Lawyers Honored as 2014 Women of Influence

The Nashville Business Journal announced the 2014 Women of Influence award recipients during a luncheon today. Lawyers who were honored included Lisa Ramsay Cole with Lewis Thomason, who received the award in the Company Executive category, and Andrea Perry with Bone McAllester Norton, who received the award in the Inspiration/Mentor category. The winners, as well as all finalists, will be profiled in a special section of the journal’s Feb. 14 print edition. Three other lawyers were finalists in various categories. They are Miranda Christy of Stites & Harbison, Patricia Head Moskal of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur with the U.S Attorney’s Office.

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
04 - 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 Supreme Court

CORRECTION: Date corrected to 2-10-14.

Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


W. Tyler Weiss, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher B.

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


This appeal involves the termination of a biological father’s parental rights with regard to his son. The child at issue was removed from the custody of the mother as a result of the mother’s drug use and neglect. The child, now five years of age, did not have a significant relationship with the father, if any. Following a hearing, the juvenile court terminated the father’s parental rights for failure to substantially comply with the responsibilities of the permanency plan. The father appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Julia A. Chesson, Knoxville, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Juliette Y. Hamilton, Knoxville, Tennessee, appellee, pro se.


This is an appeal from an Order of Protection entered on July 2, 2013. The Notice of Appeal was not filed until August 19, 2013, more than (30) days from the date of entry of the order to which it is directed. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Scott G. Kirk, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Patricia A. Wilkerson.

Jay Dustin King, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Richard E. Riegel, Jr.


This is an easement case in which the Appellant, the servient estate owner, appeals the trial court’s grant of injunctive relief in favor of the Appellee, the dominant estate owner. Specifically, the trial court found that Appellant had interfered with Appellee’s use of the easement by erecting a gate across it. The trial judge ordered the Appellant to remove the gate, and enjoined her from further interference with the Appellee’s use of the easement. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Michael E. Large, Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellant, Heather Widner, Administratrix of the Estate of Glenn Edward Smith.

Terrill L. Adkins, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Chattanooga Entertainment, Inc. d/b/a Electric Cowboy.


Heather Widner, Administratrix of the Estate of Glenn Edward Smith (“Plaintiff”) sued Chattanooga Entertainment, Inc. d/b/a Electric Cowboy (“Electric Cowboy”) and Ashley Langworthy with regard to the tragic death of Glenn Edward Smith (“Deceased”). Electric Cowboy filed a motion for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Trial Court granted Electric Cowboy summary judgment finding and holding, inter alia, that on the relevant night there had been no sale of alcoholic beverages pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-10-102 by Electric Cowboy to Ashley Langworthy. Plaintiff appeals to this Court raising issues regarding whether the Trial Court erred in granting Electric Cowboy summary judgment and whether the Trial Court erred in refusing to allow Plaintiff additional time for discovery. We find and hold, as did the Trial Court, that no sale of alcoholic beverages by Electric Cowboy to Ashley Langworthy occurred on the relevant night, and that the Trial Court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow further discovery. We, therefore, affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mark C. Odle, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellant, George Anthony Braddock.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Suzanne Lockert Mash, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, George Anthony Braddock, appeals the denial of his petition for postconviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, he contends that the denial of his petition was in error because he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) failing to investigate the petitioner’s psychological, mental, and physical health history and to present proof of such at trial in an attempt to negate the petitioner’s culpable mental state; (2) failing to file a motion to suppress the petitioner’s statement to law enforcement; and (3) failing to fulfill his duty of loyalty and to zealously advocate on behalf of the petitioner because of a familial relationship with the district attorney general. Following review of the record, we conclude that the petition was properly denied and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


B. Jeffery Harmon, District Public Defender and Vanessa King, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jeremy Bo Eaker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle L. Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General, and David Shinn, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

In September of 2006 in exchange for an eight-year sentence, Appellant, Jeremy Bo Eaker, pled guilty to possession of over .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell. Appellant was released to probation with credit for time served. Subsequently, Appellant was arrested for possession of cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms. A violation of probation warrant was filed. Appellant pled guilty to possession of over .5 grams of cocaine and received a sentence of nine years, to be served concurrently to the eight-year sentence for which he was already on probation. Appellant’s probation was revoked, and Appellant was ordered to serve twelve months in incarceration with the trial court reserving the right to suspend the balance of the sentence upon Appellant’s entry into a drug treatment program. Following Appellant’s release from incarceration and reinstatement to probation, numerous probation violation warrants were filed against Appellant on the basis of among other things new criminal charges and positive drug screens. As a result of these various probation violations, Appellant’s probation was partially revoked, he was ordered to enter into and complete a drug treatment program, and he was ordered to community corrections. This appeal arises following a violation of probation warrant filed in response to Appellant’s January 17, 2013 arrest for possession of methamphetamine and failure to report the arrest to his probation officer. After a hearing, the trial court revoked Appellant’s probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his effective nine-year sentence in incarceration. Appellant appeals, challenging the trial court’s decision to revoke probation. After a review of the record, we determine the trial court did not abuse its discretion. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


John M. Boucher, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terrell B. Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; and Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Jennifer H. Welch and Sean McDermott, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Terrell B. Johnson, was found guilty by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of selling one-half gram or more of cocaine in a drug-free zone, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-17-417, -432 (2010). The Defendant was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to eight years at 100% service. See id. § 39-17-432 (2010) (enhanced penalties for offenses committed in drug-free zones). On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred (1) by allowing evidence at the trial that was not included in the State’s discovery package and (2) by limiting his closing argument. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Andrew Chambers Beasley, for the Defendant-Appellant, Timothy Christopher Pillow.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Bradshaw, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Timothy Christopher Pillow, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his conviction for especially aggravated robbery. In this appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Juvenile Judge Launches Drug Court, Pushes for Teen Curfew

The Hamilton County Juvenile Court has formed a drug court that will start working in April, Juvenile Judge Rob Philyaw told a community group this week. Philyaw also said the court is making progress on the issue of truancy but needs to do more on a teen curfew. He called on Chattanooga’s mayor to support efforts to get “kids off the streets in the middle of the night.” Philyaw also announced new members of the Juvenile Court Commission and provided an update on the county youth court, which is made possible by volunteer lawyers from Miller & Martin and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Read more news from the court in the Chattanoogan.

Knoxville Bar Foundation to Award Grants

The Knoxville Bar Foundation is seeking grant applications from organizations that work to improve the administration of justice, enhance the public's understanding of and confidence in the legal system and serve the legal profession. The deadline to apply is March 10. Grants will be awarded in May. Since its founding in 1992, the foundation has provided almost $305,000 for local law-related projects and programs. Download an application or contact foundation chair J. Michael Haynes, (865) 292-2307 for more information.

NSL Adds Health Care Executive to Faculty

The Nashville School of Law announced today that it has hired Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) executive Eileen Schoen Githens as a new health law instructor. Githens, who is vice president and chief operations counsel at HCA, will begin teaching this year. Prior to joining HCA in 1996, Githens worked in private practice where she developed managed care agreements, defended health fraud cases, prepared hospital service agreements and developed physician practice structures. Githens earned her law degree from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1993. Read more about her background in a press release from the school.

Judge Departs from Sentencing Guidelines in Meth Case

Calling the War on Drugs a "dismal failure," U.S. District Court Judge Sandy Mattice reduced the sentence of Larry Gertsman, who had been facing a minimum of 121 months in federal prison for his role in obtaining pseudoephedrine for a meth cook. Mattice rejected that sentence noting it was one month longer than what he gave to the cook. "When a conspiracy is charged like this, addicts are being prosecuted the same way as the manufacturer" leading to outrageous and seemingly arbitrary results. Mattice, a federal judge in Chattanooga, gave Gertsman 90 months in prison.

Memphis Child Advocacy Center Names New Director

Virginia Stallworth has been named executive director of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center, Memphis Daily News reports. She succeeds Nancy Williams, who held the post for 20 years. Stallworth had been the agency’s associate director and managed the organization’s development activities. She directed multiple fundraising campaigns, and in 2011, she played a lead role in a child sexual prevention initiative.

Holder Calls for Restoration of Felons’ Voting Rights

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today called on a group of 11 states, including Tennessee, to restore voting rights to ex-felons as part of a larger push to reduce what he sees as the criminal justice system’s disparate impact on racial minorities. Speaking at a symposium on criminal justice, Holder said an estimated 5.8 million Americans are prohibited from voting because of current or previous felony convictions. He called on the states of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming to restore rights to felons who have completed their sentences. WRCB-TV has this AP story.

Judge Rejects Defamation Case Against Fleischmann

A Nashville judge has thrown out a 3-year-old defamation case filed by former Tennessee Republican Party official Mark Winslow against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and his former aide, Chip Saltsman, the Times Free Press reports. The suit claimed Fleischmann obtained confidential documents about Winslow’s severance pay from the party and used the information in ads aimed at discrediting Winslow and his former boss, Robin Smith, who challenged Fleischmann in the 2010 primary. Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley Jr. disagreed, saying the ads did not constitute defamation because Winslow was a public figure, what was said about him was substantially true and there was no proof Fleischmann or Saltsman acted out of malice.

UT Law Review Hosts Gun Control Symposium

The University of Tennessee College of Law’s Tennessee Law Review will hold a symposium on the future of the Second Amendment. The event, “New Frontiers in the Second Amendment,” will feature noted legal scholars discussing two Supreme Court cases recognizing a personal right to bear arms, how these and other court cases will affect gun control in the future, and what exactly the Second Amendment protects. The seminar will take place March 1 at 9 a.m. in Room 132 of the law school. Admission is free and open to the public.

Get Ready for the 2014 Law Tech unConference

This year’s Law Tech unConference, set for Feb. 20, offers seminars, free food, prizes and exhibitors to help Tennessee lawyers use technological advancements to improve their law practices. The "unconference" approach is similar to an open house format providing a unique opportunity for lawyers to interact with speakers, attendees and sponsors. Attendees may stay as long as they wish and can choose to attend for free or pay for CLE credit. Two hot topics will be "How to Build a Website in 50 Minutes" and "Creating a Mobile App for Your Firm." Advance registration is not required.

Nashville Employee Benefits Lawyer Dies

Nashville lawyer Samuel Arthur Butts III died last Tuesday (Feb. 4). A native Nashvillian, Butts graduated from Montgomery Bell Academy in 1967. He obtained his undergraduate and law degree (1975) from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For 38 years Butts worked as an ERISA and employee benefits lawyer. Among his many accomplishments, he served as president and member of the executive committee for the Middle Tennessee Employee Benefits Counsel. He also chaired the Committee on Retirement Plans for the City of Nashville and served on the city’s Employee Benefits Study & Formulating Committee. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be given to the South Cheatham Public Library, c/o Janet Walker, 358 N. Main St., Kingston Springs, TN 37082 or Alive Hospice at St. Thomas, 4220 Harding Rd., Wing 3-B, Nashville, TN 37205. The South Cheatham Advocate reported the news.

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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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