Offers Legal Aid Services

A Tennessee faith-based initiative is now providing attorneys at no cost to needy members of houses of worship, an unusual approach compared to most legal aid programs across the country. "People show up every day at churches and synagogues and mosques, and they may not ask for legal help," Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Connie Clark said about the program. "They may need food assistance. But often there is an underlying legal problem." Clark, who helped the faith-based initiative get off the ground, told the Nashville City Paper that, "We realized we can help more people by going to where they are already going for help."

St. Thomas Served with Subpoena in Meningitis Case

A subpoena requesting hundreds of records has been served on the St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center where dozens of patients were injected with a fungus-laden spinal steroid from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) that is  being blamed for a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak. The Tennessean reports that the subpoena seeks not only the names and addresses of all patients injected with the tainted methylprednisolone acetate, but also extensive records about the outpatient center’s dealings with the New England Compounding Center. It also seeks records identifying any patients who were treated with other drugs from NECC.

3 More Plead Guilty in Pilot Flying J Case

Three more Pilot Flying J employees have pleaded guilty in what authorities call a scheme to cheat trucking firms out of rebates, NPR reports. Prosecutors allege that the sales team of the country's largest diesel retailer, short-changed trucking companies to boost profits and commissions. Nashville Public Radio has the story.

Haslam’s Top Deputy to Step Down

Gov Bill Haslam’s top deputy, Claude Ramsey of Hamilton County, will step down at the end of August, the administration announced today. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Ramsey intends to spend more time with his family. “Claude’s experience at the state and local levels of government and his common sense approach have been invaluable assets to our administration, and I am incredibly grateful to him and his wife, Jan, for their time in Nashville and commitment to the state of Tennessee.” Haslam said in a statement.

Eason Selected as National Delegate for Tennessee

Miller & Martin attorney Marcy Eason has been selected to serve a two-year term as a delegate to Vision 2020, a nationwide initiative focused on women’s economic and social equality. Vision 2020 is a coalition of organizations and individuals launched in 2010 through the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine. Delegates are selected based on demonstrated commitment to helping women or girls. The Hamilton County Herald has the story.

Obama Endorses Employment Non-Discrimination Bill

President Barack Obama is endorsing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The endorsement came last week at a White House reception honoring LGBT Pride Month and was warmly received by the crowd. According to the Memphis Business Journal, gay rights groups have been waiting for Obama to throw his weight behind the legislation.

6 Lawyers Recognized for 2013 Achievements

Six Tennessee lawyers were recogonized for their outstanding contributions to profession and to the public during the recent Tennessee Bar Association Annual Convention. Each of the six received President's Awards from outgoing president Jackie Dixon. Those recognized included Sen. Doug Overbey of Maryville and Rep. Andy Farmer of Sevierville for their work on the rewrite of Tennessee's conservatorship law; Nashville attoreny Kay Caudle for her work with the Attorney Well Being Committee; Marisa Combs and Hugh Kendall for co-chairing the Transitions Subcommittee of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee; and Chris Varner for leading the mentoring task force.

Court Amends Judge Recusal Rule

The Tennessee Supreme Court amended Rule 10B, Section 2 that sets out the procedures for seeking the disqualification or recusal of a judge. The rule provides that a party seeking the disqualification or recusal of a judge must file a written motion stating the specific grounds for disqualification or recusal and that the judge must then act promptly on the motion by written order. Section 2.07 now provides for a discretionary appeal to the Supreme Court following an intermediate court's decision in a recusal appeal. The Tennessee Bar Association submitted the only comment on the proposed rule change.

Opinions Expected Tomorrow: Sen. Durbin Urges Live Broadcast

There are still 14 still cases awaiting Supreme Court action, and Scotusblog reports that it expects the release of several opinions tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. Eastern time. It will begin live blogging at 9 a.m. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, is urging Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. to allow live broadcast of the court’s opinion announcements in blockbuster cases, the Blog of the Legal Times reports, “It is not unreasonable for the American people to have an opportunity to hear firsthand the arguments and opinions that will shape their society for years to come," Durbin wrote to Roberts in a letter released Tuesday.

95 Additional Inactive Lawyers Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order June 12 suspending 95 lawyers who have assumed inactive status but have not paid the required annual inactive status fee to the Board of Professional Responsibility. In January 2012, the court adopted amendments to Rule 9, Sections 20.1, 20.2 and 20.8, which included the new fee requirement. The fee is due on or before the first day of the attorney’s birth month each year. The order issued this month, as well as one issued on April 12, reflects an effort by the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) to catch up on suspensions going back to 2012. Beginning soon, the BPR will issue suspension orders monthly. See the list of those suspended or download the new order on the TBA website.


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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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