Lewis King Merges with Thomason Hendrix

Knoxville-based Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop and Memphis-based Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell today announced they have merged to form Lewis Thomason. The new firm will have 91 attorneys in four offices: Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville and Sevierville. “This is a natural fit between our two well-known and highly respected law practices,” said Lisa Ramsay Cole, Lewis Thomason’s president and managing shareholder of the Nashville office. “Both firms are known for their commitment to client service, and both have solid reputations and strong identities in their respective legal communities. We plan to combine the best practices of both firms to better serve our clients." The firm also announced that Michael E. Keeney would be managing shareholder of the Memphis office. He previously was managing partner at Thomason, Hendrix.

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
00 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Terry L. Jordan, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cassie Kristin Chapman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Cassie Chapman, was indicted by the Sullivan County Grand Jury for two counts of theft over $1,000 and one count of aggravated burglary. She pled guilty to the charges and agreed to a three-year sentence for one count of theft, a two-year sentence for the second count of theft, and a three-year sentence for aggravated burglary. The plea agreement specified that one two-year sentence for theft and the sentence for aggravated burglary would run concurrently with each other but consecutively to the three-year sentence for aggravated burglary would run consecutively to the theft sentences. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied alternative sentencing on the theft sentences. Appellant appeals. After a review of the record, we determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Appellant to incarceration. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Authority of County Commission to Initiate an Audit of a Department of a County School Board

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-01-02

Opinion Number: 1

TBA Launches 2014 Video Contest

The TBA today announced the launch of the Fourth Annual YouTube Video Contest for middle and high school students. This year’s theme -- “There Ought to be a Law” -- challenges students to create a three-minute video that discusses an issue they would like to see addressed through the legislative process. In announcing the contest, TBA President and Sevierville lawyer Cindy Wyrick said, "The TBA encourages students to learn more about the ways laws are made by putting themselves in the position of elected lawmakers. My hope is that, through this program, students across Tennessee will learn more about our system of government by exploring the range of issues lawmakers confront every day." The contest is open to individual students or groups of students from any Tennessee high school, middle school, home school or non-school based organization. Middle school entries are due by March 17. High school entries are due by March 24. Learn more on the contest webpage.

Apply Now for 24th Judicial District Chancellor

The Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments is now accepting applications for the vacancy in the 24th Judicial District Chancery Court, which serves Benton, Carroll, Decatur, Hardin and Henry counties. The opening was created by the death of former Chancellor Ron E. Harmon. Applications must be submitted by noon CST on Jan. 17. The commission will review applicants on Jan. 23 at a public hearing in the district.

New Year Brings Staff Shuffle at TBA

With the New Year, the TBA has begun a staffing shuffle that starts with a new Executive Assistant, Karen Belcher, who joined the staff last week. The staff changes are precipitated by the announcement from Programs Director Lynn Pointer that she will retire after 14 years with the TBA and by the happy news that Executive Assistant Jenny Jones will begin new parent leave this week when she travels to Wuhan, China, to bring home her daughter, Eleanor Margaret LinLan Jones. When Jones returns from leave in March, she will begin the transition of taking over section and committee coordinator duties from Pointer. The last piece of the four-part shuffle involves Access to Justice Coordinator Liz Todaro, who will take on the role of Programs Circle Coordinator after Pointer's retirement.

In announcing the news, TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur said, "These changes take full advantage of the talents and experience of a veteran staff. By adding Karen Belcher, with her experience in association administration to the group, the TBA staff will be positioned to continue to excel in service.” Belcher has more than 15 years of administrative experience with hospitality and pharmacy associations. She can be reached at kbelcher@tnbar.org or at (615) 277-3209.

New Regulations Proposed to Govern Gun Sales

The Obama administration is kicking off the New Year with two executive actions meant to prohibit gun purchases by those with mental health issues, CNN reports. The orders, issued as proposed administrative rules, are aimed at removing any legal barriers that could prevent states from submitting personal information to the federal background check system. The move comes in response to concerns that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act could affect states’ ability to turn over certain mental health information. The proposal also would expand the population of those prohibited from buying a firearm by adding involuntary treatment in an inpatient or outpatient facility to the definition of “committed to a mental institution.” WCYB-TV has the story.

Sex Offender Seeks Admission to Kentucky Bar

Guy Padraic Hamilton-Smith graduated in the top third of his law school class at the University of Kentucky, but the state Supreme Court has blocked him from taking the bar exam because he is a registered sex offender. The court said the nature of the crime shows that Hamilton-Smith lacks the "requisite character and fitness" to be a lawyer, the Associated Press reports. But the court also rejected a move by the state licensing board to create a blanket rule barring admission of all registered sex offenders. Explaining that decision, the court said each applicant deserves the opportunity to make his or her case on an individualized basis. Hamilton-Smith says he plans to ask the court to reconsider his case. WRCB TV has the AP story.

Tennessee Senate Race Draws Interest

One of two statewide races on the 2014 Tennessee ballot drew immediate interest as the filing period opened late last week, the Memphis Daily News reports. Democrat Gary Gene Davis of Nashville, Republican Joe Wilmoth of Baxter and independent candidate Joshua James of Murfreesboro all picked up petitions to challenge Republican incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander. April 3 is the filing deadline for state and federal primaries set for August. The winners of the primaries along with independent candidates then will advance to the November general elections.

Cobb Running Again Against Travis

Former District 31 state Rep. Jim Cobb plans to try to regain the seat he lost in 2012 by 105 votes in the Republican primary. He took the first step Friday by picking up papers to run against Rep. Ron Travis, Chattanoogan.com reports. In other news from Rhea County, John L. McCullough of Dayton picked up papers to run for the Fourth Congressional District seat. In area judicial races, Steve Blount picked up papers to run for circuit court judge; Carol Barron, J. Shannon Garrison and Larry Roddy picked up papers to run for general sessions judge; Jamie Holloway, Cheryl Cashman and Pam Peavyhouse picked up papers to run for circuit court clerk; and Mike Taylor pulled papers for district attorney general.

Hanzelik Running For East Ridge Judge

East Ridge attorney Ryan Hanzelik has picked up papers to run for municipal court judge, the Chattanoogan reports. A graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, Hanzelik has operated his own firm in the city since 2008. In describing his qualifications, he says he has “handled hundreds of cases” in the courts of Hamilton County and “most of the surrounding counties.” The post has long been held by Arvin Reingold.

Free Immigration Seminar Offered in Chattanooga

The Olsen Law Firm and the New Orleans Field Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will hold a free seminar Jan. 21 from noon to 1 p.m. on the issues of immigration enforcement and removal. Topics to be addressed include special provisions for victims of domestic violence and young people who came to the United States as children. The program will feature immigration attorney Terry Olsen and John Bobo, a supervisory detention and deportation officer in Chattanooga. For more information or to RSVP please contact Olson by Jan. 17 at tolsen@tlolaw.com or (423) 648-9390.

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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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