Long to Lead TBA in 2016-2017

Knoxville attorney Jason Long of Lowe, Yeager & Brown will be president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 2016-2017, according to election-qualifying results released today. No other candidate filed for the vice president position by the Feb. 15 deadline. After serving a year as vice president, Long will become president-elect in 2015-2016 before taking over the organization’s leadership in June 2016.

There will be a contested election for two TBA leadership posts this spring. For Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 2, Nashville attorney Jim Cartiglia of Waddey & Patterson PC will face Franklin attorney David Veile of Schell & Davies LLC. In the East, Knoxville attorney Sarah Sheppeard of Sheppeard & Mynatt PLC will face Chattanooga attorney David McDowell of Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon PLLC for the East Grand Division Governor, Position 1 slot.

Candidates who filed for the following positions will take office at the June annual meeting as they did not draw opponents: Tasha Blakney, 2nd District Governor; Donna Pierce, 4th District Governor; Dan Berexa, 5th District Governor; Michelle Sellers, 7th District Governor; Lucian Pera, West Grand Division Governor, Position 1; Brian Faughnan, West Grand Division Governor, Position 2; Gary Shockley, Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 1; and Andy Roskind, East Grand Division Governor, Position 2. Also winning without opposition are three TBA delegates to the ABA House of Delegates: Buck Lewis, Position 2; John Tarpley, Position 4; and Paul Campbell III, Position 5.

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
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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Russell E. Edwards, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wand T.

Joseph T. Zanger, Whitehouse, Tennessee, for the appellees, David A. and Kasey H.


This is a termination of parental rights case. Father’s parental rights were terminated on the ground of abandonment for willful failure to visit and willful failure to support. Because the trial court’s order terminating Father’s parental rights fails to set forth sufficient findings, we are unable to adequately address the issue of abandonment in this case. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the chancery court and we remand for entry of an order that sets forth sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding the termination of Father’s parental rights.

JOHN WESLEY GREEN, Individually and as a Shareholder of CHAMPS-ELYSEES, INC. v. CHAMPS-ELYSEES, INC., EDNA L. GREEN, ELLEN GREEN, Personal Representative of the ESTATE OF MARK GREEN, and ARTHUR FOURIER, Individually and as the Board of Directors
and Shareholders of CHAMPS-ELYSEES, INC.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


James D. R. Roberts, Jr. and Janet L. Layman, Nashville, Tennessee for Plaintiff/Appellants John Wesley Green and James D. R. Roberts, Jr.

Mark A. Baugh and Nancy A. Vincent, Nashville, Tennessee for Defendant/Appellees Champs-Elysees, Inc. and the Personal Representative of Mark Green

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal stems from the denial of a Rule 60.02 motion, filed by an attorney on his own behalf, to set aside an order. The attorney tried unsuccessfully to derail a sheriff’s sale of his client’s property through the use of an elaborate contrivance. In the aftermath, contempt charges were filed against the attorney. In the ensuing civil contempt proceedings, the trial court entered an order that concluded that the trial court was unable to hold the errant attorney in civil contempt of court. The order included obiter dictum in which the trial court questioned the attorney’s veracity as an officer of the court, stated that he could have been held in criminal contempt had he been charged with such, and referred the matter to the Board of Professional Responsibility. Over five years later, the attorney and his client filed the Rule 60.02 motion that is the subject of this appeal, asking the trial court to set aside the order with the offending dicta. The trial court dismissed the Rule 60.02 motion, finding that it either did not have subject matter jurisdiction to set aside the order or, in the alternative, that the motion to set aside was untimely and without merit. The attorney and his client appeal. We reverse the trial court’s holding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the Rule 60.02 motion, but affirm the trial court’s alternative holding that the motion to set aside is untimely and wholly without merit. In light of improper statements made in the attorney’s appellate brief about the trial judge, we also find it necessary to refer the appellant attorney to the Board of Professional Responsibility.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mubashir Mahmood.

J. Eric Harrison, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Maryam Mubashir.


This appeal arises from a divorce. Maryam Mubashir (“Wife”) sued Mubashir Mahmood (“Husband”) for divorce in the Chancery Court for Hamblen County (“the Trial Court”). The Trial Court granted the divorce. Husband appeals, raising numerous issues concerning parenting time, arrearages, and alimony. We modify the judgment of the Trial Court as it pertains to certain arrearages and Husband’s parenting time with the parties’ children. Otherwise, we affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Nancy Krider Corley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, W.F.A., Jr.

Joseph Y. Longmire, Jr., Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellees, L.H.M., and S.W.M.


Mother and Stepfather filed petition seeking to terminate biological Father’s parental rights and to permit Stepfather to adopt Child. Trial court found Father had abandoned Child by failing to visit or support Child in the four months preceding the petition’s filing and that it was in Child’s best interest to terminate Father’s rights. Father appealed. We reverse the trial court’s judgment terminating Father’s rights because the evidence was not clear and convincing that it is in Child’s best interest that Father’s rights be terminated.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Clarence E. Pridemore, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald Lynn Cook.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Bradshaw, Assistant Attorney General; Lori Phillips-Jones, District Attorney General; and Tracy Tipton Jenkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Ronald Lynn Cook, pled guilty to six counts of forgery valued at less than $1,000, a Class E felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-14-105, -114. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of ten years to be served in confinement. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by imposing partial consecutive sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Derrick Hodge, Lexington, Kentucky, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; and William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Derrick Hodge, filed in the Hamilton County Criminal Court a petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty plea to possession of less than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition because it was untimely. On appeal, the petitioner contends that the holdings in Missouri v. Frye, __ U.S. __, 132 S. Ct. 1399 (2012), and Lafler v. Cooper, __ U.S. __, 132 S. Ct. 1376 (2012), establish a new rule of law that is entitled to retroactive application to cases on collateral review. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Chad Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Felix Tamayo.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Felix Tamayo, pled guilty to five counts of aggravated robbery and agreed to allow the trial court to determine the length and manner of service of his sentence. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed consecutive twelve-year sentences for a total effective sentence of sixty years. On appeal, this Court affirmed the Petitioner’s sentence. State v. Felix Tamayo, No. M2010-00800-CCA-R3-CD, 2011 WL 1876315, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, May. 16, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 21, 2011). The Petitioner timely filed a petition seeking post-conviction relief on the basis that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. The Petitioner appeals the post-conviction court’s denial, maintaining that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered because he was not advised that he could receive consecutive sentencing. After a thorough review of the record, the briefs, and relevant authorities, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demetrius Wynn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Demetrius Wynn, filed in the Knox County Criminal Court a petition for postconviction relief from his guilty plea to possession of less than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell. He alleged that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The post-conviction court denied relief, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

TBA Hosts Legislators at Big Shrimp Event

TBA leaders, legislators and their staff filled the Tennessee Bar Center Tuesday evening for the Big Shrimp Legislative reception. The annual event provides an opportunity for legislators to meet with members of the Tennessee legal community in a casual atmosphere to learn their concerns and discuss policy issues. More than 200 people attended the event, including the TBA Leadership Law class, which had spent the day learning about issues in policy and politics. See photos from the event.

Supreme Court Seeks Appellate Courts Clerk

The Tennessee Supreme Court is seeking applications for the Clerk of the Appellate Courts position based in Nashville. The vacancy is being created by the retirement Mike Catalano. Qualified applicants must be licensed Tennessee attorneys, have extensive managerial experience and be knowledgeable about implementation and use of current technologies. The deadline to apply is March 14. Visit the Administrative Office of the Courts for more information. 

Waller Launches Memphis Office

The Nashville-based Waller law firm has opened a new office in Memphis focused on life sciences, biotechnology and not-for-profit healthcare. Robert “Bob” Morris, Denise D. Burke, Joseph “Joey” E. Dudek Jr. and Al Bright Jr. from Butler Snow’s Memphis office have joined Waller as partners, bringing nearly 80 years of combined legal experience to the firm’s fourth office. "My partners and I are very excited about expanding Waller’s footprint and working with these talented lawyers,” Waller Chairman John Tishler said in a press release. “This is an experienced team that enhances our life sciences capabilities and complements our core healthcare practices in Austin, Birmingham and Nashville.”

Henry County Selects New County Attorney

Henry County Commissioners selected Robert Whitfield as the new county attorney last night, the Post Intelligencer reports. At 28, Whitfield is the youngest of five local attorneys who expressed interest in filling the void left when Lee Greer resigned in December after 32 years as county attorney.

Tennessee-Georgia State Line Case May Head to Supreme Court

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, lawmakers in Georgia say they have instructed state Attorney General Sam Olens to file suit in the U.S. Supreme Court if Tennessee doesn’t agree to give up 1.5 square miles near Dade County so a pipeline could be bult to pump up to 1 billion gallons of water a day from Nickajack Lake. Georgia legislators say Tennessee can have 66.5 square miles of land — and its 30,817 residents — that they claim a surveyor misdrew when creating state lines almost 200 years ago. The ongoing debate was covered in a 2008 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal.

Lawmakers Drop Wedding Vendor Bill

State. Sen. Mike Bell said during hearings yesterday that he would delay consideration of Senate Bill 2566 until at least next year, saying that there was no need for the measure immediately. Dubbed "Turn the Gays Away" by opponents, the bill would have let cake makers, photographers and other vendors refuse to work on same-sex ceremonies, even if courts strike down the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Similar bills were struck down this week in Kansas and Idaho. The Tennessean has more.

Knox County Assistant DA to Run for Criminal Court Clerk

Knox County assistant district attorney Jason Hunnicutt picked up a petition form yesterday morning to run for Clerk of Criminal Court, less than a day after current officeholder Joy McCroskey said she wouldn’t seek re-election. Hunnicutt has served as assistant district attorney for most of his career, Knoxnews reports.

Judge Joe Brown to Run for Shelby County DA

Former television star Judge Joe Brown submitted his petition Tuesday to run for Shelby County District Attorney General as a Democrat against Republican incumbent Amy Weirich, the Commercial Appeal reports. Linda Nettles Harris has also pulled a petition to run as a Democrat in the race. 

New Candidates Join Race for Juvenile Judge

Several new candidates have joined an already crowded field seeking to replace retiring judge Brandon Fisher as Anderson County Juvenile Court judge. They include longtime Oak Ridge lawyer David Dunkirk, who is running for the Democratic nomination, and Lauren Biloski and Victoria E. Bannach, who are seeking the Republican nomination. Read more about the candidates from Knoxnews.

Judge Reedy Announces Bid for Re-election

Judge Amy Reedy on Tuesday announced her candidacy for re-election to the Criminal Court for the 10th Judicial District. Before her appointment to the bench in 2006, Reedy had served as an assistant district attorney general, assistant public defender and deputy clerk. "This foundation of life experience and public service insures the citizens of the 10th Judicial District that I am able to continue to serve as criminal court judge with competence," Reedy said in a statement released Tuesday, Chattanoogan.com reports.

Legal Services President to Speak at Nashville Campaign Kickoff Event

Legal Services Corporation President James J. Sandman will keynote the Legal Aid Society's annual Campaign for Equal Justice kickoff luncheon March 5 at the Nashville City Club. The campaign is an annual initiative that raises funds for Legal Aid Society, Tennessee’s largest nonprofit law firm. The kickoff luncheon also will celebrate the efforts of law firms, attorneys and community partners in advancing the work of Legal Aid Society over the last 45 years. For more information, visit www.las.org or call (615)780-7125.

Free Food, Materials and Prizes at Law Tech Un-Conference

Don’t miss this year’s Law Tech Un-conference Thursday in Nashville. The “un-conference” approach allows you to come for one hour or all day. You can attend for free or pay for CLE credit if needed. In either case, materials are free. If you can't make the unConference in person, you can watch the first session via webcast —  free for those not seeking CLE credit. No need to register in advance, just come for the sessions you want.

UPS Puts the Power of Logistics to Work for You

UPS is pleased to help TBA members save time and money through special services and shipping discounts. UPS puts the power of logistics to work for you every day by providing speed, outstanding reliability and technology tools so you can focus on your business -- not on your shipping. Learn more here.


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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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