Judge in Meningitis Case Abruptly Exits

U.S. Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV on Thursday abruptly recused himself from presiding over hundreds of lawsuits stemming from the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that took the lives of 64 patients, 16 of them in Tennessee. Judge Saylor said yesterday that he had no choice but to step aside because former law partners and personal friends had entered an appearance in the case, the Tennessean reports. In a statement issued shortly after the hearing ended, Nashville attorney Mark Chalos said he was disappointed at Saylor’s departure. “Judge Saylor has been fair to all sides, thoroughly well-prepared for all hearings, and has moved the cases along efficiently."

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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - 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

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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Clementine Newman, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Derek C. Jumper, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Imad I. Abdullah, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water.


This is an appeal from the trial court’s order, affirming the decision of the Designee of the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that Appellant/Employee was not qualified for unemployment benefits. Because there is substantial and material evidence in the record, and a reasonable basis in law, to support the Commissioner’s Designee’s decision, we affirm the order of the trial court. Affirmed and remanded.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Joseph T. Howell, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Grico Clark; George Morton Googe, District Public Defender and Jeremy B. Epperson, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee for the appellant, Jordan Curry; and Anna B. Cash, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Deangelo White.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellants, Grico Clark, Jordan Curry, and Deangelo White, were each indicted by the Madison County Grand Jury for two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and one count of evading arrest. Deangelo White was also indicted for one count of possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana with the intent to sell and one count of possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana with intent to deliver. After a jury trial, Clark, Curry, and White were found guilty of two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated robbery, and one count of aggravated burglary. Clark and Curry were found guilty of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. White was found not guilty of the firearm charge and convicted of the lesser included offenses of simple possession of marijuana. The trial court sentenced Clark and Curry each to effective sentences of forty-four years and White to an effective sentence of forty years. The trial court denied motions for new trial. In this consolidated appeal, we are asked to determine whether under the holding of State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), the evidence supported convictions for both especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Additionally, we must determine whether the State was required to make an election of offenses and whether the trial court properly imposed consecutive sentencing. After a review of the record and applicable authorities, we determine that the trial court properly instructed the jury as mandated in White and that the evidence supported convictions for both especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Further, we determine that the State was not required to elect offenses. In addition, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing White to an effective sentence of forty years and Clark and Curry each to an effective sentence of forty-four years. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Deadline for Affinion Complaints is Feb. 14

The deadline for submitting complaints in the Affinion settlement are due to the Consumer Affairs Division of the Attorney General's Office by Feb. 14. The multistate $30 million settlement with Connecticut-based Affinion and its subsidiaries, Trilegiant and Webloyalty, was reached last October following complaints that the company misled consumers into signing up and paying for discount clubs and memberships offering a variety of services such as credit monitoring, roadside assistance, and discounted travel. Consumers who enrolled in one of Affinion’s marketing programs via online data pass or live check solicitation may be entitled to a refund. 

Mediation Group to Recognize Chattanoogan

Dr. Carol Berz will be awarded the 2014 Grayfield Gray Public Service in Mediation Award at ceremonies Feb. 14 in Nashville. Presented by the Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee, the award — named after its first recipient Grayfred Gray, emeritus professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law and founder of UT’s Mediation Clinic — honors those who have made “innovative and lasting public service contributions through alternative dispute resolution in Tennessee.” Berz, who owns Private Dispute Resolution Services in downtown Chattanooga, is being recognized for helping pioneer mediation in Tennessee and chairing the mediation component of the Hamilton County Courts’ Pilot Project relative to Tennessee’s Parenting Plan law. Past recipients have also included Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder and Nashville Second Circuit Court Judge Marietta Shipley.

Profession 'Failing' to Resolve Access to Justice Crisis, Prof Says

In a piece for the ABA Journal, University of Maryland Carey School of Law professor Sheldon Krantz discusses the access-to-justice crisis in this county and how the legal profession is failing in its response. Krantz states that the legal system fares particularly badly when taking into account the accessibility in our legal system to disadvantaged groups and the availability or the cost of legal assistance. “It’s time for the profession to candidly admit failure and develop comprehensive strategies to tackle the problem successfully,” he says.

Mock Trial Coach, Volunteers Needed for District Competitions

A high school in Coffee County is fielding its first mock trial team and is looking for an attorney to help them prepare for the district competition, which is set for Feb. 22 in Columbia. Please contact District 3 Mock Trial Coordinator Cara Lynn at (931) 388-8868 for more information or to volunteer. Attorneys also are needed to serve as scorers and presiding judges in the District 4 competition, which covers Cannon, Hickman, Lewis, Marshall, Perry, Rutherford and Williamson counties. That competition will take place on Feb. 22 in Franklin. Contact Shauna Billingsley at (615) 550-6603 to help get involved.

TBJ Covers Wage Regulations Act, Social Security

This month in the Tennessee Bar Journal, columnists Edward G. Phillilps and Brandon L. Morrow cover the Wage Regulations Act, Monica Franklin discusses when to apply for Social Security -- and Bill Haltom worries about the possibility of airlines allowing cell phone conversations on board.

Murfreesboro Attorney to Run for District AG

Murfreesboro attorney Chuck Ward recently announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for district attorney general for the 16th judicial district, which includes Rutherford and Cannon counties. “I served the citizens of Murfreesboro as a Murfreesboro police officer for almost a decade,” Ward said in his press release. “I will use my experience as a police officer in addition to over two decades in the courtroom, in both criminal and civil litigation, to bring a fresh perspective district attorney’s office.” The Tennessean has more.

Hamilton County Democrat to Run for House Seat

Eric McRoy announced today he will run for the Democratic nomination for House District 27. The seat is currently held by Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, who announced yesterday that he is not seeking re-election. McRoy is an IT professional who says he wants to ensure constituents’ concerns are brought to the forefront of the legislature, Nooga.com reports.

GOP Adds Saltsman to House Campaign Team

Republican operative Chip Saltsman has been hired to help candidates for the Tennessee House, as Republicans look to protect their 71 seats and add to their ranks in the 99-member chamber. Saltsman is a one-time state Republican Party chairman and a recent chief of staff and campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga. He also ran former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign in 2008. The Memphis Daily News has more.

'American Idol' Star Seeks Congressional Bid

Former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken announced Wednesday that he is running for the House of Representatives seat in North Carolina’s second district against second-term Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers. In a campaign video filmed in his childhood home, Aiken shared difficult stories from his past and explained how they have inspired him to run for political office, WATE reports.

Supreme Court Convenes in Historic Chambers

The Tennessee Supreme Court returned to the historic court chambers in the Capitol yesterday to hear oral arguments. The courtroom was the home of the court from the late 1850s until the Supreme Court Building opened in 1937. Gov. Bill Haslam was on hand to welcome the justices. Visit the Administrative Office of the Court website to view photos from the occasion.

Memphis Rep Named Ranking Panel Member

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, has been named the ranking member, or top Democrat, on the House Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee, the Commercial Appeal reports. The panel has jurisdiction over constitutional amendments, constitutional rights, federal civil rights, ethics in government, medical malpractice and product liability and legal reform.

Save on Auto Insurance with TBA Benefit

GEICO Auto Insurance offers competitive products and services. Eligible TBA members will receive a members-only 8 percent discount on auto insurance premiums. Check out the savings today!

Sevier County Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

Elizabeth Catherine Cox was temporarily suspended from the practice of law for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. Download the BPR notice.

Jefferson County Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

Carl Robert Ogle Jr. was temporarily suspended upon finding that he had misappropriated funds for his own use and posed a threat of substantial harm to the public. Download the BPR notice.

Davidson County Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

Lee Michael Sprouse was temporarily suspended on Feb. 4 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. Download 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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