Wyrick to Speak At UT Hooding Friday

Tennessee Bar Association President Cindy Wyrick will address graduates of the University of Tennessee College of Law at its fall hooding ceremony tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the UT Law Rotunda. Wyrick, a 1994 graduate of the law school, is a member of Ogle, Gass & Richardson PC and practices in the areas of wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice, family law, business formation and litigation, wills and estates, and general civil litigation.

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
01 - 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 Supreme Court

HONG SAMOUTH (SAM) RAJVONGS v. DR. ANTHONY WRIGHT

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys:

Jeremy Anthony Oliver and John Franklin Floyd, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dr. Anthony Wright.

W. Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hong Samouth Rajvongs.

Judge: HOLDER

The plaintiff filed his initial health care liability action against the defendant prior to the enactment of the pre-suit notice requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his original action. More than one year later, the plaintiff refiled his action after the effective date of section 29-26-121. The defendant moved for summary judgment, alleging that the plaintiff’s second action was barred by the statute of limitations. The plaintiff countered that his pre-suit notice commenced his new action prior to the expiration of the one-year saving statute. Alternatively, the plaintiff argued that Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121 extended the saving statute by 120 days. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment but granted permission to file an interlocutory appeal under Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. The Court of Appeals granted the application for permission to appeal and affirmed the trial court’s denial of the motion for summary judgment. We hold that the plaintiff’s action was commenced by the filing of a second health care liability complaint rather than by providing pre-suit notice. We further hold that a plaintiff who files his initial action prior to the effective date of Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-26-121, dismisses his original action, properly provides pre-suit notice, and refiles his action after the effective date of the statute, is entitled to the 120-day extension. We therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings.


TN Court of Appeals

IN RE: REBECCA J.R.M.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Robin Gunn, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher W.C.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Jordan Scott, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: SWINEY

The State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition seeking to terminate the parental rights of Christopher W.C. (“Father”) to the minor child Rebecca J.R.M. (“the Child”). After a trial, the Juvenile Court entered its judgment finding and holding, inter alia, that clear and convincing evidence was proven that grounds existed to terminate Father’s parental rights to the Child pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-1-113 (g)(2) and (g)(9)(A), and that clear and convincing evidence was proven that it was in the Child’s best interest for Father’s parental rights to be terminated. Father appeals to this Court. We affirm the termination of Father’s parental rights to the Child.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

MICHAEL D. GREEN V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

John Allen Brooks, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael D. Green.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Bill Cox, District Attorney General; and Neal Pinkston, Exec. Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Michael D. Green, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of multiple crimes, including first degree felony murder, and received a sentence of life plus twenty-four years. That sentence was ordered to be served concurrently to a federal sentence of life plus twenty-five years. On appeal, the petitioner contends that he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) failing to request sequestration of the jury; (2) failing to utilize all available preemptory challenges or to challenge potential jurors for cause; and (3) failing to limit testimony concerning the prior federal trial. Following review of the record, we conclude no error occurred and affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TROY LLOYD

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Harry E. Sayle, III (on appeal), and Rusty White (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Troy Lloyd.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Kate Edmands, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant, Troy Lloyd, of one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Funding Fringe Benefits Determined Under the Sheriff’s Civil Service Law of 1974

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-12-11

Opinion Number: 104


Police to Enforce Drug Ordinance Despite AG Opinion

Winchester Police Chief Dennis Young told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he plans to continue enforcing the city’s ordinance requiring a doctor’s prescription for pseudoephedrine-based cold medications, despite an opinion from state Attorney General Robert Cooper saying that the local measure is in conflict with state law. Winchester is among 18 towns and cities that have enacted ordinances since June in an effort to combat growing methamphetamine abuse in their communities. Frustrated law enforcement officials say the local anti-meth moves are necessary because of what they argue are inadequate efforts by the state legislature to address the problem.


Supreme Court Postpones Execution

The Tennessee Supreme Court has rescheduled the execution of convicted murderer Billy Ray Irick from Jan. 15 to Oct. 7 because of new legal challenges to the way Tennessee plans to put the condemned to death. According to the Tennessean, all executions had been put on hold for at least two years because a key lethal injection drug, sodium thiopental, became unavailable. The court said on Tuesday that legal challenges questioning the use of the new drug, pentobarbital, must be answered before it can be used in an execution.


General Sessions Court Supervisor Resigns

Knox County General Sessions Court supervisor April Mayes resigned late Tuesday afternoon, Knoxnews reports. Mayes oversaw staff blamed in emails for chronic mistakes that led to, among other things, wrongful arrests and illegal detentions. Controversy erupted when the emails were made public in October. Judges had been complaining of systemic errors and meeting over the past several months to try to resolve them.


Former Alexander Aid Charged with Two Felony Porn Counts

Ryan Loskarn, Sen. Lamar Alexander’s former chief of staff until this week, has been charged with felony possession and distribution of child pornography, the Tennessean reports. The possession charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The distribution charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 20 years. Loskarn is being held by the U.S. marshal as a flight risk and danger to the community, Justice Department officials said.


Clerk and Master Retiring

Hamilton County Chancery Court Clerk and Master Lee Akers says he will be retiring in early September. Akers has served in the position since 1996. Potential appointees can submit resumes to him beginning in April, with interviews to follow in May. The Chattanoogan has more.


TBJ Covers Jobs, Money Laundering, Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples

About 25 percent of the students in The Law Launch Project have jobs lined up after graduation -- the Tennessee Bar Journal checks in on them and how the job searches of the other three-quarters of the group are going. Also in this issue, columnists Kathryn Reed Edge covers money laundering, Eddy R. Smith discusses estate planning for same-sex couples, and Bill Haltom has discovered a new toy -- a coloring book for lawyers.


Intercollegiate Mock Trial Returns to Memphis

Rhodes College in Memphis again will host the opening rounds of the American Mock Trial Association’s National Intercollegiate Mock Trial Tournament March 21-23. Volunteer judges are needed for the competition. Contact Barbara Pohlmann at (901) 233-1248, or Marcus Pohlmann at (901) 233-1236 for more information.


Longtime Pro Bono Supporter Dies

Col. Paul J McClure died Nov. 6 at the age of 93. Funeral services for the Vietnam War veteran and longtime Memphis attorney were held last Friday at the Colonial Park United Methodist Church. In 2008, McClure was featured in the December issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal for his commitment to pro bono work with low-income seniors after retiring from legal practice. "You just get satisfaction from trying to help people, hopefully helping," he said. "That's about all there is to it. I am appreciative to [the nursing homes] to let me come. It gives me something to do — otherwise I'd be taking naps or raking leaves."


Judge Faulk to Seek Full Term on Circuit Court

Judge Mike Faulk will seek the Republican nomination for Circuit Court Judge in the third judicial district consisting of Hamblen, Hancocke, Hawkins and Greene counties. “I’m humbled by the governor’s appointment to replace Judge Lawson, and I look forward to serving a full term in this job,” Faulk told the Citizen Tribune. “From the day I started this job, I’ve prayed for the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job and the heart of David. If I’m elected to continue as judge, that will be my ongoing prayer.”


Sumner County Lawyer Suspended

Michael Scott Collins of Sumner County was suspended from the practice of law on Dec. 10 for receiving a $27,500 retainer fee to represent a client in a post-divorce criminal contempt proceeding and failing to deposit the retainer into his trust account. Collins also failed to provide agreed upon legal services to his clients, failed to communicate timely with his clients regarding the status of their respective cases and misled his clients regarding the status and progress of their respective cases. The Board of Professional Responsibility found the retainer fees were unreasonable. In addition, the board specifically found Collins charged the client $10,000 to become a member of his “professional family” and that said charge was unrelated to any legal services and constituted an improper and unreasonable fee. View or download the BPR notice.


Knox County Lawyer Suspended

Knoxville lawyer Jonathan Kenneth Borsodi was suspended for three years retroactive to a temporary suspension order entered in July 2012 for accepting a non-refundable fee in the amount of $7,500 and thereafter, misrepresenting to his client that the appeal was progressing, although the client later discovered the appeal had never been filed. Borsodi failed to respond to his client’s requests for information, abandoned his legal practice without notice to his client and failed to respond to the petition for discipline. Download the BPR notice.


Montgomery County Lawyer Suspended

Christopher Wayne Barber, formerly of Clarksville, was suspended for three years on Dec. 9 and is required to pay restitution in the amount of $2,500 for practicing law while suspended and failing to notify his clients of the suspension. Barber also failed repeatedly to respond to his client regarding the status of the case and failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility’s petition of discipline. View or download the BPR notice.


Shelby County Lawyer Suspended

Vanessa Gale Keeler, formerly of Memphis, was suspended from the practice of law for three years and six months, retroactive to her current three-year suspension entered August 2012 for failing to communicate adequately with her client and failing to perform the legal work for which she had been paid. Despite demands from each client, Keeler failed to refund the unearned fee in a timely manner. View or download the BPR notice.


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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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