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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
03 - 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


Philip L. Robertson and Andrew L. Power, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants, Scott McIllwain and Alliant Capital Advisors, LLC.

Stanley Allen Kweller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Michael Scott Hoover, Joseph Stanford and Accurate Investment Group, LLC.


This appeal concerns the nonpayment of commissions to a business broker. The defendants hired the plaintiff to assist in the sale of all or part of their small business. The parties’ agreement provided that if the defendants entered a transaction with any entity that the plaintiff solicited on their behalf within a certain time period, they would be obliged to pay the plaintiff a percentage of the purchase price. During the stated time period, the defendants sold all of their business’s assets to a third-party company that also hired them as at-will employees. The plaintiff demanded a commission for the sale, claiming that he met with the third-party company on the defendants’ behalf prior to the sale. The defendants refused to pay. The plaintiff filed this lawsuit claiming damages for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, concluding that there were no genuine disputes of material fact because the transaction between the defendants and the third-party company was not the type of transaction the defendants hired the plaintiff to arrange. The plaintiff appealed. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Phillip North and Edward A. Hadley, Tennessee, for the appellants, Paul Jackson, M. D., and Gethsemane Cardiovascular Clinic, PLLC.

L. Gilbert Anglin, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gerald Rogers as next of kin go his deceased wife, Vicki L. Rogers.

Thomas A. Wiseman, III, and Kimberly G. Silvus, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Kevin Bonner, M. D. and Middle Tennessee Emergency Physicians, P. C.


Defendants in a health care liability action appeal the denial of their motions to strike the allegations of comparative fault raised in the amended answer of other defendants and their motions to dismiss the amended complaint. Finding no error, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

CORRECTION: Opinion was withdrawn to remove footnote #4, which began with "As a point of practice, we note that the appellate record in this case consists of seventeen volumes of technical record." That footnote has been removed and all remaining footnotes have been renumbered in this revised version.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Joseph M. Clark and Casey Shannon, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Olugbenga Faleye, M.D. and PrimeHealth Medical Center, P.C.

J. Kimbrough Johnson and Andrea N. Malkin, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellants, John J. Harris, M.D. and John J. Harris, M.D., P.C.

Marty R. Phillips and Ashley D. Cleek, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellants, UHS Lakeside, LLC d/b/a Lakeside Behavioral Health System.

Cameron C. Jehl, Carey L. Acerra, and Deena K. Arnold, Memphis, Tennessee, and Deborah Truby Riordan, Little Rock, Arkansas, for the appellee, Caroll Marie Stovall.


Appellant medical providers appeal the trial court’s denial of their motions t medical malpractice complaint for failure to strictly comply with Tennessee Code Annotated o dismiss a Section 29-26-122(d)(4). Because we conclude that the trial court had good cause to grant an extension, within which to file a certificate of good faith, we affirm the decision of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Arlena Tippie, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; and Michael Markham, Senior Counsel; for the appellees, Tennessee Revenue, Tennessee Civil Service Commission, and Charles A. Trost


Former revenue enforcement officer challenges her termination from the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Because substantial and material evidence supports the Civil Service Commission’s decision, we affirm the chancery court’s judgment.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Billy Burk, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Charles A. Brasfield, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellee, Terence Dewayne Borum.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Terence Dewayne Borum, pleaded guilty to burglary, theft over $1,000, and vandalism over $500 with the sentence to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court found the defendant to be a persistent offender and imposed an effective ten-year sentence to be served on probation. The State appeals contending that the trial court erred in finding the defendant to be a persistent, rather than a career, offender. Based upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Patrick S. Butler, Waynesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sandra Perez.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Doug Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Sandra L. Perez, appeals a jury verdict of guilty of Tenn Care fraud, asserting insufficient evidence upon which to base a verdict of guilty. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Angela Jenkins-Hines, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Clint Sims.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin E.D. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and James W. Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Clint Sims, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that both his waiver of appointed counsel and his pro se guilty pleas were unknowing due to his mental health issues and the conditions he endured at the jail. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the petition.

LegalZoom Hits Hurdle in North Carolina

LegalZoom was probably still celebrating the South Carolina Supreme Court’s approval of its business model when a North Carolina judge breathed continued life into a case claiming the company engages in the unauthorized practice of law, reports LawSites Blog. According to the post, a special judge dismissed two counts in LegalZoom’s lawsuit against the North Carolina State Bar, in which the company alleged that the bar’s efforts to shut it down violated anti-monopoly and equal protection clauses of the state constitution. The court deferred ruling on the bar’s claim that LegalZoom is engaged in unauthorized practice, concluding that a more extensive factual record is required to understand how LegalZoom prepares complex documents for customers.

Wade Establishes Law School Scholarship at UT

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade has established a scholarship at the University of Tennessee College of Law to support students interested in public service careers. The Justice Gary R. Wade Endowed Scholarship will be open to Tennessee residents with financial need and a strong interest in public service. "I've been honored to hold a public office since I was 28 years old," said Wade. "Civic education is so important to all citizens of our country. I wanted to create a scholarship to help those who want to earn and use a law degree to help their local government and community."

Knox Criminal Court Revises Local Rules

The judges of the Knox County Criminal Court have completed the first revision of local rules in 24 years. The new rules will go into effect June 1. View them here.

Opinion: Keep Politics Out of the Courthouse

Ruth McGregor, retired chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, and Randall Shepard, retired chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, write in the Washington Post that “in state capitals across the nation, there are disturbing efforts by partisans, politicians and special interests to intimidate our courts.” They start by looking at the political response to a decision by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to grant a stay in an execution, which led the governor to proclaim she would disregard the ruling and a state legislator to introduce a resolution to impeach the justices. They also look at developments in Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee, where a “multi-million dollar effort” threatens to “turn judges into politicians in black robes.”

Scalia: Most Law Schools Will Have to Make Cuts

In a commencement speech to William & Mary law graduates earlier this month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said tuition will have to be cut at the “vast majority” of law schools as the system is not sustainable in its present form. Scalia, who does not support reducing the law school experience from three to two years, also suggested that professorial salaries may have to be reduced as a way to maintain the three-year model. The ABA Journal has his comments.

Pilot President, VP Depart While Legal Cases Continue

As a federal investigation into Pilot Flying J continues, the CEO of the Knoxville-based chain of truck stops disclosed that two high-ranking employees have departed, Knoxnews reports. In an email to employees yesterday, CEO Jimmy Haslam said the company’s president and vice president of national accounts left the firm effective immediately. In April 2013, federal agents raided Pilot’s headquarters, seeking information about an alleged scheme to defraud trucking customers of diesel fuel rebates. Ten employees subsequently pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the case. A criminal probe is ongoing.

Google and Apple Drop Suits, Pledge Patent Reform

Google and Apple say they will cease all existing, direct litigation against each other and work together on patent reform issues, the Nashville Business Journal reports. While the agreement does not foreclose future suits or terminate suits in which the companies are third parties, the move will impact about 20 lawsuits and “represents an unexpected detente between two companies.”

Democrat Opposition to Obama Nominee Grows

In an alleged deal with Georgia’s two Republican senators to fill seven federal court vacancies in the state, President Obama nominated Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. But opposition among the president’s party has grown over the last few weeks with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and members of the Congressional Black Caucus opposing Boggs. In a rare occurrence, strong feelings over the nomination also led some members of the Black Caucus to attack civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who at first called for the nomination to be withdrawn, but reportedly was telling colleagues he could support Boggs as part of a package deal. After the firestorm this week, Lewis reaffirmed his opposition to the nomination. The Washington Post, Huffington Post and Fox News report on the issue.

Nashville Officials OK Results, Review Election Problems

Nashville election officials voted unanimously to certify the results of the May 6 primaries yesterday after holding the first public discussion of what went wrong on Election Day when six voters were allowed to cast ballots twice. The election commission agreed to refer those individuals to prosecutors for further investigation. The commission also voted to refer to Metro’s legal department a suit filed by former employee Rollow Mickle, who alleges he was fired for identifying flaws in how the county runs elections. The Tennessean has more on the story.

Help Celebrate the Magna Carta's 800th Anniversary

In anticipation of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta in 2015, the ABA is planning a range of events to promote the historical and contemporary relevance of the document, including new publications, a London meeting for lawyers and a tour of Runnymede. In addition, the ABA is partnering with the Library of Congress to create a traveling and stationary exhibit. The traveling exhibit will launch in August and will travel across the country to law schools, courthouses, public libraries and other venues. Educational and commemorative events also are planned. Lawyers can get involved by helping to refurbish the ABA Memorial at Runnymede, promoting awareness of the charter and supporting events that mark the anniversary.

Save on Auto Insurance with TBA Benefit

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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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