Former Public Guardian not Liable for Losses of Ward

Davidson County Circuit Judge Hamilton V. Gayden Jr. has thrown out part of a suit filed against a former public guardian who was removed from her post following multiple questions about her billing practices, the Tennessean reports. The ruling means that former Davidson County public guardian Jeanan Stuart is not liable for losses sustained by Ginger Franklin while Stuart was acting as Franklin’s conservator. Franklin, who lost her condo, car and all her belongings during the conservatorship, said she could not understand the decision. “Everything I owned was gone,” she said. “It just doesn’t make sense.” Gayden said in his letter to attorney Michael Hoskins that he had not yet decided whether to reject a separate claim by Franklin relating to Stuart’s placement of Franklin in a group home, where Franklin has charged she was put to work taking care of other residents.

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
09 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
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TN Court of Appeals

MS. B., INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF MINOR CHILD, JOHN DOE, “N” v. BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Luvell L. Glanton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Mother.

Gregory W. Callaway and Susan Scott VanDyke, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Judge: FARMER

Plaintiff filed an action against Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, in addition to its Tennessee affiliate and others, seeking damages arising from alleged sexual and emotional abuse of a minor child by a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee volunteer. The trial court determined that the national organization did not owe a duty to the minor child and entered summary judgment in favor of the organization. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.


TIMOTHY W. HUDSON v. DELILAH M. GRUNLOH

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Delilah M. Grunloh, Johnson City, Tennessee, pro se

Timothy W. Hudson, Bristol, Tennessee, pro se

Judge: HIGHERS

This case involves a claim for contractual attorney fees and a counterclaim for legal malpractice. The trial court dismissed the legal malpractice claim at the summary judgment stage, it granted summary judgment on certain aspects of the attorney’s fee claim, and, following a trial, it awarded a judgment in favor of the attorney. We affirm.


KIMBERLY MEEKS v. BRYANT LEO MEEKS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Thomas R. Meeks, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bryant Leo Meeks.

Jonathan Bradley Miley, Wende J. Rutherford, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kimberly Meeks.

Judge: BENNETT

In this child support case, Father appeals the trial court’s determination that he was voluntarily underemployed. We have reviewed the record and the relevant authority and find that the trial court did not err in concluding that Father was underemployed for the purpose of calculating his child support obligation. We affirm.


DAVID L. TRANTHAM BY BETTY J. WARD HARTSELL, as his attorney in fact V. EVELYN NIX LYNN

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kent L. Booher, Harriman, Tennessee, for the appellant, Evelyn Nix Lynn.

Gary L. Fox, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellee, David L. Trantham by Betty J. Ward Hartsell, as his attorney in fact.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This is a boundary line dispute based upon competing surveys. Plaintiff brought a declaratory judgment action against Defendant, seeking to have the boundary line declared. Following a hearing, the trial court awarded the property to Plaintiff and assessed damages against Defendant for damage caused to a bridge located on Plaintiff’s property. Defendant appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

WILLIAM F. CHUMLEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Lyle A. Jones, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, William F. Chumley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Jason Poyner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

William F. Chumley (“the Petitioner”) was convicted of rape of a child and sentenced to twenty-five years’ incarceration. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed the Petitioner’s conviction. See State v. William Franklin Chumley, No. W2011-01832-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 3134033, at *9 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 1, 2012). The Petitioner subsequently filed for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied following an evidentiary hearing. The Petitioner now appeals, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s decision denying relief.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL ANTHONY FRANK

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Liddell Kirk (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee; Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender; and Matthew Elrod, Assistant District Public Defender (at post-conviction hearing), Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Anthony Frank.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Shari Lynn Tayloe, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Michael Anthony Frank, appeals the Blount County Circuit Court’s order revoking his probation for his robbery conviction and ordering his three-year sentence into execution. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering him to serve the balance of his sentence in confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORTINO HARRIS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cortino A. Harris.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Bradshaw, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

In Madison County Circuit Court case number 12-285, Defendant was convicted following a jury trial of driving on a suspended license in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-50-504(a)(1) and of operating a motor vehicle without a valid registration in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-50-114(d). Defendant was sentenced to serve six months in the county jail for the driving on a suspended license conviction. His punishment for the violation of registration law conviction was a $25.00 fine. Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conviction for driving on a suspended license and the sentence of incarceration imposed by the trial court. Following a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court pursuant to Rule of the Court of Criminal Appeals 20.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKY J. JONES and SHANE EUGENE MCCLANAHAN
With separate concurring and dissenting opinions.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jason L. Lawson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

J. Branden Bellar and Jacky O. Bellar, for the Defendant-Appellees, Ricky J. Jones and Shane Eugene McClanahan.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellee, Shane Eugene McClanahan, was indicted in Case No. 2012-CR- 150 for possession of not less than one-half ounce nor more than ten pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, driving while under the influence of marijuana while accompanied by a child under thirteen years of age, and possession of 1 drug paraphernalia. McClanahan was later indicted in Case No. 2012-CR-193 for driving a motor vehicle on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license and driving a motor vehicle on a cancelled, suspended, or revoked license, second or subsequent offense. McClanahan’s charges stemmed from evidence obtained during a warrantless search of his vehicle. In a separate case, the Defendant-Appellee, Ricky J. Jones, was indicted in Case No. 2012-CR-147 for the manufacture of marijuana consisting of not less than 100 marijuana plants nor more than 499 marijuana plants, possession of not less than ten pounds, one gram nor more than seventy pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jones was later indicted in Case No. 2012-CR-268 for money laundering. Jones’s charges stemmed from evidence obtained pursuant to a warrant that substantially relied on the evidence recovered during the warrantless search of McClanahan’s vehicle. McClanahan and Jones filed motions to suppress the physical evidence recovered in their cases. Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted McClanahan’s and Jones’s motions to suppress and dismissed their indictments. In this appeal as of right, the State argues that the trial court erred in granting McClanahan’s suppression motions and in dismissing his cases. Upon review, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHANTERRICA MADDEN
With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joe Mason Brandon, Jr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Laurie Young, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shanterrica Madden.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle L. Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, District Attorney General; and J. Paul Newman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant was found guilty after trial by jury of second degree murder and tampering with evidence. She received an effective sentence of twenty-nine years. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by denying her motion to recuse, that her constitutional rights were violated by the manner in which the trial court allowed jurors to ask questions during her trial, and that her sentence is excessive. After review, we find that the defendant has failed to establish her entitlement to any relief on these claims. We affirm the judgments of the trial court accordingly.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DANIEL PAGAN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; Kathryn M. Merwald, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Bruce E. Poston (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daniel Pagan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin J. Allen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Daniel Pagan, pled guilty to possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to deliver and, thereafter, was convicted by a jury of voluntary manslaughter. The trial court imposed consecutive terms of six years for the voluntary manslaughter conviction and four years for the drug possession conviction, for a total effective sentence of ten years. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence at trial was insufficient to prove that he had the requisite intent to support a conviction for voluntary manslaughter and (2) that the trial court improperly determined that he was a dangerous offender for consecutive sentencing purposes. After our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSEPH E. RAINEY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joe Hinson (at trial), Hohenwald, Tennessee, and Douglas Thompson Bates, IV (at motion for new trial and on appeal), Centerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph E. Rainey.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Kim Helper, District Attorney General; and Sean B. Duddy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

A jury convicted the defendant of two counts of the delivery of dihydrocodeinone, a Class D felony, and one count of the casual exchange of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated sections 39-17-417 and -418 (2009). The trial court sentenced the defendant to three years of probation for each conviction for delivery of dihydrocodeinone and to eleven months and twenty-nine days of probation for the marijuana conviction, with all the sentences to be served concurrently. The defendant hired a new attorney to file his motion for a new trial, and his new attorney challenged the trial court’s denial of a continuance prior to trial. New counsel also asserted that the defendant had received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied the motion for a new trial. We discern no error and accordingly affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ADAM SHARP

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ben H. Houston, II, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Adam Sharp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Debbie Malone, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Adam Sharp, appeals the Knox County Criminal Court’s orders revoking his community corrections sentences for his automobile burglary conviction in case number 92782 and his aggravated burglary and reckless endangerment convictions in case number 95696. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering him to serve his effective eight-year sentence in confinement. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


HAROLD TOLLEY v. SHARON TAYLOR, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Harold Tolley, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; and Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Harold Tolley, appeals the Johnson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his 1998 conviction for first degree murder and his resulting life sentence. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by summarily denying relief because he was denied his right to defend himself at the trial by presenting an intoxication defense to show he had diminished capacity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Judge: City Schools Can Move Forward in Shelby

U.S. District Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays granted a joint request Monday to dismiss the legal case regarding the formation of municipal schools, ending the lengthy battle over education in Shelby County, the Commercial Appeal reports. In the order, the judge said he "reviewed the terms of the agreements and finds them reasonable." Those agreements involve the accords reached between the Shelby County Schools Board and the six municipalities forming their own schools this summer. The agreement included financial considerations paid to the county to cover retirement benefits in exchange for the suburbs receiving the school buildings within their boundaries to form the respective school systems.


Supreme Court Reinstates Murder Conviction, Clarifies Law

The Tennessee Supreme Court has reinstated a Memphis man’s conviction for first-degree felony murder while clarifying Tennessee law regarding the requirements to make an arrest and when a confession can be a basis for a conviction. The court also clarified the longstanding Tennessee rule that a person cannot be convicted based entirely on a confession that has not been corroborated by other evidence, unless that confession is given under oath in court, as was the case in State of Tennessee v. Courtney Bishop.


ABA President Addresses Attorney-Client Privilege

American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat responded to a letter from National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander by saying, the ABA "looks forward to continuing a constructive dialogue with the NSA to ensure that American lawyers and their clients have confidence that their privileged communications are appropriately protected." The exchange follows the ABA’s Feb. 20 questioning of the agency’s policies to protect the attorney-client privilege in the course of its intelligence mission.


Boy Pleads Guilty in Shooting Death

The mother of a Nashville boy who was shot and killed earlier this year stood with the grandmother of the 17-year-old who on Monday pled guilty to reckless homicide in the death. Kaemon Robinson shot 15-year-old Kevin Barbee when, witnesses told police, a handgun Robinson was holding accidentally fired. The victim's mother had originally requested Robinson to be tried as an adult, but has since forgiven him. Had he been tried and convicted as an adult, he would have faced up to 51 years in prison, according to Fox 17. As a juvenile, he will likely be out of jail in less than two years.


Georgia's Juvenile Justice Department Hiring

Georgia's Department of Juvenile Justice is recruiting veterans. NewsChannel 9 reports that the department has openings for administrative roles, corrections and transportation officers, security emergency response teams, probation and parole specialists, nurses, doctors, social workers, teachers and more.


States' Search for Execution Drugs Gets Creative

Shortages of drugs used in the "three-drug protocol" used in executions is causing some states to scramble, sometimes in creative and unorthodox ways. Some manufacturers and pharmacies — particularly in Europe, where capital punishment is almost nonexistent — have cut off the supply of drugs used for executions because of opposition to the death penalty. As a result, prison officials in death-penalty states have resorted to sharing drugs, buying them from underregulated pharmacies or using drug combinations never previously used to put people to death, USA Today reports. This story also takes a look at other ways to carry out the death penalty, including bringing back the gas chamber, firing squad and electric chair.


Senate Approves Bill for Felons' Employability Certificate

The Tennessee Senate today passed a bipartisan bill 27-2 by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, that will "help reformed former felons find employment and lead lawful lives as productive members of society," a news release from the Senate Republican Caucus says. The House companion, HB1109, is sponsored by Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis. Senate Bill 276 will help spur job creation, reduce crime, and protect businesses from needless lawsuits by allowing individuals to petition courts for a certificate of employability, it says. These certificates operate to protect employers who hire new job-seekers from claims of negligent hiring. Knoxblogs.com carried the news.


TBAImpact Connects Lawyers to Legislative Issues and Lawmakers

TBA now provides resources for those who want to follow legislative action. On TBAImpact, members can learn about issues important to lawyers, track legislation pending before the General Assembly and contact their legislators to express their opinions. The TBA has a long tradition of advocating on behalf of its members in the state legislature. TBAImpact will enhance these efforts, giving you an opportunity to weigh in on issues important to the profession. Log in to your TBA account, then click on the TBAImpact tab to make sure your voice is heard. Get started here.


Reeves Not First Woman Federal Judge in Region

An item in Monday's TBAToday quoted Knoxnews.com in referring to Pam Reeves as the "first female federal judge in East Tennessee." Although she is the first female judge on the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Tennessee, she is not the first woman to be a federal judge in the region.


Alaska Supreme Court Faces Possible Changes in Selection

The Alaska Supreme Court has come out against legislative efforts to change Alaska's judicial nomination process, Alaska Dispatch reports. But that political role for the justices has now drawn criticism, too, with one legislator saying he was "appalled" at the court's involvement in politics. Candidates for judicial appointments in Alaska currently are sent to the governor by the Judicial Council, a group made up of three lawyers appointed by the Alaska Bar and three citizen members appointed by the governor, along with the state's chief justice as the seventh member.


Candidates for General Sessions Meet in Forum

The candidates for General Sessions Court Division II judge spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland in a political forum last week. Candidates Barrett Painter and Shari Tayloe, along with current judge Sheridan Randolph, were each given a chance to explain why they are best suited for the position. All three are running in the Republican primary. Read what they said in the Cleveland Daily Banner.


Nashville Lawyer Reinstated

The Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated the law license of Nashville lawyer Lee Michael Sprouse yesterday. He had been temporarily suspended on Feb. 4 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. A hearing panel recommended to the court that the temporary suspension be dissolved. Read the court's news release.


Nashville Lawyer Placed on Disability Inactive Status

The law license of Davidson County lawyer Frank A. Woods was transferred to disability inactive status pursuant to Section 27.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9 yesterday. He cannot practice law while on disability inactive status, but may return to the practice of law after reinstatement by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Read the court's news release.


 
 

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