Email Scam Targets IOLTA Accounts

The Tennessee Bar Foundation reports that an email scam is popping up across the country warning lawyers that their IOLTA account has “insufficient funds” to pay an outstanding check. Barri Bernstein, executive director of the foundation – which administers the IOLTA program in Tennessee – said today that the sender claims to be National Bankruptcy Services LLC of Dallas. And that while several different names are used to sign the email, all versions refer to a check of approximately $19,000. Anyone who receives such an email should not open it or click on the attachment, which is presumed to contain malware.

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
07 - 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

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


Allen Woods, Larry D. Woods, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cheatham County Board of Education.

Eric Kerwin Lockert, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellees, Michael and Tammy Adcock.


This is an appeal from a summary judgment order awarding the plaintiffs an easement across the defendant’s property. Because the order does not dispose of the plaintiffs’ claim for attorney’s fees, we dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Thomas M. Pinckney, Susan Duvier Bass, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Deborah A. Snedegar.

Marshall Herbert McClarnon, Donald D. Zuccarello, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Kathleen Baker and Rick Baker.


Plaintiff filed suit against a medical legal examiner alleging the medical legal examiner was negligent in failing to inform her of certain preventative medications. The medical legal examiner contended she was a government employee protected from liability by the Governmental Tort Liability Act and moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied the motion because the medical legal examiner could not prove she was paid by the payroll department of the governmental entity at issue, as required by Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-20- 107(a)(2). The medical legal examiner appealed, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Tyree B. Harris, IV and Katherine A. Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Martha Elaine Weaver Carter.

James H. Drescher, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, David Ray Carter.


Mother appeals the trial court’s decision on her petition to modify parenting time. While we find no error in the trial court’s ruling on parenting time, we have concluded that the trial court erred in disqualifying mother’s attorney from representing her in future proceedings and in ordering mother to produce bank records.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Timothy Howland Nichols, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gayle Connelly.

Wayne David Hibbeler, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Peter Napolitano.


The trial court in this case entered two identical final judgments fifteen days apart. The appellant filed her notice of appeal within thirty days of the second judgment, but not the first. Because the thirty day time limit for filing a notice of appeal runs from the entry of the first judgment, the notice of appeal was not timely filed. Although the appellant may seek relief from the trial court pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P.60, the failure to file a timely notice of appeal deprives this court of jurisdiction, and the appeal must be dismissed.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


James Frederick Roberts, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro se.

Leslie G. Coleman and Jason Richard Ridenour, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Dale Roberts Crafton.


Because the order appealed is not a final judgment, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

VACATING PRIOR OPINION: This order, filed on Oct. 3, 2013, vacates an opinion filed on March 28, 2013, and grants a rehearing in the matter of Shemeka Metin Ibrahim v. Murfreesboro Medical Clinic Surgi Center et al.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


On March 12, 2013, the appellees filed a motion to dismiss this appeal for failure to file a timely notice of appeal. The appellant did not file a timely response, and the court dismissed the appeal on March 28, 2013. The appellant filed a timely petition to rehear asserting that she timely filed her notice of appeal with the trial court clerk on February 20, 2013, but that the trial court clerk did not mark the notice of appeal filed until after the trial court approved her request to proceed as a poor person. On April 9, 2013, this court reserved judgment on the petition to rehear and remanded the matter to the trial court for a determination of the date the appellant's notice of appeal was actually received by the trial court clerk. The trial court has now determined that the notice of appeal was received by the trial court clerk on February 20, 2013, and that the trial court erroneously failed to file stamp it as of that date. Accordingly, the notice of appeal was timely filed. It is, therefore, ordered that the petition to rehear is granted. The opinion and judgment entered by this court on March 28, 2013, are hereby vacated. The appeal shall proceed in accordance with the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.

With concurring in part, dissenting in part opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Jennifer E. Patterson, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Lori J. Keene, Memphis, Tennessee; and Alan Sowell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Natalie D. Grant-Herms.


Operations agent employed by Southwest Airlines brought an action against a passenger for posting allegedly false and defamatory statements on Twitter and Facebook regarding actions taken by agent when passenger attempted to board a flight. The trial court granted the passenger’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the statements did not rise to the level of defamation, that the language could not be construed to hold the agent up to public ridicule, and that the language was not highly offensive to a reasonable person. We affirm the grant of summary judgment on the defamation claim and reverse the grant of summary judgment on the claim for invasion of privacy; we remand the case for further proceedings.

Memphis Lawyer Wins Primary for Deberry Seat

Memphis lawyer Raumesh Akbari has won the Democratic primary special election for Tennessee House District 91 – the seat held by Lois Deberry until her death this past summer – the Memphis Daily News reports. Akbari will face James Tomasik, an independent candidate and chairman of the Libertarian Party of Tennessee, in the general election Nov. 21. Akbari earned her law degree in 2009 from the Saint Louis University School of Law.

Rep. Curtiss to Step Down at End of Term

State Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, says he will step down from his seat when the current term ends, News Channel 5 reports. The 66-year-old did not give a specific reason for his decision, but said he wanted to give other candidates plenty of time to run for his District 43 seat. Curtiss will have served 20 years when his term ends. House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh called Curtiss a leader on workers’ compensation, insurance and utility matters who was "always looking out for the regular working people."

Election Panel Dismisses Complaint Against Haslam

The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance voted today to dismiss a complaint against Gov. Bill Haslam for failing to disclose how much he paid outside adviser Tom Ingram. The panel voted 3-1 to throw out the complaint filed by former state Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester. Ingram was Haslam’s top campaign adviser during his successful 2010 bid for governor. After his election, Haslam paid Ingram out of his own pocket for political and policy advice. Forrester argued that Ingram's political advice was inherently related to Haslam’ re-election effort and should have been disclosed. The Memphis Daily News has the story from the Associated Press.

Court to Rule on Aggregate Campaign Contributions

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which tests the constitutionality of limits on overall contributions to federal candidates and to party and political action committees. According to several news outlets covering the proceeding, the court appears ready to strike down the limit on contributions to candidates. Other sources, however said the justices were “sharply divided” and asked a lot of questions about “the nuts and bolts” of campaign finance. The case was brought by Alabama businessman Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee. The ABA Journal links to stories about the case.

Federalist Society Hosts Debate on Judicial Selection

The Memphis Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society will host a debate between John L. Ryder of Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh and Gary K. Smith of Apperson Crump on the merits of a constitutional amendment to change Tennessee’s method of judicial selection. U.S. District Court Judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. will moderate the discussion. The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Madison Hotel, 79 Madison Ave., Memphis 38103. To register, email Greg Grisham or call him at (901) 462-2616.

Pro Bono Month Continues with 3 Memphis Events Saturday

While Celebrate Pro Bono events are taking place across the state this week, Memphis lawyers are preparing for three activities on Saturday. The day begins with a Wills for Heroes clinic organized by the TBA Young Lawyers Division to provide free wills and powers of attorney to first responders and their families. Additional volunteers are needed, especially for the afternoon shift. Email Joann Coston-Holloway or call her at (901) 577-8223 to get involved. From 10 a.m. to noon, the Memphis Bar Association and Memphis Area Legal Services will host a clinic to help members of the public with civil legal issues. From noon to 2 p.m., the University of Memphis Student Bar Association will host a pro bono picnic and celebration. All events take place at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. Learn more about these and all Celebrate Pro Bono events on the TBA website.

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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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