Juvenile, Family Court Council Honors Judge

Putnam County Judge Nolan R. Goolsby was honored with the 2013 McCain-Abernathy Memorial Award, the highest distinction conferred by the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (TCJFCJ). Judge Goolsby was nominated by his colleagues in recognition of decades of outstanding service and dedication to the improvement of juvenile justice for the benefit of children and families in Tennessee. The Administrative Office of the Courts has more.

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
02 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - 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 Workers Comp Appeals

ARMETHIA D. LIVELY EX REL. ROBERT E. LIVELY v. UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Loring Justice and B. Chadwick Rickman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Armethia D. Lively.

Kristi McKinney Stogsdill, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellee, Union Carbide Corporation.

Judge: WADE

Upon the death of her husband from asbestos-related pulmonary disease, the plaintiff filed suit for workers' compensation benefits. Because her husband had previously settled a disability claim for 400 weeks of benefits, the employer denied the claim. The trial court awarded the funeral expenses of the husband but declined to grant benefits to the plaintiff as his dependent over and above the amount of the settlement. Her appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of the fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rufe 51. Although the plaintiff may make a separate claim for benefits, she is not entitled to any recovery beyond funeral expenses because the amount of her entitlement, as controlled by the date of her husband's injury, would not be in excess of the amount of his settlement. The judgment is, therefore, affirmed.


UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC. v. CINDY HANNAH

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

David T. Hooper, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, United Parcel Service, Inc.

B. Keith Williams and James R. Stocks, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Cindy Hannah.

Judge: CANTRELL

In this workers’ compensation action, the employee sought permanent partial disability benefits for an injury to her hip and lower back. Her employer agreed that her hip injury was compensable, but denied that she had suffered a permanent disability. It also denied that her alleged back injury was compensable. The trial court found for the employee, and awarded permanent disability benefits for both injuries. Her employer has appealed, arguing that the medical evidence preponderates against the trial court’s findings. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


TN Court of Appeals

JAMES G. AKERS v. SESSIONS PAVING COMPANY ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

James G. Akers, Brentwood, Tennessee, Pro Se.

David K. Taylor and Max Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Sessions Paving Company and Great American Insurance Co.

Judge: CLEMENT

This action arises out of the alleged breach of a construction subcontract due to the general contractor’s failure to pay for work performed by the subcontractor. At issue in this appeal are the plaintiff’s two claims against the general contractor and the insurer that provided the performance and payment bond. One claim is for breach of the subcontract; the other is for violation of the Prompt Pay Act, Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 66-34-101 through -703. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment finding that both claims were time-barred by Tennessee Code Annotated § 28-3-109(a)(3), the six-year statute of limitations for breach of contract. We affirm.


INEZ BRYSON v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Phillip L. Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Inez Bryson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; and Melissa Brodhag, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: DINKINS

Civil service employee appeals the trial court’s judgment affirming the Civil Service Commission’s decision to terminate the employee for the good of the service pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-30-326. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment.


VIOLET CORROZZO v. JOSEPH CORROZZO

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

James D. R. Roberts, Jr. and Janet L. Layman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Violet Corrozzo.

Mary Beth Hagan and Joshua A. Jenkins, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joseph Corrozzo.

Judge: CLEMENT

Ex-wife appeals from a trial court’s adoption of a report by the clerk and master that her exhusband had fully satisfied a judgment for unpaid pension payments arising from the parties’ 1996 divorce and the determination that she is not entitled to recover attorney’s fees incurred in the underlying case and other proceedings. The clerk and master found that an October 2001 judgment for an unpaid arrearage in pension payments had been satisfied and the exwife did not timely file an objection. The trial court adopted the clerk and master’s report and entered judgment accordingly. The court also ruled that the ex-wife was not entitled to recover attorney’s fees in this or other proceedings including those specified in the 2003 bankruptcy court agreed order. Although the ex-wife waived any objection to the report of the clerk and master, and thus, the trial court’s adoption of that report is affirmed, we have determined that the reference to the clerk and master was limited to determining the exhusband’s pension obligations under the October 2001 chancery court judgment. Whether the sums owed by the ex-husband for attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $13,904.44 identified in the 2003 bankruptcy court agreed order were not specified as issues in the order of reference to the master. Because the ex-husband’s obligations to pay to the ex-wife the attorney’s fees and costs specified in the 2003 bankruptcy order were not identified in the order of reference, the ex-wife’s failure to timely file an objection does not constitute a waiver of that issue. We have also determined that whether the sums owing under the 2003 bankruptcy order are a legal obligation of the ex-husband is a question of law, not a question of fact, and the failure to timely object to the master’s report does not constitute a waiver of an issue of law. The 2003 bankruptcy order expressly states the ex-husband owes the sum of $13,904.44, plus interest, to the ex-wife for her attorney’s fees and costs, and he is collaterally estopped from denying the debt specified in the 2003 bankruptcy order. Therefore, we have concluded that the ex-wife is entitled to recover $13,904.44, plus interest. Accordingly, we remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


SARAH PATRICIA EMANUELE v. JOSHUA DAVID SCRITCHFIELD

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Petitioner/Appellant Sarah Patricia Emanuele, Cornwall, New York, self-represented.

Jimmie D. Drewry, Memphis, Tennessee for Respondent/Appellee Joshua David Scritchfield.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves jurisdiction as to a parentage petition and related issues. The mother of the subject child lives in New York and the father lives in Tennessee. The child lives with the mother in New York. The mother filed this parentage petition in Tennessee. The Tennessee juvenile court entered an order establishing the father’s parentage and adjudicating child support, the designation of the primary residential parent, and the allocation of the parties’ residential parenting time. The mother appeals, challenging in part the jurisdiction of the juvenile court to adjudicate custody and child support. We affirm the juvenile court’s final order on the father’s parentage. We vacate the final order on the designation of primary residential parent and the allocation of residential parenting time, as the Tennessee court did not have jurisdiction over these issues under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. We hold that the Tennessee court had jurisdiction to adjudicate child support, but vacate its final order on child support because the determination is based in part on the adjudication of the primary residential parent and the allocation of residential parenting time.


KAREN GRADY AND TIMOTHY GRADY v. SUMMIT FOOD CORPORATION D/B/A PITA PIT

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Joe Bednarz, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Karen Grady and Timothy Grady.

Brent S. Usery, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Summit Food Corporation d/b/a Pita Pit.

Judge: DINKINS

Customer of a restaurant who was injured when she fell on a concrete ramp leading into the restaurant brought suit against the restaurant, alleging that the ramp constituted a dangerous condition and that the restaurant failed to exercise reasonable care to avoid injuries to customers. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant on the grounds that the ramp did not constitute a dangerous condition and that the owners did not have notice that the ramp constituted a dangerous condition. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKY WAYNE DAVIS, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Keith Lowe, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Wayne Davis, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Jason Hunnicutt, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

A Knox County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Defendant, Ricky Wayne Davis, Jr. charging him with two counts of felony evading arrest, reckless endangerment, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility, and failure to use a seat belt. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of one count of evading arrest, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility, and violation of the seatbelt law. He was found not guilty of one count of evading arrest and reckless endangerment, and the trial court dismissed the charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. The trial court sentenced Defendant to two years of probation for felony evading arrest and eleven months, twenty-nine days of probation for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, to be served concurrently. The trial court also imposed a fine of ten dollars for the seat belt violation and a fine of one-hundred dollars for failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress the evidence found in his vehicle; and (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for felony evading arrest. After a thorough review, we reverse the conviction for misdemeanor possession of marijuana. All other judgments are affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TIMOTHY SHANE HIXSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Chelsea Nicholson (on appeal); and Jack Byrd (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Shane Hixson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Jeff Burks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Timothy Shane Hixson, appeals his Davidson County Criminal Court jury conviction of aggravated robbery, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the exclusion of certain evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HOYTE MITCHELL HOBBS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

L. Scott Grissom, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Hoyte Mitchell Hobbs.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa S. Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Randal Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Hoyte Mitchell Hobbs, appeals from his Wayne County Circuit Court guiltypleaded conviction of attempted second degree murder, claiming that the trial court erred by imposing a fully incarcerative sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHIRLEY MASON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Alicia Napier, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shirley Mason.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Richard A. Cawley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Shirley Mason, appeals her Bedford County Circuit Court jury conviction of the sale of less than .5 grams of a substance containing cocaine base, claiming that racial discrimination tainted the jury selection process in her case and that the trial court erred by refusing to strike the State’s notice seeking enhanced punishment. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALD MCMILLAN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Brian T. Boyd, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald McMillan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Bret T. Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Ronald McMillan, appeals from his Davidson County Criminal Court guiltypleaded conviction of aggravated assault, claiming that the trial court erred by denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea and by ordering that he serve his six-year sentence consecutively to a previously-imposed eight-year sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.


JEROME WILLIAMS v. ARVIL CHAPMAN, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jerome Williams, Clifton, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Jerome Williams, appeals the Wayne County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. In this appeal, the petitioner claims entitlement to habeas corpus relief on the basis that the trial court was without jurisdiction to enter his 1986 conviction of aggravated rape because the indictment failed to allege an offense. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Cash Bonds for Child Support Attachments Under Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-101(f)(2)

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-08-08

Opinion Number: 62


Algood City Administrator Serving as Algood City Police Chief

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-08-09

Opinion Number: 63


Vandy Law #15 on U.S. News List; UTK, Memphis Also Ranked

U.S. News and World Reports recently released the Best Law Schools ranking for 2014. Vanderbilt University tied for 15th place with University of Texas Austin. University of Tennessee College of Law came in at 61, while the University of Memphis Cecil B. Humphreys School of Law tied for 144th place.


Martin Named Finance and Administration Commissioner

Gov. Bill Haslam named Larry Martin commissioner of the state Department of Finance and Administration, the Chattanoogan reports. Martin has served as the interim commissioner since June 1 after former commissioner Mark Emkes’ retirement. “I want to thank Larry for continuing to serve Tennesseans as the F&A commissioner,” Governor Haslam said. “Putting together the budget is one of the most important things we do, and Larry’s skills and experience with complex systems and organizations is unmatched.”


Stanton: Memphis Policies in Step with Holder Plan

When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder talked this week about “a fundamentally new approach” to the crimes federal prosecutors pursue and the sentences they seek, he outlined an approach that has been taking shape in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee for several years, the Memphis Daily News reports. According to the publication, Holder’s “Smart on Crime” initiatives include the re-entry and drug court dockets already in use in the Western District of Tennessee to continue direct supervision by a judge of offenders after they serve their federal time. “Diversion was something that was somewhat nonexistent,” said Ed Stanton, U.S. Attorney for West Tennessee. “It’s been my policy that diversion should certainly be a tool to be considered when warranted.”


Nashville Lawyer Named to UT Board of Trustees

Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday announced the appointments of several new members to Tennessee’s higher education boards, the Chattanoogan reports. Among them is Brad Lampley, partner in charge of the Nashville office of Adams and Reese. Lampley was named to the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. He is a graduate of the school and its College of Law. As an undergraduate, Lampley played offensive line and was named to the Southeastern Conference’s All-Academic Team three times. He will represent the seventh congressional district on the board.


Development Proposed for Former Supreme Court Site

Knoxville’s Industrial Development Board is considering a proposal to develop the site where the Tennessee Supreme Court building used to stand into an $84 million hotel, residential, retail and restaurant development. Gateway Knoxville LLC has been chosen from among five companies vying for the prime real estate located in downtown Knoxville. "Rarely do you get to redevelop a full block of city property. We're going to try to take our time and look at a couple of options before we move forward," said the city's director of redevelopment, Bob Whetsel. WBIR has the story.


Supreme Court Rules Hamilton County Board Exceeded Authority

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled unanimously yesterday that the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department Civil Service Board exceeded its statutory authority in ordering Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond to equalize the pay of six sergeants in the department who filed a grievance contending pay disparity. The Supreme Court reversed the Tennessee Court of Appeals decision and determined that the sheriff did not have to pay all the sergeants the same rate when there was no proof that the sheriff violated state law or terms of the Civil Service Manual. Read the opinion here, authored by Justice Lee.


Special Election Dates Set for DeBerry’s Seat

Special elections will be held in Memphis on Oct. 8 and Nov. 21 to fill the seat in the House of Representatives left open with the death of state Rep. Lois DeBerry. The Tennessean reports that Gov. Bill Haslam set the dates on Tuesday for the primary and general elections for the 91st House District, which stretches south of midtown Memphis as far as the Whitehaven neighborhood.


Ex-State Rep. to Challenge DA Clark

Carter County attorney and former state representative Jerome Cochran confirmed Monday he intends to challenge District Attorney General Tony Clark in next year’s general election, the Johnson City Press reports. Cochran was first elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2002 when he unseated longtime state Rep. Ralph Cole.


Former TBA President Ashworth Honored at Reception

Attorneys from across the country joined their Tennessee colleagues at a reception honoring former TBA President Gail Vaughn Ashworth during the recent ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The event was hosted by the Tennessee Bar Association with generous support from the University of Tennessee College of Law, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School and Belmont University College of Law. See photos from the event.


Clinton, ABA House Call for Voting Rights Reform

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Congress to reinstate provisions of the Voting Rights Act recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in remarks this week to the ABA House of Delegates. She also announced a series of speeches across the country on problems that challenge society, government and the legal system, the ABA Journal reports. After Clinton’s remarks, the House adopted a resolution urging legislators to restore the portions of the 1965 law rejected by the court. Other resolutions considered by the House included those calling for new laws to fight computer hacking by foreign governments, rules protecting attorney-client privilege when advice is given to law firm personnel by in-house counsel, and laws prohibiting the use of certain defenses, such as “gay panic” and “trans panic,” by criminal defendants. Read more about all the issues considered by the body.


Solo in the Park this Weekend

The 3rd Annual Solo in the Park autocross competition will be held Saturday and Sunday at Knoxville’s Chilhowee Park. More than 100 competitors are expected during the two-day event. Driver check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with “first car off” at 10:30 a.m. All proceeds benefit Knoxville Family Justice Center and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. For more information, contact Bill Evans at (865) 251-4948.


Chattanooga Lawyer Suspended

H. Owen Maddux of Chattanooga was suspended for nine months for allegedly committing ethical misconduct in his representation of plaintiffs in a civil action regarding a business dispute. In an effort to collect money due to the company, Maddux sent letters to customers demanding that payment be made directly to him and that he would deposit the funds with the court pending a resolution, however he instead gave the money to his client. Further, Maddux did not notify the opposing party that the funds had been collected until after he made the distribution to his client and a motion had been filed seeking payment of the funds into the court. Download the BPR notice.


Wilson County Lawyer Censured

James Henry Ford received a public censure on Aug. 7. Flood entered a fee contract with his client which stated he would receive a fee of 25 percent of past due social security benefits owed to the client. The client made periodic payments to Flood to be held for expenses or for satisfaction of the contingency fee. Flood received six payments from the client, and failed to deposit three of the payments into his trust account. An overdraft resulted in Flood's trust account when he wrote a check to himself for the earned fees. In another matter, Flood earned an attorney fee in May 2012 and failed to remove the fee from his trust account for more than seven months. Download the BPR notice.


Jefferson County Lawyer Censured

Jill R. Talley received a public censure on Aug. 7 for harming a client whom she represented in a divorce. Talley filed a motion and affidavit to withdraw in which she stated that “there have been several instances where [client] has not been completely truthful concerning certain issues, including her actions, in the case.” 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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