Academy Offers Supreme Court Admissions Ceremony

If admission to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court is one of your career goals, don’t miss the opportunity to make it a reality during the 30th Annual TBA Academy, Nov. 12-13. A select group of Tennessee attorneys will be able to take part in this private ceremony before the court and enjoy other events at the court and the capitol. A reception and celebration dinner kick off the Academy, which also includes the opportunity to earn three hours of CLE credit. The group will stay at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, where the TBA has obtained a special rate for Academy participants.

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
01 - 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









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

SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Workers Comp Appeals

TONY WAYNE WILSON v. BILL JENNINGS ET AL.

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

John T. Rice, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bill Jennings individually and d/b/a B & L Construction Company.

Jimmy W. Bilbo, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tony Wayne Wilson.

Judge: ANDERSON

Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this workers’ compensation 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. This is the second appeal of this case. We previously affirmed the trial court’s award of temporary total disability benefits and past medical expenses, but reversed its decision not to award permanent disability benefits and future medical expenses. Wilson v. Jennings, No. E2010-02028-WC-R3-WC, 2012 WL 727853 (Tenn. Workers’ Comp. Panel Mar. 6, 2012). On remand, the trial court heard additional medical, vocational and other proof as to the employee’s anatomical impairment and vocational disability. Based on that evidence, it awarded 200 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits and future medical expenses. The employer has again appealed, contending that the trial court erred by denying its motion for sanctions, by denying its motion in limine to exclude certain medical testimony, by relying on the proof of the employee’s vocational expert and by awarding discretionary costs. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.


TN Court of Appeals

MALBRIE JANE FRANCIS, EXECUTRIX AND IN HER INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY v. JEFFERY C. BARNES, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Lee S. Saunders, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jeffery C. Barnes and Paul A. Barnes.

William S. Rhea, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Malbrie Jane Francis.

Judge: FARMER

This appeal arises from an action filed by Plaintiff to set aside a quitclaim deed executed by Decedent conveying Decedent’s home to her grandsons. Following a bench trial, the Chancery Court of Fayette County concluded that Decedent was incompetent to execute the deed and that the grandsons exercised undue influence over Decedent to obtain the deed. In a subsequent order, the trial court concluded that the grandsons intentionally defrauded Decedent to obtain Decedent’s signature on the deed and ordered them to pay Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. On appeal, the grandsons argue that the trial court erred in concluding that Decedent was incompetent to execute the deed and in concluding that the grandsons exercised undue influence over her to obtain the deed. Additionally, the grandsons contend that the trial court erred in concluding that they intentionally defrauded Decedent in order to obtain Decedent’s signature on the deed and in ordering them to pay Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. Additionally, Plaintiff contends that the grandson’s appeal constitutes a frivolous appeal under Tenn. Code Ann. section 27-1-122. After thoroughly reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


CHARLOTTE ANN GOAD HUMAN v. JEFFREY ALLEN HUMAN

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Jennifer Eldridge Raby , Kingston, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charlotte Ann Goad Human.

Judith R. Whitfield, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeffrey Allen Human.

Judge: SWINEY

After fifteen years of marriage, Charlotte Ann Goad Human (“Wife”) sued Jeffrey Allen Human (“Husband”) for divorce. After a trial, the Trial Court entered its Final Decree of Divorce which, inter alia, declared the parties divorced, divided the marital assets and debts, and entered a Permanent Parenting Plan designating Husband as the primary residential parent for the parties’ two minor children. Wife appeals to this Court alleging that the Trial Court erred in entering a Parenting Plan designating Husband as the primary residential parent when Husband did not request this designation. We find that the evidence does not preponderate against the Trial Court’s findings relative to the Permanent Parenting Plan, and we affirm.


LESLIE KAY JOHNSON v. DARREN TRACY JOHNSON

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kevin C. Angel, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darren Tracy Johnson.

John W. Cleveland, Sr., Sweetwater, Tennessee, for the appellee, Leslie Kay Johnson.

Judge: SWINEY

This appeal concerns a dispute over the modification of a permanent parenting plan. Leslie Kay Johnson (“Mother”) and Darren Tracy Johnson (“Father”) were divorced in the Chancery Court for Monroe County (“the Trial Court”). A permanent parenting plan was entered regarding the parties’ minor child (“the Child”). Mother was designated as the primary residential parent with the parties to have equal parenting time with the Child. Mother later filed an emergency petition for custody and contempt, alleging that the Child had severe anxiety about going to see Father. Father filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that because Mother failed to file a proposed parenting plan contemporaneously with her petition as required by statute, Mother’s petition should be dismissed. Both Mother and Father ultimately filed proposed parenting plans with Father’s being submitted with his own Petition for Change in Co-Parenting Time. The Trial Court denied Father’s motion to dismiss. After a hearing on the competing petitions, the Trial Court modified the parenting plan to grant Mother more time with the Child. Father appeals. We hold that the Trial Court had jurisdiction to decide Mother’s petition and that the Trial Court did not err in modifying the existing parenting plan. We affirm the Trial Court.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

JUNIOR ALDRIDGE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism (on appeal) and Alexander Wharton (at hearing), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Junior Aldridge.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and David Zak, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Junior Aldridge, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for first degree murder, second degree murder, and especially aggravated robbery. On appeal, he raises three allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN ANTHONY GARRETT

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant District Public Defender for the appellant, John Anthony Garrett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Jr. and Josh Parsons, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant pled guilty to one count of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony, one count of delivery of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony, one count of maintaining a dwelling for purposes of selling controlled substances, a Class D felony, and one count of casual exchange of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. After accepting the defendant’s plea, the trial court merged the defendant’s convictions concerning the sale and the delivery of cocaine. Pursuant to his plea agreement, the defendant was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to five years for the sale of cocaine, three years for maintaining a dwelling for purposes of selling a controlled substance, and eleven months and twenty-nine days for his casual exchange. The trial court ordered the defendant to serve these sentences concurrently, resulting in a total effective sentence of five years. The defendant moved the court for alternative sentencing, but the trial court denied this motion following a hearing and ordered the defendant to serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by denying his motion for alternative sentencing. After carefully reviewing the record and the arguments of the parties, we conclude that the defendant has failed to establish that the trial court abused its discretion. The judgments denying alternative sentencing are affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE VS. CHRIS NACHAMPASAK

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Luke A. Evans and Heather G. Parker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for appelant, Chris Nachampasak.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; William Whitesell, District Attorney General, and Trevor Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Chris Nachampasak, was indicted by the Rutherford County Grand Jury for one count of first degree murder, one count of felony murder, four counts of aggravated assault, and one count of reckless endangerment after a drive-by shooting at a graduation party that resulted in the death of a fourteen-year-old child. Appellant subsequently pled guilty to a single count of second degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault in return for the dismissal of the remaining counts of the indictment. In exchange for the guilty pleas, Appellant received an effective sentence of thirty-five years in incarceration. Subsequently, Appellant filed a motion to withdraw the guilty pleas. After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal challenging the trial court’s denial of the motion to withdraw the guilty pleas. After a review, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to withdraw the guilty pleas where Appellant failed to show a manifest injustice. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


TOMMY LEE PAGE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ryan K.H. Nevin, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, Tommy Lee Page.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Tommy Lee Page, was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury for one count of sale of a controlled substance in a Drug Free School Zone. He entered a guilty plea to the reduced charge of the sale of a controlled substance weighing less than .5 grams. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Petitioner was sentenced to fifteen years as a Range II, multiple offender. Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief arguing that he was afforded ineffective assistance of counsel and that he entered his guilty plea unknowingly and involuntarily. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to prove any of his allegations that counsel’s representation was ineffective and we conclude that his plea was entered knowingly and voluntarily. Therefore, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROY LEN ROGERS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Keith H. Grant (at trial and on appeal), Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Robert D. Philyaw (at trial), Signal Mountain, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roy Len Rogers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Michael J. Taylor, District Attorney General; and James W. Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Roy Len Rogers, was convicted by a Rhea County jury of first degree premeditated murder, second degree murder, and reckless endangerment. Subsequently, the trial court merged the second degree murder conviction into the first degree murder conviction and imposed a mandatory life sentence for that conviction and a concurrent term of eleven months and twenty-nine days for the reckless endangerment conviction. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence found during the search of his home; (2) that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the verdicts were inconsistent; (3) that the trial court erred by refusing to allow the Defendant to play a 911 tape; (4) that the trial court improperly admitted irrelevant photographs of tires of the Defendant’s vehicle; (5) that the State withheld Brady material, specifically the statement of a potential suspect; and (6) that a juror evidenced bias by her actions and body language prior to deliberations. Following our review of the record and the applicable authorities, we determine that there is no reversible error in the judgments of the trial court and affirm.


Reeves To Go Before Senate Judiciary Wednesday

Former TBA President, Knoxville lawyer and federal judicial nominee Pamela Reeves faces a hearing Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Reeves has been nominated to replace Judge Thomas W. Phillips on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Phillips retired on Aug. 1. The committee has announced that in addition to Reeves, it will consider nominations for the Tenth Circuit and two other district courts on Wednesday. Knoxnews also reports that Reeves has already met with Sen. Bob Corker about her nomination.


Chancellor Reinstates Child’s Name as ‘Messiah’

At a hearing in Cocke County Chancery Court last week, Chancellor Telford E. Forgety overturned child support magistrate Lu Ann Ballew’s decision that a woman could not name her son "Messiah" because it was a title reserved for “Jesus Christ.” Forgety said there was no basis in the law for changing a child's first name when both parents are in agreement about what it should be. He also said that Ballew's decision violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Associated Press reports.


Death Sentence Commuted for Sick Inmate

John Patrick Henretta, a death row inmate awaiting execution for the 1988 murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery of a Cleveland woman, had his sentence commuted after Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood determined his natural death is imminent. Blackwood also ruled that Henretta likely would not survive post-conviction proceedings given his “dire physical state,” the Times Free Press reports. Lawyers argued that execution would be cruel and unusual punishment given Henretta’s condition. According to a doctor who testified, Henretta suffers from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, skin cancer, prostate cancer, chronic hepatitis C, severe cirrhosis of the liver and a backup of blood into the intestinal wall and spleen.


Memphis Woman Charged with Threatening Prosecutor

Betty Frazier, the sister of a nurse charged in the death of a 3-year-old, has been arrested for threatening the prosecutor in the case. According to The Commercial Appeal, Frazier allegedly said, “I could see myself putting a bullet in her head,” about Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Nichols, after a hearing in the case. Frazier’s sister Demequa Bonds is charged with reckless homicide after a child with a rare neurological disorder was left in her care and died in her home.


Stanton: New DOJ Strategy is ‘Smarter’ on Crime

In an opinion piece published Saturday in the Jackson Sun, Western District U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton applauds the Justice Department’s new “Smart on Crime” initiative and lays out his plans for implementing its core objectives. Under the plan, announced last month by Attorney General Eric Holder, federal prosecutors are to focus on the most serious criminal cases, pursue alternatives to incarceration, improve reentry efforts and focus on protecting the most vulnerable in society. Stanton touts the work his office already has done in these areas and explains how the initiative will further refine and extend those efforts.


Nashville Lawyer Honored for Indigent Defense

Nashville attorney Patrick Frogge, who frequently represents indigent federal defendants, has been selected as Panel Lawyer of the Year by Federal Public Defender Henry Martin and former recipients of the award. He will be honored at the 22nd annual Criminal Justice Act Panel Appreciation Banquet Oct. 9 in Nashville, The Tennessean reports. Speaking about Frogge, Martin said he “represents the underdogs” and “continues to show that he’s a lawyer for the people” having worked on thousands of cases. Frogge earned his law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1999. He worked as Nashville’s assistant public defender before entering private practice in 2005.


23rd Annual Red Mass Set for Friday in Memphis

The St. Thomas More Catholic Lawyers' Guild will host the 23rd Annual Red Mass this Friday at noon at St. Peter Catholic Church, 190 Adams Ave. 38103. The Liturgy will be celebrated by J. Terry Steib, bishop of Memphis. The mass is held to invoke divine guidance and blessings on those involved in the legal profession. Each of the area’s Catholic high schools also were invited to send students to the mass and a presentation on financial literacy and the rule of law by Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.


Retired Bartlett Lawyer Dies

Retired Bartlett lawyer Malford Allen Blankenship died Saturday (Sept. 21). He was 89. A graduate of Memphis State Law School, Blankenship worked as corporate lawyer for the Kaiser Corporation. Other life experiences included performing as a musician with Mal Allen and The Melody boys, working as a disc jockey for a country radio station, serving as a naval aviator in World War II and chairing the local “We The People” forum. A graveside service will be Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Indian Creek Cemetery in Bartlett. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to Bartlett Baptist Church, 3465 Kirby Whitten Rd., Bartlett, TN 38135. The Commercial Appeal has more on his 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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