Tuesday is Last Day for 2013 CLE Hours

Still need CLE hours for 2013? You have one more day! The TBA is offering its annual Year End CLE Blast for the final day on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Programs will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is no need to pre-register; the registration desk will be open all day. Learn more about the blast or access a wide variety of online courses at TennBarU.

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
03 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
05 - 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


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Teresa Bult and Katherine Summers Scarbrough, Nashville, Tennessee, and David Phippen, Fairfax, Virginia, for the appellant, Dominion Enterprises, f/k/a Trader Publishing Company.

Mark A. Baugh, Nancy A. Vincent, and Ben H. Bodzy, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dataium, LLC; Eric Brown; D. Jason Ezell; Mark E. Krabacher; Jeffrey R. Dopp; Aaron West; Michael B. Ghaffari; and John Gerber.


This case involves litigation between two business entities: Dominion Enterprises, f/k/a Trader Publishing Company (“Dominion”), the former employer of six of the seven individual defendants, and Dataium, LLC (“Dataium”), a company subsequently formed by those defendants. Dominion filed a complaint against the defendants, alleging numerous causes of action, including breach of covenants not to compete, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of loyalty, breach of a non-solicitation agreement, and civil conspiracy. The trial court found that Dataium and two of the individual defendants were liable for breach of contract but dismissed Dominion’s other claims. Dominion appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Charles M. Agee, Jr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry A. Paschall.

John W. Palmer and Julie W. Palmer, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jere Eugene Pierce.


This is a property boundary dispute. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff and found that Defendant did not acquire disputed property bordering the western edge of Plaintiff’s property and the eastern edge of Defendant’s property by adverse possession. The trial court also found that Defendant did not demonstrate laches. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John S. Taylor, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jackie Harold Stout.

Lois B. Shults-Davis, Erwin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Connie June Tipton Stout.


This action involves the proper adjudication of the parties’ interests in certain marital retirement assets post divorce. The sole issue raised is whether the trial court properly retained jurisdiction over the retirement assets pursuant to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”). Based on prior precedent, we find that the trial court did properly retain jurisdiction, and we therefore affirm the trial court’s decision in this case.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; and William J. Harold, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Tamika Michelle Claybourne.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Tamika Michelle Claybourne, challenges the trial court’s denial of alternative sentencing. After a review of the record and the applicable authorities, we discern no error in the trial court’s determinations and affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Melody Oliver Dougherty, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher B. Tucker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant was found by the trial court to be in violation of the terms of his community corrections sentence and ordered to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by sentencing him to incarceration rather than to rehabilitation. After reviewing the record and the arguments of the parties, we discern no abuse of discretion. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


J. Derreck Whitson, Newport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronnie Peter Wilson, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; James B. Dunn; District Attorney General; and Jeremy D. Ball, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Ronnie Peter Wilson, III, was convicted by a jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-103, -12-107, -13-402. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective twenty-year sentence to be served at one hundred percent. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Sale of Diabetic Shoes

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-12-19

Opinion Number: 105

Right of Non-Resident Property Owners to Vote in Annexation Referendum

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-12-20

Opinion Number: 106

Use of Interest Earned on Money in School General-Purpose Fund

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-12-20

Opinion Number: 107

Prescription Requirement for Pseudoephedrine Products

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-12-20

Opinion Number: 108

Locally Collected 911 Fee for Wireline and Non-Wireline Telephones

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-12-20

Opinion Number: 109

3 Counties Open Drug Courts

Under the leadership of Franklin County Judge Buddy Perry, drug courts will open in Rhea, Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties. Perry already had set up courts in Grundy and Marion counties in the 12th Judicial District. Supporters of drug courts tout lower costs and recidivism rates when compared to traditional incarceration. WDEF News 12 looks at the issue and what local leaders are saying.

Court Names Members to Rules Commission

The Tennessee Supreme Court has released an updated roster of the Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure. The court reappointed Ursula Bailey, Suzanne Cook, John Day, Charles Grant, Ronald Krelstein and David Wade as members. The court reappointed James Doran as chair. The court also appointed two new members: Tennessee state Sen. Douglas Overbey and Steven Strain, who replace Chancellor Douglas Jenkins and James Stutts, respectively. The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Paper: Quest for Baumgartner’s File Remains ‘Mired’ in Court

More than three years after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) launched a probe of former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner, the News Sentinel’s quest for his TBI file remains in limbo, the paper reports. After unsuccessfully seeking to obtain the file through the state courts, the paper learned it had been entered into evidence in Baumgartner’s federal trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley, in whose chambers a copy of the file has been kept, ordered Baumgartner’s defense to log the file into the court’s public electronic filing system, but agreed to keep it under seal until redactions are finalized. The paper says that a “slew of proposed redactions” have been filed and since those documents are classified, “it is not yet clear whether the [team is] seeking to simply remove personal identifying information of witnesses ... or entire sections of the investigative file itself.”

Potential Field Grows for Shelby Criminal Court Clerk

Memphis City Council member Wanda Halbert today picked up a qualifying petition to run for Shelby County Criminal Court clerk, the Memphis Daily News reports. Halbert, who is serving her second term on the council after serving on the now-defunct Memphis City Schools board, would run in the May Democratic primary. She could face Vernon Johnson, who ran in the 2010 Democratic primary, and Michael McCusker, currently a Shelby County assistant district attorney, both of whom have picked up petitions. The clerk position is currently held by Republican Kevin Key. He may face a primarily challenge from Richard DeSaussure, who has picked up a petition for the GOP primary.

Services Friday for Nashville Lawyer

Aaron Wyckoff, 71, died Dec. 24 from complications of Hodgkin's lymphoma. A native of Kentucky, Wyckoff moved to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University. He graduated with a bachelor degree in 1965 and a law degree in 1968. He practiced law for a short time in Virginia Beach, and then worked in Nashville until his retirement in 2010. Among his many roles, Wyckoff spent time as an assistant district attorney, an assistant U.S. attorney and a lawyer in private practice. Wyckoff served on the board of directors of the Nashville Bar Association. A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 3900 West End Ave., Nashville 37205 at 11:30 a.m. this Friday (Jan. 3). Visitation with the family will begin at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church; Nashville Rescue Mission, 639 Lafayette St., Nashville, TN 37203; or the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, 300 Deaderick St., Nashville, TN 37201.

Retired Loudon Lawyer Dies

Retired Loudon attorney Walter Franklin Emmons III died Dec. 21 at the age of 85. Emmons earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1952 and worked in the financial field. He retired as senior vice president and general counsel at Mellon Financial Services, and was a Tennessee Bar Association senior counselor. A private service for family will be held, Knoxnews reports. Arrangements are provided by Click Funeral Home & Cremations.

Memphis Law Grad, Jeweler Dies

William Louis Pankey of Memphis died Dec. 22 at the age of 92. A graduate of Memphis State College, Pankey served in the Navy in World War II, then began his career in the jewelry business, eventually opening his own store, Pankey Diamond Jewelry. He later attended and graduated from the Southern Law School (a precursor to the University of Memphis School of Law). He graduated in 1952 as president of his class, though Pankey never practiced law, choosing instead to return to the jewelry and diamond business. Funeral services were Dec. 26. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the charity of one’s choice. The Memphis Commercial Appeal has more.

Nashville Lawyer Disbarred

Nashville lawyer William Alan Alder was disbarred from the practice of law on Dec. 26. The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Alder failed to obtain service of process on defendants in a case, which resulted in the suit being dismissed with prejudice. Alder then failed to inform his clients that the case had been dismissed, instead misleading them into believing that it was progressing normally. Eventually, he told them the suit had settled and provided a fictitious release. Download the BPR notice.

Memphis Lawyer Censured for Misconduct in Capital Case

On Dec. 23, Memphis lawyer Thomas D. Henderson, who is an assistant district attorney, was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court. He submitted a conditional guilty plea that he did not make timely disclosures of all exculpatory evidence during discovery while prosecuting a capital murder case, both in 1998 and again in 2004 when the case was on retrial. Download the BPR notice.

Georgia Lawyer Reinstated After Responding to Complaint

The Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated the law license of James A. Meaney III of Ringgold, Ga., on Dec. 23. Meaney was suspended on March 6, 2012, after failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. Download the BPR notice.

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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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