Legal Sector Added 2,800 Jobs in July

The legal industry added 2,800 jobs in July after suffering major losses on the employment front during the previous two months, The AM Law Daily reports. The seasonally adjusted preliminary data was released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Initial figures issued last month showed the legal sector shedding more jobs in June than it had during any single month in two years. Those revisions and July's job growth notwithstanding, the legal sector has lost 2,000 jobs since April, when it employed 1.129 million people—the highest total since 2009.

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
01 - 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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Kim Brown, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Stephen W. Vescovo and Margaret F. Cooper, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Christian Brothers University.


This is an appeal from the trial court’s grant of a directed verdict, dismissing Appellant’s claims of: (1) slander/defamation; (2) false light invasion of privacy; (3) false imprisonment; (4) malicious harassment; (5) negligent supervision, hiring, and retention; (6) negligent failure to affirm identification; (7) negligence; (8) assault and battery; and (9) civil conspiracy. Appellant also raises issues concerning the scope of cross-examination and the admission of certain evidence. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion concerning either the scope of the cross-examination, or by excluding certain evidence. We further conclude that Appellant failed to put forth sufficient evidence to make out a prima facie case for any of the foregoing claims. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s grant of a directed verdict. Affirmed and remanded.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Kenneth E. Hill, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brent A. Blye.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and William B. Harper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Brent A. Blye, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. In this case, the petitioner was convicted by a jury of possession with intent to sell 26 grams or more of cocaine, a Class C felony, possession of a Schedule III controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor, and possession of less that .05 ounces of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. Following the verdict, the parties reached an agreement on sentencing whereby the petitioner would serve twelve years as a Range II offender on the cocaine conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days on each of the misdemeanors. As part of the same sentencing agreement, the petitioner entered guilty pleas and was sentenced in three unrelated cases at the same time. On appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying him relief because he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective for: (1) failing to file a timely motion for new trial; and (2) failing to develop a theory of defense at trial arguing for a lesser-included offense when evidence was available to support such a defense. Following review of the record, we remand the case to the post-conviction for a determination of whether a delayed appeal is proper based upon deficient performance in trial counsel’s failing to file a motion for new trial. The denial of post-conviction relief is affirmed in all other aspects.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Charles Walker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kyle Ronald Fencl.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rachel Sobrero, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Kyle Ronald Fencl, pled guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to one count of theft of property valued less than $500, one count of robbery, seven counts of aggravated robbery, and one count of aggravated assault. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentencing.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


H. Garth Click, Springfield, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Patrick Maliani.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel, Criminal Justice Division; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Ben Ford, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant, Patrick L. Maliani, for the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, and the trial court sentenced him to six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress; (2) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to sever offenses; (3) the evidence presented is insufficient to sustain his conviction; and (4) the trial court erred when it sentenced him to the maximum sentence within his range because it failed to apply one applicable mitigating factor. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude there exists no error in the judgment of the trial court. As such, the trial court’s judgment is affirmed.

Bar Foundation Accepting Grant Requests

The Memphis Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Memphis Bar Association (MBA), is accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for law-related programs and activities that further the foundation’s mission of increasing public awareness of the legal profession, promoting social justice, promoting legal education and recognizing professionalism among members of the bar. The deadline to apply is Aug. 23. Contact MBA Executive Director Anne Fritz at (901) 527-3575 or for more information and a grant application.

Opinion: Judicial Selection Proposal Creates ‘Politically Charged’ System

Former Sevierville judge Charles S. Sexton writes in Saturday’s issue of Knoxnews that the legislature’s current proposal for selecting appellate judges is a “politically charged system where a few powerful members…can exert their influence to ensure their preferred candidate is placed before the governor without regard to judicial temperament, legal abilities, peer review and an impeccable reputation for honesty and integrity…” Sexton also argues that while House and Senate leadership say the issue is about electing judges, the plan under consideration does not require direct elections.

ABA Hosts Virtual March for Gender Equity

The ABA is hosting "Click Your Heels" – a virtual march for gender equity this Saturday. Held in conjunction with the ABA's Day of the Woman, the effort is designed to raise awareness about gender inequality in the workplace, including at law firms where studies show women are not compensated at the same levels as men. To participate in the “march,” visit the ABA's gender equity page, and vote "yes" for gender equality. Learn more about the issue and the work of the ABA task force on the group's website.

Juvenile Court Collecting Stuffed Animals

The Anderson County Juvenile Court is holding a stuffed animal drive this week to provide the comfort of a furry friend to children who have to appear before the court. New stuffed animals may be dropped off at Stokes Lighting & Electric, 6220 Papermill Rd. in Knoxville or Anderson County Co-Op, 110 S. Charles G Seivers Blvd. in Clinton. For more information contact Rebecca Franklin at (865) 712-2091 or

Civil Rights Lawyer Chambers Dead at 76

Julius Chambers, who led the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund from 1984 to 1993, died Friday (Aug. 2) at the age of 76. He had suffered a heart attack in April and was in declining health. Among his many accomplishments, Chambers graduated first in his class at the University of North Carolina School of Law, founded the first racially integrated law firm in North Carolina and won eight cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including Swann v. the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, which led to cross-town busing to achieve integration. He finished his law career in private practice at Ferguson Chambers & Sumter in Charlotte. The ABAJournal has more on his life.

Court Suspends Memphis Lawyer

Memphis lawyer Timothy Darnell Flowers was suspended on Aug. 1 for three years, retroactive to June 27, 2010. He also was ordered to pay restitution to former clients. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Flowers, who already was on suspension from orders entered in 2010 and 2011, committed ethical misconduct while representing clients from 2005 to 2009. Specific violations included failing to (1) advise a client of a court date, (2) file a brief in support of a client’s appeal, (3) advise a client of a change of venue and (4) introduce proof regarding relocation in an asylum matter. In each of these situations, his actions resulted in the dismissal of cases or negative action being taken against the clients. Download the BPR notice.

3 Lawyers Placed on Disability Inactive Status

By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court, the law licenses of Davidson County lawyers C. Kinian Cosner Jr. and Christopher Joseph Larkin and McMinn County lawyer Paul Leland Smith were transferred to disability inactive status. The three may not practice law while on inactive status. They may return to the practice of law after showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and they are fit to resume the practice of law. Download the BPR notices for each at the links above.


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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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