TBA Files Comments on Federal Rules Amendments

The TBA today filed comments on two proposed amendments to federal rules. The first, which contained comments on proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, addresses issues such as time limit for service, discovery scope and limits, protective orders, depositions, interrogatories, requests for admission and preservation of discoverable information. The second, which contained comments on proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy, addresses issues such as notice, plan payments, length of plans, tax refunds, secured claims, trustee’s fees, non-priority unsecured claims, executory contracts, unexpired leases, vesting of property, nonstandard plan provisions and required signatures.

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.

02 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - 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

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TN Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

CORRECTION: The change is on page 14. Previously read: The Plaintiffs first assert that pursuant to article I, section 5, the photo ID requirement is facially unconstitutional, meaning "that no set of circumstances exist under which the Act would be valid." Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Inc. v. McWherter, 866 S.W.2d 520, 525 (Tenn. 1993). Now reads: The Plaintiffs first assert that pursuant to article I, section 5, the photo ID requirement is facially unconstitutional, meaning "'that no set of circumstances exist[s] under which the Act would be valid.'" Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Inc. v. McWherter, 866 S.W.2d 520, 525 (Tenn. 1993) (quoting United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 745 (1987)).

Court: TN Supreme Court


William E. Young, Solicitor General; Steven A. Hart, Special Counsel; and Janet M. Kleinfelter, Deputy Attorney General, for the appellants, Tre Hargett, Secretary of State; Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Mark Goins, State Coordinator of Elections, all in their official capacities.

George E. Barrett and Douglas S. Johnston, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, and Herman Morris, Jr. and Regina Morrison Newman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, City of Memphis, Tennessee, Daphne Turner-Golden, and Sullistine Bell.

Judge: WADE

In May of 2011, the General Assembly enacted a law providing, with certain exceptions, that all citizens who appear in person to vote must present photographic proof of their identity. The statute authorized a variety of acceptable forms of identification, one of which was a valid photographic identification card issued by an entity of the State of Tennessee. Prior to the August 2012 primary election, the City of Memphis Public Library issued photographic identification cards to its patrons. When two Shelby County residents attempted to vote in the primary using photographic library cards as means of identification, however, election officials declined to accept the cards as the requisite proof. The two residents and the City of Memphis filed a declaratory judgment action against the Secretary of State, the State Coordinator of Elections, and the Attorney General, arguing that the photographic identification requirement violated constitutional protections and that the City of Memphis qualified as an entity of the state authorized to issue valid photographic identification cards through its public library. The trial court denied relief on all counts, ruling first that the plaintiffs lacked standing and holding in the alternative that the photographic identification requirement did not violate the state constitution and that the City of Memphis did not qualify as an entity of the state. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that each plaintiff had standing to sue and that photographic identification cards issued by a municipal library complied with the statute for voting purposes, but also concluding that the photographic identification requirement did not violate constitutional principles. Following the grant of an application for permission to appeal, briefing, and oral argument, the General Assembly enacted amendments to the statute which, among other things, precluded the use of photographic identification cards issued by municipalities or their libraries for voting purposes. In light of these recent amendments, we hold that each issue in this appeal that pertains to the validity of the Memphis Public Library cards as photographic identification is now moot. We further hold that the City of Memphis lacks standing, and, although the two residents of Shelby County have standing to file a declaratory judgment action, the photographic identification requirement, both on its face and as applied in this instance, meets constitutional scrutiny. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals on the issue of constitutionality.

TN Workers Comp Appeals


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Andrew J. Hebar, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Crete Carrier Corporation.

John D. Drake, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tamara Simerly.


Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this case the employee was an over-the-road truck driver attempting to make a delivery of refrigerated goods in Atlanta, Georgia. Because she was late, she was forced to wait 11 hours in her truck in high temperatures without air conditioning. She suffered a ruptured aneurysm as she exited the truck to complete the unloading process, which she alleged was caused by the high temperatures, anxiety, and emotional stress. Her employer denied the claim, and she filed suit for workers’ compensation benefits in Rutherford County, Tennessee. The trial court found that the ruptured aneurysm was caused by the stress of work conditions and awarded 65% permanent partial disability. The employer has appealed. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

TN Court of Appeals

KERYL FILLERS, as personal representative of the ESTATE OF JOHN J. CRAIG V. DWIGHT A. COLLINS, ET. AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Barry W. Eubanks, Seymour, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cindy J. Collins.

Dudley W. Taylor, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Keryl Fillers, as personal representative of the Estate of John J. Craig.


This appeal involves Wife’s attempt to set aside a judgment entered against her relating to her failure to fulfill seven promissory notes. The trial court granted Wife’s motion to set aside, in part, affirming her liability for three of the seven notes but holding that Wife was not liable for the remaining notes. Wife appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lawrence Fred Slagle.

Randal R. Boston and Kevin D. Poore, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Priscilla Lee Slagle.


Lawrence Fred Slagle (“Husband”) appeals the Trial Court’s finding that he has the ability to pay to purge his civil contempt. We find no error in the Trial Court’s determination that Husband failed to make a prima facie showing that he had an inability to pay the purge amount, and we affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals

With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey M. Forguson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; Sarah Wojnarowski, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Stewart County jury convicted the Defendant, Jeffrey M. Forguson, of sale of a schedule IV drug (Alprazolam) and sale of a Schedule III drug (Dihydrocodeinone). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to serve consecutive six-year sentences for an effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) consecutive sentencing was improper in his case; and (3) the trial court could not properly fulfill its role as thirteenth juror. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Forrest L. Wallace, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeremiah R. Key.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin Allen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Petitioner, Jeremiah R. Key, sought post-conviction relief from his guilty-pleaded convictions for aggravated robbery, second degree murder, and coercion of a witness. The post-conviction court denied relief after an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, petitioner raises the following issues: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to adequately communicate with petitioner; (2) ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to ensure that his guilty pleas were voluntarily entered; and (3) involuntariness of his guilty pleas. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Municipality’s Right to Provide Water Services in Annexed Territory

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-02-14

Opinion Number: 19

Politics, Policy Focus for TBALL Class

The Tennessee Bar Association's current Leadership Law class spent Tuesday in Nashville learning about issues in policy and politics. The program started with a welcome from U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, followed by a session on lawyers as office holders, featuring state senators Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, and Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, and Clarksville mayor and former state representative Kim McMillan. The group also heard about TBAImpact, the TBA's new legislative tool for members, from Policy Coordinator Josie Beets, sat in on a Senate Judiciary Committee session and was to finish the day at the TBA's annual Big Shrimp legislative reception.

Memphis Needs $6.5 Million to Process Rape Kits

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton was to ask the city council today for $1 million to pay for testing of backlogged rape kits. But the request, if granted, would cover just a fraction of the costs. Wharton also said he plans to ask the state for $2 million and has been in talks with Gov. Bill Haslam to find other workable solutions. Help also may come from the private sector. Local Memphis.com recently reported that the charity Joyful Heart Foundation is working to find money to help the city. Experts estimate it will cost $6.5 million and take five years to test the thousands of backlogged kits.

Memphis Firm Expands Space

The downtown Memphis law firm of Butler, Sevier, Hinsley & Reid has expanded its offices at 88 Union Center, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The move adds 2,300 square feet, four conference rooms and a separate office for each attorney to the firm’s space on the 11th and 13th floors. According to the firm, the expansion was needed to accommodate a growing number of attorneys and staff members.

FordHarrison Expands Mid-Atlantic Presence

Labor and employment law firm FordHarrison LLP has merged with the Washington, D.C., area firm of Kruchko & Fries. The move adds offices in Virginia and Maryland for FordHarrison, which has Tennessee offices in Nashville and Memphis.

Son-in-Law Pleads Not Guilty, Funeral Set for Lebanon Lawyer

Richard Parker, 49, of Lebanon pleaded not guilty to charges that he delivered a package containing an explosive device to the home of his wife's parents, Jon and Marion Setzer, last Monday. Jon, a retired lawyer, was killed instantly when the package exploded. Marion died two days later. Parker, who has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of premeditated murder, was in a Wilson County courtroom this morning for arraignment. The funeral for Jon and Marion Setzer will be Saturday at noon at the First Church of the Nazarene, 510 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206. WKRN has more on the story.

Napier Lobby Banquet Honors TSU Professor

Nashville’s Napier-Looby Bar Foundation on Thursday will honor Tennessee State University (TSU) professor Robert Smith for his efforts to help black students, the Tennessean reports. Smith, who teaches constitutional and criminal law at TSU and has coached the school’s mock trial team since its inception, will receive the Z. Alexander Looby Lifetime Achievement Award at the organization's annual banquet and award ceremony. Three other attorneys also will be recognized during the banquet. They are Sheila Calloway of the Davidson County Juvenile Court, attorney Cynthia Fitzgerald and Jerrilyn Manning of the Nashville public defender’s office.

Memphis Law Hosts Juvenile Justice Symposium

The University of Memphis School of Law is hosting its annual Law Review Symposium on the topic of “Juvenile Courts in Transition: Where We Have Been and Where We are Going.” The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 28 and feature a variety of regional and national experts on the subject of juvenile justice and reform. Topics include special education for juvenile detainees, confidentiality in juvenile proceedings and advocacy for juvenile clients. Speakers, including Sandra Simkins, the Justice Department official monitoring the local court, also will focus on the specific situation in Memphis. Learn more in this press release. Register for the event on the school’s website.

Court Seeks Pro Se/Death Penalty Law Clerk

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee is seeking a combined pro se/death penalty law clerk in Nashville. The closing date for applications is Feb. 26. The clerk will provide legal assistance to the court in connection with pro se/prisoner civil rights complaints, state habeas corpus petitions (including death penalty cases) and motions to vacate sentences in federal habeas corpus petitions. The clerk will perform substantive review of case records and filings, conduct legal research, draft proposed opinions and orders for each of the district judges, and provide information to chambers staff, court staff and pro se filers. Download the job description.

Reduced-Rate Display Ads Available for Lawyers

Lawyers and firms now may promote outstanding achievements, new associates, new partners, mergers, awards or any other news in the Tennessee Bar Journal. These Professional Announcements are display ads, available at special, lower-rate pricing. Show your peers across the state about your accomplishments by placing an announcement in the Journal. For information, contact Debbie Taylor at (503) 445-2231 or Debbie@llm.com. To have an announcement placed in the April issue, please contact her as soon as possible.

TBA Members Now Save with UPS

As a TBA member you now can save up to 36 percent on UPS Next Day Air and up to 18 percent on UPS Ground Shipping! Visit UPS online to learn how this new member benefit can deliver greater efficiencies for your firm. Already a UPS customer? You also are eligible for this discount once you register your account on the UPS' TBA discount site.


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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