Court Accepts 8 Cases; Likely Will Work During Shutdown

The U.S. Supreme Court today granted review of eight new cases, including one from Tennessee seeking to clarify when an individual commits a crime for having a gun after being convicted of domestic violence. Other cases involve questions about the award of attorneys' fees in patent cases; whether it is unconstitutional for a state to require home-care providers to pay a union to represent them before state agencies; whether the federal government has a right to reclaim lands abandoned by a railroad; whether shuttered businesses must pay Social Security and Medicare tax on severance checks; and whether police, after receiving an anonymous tip, must observe drunken or reckless driving before stopping a vehicle. The final case seeks to resolve a long-running copyright dispute in Hollywood over the screenplay for the 1980 movie Raging Bull. Although much of the government is closed because of the budget impasse, the Supreme Court is going ahead with its work, SCOTUSblog reports.

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
18 - 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

TONYA ANDREWS, AS ADMIN. FOR THE ESTATE OF JAMES CHRISTOPHER SPRINKLE & JACOB COLTON SPRINKLE A MINOR BY NEXT FRIEND AND GUARDIAN TONYA ANDREWS v. AMY SPRINKLE AND FRANK WRAY

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Larry Samuel Peterson, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellants, Amy Sprinkle and Frank Wray.

L. Bruce Peden, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tonya Andrews and Jacob Cole Sprinkle.

Judge: HIGHERS

The basic issues in this appeal involve the valuation of a decedent’s business at the time of his death. After the decedent died, the decedent’s mother was appointed administratrix of his estate. She filed this lawsuit against the decedent’s wife and the decedent’s wife’s brother, alleging that they had wrongfully disposed of virtually all of the decedent’s property after his death, including his business assets, thereby rendering a proper administration of the estate extremely difficult if not impossible. Following a four-day bench trial, the trial court concluded that the defendants had wrongfully taken possession of the decedent’s business assets and converted them to their own personal use. Relevant to this appeal, the court valued the decedent’s business at $75,000, and it held that the defendants were jointly and severally liable to the estate for that amount. The defendants appeal, challenging only the amount of damages awarded by the trial court for the value of the business. After a careful review of the record, we affirm.


4215 HARDING ROAD HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION v. STACY HARRIS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Stacy Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Nicholas A. Lastra, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, 4215 Harding Road Home Owners’ Association.

Judge: DINKINS

In suit brought by condominium Homeowner’s Association, former owner of condominium unit which was ordered sold after being determined to constitute a nuisance, appeals the trial court’s order granting the Association’s application for attorneys’ fees. Finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in making the award, we affirm the judgment.


IN RE: LILLIAN F. W.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Cindy H. Morgan, Sparta, Tennessee, Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony N.

Luke Austin Evans, Heather Graves Parker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the appellees, Sam W. and Melinda W.

Judge: COTTRELL

This is an appeal from orders entered by the Circuit Court in an appeal from a juvenile court’s judgment finding a child dependent and neglected and establishing custody and visitation. These proceedings are part of a custody struggle between the biological father of the child, who lives in California, and her maternal grandparents, who live in Tennessee. Both parties have participated in proceedings in the courts of Tennessee and California. Although the substantive orders of the two courts were very similar, each of the parties decided at some point not to follow the orders of the court in the state of the other party’s residence, resulting in conflicting orders of custody and a jurisdictional battle in which both parties have invoked the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act. We have determined that the only type of subject matter jurisdiction at issue here is the temporary, emergency jurisdiction that the juvenile court exercised to determine Grandparents’ petition for dependency and neglect.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PERRY NEAL BARHAM

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

G. W. Sherrod, III, Henderson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Perry Neal Barham.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General, and Brian Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Perry Neal Barham, was indicted by the Chester County Grand Jury for one count of rape of a child and one count of aggravated sexual battery. The State subsequently dropped the rape charge. Appellant was convicted by a jury of aggravated sexual battery and sentenced by the trial court as a Range II offender to twenty years with a 100 percent release eligibility. On appeal, Appellant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to allow the presentation of evidence of the victim’s prior sexual history under Rule 412 of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence, that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, and that the trial court erred in sentencing him to the maximum sentence in the range. We have reviewed the record on appeal and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NICHOLAS WYATT BARISH

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Bruce E. Poston and Jamie Poston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nicholas Wyatt Barish.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Randall Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin Allen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

After a trial by jury, the defendant was convicted of first degree (felony) murder as well as one count of especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony. Prior to trial, the defendant also pled guilty to one count of burglary of an automobile, a Class E felony. The defendant was automatically sentenced to life in prison for the felony murder, and he received concurrent sentences as a Range I, standard offender of eighteen years for the especially aggravated robbery and one year for the burglary of the automobile. On appeal, the defendant claims that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred by instructing the jury that they could not consider lesser-included offenses until after they reached a unanimous decision with respect to the first degree murder charge. We find these claims to lack merit. In addition, the defendant claims that the trial judge’s ex parte contact with the jury during its deliberations exerted an improper influence on jury’s verdict. Upon review, we conclude that on the unique facts of this case public confidence in jury’s verdict has been so undermined as to necessitate reversal of the defendant’s first degree (felony) murder conviction. We affirm the defendant’s remaining convictions and sentences and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


TROY DOUGLAS BARTLEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

L. Dudley Senter, III, Bristol, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellant, Troy Douglas Bartley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Lesley A. Foglia and Daniel Hall, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Troy Douglas Bartley, appeals the Sullivan County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions of two counts of aggravated assault, Class C felonies, one count of delivery of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school zone, a Class B felony, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver within 1,000 feet of a school zone, a Class A felony, one count of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony, one count of retaliation for past action, a Class E felony, and two additional counts of aggravated assault, Class C felonies. Based on the guilty plea hearing transcript, the Petitioner pleaded guilty in case number S57,639, to two counts of aggravated assault, both of which were merged by the trial court, and received a three-year-sentence. In case number S58,333, the Petitioner pleaded guilty to delivery of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school zone, count one, which merged with count two, possession of less than five-tenths of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver within 1,000 feet of a school zone, and received an eight-year sentence. In case number S58,374, the Petitioner pleaded guilty to attempted first degree murder, count one, retaliation for past action, count two, and two additional counts of aggravated assault, counts three and four, which the trial court merged with count two. In regard to case number S58,374, the Petitioner was sentenced to fifteen and four years, respectively. The trial court ordered “all counts in each case [to be served] concurrent[ly] but each of the cases [were] consecutive[,]”for an effective sentence of twenty-six years’ imprisonment. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that he entered involuntary and unknowing guilty pleas. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


KELVIN COLLINS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Kevin P. Henson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kelvin Collins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Marques Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Kelvin Collins, petitioned the Shelby County Criminal Court for postconviction relief from his 2011 guilty-pleaded convictions of facilitation to commit robbery and aggravated robbery, arising out of two separate incidents. The convictions resulted in a total effective sentence of eight years to serve in the Department of Correction. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief, and following our review, we affirm the order of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEXTER COX

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Claiborne H. Ferguson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dexter Cox.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General, and Dean Decandia, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

A Shelby County grand jury indicted Appellant, Dexter Cox, for first degree premeditated murder in September of 2008. After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of first degree murder, for which the trial court sentenced Appellant to life without the possibility of parole. The sentence was ordered to be served consecutively to a previously imposed life sentence. Appellant challenges his conviction, claiming that his confession was the product of an illegal arrest and was involuntary. Following our review, we affirm the judgmens of the trial court.


JOE N. HILL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ryan B. Feeney, Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joe N. Hill.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Bob Gray, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Joe N. Hill, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief from his McNairy County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded conviction of incest, for which he received a sentence of three years’ probation. In this appeal, the petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEROME JOHNSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; Tony N. Brayton (on appeal) and Jennifer Johnson Mitchell and Patrick A. Newport (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Jerome Johnson.

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

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Jerome Johnson, was indicted by a Shelby County Grand Jury for attempted second degree murder in count 1, aggravated assault in count 2, and solicitation to commit the offense of filing a false police report in count 3. Following a jury trial, Johnson was convicted in count 1 of the lesser included offense of reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor; in count 2 of the charged offense of aggravated assault, a Class C felony; and in count 3 of the charged offense of solicitation to commit the offense of filing a false police report, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced Johnson as a Range III, persistent offender to fifteen years’ imprisonment for the aggravated assault conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days’ imprisonment for the reckless endangerment and solicitation to commit the offense of filing a false police report convictions. The court ordered that the sentences for the reckless endangerment and aggravated assault convictions be served concurrently and ordered that the sentence for the solicitation conviction be served consecutively to the other two sentences for an effective sentence of fifteen years plus eleven months and twenty-nine days. On appeal, Johnson argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JESSICA M. MYERS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Francis X. Santore, Jr., Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jessica M. Myers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Cecil C. Mills, Jr. and Ritchie Collins, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Jessica M. Myers, was indicted on one count of first degree (premeditated) murder of Jimmy Cutshall, three alternative counts of first degree (felony) murder of Jimmy Cutshall, and one count of attempt to commit first degree murder of Rhonda Cutshall. A jury found her guilty of the first four counts as charged and of the lesser-included offense of reckless endangerment on the fifth count. The trial court merged the felony murder convictions. The defendant was sentenced to life in prison for counts one and two, and she was sentenced to serve eleven months and twenty-nine days on count five, with all sentences to be served concurrently. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, an alleged defect in the indictment in count one, and the admission of certain postmortem photographs as cumulative evidence at trial. Having reviewed the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PHILLIP PACK

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory P. Isaacs and Andrea B. Mohr (on appeal); and Keith Hatfield (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Phillip Pack.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Michael O. Ripley and Leif Jeffers, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Phillip Pack, appeals from his Campbell County Criminal Court jury conviction of second degree murder, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that newly discovered evidence established his innocence, that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence, and that the prosecutor made inappropriate remarks during closing argument. Because the evidence adduced at trial was insufficient to support the defendant’s conviction of second degree murder, the conviction is reversed, and the charge is dismissed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TONY ERIC PICKETT, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Zachary Newman (on appeal) and David Barrow (at trial), Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony Eric Pickett, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Cameron Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Hamilton County Criminal Court Jury found the appellant, Tony Eric Pickett, Jr., guilty of evading arrest, a Class E felony. The trial court sentenced the appellant as a career offender to six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction and the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on misdemeanor evading arrest. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


DONALD SMITH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James P. DeRossitt, IV, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donald Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Greg Gilbert, Assistant District Attorney General; State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Donald Smith, contends that his guilty plea was not knowingly and intelligently entered because he was not coherent at the hearing due to mental incapacities and that trial counsel was deficient for failing to request a mental evaluation. After considering the record and the relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.


MICHAEL W. SMITH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael W. Smith, Pro Se, Memphis, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General, and Reginald Henderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Michael W. Smith, appeals the habeas corpus court’s dismissal of his pro se petition for habeas corpus relief. On direct appeal from his convictions for assault and aggravated burglary in Shelby County, this Court determined that the trial court constructively amended the indictments during the jury charge causing reversible error. See State v. Michael Smith, No. W2011-01630-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 3702369 at *7-8 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, July 12, 2013). As a result, Petitioner’s convictions were reversed and remanded for a new trial. Id. at 1. Because the habeas corpus petition in this case seeks a new trial, the judgment of this Court on direct appeal granting a new trial renders the instant appeal moot. Accordingly, Petitioner’s appeal is dismissed.


RICHARD TREHERN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Francis X. Santore, Jr., Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Trehern.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Alex Pearson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Richard Trehern, appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying the petition because trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. More specifically, Petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective (1) by failing to adequately communicate and meet with him to prepare for the case; (2) by failing to attack the credibility of Petitioner’s wife on cross-examination; (3) by failing to advise him that the crime for which he was charged had no release eligibility date; (4) by failing to adequately advise him of the consequences of Momon; and (5) by failing to obtain an expert witness to rebut the State’s theory of shaken baby syndrome. Following our review of the record, we affirm the denial of relief.


RAY JUNIOR TURNER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

George D. Norton, Jr., Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ray Junior Turner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and John Zimmerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Petitioner, Ray Junior Turner, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to deliver 300 grams or more of cocaine and one count of delivery of 300 grams or more of cocaine. Each of the offenses is a Class A felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-417(j). The trial court sentenced petitioner to sixty years for each conviction as a career offender to be served concurrently. He unsuccessfully appealed his convictions and sentences. See State v. Kenneth Miller and Ray Junior Turner, No. M2008-02267-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 1644969, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 22, 2010). Petitioner filed the current petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when trial counsel: (1) failed to properly investigate petitioner’s case and communicate with petitioner; (2) failed to file a motion to suppress wiretap evidence; and (3) failed to properly inspect all discoverable evidence introduced at trial. Following our review of the parties’ arguments, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


CHARLES WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Jeffrey Lee, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellant, Charles Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Betsy Weintraub, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

On August 4, 2008, a Shelby County jury convicted Petitioner, Charles Williams, of first degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. State v. Charles Williams, No. W2008-02211-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL1930965, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, May 13, 2010), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Apr. 12, 2011). Petitioner was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to consecutive sentences of life and fifteen years. In 2011, Petitioner filed a timely pro se petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The post-conviction court denied Petitioner relief. On appeal, Petitioner contends that the trial court erred in denying his petition. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the trial court’s denial of post-conviction relief.


CHRISTOPHER A. WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Christopher A. Williams, Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Christopher A. Williams, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus that challenged his 1997 Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of felony murder. Discerning no error, we affirm.


TONY WOLFE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Paul K. Guibao (on appeal) and Larry Copeland (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony Wolfe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Paul Hagerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Tony Wolfe, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court Jury of first degree premeditated murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Thereafter, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. The postconviction court denied the petition, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


LEWIS YOUNG v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Anna R. Smith, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lewis Young.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pamela Fleming, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Lewis Young, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


Haslam: Navigator Rules Not Meant to be ‘Stumbling Block’

Following a Nashville judge’s decision yesterday to not block state rules concerning health insurance navigators and counselors, the parties now are preparing for next week’s preliminary injunction hearing. When asked about the case yesterday, Gov. Bill Haslam defended the rules saying they were approved by the legislature with wide bipartisan support and were enacted at the last minute only because of a delay in the federal guidelines. Saying he wants to see the exchanges work well, Haslam reiterated that that the rules are not “intended to be a stumbling block,” the Times Free Press reports. Meanwhile, opposition to the rules continues to grow. Yesterday, the city of Nashville filed an amicus brief supporting the suit challenging the state's position. The Tennessean has more.


Deadline Set for Filing Meningitis Claims

A federal judge in Massachusetts has set Jan. 15, 2014, as the deadline for filing claims in the bankruptcy case against the New England Compounding Center. The order, signed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Henry Boroff, includes detailed instructions on the information victims or their survivors must provide to have their claims considered. Tennessee attorneys representing victims of the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak said they were pleased that the order provides additional time to file a claim, The Tennessean reports. They note, however, that the deadline applies only to claims against the center. Claims filed against other entities such as hospitals and clinics are subject to a one-year limit in state law.


Pilot CEO Reports Payback Nearly Complete

Pilot Flying J says it will have repaid all the trucking companies cheated out of diesel rebates within the next few months, WPLN reports. Speaking on Knoxville television station WBIR, Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam said the company is on the right track with as many as 75 outside auditors working to rectify the accounts of those who were shortchanged. “We’ve actually expanded what we said we would do – fairly dramatically in several different cases – all in the spirit of doing the right thing and making things right with the trucking companies."


DOJ: Judges Should Stay Civil Cases During Shutdown

Citing the government shutdown, which started at 12:01 a.m. today, U.S. Justice Department lawyers are urging federal judges to stay civil cases. Federal prosecutors across the country started filing requests for extensions yesterday in civil cases in anticipation of the shutdown and judges agreed to cancel settlement conferences and other hearings scheduled for this week. The Blog of Legal Times looks at the issue and the impact of the shutdown on the D.C. Superior Court and D.C. Court of Appeals.


No Stay for Airline Merger Case

In light of the government shutdown, Justice Department lawyers asked for a stay in the US Airways-American Airlines antitrust case, but the judge denied the request this afternoon. “Because of the need for the prompt resolution of this matter, the Court has set an expedited discovery and trial schedule. A stay at this point would undermine this schedule and delay the necessary speedy disposition of this matter. It is essential that the Department of Justice attorneys continue to litigate this case,” U.S. District Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote in the opinion. WRCB TV and the Blog of Legal Times have more on the story.


Judge Strand to Step Down in August

Jefferson County General Sessions Judge Ben Strand Jr. announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election in August 2014, the Newport Plain Talk reports. Strand has served on the bench since 1998 as the general sessions judge and the juvenile and probate judge. From 2009 to 2013, he served on the state’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and previously served as president of the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference. He also served in the TBA House of Delegates.


Court in Murfreesboro for SCALES Program

The Tennessee Supreme Court heard three cases today at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro as part of the Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students (SCALES) program. Students from across campus heard oral arguments in the cases and quizzed lawyers about their arguments at the conclusion of the proceedings. Read about the cases in the Daily News Journal.


Court Suspends 130 for CLE Violations

On Aug. 21, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended 130 lawyers for failing to comply with mandatory continuing legal education requirements in 2012. Attorneys who since have complied with the rule, and for whom notice has been received from the CLE Commission, are noted as reinstated.


Don't Be Sunk: Read the October TBJ

The new issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal kicks off with help for advising your clients about the sinkholes their houses may be built over. Lawyers Bruce A. McMullen and Joshua A. Mullen give you the details of the Sinkhole Statute. Read this and more, including a quick update on The Law Launch Project in its first month of following 15 Tennessee law students in their last year of school.


Get Innovative Payroll Solutions with CompuPay

CompuPay Inc. offers a variety of payroll service solutions for TBA members, including phone, fax and online payroll. For more information about CompuPay’s offerings and to receive TWO FREE MONTHS of payroll services, please call (615) 791-4000 and mention that you are a TBA member.


 
 

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