CLE Commission Proposes Extensive Rule Changes

The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization has proposed a comprehensive set of revisions to the rule on mandatory continuing legal education. The 18-page petition filed with the Tennessee Supreme Court details changes to almost every section of the rule and includes: a recommendation to end exemption for lawyers 65 or older; a new requirement that at least 5 credit hours must be by live, in-person CLE activity; reshuffling the requirements for responding to the annual report statement; ending presumptive approval for CLE courses by certain providers; and, making a number of other changes which the commission characterizes as self-evident. The petition was filed on Oct. 30, but no order has been issued by the Court soliciting or setting a deadline for comments. 

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
04 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals

Kate Marie Belardo v. Hector Belardo, Jr.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Mark T. Freeman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Hector Belardo, Jr.

Keith H. Solomon, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kate Marie Belardo.


This case concerns custody and alimony decisions relative to a divorce. Discerning no error, we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Curtis F. Hopper, Savannah, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gregory Keith Jarnigan.

Terry Lynn Wood, Adamsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ginger Nicole Jarnigan.


In a post-divorce action, Mother filed a motion to set aside the permanent parenting plan that had been incorporated into the parties’ final decree of divorce. The trial court granted Mother’s motion for relief based on a mutual mistake of the parties. Additionally, the trial court amended the parenting plan to reflect parties’ original agreement and ordered Father to pay child support. Father appealed. After reviewing the record, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Donald Capparella and Candi Henry, Nashville, Tennessee, and Kimberlee A. Waterhouse, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven McCoy.

Martha Meares and E. Leith Marsh, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Stephanie Trego McCoy.


In this divorce action, the husband appeals the classification and division of the marital estate, the alimony and attorney fee awards, and the parenting plan decision of the trial court. The decision of the trial court is affirmed in part and modified in part.

CORRECTION: There is a change in the first sentence in the Holdings on page 6.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


John J. Heflin, III, Kenneth P. Jones, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stein Holdings, Inc.

David Wade, Andrew R. Gardella, Memphis, Tennessee; Barry S. Rosen, Michael S. Leib, Marina C. Santini, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellees, Goense Bounds Management, LP, Goense Bounds & Partners, LLC, EDG/SW Investors, LLC, SW OLDCO, LLC F/K/A Stein World, LLC, EDG/SW Acquisition, LLC, EDG/SW Holdings, LLC, SW Parent, LLC and EMESS/Stein Holding Corp., Inc.

David Wade, Andrew R. Gardella, Memphis, Tennessee; Barry S. Rosen, Michael S. Leib, Marina C. Santini, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellees, Mark Bounds and John Goense.

J. Kimbrough Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee; Amy G. Doehring, Erin C. Arnold, Chicago, Illinois, attorneys for the appellee, Lincoln International Advisors, LLC.

Glen G. Reid, Jr., Odell Horton, Jr., Joseph B. Reafsnyder, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Wingate Partners, LLC, Wingate Partners, IV, LP, Stein World Holdings, Inc. (DE), Stein World Operating Company (DE), Stein World Holdings, Inc., (TN), Stein World Operating Company Corporation (TN), Jason Reed, Richard Olmeda, and Judy Williamson

Zachary T. Fardon, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellees, General Electric Capital Corporation, Dymas Funding Company, LLC, Dymas Capital Management Company, LLC, Antares Captial Corporation, and Renee Rempe and Kenneth Leonard in their Representative and Individual Capacities.


The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent concealment, aiding and abetting breach of contract, common law tortious interference, statutory interference, and civil conspiracy. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mickey Lee Williams, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The pro se petitioner, Mickey Lee Williams, appeals as of right from the Bledsoe County Circuit Court’s order denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging that his Grainger County Circuit Court judgment of conviction for second degree murder is void due to the denial of pretrial jail credits. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken and affirm the judgment of the Bledsoe County Circuit Court.

New Oversight of Conservatorships Proposed

A task force assigned to examine the growing number of conservatorships in Davidson County has concluded there aren’t enough resources to provide adequate oversight and has proposed the creation of a publicly funded Office of the Public Guardian, which would replace the existing, vacant, single public guardian. In a 55-page report made public Friday, the panel cited an increasing caseload of conservatorships in the local court, with the number jumping from 636 in fiscal year 2009 to 1,782 in 2012. The task force was appointed by Probate Judge David “Randy” Kennedy in the wake of the abrupt resignation of the public guardian Jeanan Mills Stuart after a series of Tennessean reports on the fees Stuart charged for a variety of tasks.

Study: Montgomery and Robertson Counties in Dire Need for More Judges

The 19th Judicial District of Montgomery and Robertson counties has a dire need for two to three more circuit court judges to handle criminal, civil and domestic cases, according to the 2013 Tennessee Trial Courts Judicial Weighted Caseload study. In order to operate efficiently, the report says that the district needs at least 6.75 judges. The district needs 2.36 criminal judges, 2.52 judges dealing with domestic relations cases and 1.87 judges dealing with other civil matters to reach the goal. The issue isn’t new, the Leaf Chronicle reports; it resurfaced in March when judicial redistricting was being considered. The 19th Judicial District saw no changes, but the shortage of judges has continued to be apparent and reinforced with each study.

Reeves Awaiting Word on Judgeship

Knoxville lawyer and former TBA President Pamela Reeves is awaiting the U.S. Judiciary Committee’s next move after it postponed a meeting on Thursday. Reeves, who was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Thomas W. Phillips, appeared in Washington on Sept. 26 before the committee as part of the confirmation process. The committee was to decide whether to send her nomination on to the full Senate for consideration. No reason was given for the postponement. Knoxnews has more.

Greenbrier Mayor Indicted on Theft Charges

Greenbrier Mayor Billy Wilson was arrested today by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations on charges of theft over $60,00 and official misconduct following an investigation into allegations he used charity funds for personal gain. Wilson, who also serves as the Greenbrier fire chief, managed the GreenRidge Toys for Tots program, which provided toys to children on Christmas and helped needy families pay utility bills. The Tennessean has more.

State to Receive $12 Million in Pharmaceutical Settlement

Tennessee will receive more than $12 million as part of a multistate and federal settlement agreement resolving allegations that pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson used deceptive marking tactics to promote the sale of two of its drugs, Risperdal and Invega. According to a news release by the State Attorney General’s office, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, will pay in excess of $1.2 billion. In addition, Janssen will plead guilty in federal court to a criminal misdemeanor charge of misbranding Risperdal in violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Supreme Court Declines Review of Mosque Decision

The Tennessee Supreme Court has declined to review the case involving opposition to a Murfreesboro mosque. The mosque opened more than a year ago, but the plaintiffs say the legal questions it spawned remain unresolved. Their concern has been whether the Rutherford County Planning Commission provided adequate notice for the 2010 meeting where commissioners approved the mosque’s construction. The Tennessean reports that opponents are planning an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hamilton County’s 5 General Sessions Court Judges to Run for Reelection

All five of Hamilton County’s General Sessions Court Judges have confirmed their decision to seek re-election in 2014, the Chattanoogan reports. Judges Christie Sell, David Bales, Clarence Shattuck, Gary Starnes and Lila Statom will be running on the General Election Ballot next August.

Former GOP Chair to Seek Circuit Court Judgeship

Former Knox County Republican Party Chair Ray Jenkins announced Thursday he plans to run for Circuit Court judge, Knoxnews reports. Jenkins sought last year to be appointed to the Circuit Court seat vacated by Wheeler Rosenbalm, but the appointment went to Deborah C. Stevens.

Services for Former Memphis Bar President Nov. 6

Longtime Memphis lawyer and businessman Leo Joseph Buchignani died Friday (Nov.1). He was 90. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1948, Buchignani returned to his hometown of Memphis and became a leader in law, business and politics. He was a founder of the modern Republican Parry in Shelby County, was elected to the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee and served as Memphis and Shelby County Bar Association president. With two of his partners, he founded Catherine’s and built it into a 74-store national chain that pioneered the plus-sized women’s clothing business. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Canale Funeral Directors. The funeral mass will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman to Step Down

State Rep. Mike Turner says he plans to step down as House Democratic Caucus chairman after five years due to sharp differences with the direction of Tennessee Democratic Party leaders, the Tennessean reports. Turner, who made his intentions known at a state party executive committee meeting Saturday, called the party’s chairman, Roy Herron, “a friend for a long time” but suggested the two have vastly different visions. “This is not anything personal against him, but my approach to what the party needs and where it needs to go is way different than his,” Turner said today. “I want a more progressive and aggressive party that more reflects probably the national trend and where Democrats are having some success in other areas.”

Montgomery County Lawyer Censured

John Minor Richardson was publically censured on Nov. 1 for failing to adequately supervise a non-lawyer employee. The employee did not follow internal accounting procedures, resulting in a monetary loss to his client. When Richardson discovered the problem, he terminated the employee and conducted an extensive internal audit of his accounts. He also repaid the client for the loss. Download the BPR notice.

Corker Joins in Co-sponsoring GOP Health Care Bill

Senator Bob Corker said today that he is joining in as a co-sponsor of a bill that he and 37 other Republican cosponsors say "would provide relief from Obamacare standards for current health care policies, giving Americans the freedom to keep their current health care plans if they so choose." The Chattanoogan has more.

TBA Members Now Save with UPS

As a TBA member you now can save up to 36 percent on UPS Next Day Air and up to 18 percent on UPS Ground Shipping! Visit UPS online to learn how this new member benefit can deliver greater efficiencies for your firm. Already a UPS customer? You also are eligible for this discount once you register your account on the UPS' TBA discount site.


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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.

© Copyright 2013 Tennessee Bar Association