Knox Circuit Court Judge Not Seeking Re-election

Knox County Circuit Court Judge Dale Workman says he will not seek re-election after 24 years of service. In a press release, Workman expressed his desire to spend more time with his wife, three children and four grandchildren.

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
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - 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

CORRECTION: The date has been corrected to Monday, October 28, 2013 on pages 1 and 2.

Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Todd D. Siroky, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellants Carey B. Boals, Jr., and Kim Hickerson, individually and as next of kin of Judy Marlene Boals, deceased

Lori D. Parish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellee Alpha Mortuary Service, LLC

Judge: KIRBY

This is a lawsuit alleging unauthorized cremation. The plaintiffs’ mother, a Tennessee resident, died in Arkansas while visiting a friend. The plaintiffs hired a Tennessee funeral home to transport the decedent’s body back to her hometown of Medina, Tennessee, for an informal family viewing. The plaintiffs instructed the Tennessee funeral home operator that, after the viewing, the decedent’s body was to be taken to Nashville, Tennessee, to be cremated there. The Tennessee funeral home retained the defendant Arkansas funeral home to handle the matter. The Arkansas funeral home delivered the body to an Arkansas crematory. The plaintiffs’ mother’s body was cremated by the crematory in Arkansas, so the plaintiffs were deprived of the opportunity to view their mother’s deceased body in Tennessee. The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against several defendants, alleging various causes of action arising out of the unauthorized cremation of their mother’s body in Arkansas. The defendant Arkansas funeral home filed a motion for summary judgment as to all counts of the complaint. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Arkansas funeral home on all counts and certified the order as final under Tenn. R. Civ. Proc. 54.02. The plaintiffs now appeal. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the case for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John R. Bode, Robert F. Parsley, and Scott E. Simmons, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brick Acquisition Company.

R. Jonathan Guthrie and McKinley S. Lundy, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Carson Combs.


This appeal calls into question the validity of a covenant not to compete. A former employee of a seller and distributor of brick brought this action seeking a declaratory judgment that his agreement not to compete for two years with his former employer in the employee’s sales territory is unenforceable. Following a bench trial, the court held the covenant unenforceable and void. We hold that, because the employee had access to confidential pricing and profit margin information and was the sole commercial brick salesperson for the company in the Chattanooga area, the employer had a legitimate protectable business interest. We further hold that the terms of the non-compete agreement are reasonable under the facts of this case. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John Edward Herbison, Clarksville, Tennessee, and Joseph H. Johnston, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Karl S. Davidson.

Harold Richard Donnelly and Hal Hardin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Governor Phillip Bredesen and David Cooley, Deputy to the Governor.


Participant in protest action which took place at the Tennessee State Capitol brought an action alleging that former Governor and Deputy Governor retaliated against him for the exercise of his First Amendment rights during the protest. Participant appeals the grant of summary judgment against him and the trial court’s ruling that certain documents created by the Governor’s legal counsel were protected from discovery by the attorney-client and deliberative process privileges. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court in all respects.

F. A. B. v. D. L. B.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Judy A. Oxford, Franklin, Tennessee for Petitioner/Appellant F. A. B.

David D. Wolfe, Dickson, Tennessee for Respondent/Appellee D. L. B.

Judge: KIRBY

This post-divorce appeal involves the suspension of parenting time. The mother made repeated allegations that the father was abusing their child; the father denied all of the allegations. After numerous proceedings, the father asserted that the mother was coaching the child to make false allegations of abuse and asked the trial court to terminate the mother’s parenting time. The trial court ordered a psychological evaluation of both parties and the child. After considering the evaluations and substantial testimony, the trial court determined that the father had committed no abuse and found that the child would be emotionally harmed by continued contact with the mother. The trial court then suspended the mother’s parenting time and enjoined all contact with the child until the mother obtains mental health counseling and treatment. The mother appeals. Based on our careful review of the record, we affirm.

With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


James B. McClain,III, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Alexis Partee and Tom Bedell, Jr.

Randall Jay Fishman and Richard S. Townley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Allison Jacob.


The circuit court denied Appellants’ Rule 60.02 motion on the ground that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the motion. We affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


John P. Cauley, Franklin, Tennessee (Post-Conviction); Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee (on appeal); for the Defendant-Appellant, William Darryn Busby.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Derek K. Smith, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, William Darryn Busby, appeals the Lewis County Circuit Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for four counts of rape of a child. In this appeal, the Petitioner argues that he was denied a full and fair hearing by the post-conviction court, that he received ineffective assistance from both trial and appellate counsel, and that the cumulative effect of these errors deprived him of a defense at trial and meaningful appeal. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Andrew Jackson Dearing, III (at trial and on appeal) and Stephanie Barca (at trial), Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Tyrone Gant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David Findley, Senior Counsel; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; and Michael Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Bedford County jury found the Defendant, Michael Tyrone Gant, guilty of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to thirty years for the aggravated robbery conviction, a concurrent fifteen-year sentence for the aggravated burglary conviction, a consecutive six-year sentence for the possession of a weapon by a convicted felon conviction, and a consecutive twelve-year sentence for the possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony conviction for a total effective sentence of forty-eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; and (2) the trial court erred when ordering his sentences to run consecutively. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude there exists no error in the judgments of the trial court. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Troy L. Bowlin, II (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee, and Jonathan M. Holcomb (at trial), Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher S. Kinsler.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Dan E. Armstrong, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Christopher S. Kinsler, was convicted by a Hamblen County Criminal Court jury of fourth offense driving under the influence (DUI), a Class E felony. See T.C.A. § 55- 10-401 (2012). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to two years’ confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) the State violated the rules of discovery by failing to provide notice of expert testimony, (3) trial testimony contained inadmissible hearsay, and (4) his sentence is excessive. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; Emma Rae Tennant (on appeal), Jonathan F. Wing (at trial), and Kristin Stangl (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Lamont Thompson.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and J. Wesley King, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

A Davidson County jury convicted appellant, Timothy Lamont Thompson, of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced him as a repeat violent offender to life without parole for the aggravated robbery conviction and as a career offender to a concurrent sentence of fifteen years for the aggravated assault conviction. On appeal, he challenges the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress pretrial eyewitness identifications; the sufficiency of the convicting evidence; the admission of testimony regarding the discovery of a BB gun one month after the robbery; and the trial court’s refusal to modify the Tennessee Pattern Jury Instruction on identification. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court; however, we remand this case to the trial court for entry of an amended judgment form for the aggravated robbery conviction reflecting appellant’s status as a repeat violent offender.

Evidence Mishandled: Thousands of DUI Cases in Jeopardy

Thousands of DUI results statewide could be in jeopardy after former TBI Special Agent Kyle Bayer was fired Monday for mishandling evidence. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that an internal investigation revealed Bayer mistakenly switched two blood alcohol samples in a vehicular homicide case in Hamilton County. Now all samples obtained in the 2,800 cases Bayers handled will be retested for blood-alcohol content, the newspaper says. Based on those results, convictions could potentially be overturned or pending cases dismissed. The TBI said it plans to add an additional step to its testing process to ensure the same mistake doesn't happen in the future.

Grants to Help Tennessee, Others With Indigent Defendants

Tennessee, Mississippi and Utah today were awarded $90,000 to assist jurisdictions in providing adequate representation to indigent defendants. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the awards as part of $6.7 million in grants to state and local criminal and civil legal services organizations that provide legal defense services for the poor. The grants from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) are part of the Justice Department’s efforts to improve indigent defense.

Group Files Lawsuit against Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office

Prison Legal News, a prisoners’ rights organization, has filed a federal lawsuit against the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Wayne Anderson, claiming the department is censoring and refusing to deliver its publications and newsletter to inmates held at the Sullivan County Jail in violation of the 1st and 14th amendments. The Times News has the story.

Pilot Flying J, CEO Seek Suit Dismissal

Lawyers for Pilot Flying J and CEO Jimmy Haslam have filed motions in federal court in Alabama and circuit court in Knoxville to halt the few remaining active cases against the travel stop chain as they await action on a proposed settlement of rebate skimming allegations. The Tennessean reports that Pilot’s and Haslam’s lawyers are asking that the suits filed by a half dozen trucking firms be dismissed because they say the suits haven’t established that any fraud occurred. A 31-page brief filed by Pilot’s attorneys says that the racketeering charges in the suit are backed only by the affidavit of an FBI agent and that the suit fails to state with specificity “the who, what where and when of the alleged fraud as required.”

Senate OKs 3 Obama Picks, Battle Brews Over Others

The Senate yesterday approved President Barack Obama's picks for top posts at the Federal Communications Commission and National Labor Relations Board, the Associated Press reports, but the chamber is approaching a showdown over other nominees. Thomas Wheeler and Michael O’Reilly were unanimously approved to FCC posts and Richard Griffin was approved as NLRB general counsel on a near party line 55-44 tally. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, is now planning votes aimed at halting what he calls GOP roadblocks against five other nominations. The most controversial are Obama's picks of Patricia Millett to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Rep. Melvin Watt's, D-N.C., nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. WRCB News 3 has more.

UT Law Congratulates Advocates’ Prize 2013 Winners

The University of Tennessee College of Law had two teams advance to the final round of the 2013 Advocates’ Prize Competition. Anna Swift and LaToyia Trotter and Matt McLeod and Jeremy Miller argued before Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Judge Roger Gregory, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; and Judge James Graves, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The judges selected Swift and Trotter as the winning team and named Swift as the Best Advocate in the final round. The UT Informant has more on the competition winners.

UT Law Places First in Negotiation at National Event

A University of Tennessee College of Law team took top honor in the negotiation component of the Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon sponsored by St. John’s University’s Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Brooke Baird, Cara Rains and Ryan Franklin made up the team.

Sumner County Judge Recuses Himself from Murder Trial

Sumner County Criminal Court Judge Dee David Gay recused himself yesterday from a decade-old murder case, the Hendersonville Star reports. Gay acknowledged he did some minor work on the case while he was as assistant district attorney in the 18th Judicial District, which encompasses Sumner. Gay said he would refer the case to Sumner County Chancellor Tom Gray, who he expects will assign the case to another judge. The Tennessean has more.

TNSAE Celebrates 50 Years of Service

The Tennessee Society of Association Executives is celebrating 50 years of service to the state this year, and the current issue of its Connection magazine features a look back at the organization’s history and accomplishments. Among those featured are former TBA Executive Director Gil Campbell, who led the organization in 1992, and current TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur, who brought the organization into the digital age during his presidency in 2000. “I began my tenure by announcing that my year would be the year of the 'virtual presidency,’” Ramsaur said in the article. “Our goal would be to have a fully functional website and email communications scheme for our members by the end of the year, goals which we accomplished."

Justices Officiate Same Sex Weddings at Supreme Court

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner officiated the wedding of a gay couple at the Supreme Court yesterday, the Associated Press reports. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated at a weekend ceremony at the court in which two New Yorkers, including a former Ginsburg student at Columbia Law School, were married. Ginsburg has officiated three same-sex weddings. WRCB News 3 has more.

Putnam County Republicans Call for May Primary

The Putnam County Republican Party Executive Committee has officially called for a primary election to be held this May, the Herald-Citizen reports. Debbie Steidl, Putnam County Election Commission administrator, told election commissioners during yesterday’s meeting that the organization contacted her requesting a primary be held for all local positions as well as all judicial positions up for election on the ballot. At this time, the local election office has not received notification from the Putnam County Democratic Party Executive Committee.

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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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