Chancellor Harmon Dies After Long Illness

Chancellor Ron E. Harmon of the 24th Judicial District died Saturday (Sept. 14) following a long illness. In announcing the news, Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade said, "All within the judicial branch of government mourn the death of Chancellor Ron Harmon of Hardin County. A kind and gracious man, who fought his long-term illness with dignity and courage, Chancellor Harmon reflected during his lifetime all that is good in the trial judiciary." Judge Creed McGinley, presiding judge in the 24th District, echoed those sentiments saying Harmon "was widely known for his quick wit, keen mind and common sense."

Visitation will take place Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Hardin County Courthouse. A memorial service will follow at 5:30 p.m. Arrangements are being handled by Shackelford Funeral Home in Savannah. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Pl., Memphis, TN 38105 or the Hardin County Children's Fund at SunTrust Bank, 275 Main St., Savannah, TN 38372. The AOC has more reactions to the news.

Today's Opinions

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01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
00 - 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 Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Carl E. Seely, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jason L. L.

J. Neil Thompson, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Amy J. W.


In this second appeal of a child custody decision, Father argues that the trial court erred in naming Mother primary residential parent and in fashioning the permanent parenting plan. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion with regard to either the custody or parenting time decisions, and therefore, affirm the decision of the trial court. Affirmed and remanded.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Darrell J. O'Neal, Memphis, TN, attorney for the appellant, Larry Echols.

Bruce A. McMullen, Gabriel P. McGaha, Memphis, TN, attorneys for the appellee, City of Memphis Civil Service Commission.


A twenty-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department was terminated based upon his involvement with a private security company, in violation of departmental policies, and his untruthfulness during the department’s investigation. The officer filed a petition for review in chancery court, and the chancery court upheld his termination. The officer appeals, arguing that the chancery court should have allowed him to introduce evidence of another officer who was treated differently, in violation of his equal protection rights. He also argues that he was impermissibly punished twice for the same conduct. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Winston S. Evans, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Lesa C. Williams; Lesly Williams, Jr., a minor by Lesa C. Williams, Guardian of His Estate and Person; Alana Williams, deceased, by Lesa C. Williams, next of kin; and The Estate of Lesly Williams, Sr., deceased, by Lesa C. Williams, Administrator.

James W. Price, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Aundreas Smith.

William David Bridgers and Elizabeth Sara Tipping, Nashville, Tennessee, for the intervenor, Neal & Harwell, PLC.

Gary Marcell Kellar and Robert L. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Renard A. Hirsch, Sr.


The trial court awarded partial summary judgment to both parties in this dispute over the division of attorney’s fees. We affirm the trial court’s holding that Tennessee law, and not the “modern rule” is applicable to this case as a matter of law. We reverse the trial court’s awards of summary judgment to both parties on the remaining issues, and remand for further proceedings.

AG Reviewing Proposed Pilot Settlement

The Tennessean reports that state Attorney General Robert E. Cooper is reviewing a proposed settlement of multiple suits filed against Pilot Flying J, alleging that the company withheld millions of dollars in promised rebates to trucking customers. The “fairness review” comes as lawyers for some of the affected trucking firms have charged that the offer, with an estimated $40 million price tag, is far from adequate. The review is mandated under the federal Class Action Fairness Act. The proposed settlement, filed with a court in Arkansas, would pay trucking firms the amount that Pilot withheld plus six percent interest. Under the deal, the lawyers for the trucking firms could earn up to $14 million in fees.

Memphis Veterans’ Court Sees First Graduates

Half a dozen military veterans “completed a most difficult tour of duty recently as the first graduates of the Shelby County Veterans Court,” WDEF News 12 reports. The program allows veterans to have their criminal cases set aside while they participate in an intensive regiment that includes counseling, group meetings, alcohol and drug screens, anger management sessions and other support programs. At the conclusion of the process, successful graduates receive expungement orders erasing their offenses from the public record. The court holds session every Wednesday. Another 42 veterans are participating in the program.

Belmont Student New Chair of ABA IP Group

Belmont University College of Law student Franklin Graves (class of 2014) has been nominated to chair the Communications Subcommittee of the ABA Intellectual Property Section’s Law Student Action Group. Graves will be responsible for the group's communications and social media campaigns.

Hamilton Juvenile Court Going Electronic

At the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, clerks are "drowning in paper," but box by box, that's changing, the Times Free Press reports. Gary Behler, the Hamilton County Juvenile Court clerk, began a massive document-scanning project Aug. 5 that will digitize more than 25,000 records for the juvenile court and the child support division. In addition to saving space, the project will allow attorneys and judges to view electronic files simultaneously on monitors in courtrooms. In addition, the new system will allow child support clerks to apply payments immediately and pull up data for payees and recipients. Finally, new video monitors are being installed in the courtrooms so that arraignments may be handled remotely. The changes are part of Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw’s effort to streamline logistics at the court.

Obama Names Scripps Lawyer to Public Broadcasting Board

President Barack Obama has nominated David J. Arroyo, senior vice president for legal affairs at Knoxville-based Scripps Networks Interactive, as a new member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors. Arroyo has worked at Scripps since 2004. He previously was an associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and chair of the Board of Latino Justice. In 2012, he was recognized as one of the most influential Latinos in entertainment. Arroyo received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Read more in this release from the White House.

Woodall to Seek 4th Term as DA

For the last 31 years, Jerry Woodall has served as district attorney general for the 26th Judicial District, covering Chester, Henderson and Madison counties. Now Woodall, 69, has decided to seek re-election again. His main reason? He says he wants to increase personal relationships between law enforcement and residents to help with the gang problems faced by Jackson and rural areas of West Tennessee. The Jackson Sun reports on the decision.

Documentary Film Series Launches with Immigrant Stories

Lipscomb University’s HumanDocs film series is kicking off it’s new season Wednesday with “I Learn America,” a documentary that follows five students at a high school that serves newly arrived immigrants from more than 50 nations. Co-sponsored by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, the Nashville Film Festival and Nashville Public Television, the free screening will be at 7 p.m. with a panel discussion to follow at Shamblin Theater on Lipscomb’s campus.

Knoxville Lawyer Dies at 91

Retired Knoxville area lawyer Willard Nathaniel Albert died at his home Saturday (Sept. 14). He was 91.  Albert practiced law in the Fountain City area for more than 60 years after graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1945 as a part of the first G.I. Bill class. After spending the first part of his career working with Charles Davis and Ray Jenkins, Albert moved to the Fountain City area as a solo practitioner. In 1959, he built his office on North Broadway Street where he continued to practice until his retirement. The family received friends and held a funeral service over the weekend. An internment service was held today. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dutch Valley Church of God, 1416 Breda Dr., Knoxville, TN 37918 to support the church's mission work. Knoxnews has more on Albert's life.

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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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