TBA Launches Mentoring Program for New Lawyers

The TBA today launched a new mentoring program designed to respond to the growing trend of newly admitted lawyers opening solo practices. Beginning now, and running through Jan. 3, 2014, TBA members in their first three years of law practice may apply to be matched with a mentor. Those participating in the program will commit to a formal mentoring relationship for one year -- beginning in February -- with a requirement that mentors and mentees meet face-to-face at least once a month. Participants will be able to choose one of two tracks: a track that offers up to seven hours of CLE credit or one that will not include CLE. Participants will choose from a variety of curriculum topics, materials for which will be available on the TBA website. In addition to seeking mentees, the TBA is recruiting attorneys with at least eight years of legal practice experience to serve as mentors. Whether you are a new lawyer in need of a mentor or a seasoned lawyer with wisdom to share, visit the TBA's mentoring webpage to learn more about this exciting opportunity.

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
02 - 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


Gary A. Davis and James S. Whitlock, Asheville, North Carolina, for the appellants, Citizens for Safety and Clean Air, Walt Warren, Patricia Warren, Charles Goins, and Judy Goins.

John T. Batson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, City of Clinton, Tennessee and Clinton Municipal Planning Commission.

Bruce D. Fox, Clinton, Tennessee; and, H. Wayne Phears, Atlanta, Georgia, for the appellee, Rogers Group, Inc.


This appeal arises from a dispute over the zoning of a certain tract of land in Clinton, Tennessee. Clinton annexed property (“the Property”) belonging to Rogers Group, Inc., and assigned zoning classifications to the newly annexed tract. The group Citizens for Safety and Clean Air, and individual local residents Walt Warren, Patricia Warren, Charles Goins, and Judy Goins (“the Plaintiffs,”collectively) sued the City of Clinton, Tennessee, Clinton Municipal Planning Commission, and Rogers Group (“the Defendants,” collectively) in the Chancery Court for Anderson County (“the Trial Court”) seeking declaratory judgment. The Plaintiffs, opposed to the prospective development of a quarry and asphalt plant on the Property, challenged the heavy industrial zoning classification of a portion of the Property on the basis that it was arbitrary and capricious; constituted illegal contract zoning; and, constituted illegal spot zoning. Alternatively, the Plaintiffs sought to enforce the Master Settlement Agreement (“the MSA”), an agreement settling an annexation dispute entered into by Anderson County, Clinton, and Rogers Group. The Plaintiffs alleged they were thirdparty beneficiaries to the MSA. The Trial Court found in favor of the Defendants on all issues. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


R. Layne Holley, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wolff Ardis, P.C.

Beth Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jonathan C. Dailey


This appeal involves the issue of personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state attorney. Defendant is an attorney who resides in Washington D.C. and practiced with a law firm in Virginia. He sought the assistance of Plaintiff, a Memphis law firm, in connection with a lawsuit that Defendant had filed in Maryland. After several discussions, Defendant, Plaintiff, and the client eventually entered into a contract whereby Plaintiff associated with Defendant as co-counsel in the Maryland case. After trial, Defendant allegedly refused to pay his onehalf share of the expenses, as provided by the parties’ contract. Plaintiff then filed the instant lawsuit against Defendant in Tennessee. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Bar Exam Results Now Available

Results from the July Tennessee bar exam are now available. You can see the full list of successful candidates now.

81 Percent of LMU’s First Law Grads Pass Bar

More than 80 percent of Lincoln Memorial University John J. Duncan Jr. School of Law’s first class of graduates passed the state bar exam, Knoxnews reports. The school, which is in the midst of its second attempt to receive accreditation from the American Bar Association, sees the results as validation for the rigor and quality of the program. “I think this concrete evidence of successful training and education will have a significant impact on that accreditation committee — a significant and very favorable impact,” Dean Parham Williams said. “This is proof positive that we have been doing great things.”

Former Tennessee Governors Join Campaign to Fix Debt

Former Tennessee governors Phil Bredesen, Don Sunquist and Winfield Dunn have joined the Governors Fiscal Leadership Council, a newly created arm of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. The organization is a nonpartisan group dedicated to shedding light on issues related to the national debt. The council includes 41 former governors—20 Republicans and 21 Democrats. The Memphis Business Journal has more.

St. Jude Names New Chief Legal Officer

Robyn Diaz has been named chief legal officer and senior vice president of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With 10 years of health law experience and 15 years of experience in the health care industry, Diaz joined the hospital’s Office of General Counsel as associate general counsel in August 2010. She was promoted to deputy general counsel in May 2012. “Robyn’s expertise and experience provide a strong foundation upon which she will continue to excel as a member of our senior management team at St. Jude,” St. Jude Director and CEO Dr. William E. Evans said in a press release.

Airlines Dealt Setback in Merger Lawsuit

A court-appointed official recommended yesterday that the judge hearing a lawsuit to block the American Airlines and US Airways merger reject the airlines’ request to gain access to the names of people the government interviewed as well as what they said. The official said that the airlines were trying to learn what facts mattered to the government, which he said could give them insight into the thinking and legal strategy of Justice Department lawyers. He said that kind of information is protected as the work product of lawyers preparing for a lawsuit or trial. The Memphis Daily News has the story.

Courthouse Dog Demonstrates New Clarksville Program

During an informational meeting hosted yesterday by the Clarksville's District Attorney’s Office and the Courthouse Dogs Foundation, canine companion Molly B was a big hit, the Leaf Chronicle reports. The black Labrador-Golden Retriever has been trained for two years to care for the physical and emotional needs of people who need assistance, and can follow orders to sit, stand, lay down, roll over and speak with precision. In November, the district attorney’s office will receive a facility dog that can be used in court, at the child advocacy center, or at other facilities throughout the 19th Judicial District where a victim may need therapeutic comfort or emotional support.

Study: Law Review in Need of Reform

Judges, law professors, practicing attorneys and student editors alike believe that the current law review model needs reform, according to a new article published by Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and covered by the National Law Journal. The authors (comprised of a mix of psychology professors and doctoral students from the University of North Dakota, as well as several law professors from the Appalachian School of Law) queried 1,325 law professors, 338 student editors, 215 attorneys and 156 judges. They found that respondents think that current law review articles are too long and do not meet the needs of attorneys and judges, and that student editors should receive additional training. The ABA Journal has more on the story.

Judicial Selection Debate Set for Oct. 18

Wednesday’s issue of TBA Today contained a news item about an upcoming debate sponsored by the Memphis Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society, but inadvertently omitted the date. The event will take place Oct. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Madison Hotel, 79 Madison Ave., Memphis 38103. John L. Ryder of Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh and Gary K. Smith of Apperson Crump will discuss 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 session. To register, email Greg Grisham or call him at (901) 462-2616.

White to Run for Hamilton County Circuit Judge

Catherine Cate White today announced her candidacy for judge on the Hamilton County Circuit Court, the Chattanoogan reports. Judge Jackie Bolton previously announced she will not seek re-election for this position, and will step down at the end of her term next year. White is a graduate of the Cumberland School of Law and has 25 years of legal experience.

Knoxville Lawyer Considering Senate Run

Knoxville lawyer Terry Adams may be testing the water to run as a Democrat for U.S. Senate, the Tennessean's political blog reports. Adams sent an email yesterday to Democrats statewide introducing himself and stating he began considering a run after attending last months’ Jackson Day Dinner in Nashville and the Truman Day Dinner in Knoxville. He concludes the email by asking recipients to share their thoughts on whether he should run and promised to make a decision soon.

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.

Former Governor's Aide Dies

Ernie Murphy Downing Sr. died Wednesday (Oct. 9) at the age of 82. Originally from Obion County, he graduated in 1968 from Memphis State University School of Law, where he was a member of the Sigma Delta Kappa National Legal Aid and Defender Association. In 1978, Downing was appointed as a Colonel Aide de Camp to the Tennessee governor's staff. Funeral services will be Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Chapel of Johnson-Williams Funeral Home in Newbern. The Commercial Appeal has more on Downing's life.


Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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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