Lawyers Push Back Against Effort to Oust Justices

Lawyers across the state have begun fighting back against Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s campaign to unseat Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice Cornelia Clark and Justice Sharon Lee. The Nashville Bar Association Tuesday released a resolution supporting the judges’ retention in the Aug. 7 judicial election and urged its members to vote in favor to retain. On Wednesday, a group of attorneys including former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank Drowota and former Appeals Court Judge Lew Conner met with the Tennessean to spell out their efforts to combat Ramsey, who Drowota said was using misinformation to unfairly criticize the justices in an effort to stack the court with partisan judges. “To have politics come into the courts makes absolutely no sense,” Drowota said. “You don’t want a politicized court. You want a fair, impartial court.”

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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


Christopher S. Campbell and Laura S. Martin, Memphis, Tennessee, and Dale Ledbetter, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the appellants, William Hamilton Smythe, III, Individually; William H. Smythe, IV Trust U/A DTD 12/29/87, William H. Smythe, III, Trustee; and Smythe Children’s Trust #2 FBO Katherine Thinnes U/A DTD 12/29/87, William H. Smythe, III, Trustee.

John S. Golwen and William G. Whitman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc.


The trial court vacated an arbitration award in favor of Respondent/Appellant on the ground of evident partiality on the part of two arbitrators and remanded the matter to the arbitration board to be re-arbitrated by a different panel. We reverse and remand to the trial court for confirmation of the arbitration award.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Al H. Thomas and Joshua D. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Archie Wolfe.

James E. Conley Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, William C. Felts, Jr., and Linda M. Felts.

John H. Dotson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Richard Johnson, Rebecca Lynn Johnson, and Empire Hair Studios, L.L.C.


In this premises liability action, Plaintiff/Appellant was allegedly injured when he slipped and fell on the subject property. The trial court granted a directed verdict to the Appellees, who are the property owners/occupiers. The basis for the directed verdict was that Appellant failed to submit evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude either that the Appellees knew or should have known of a dangerous condition on the property, or that Appellees caused or created a dangerous condition on the property. Discerning no error, we affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Derron Guy, Pro Se, Whiteville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle L. Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General, for the respondent, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Derron Guy, pled guilty to carjacking, employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and aggravated robbery in case number 10-00740; carjacking and employment of a firearm during a dangerous felony in case number 09-06692; and criminal attempt of carjacking and possession of a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony in case number 10-00741. Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief. The dismissal of the petition was affirmed on appeal. See Derron S. Guy v. Cherry Lindamood, Warden, No. W2012-00759-CCA-R3- HC, 2012 WL 5943396, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Nov. 28, 2012). Petitioner sought leave in a different court to amend the first petition and raised additional grounds for habeas corpus relief. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition. Petitioner appeals. After a review, we determine that Petitioner is not entitled to habeas corpus relief as he has not proven on the face of the judgment or the record that the convicting court was without jurisdiction to convict or sentence Petitioner or that Petitioner is still imprisoned despite the expiration of his sentence. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

Editorial: State Should Keep a Nonpartisan Supreme Court

A Memphis Flyer editorial states three Democratic Supreme Court justices up for retention on Aug. 7 — Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice Cornelia Clark and Justice Sharon Lee — deserve the endorsement of Shelby County voters, regardless of party affiliation. The publication denounces Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s plan to oust them from the state’s highest court, saying, “Interpreting the law is — or should be — non-political.” The editorial also says the justices have been "forced into a barnstorming tour of sorts to raise enough support and money to counter the well-funded purge efforts of Ramsey and his out-of-state allies."

Assistant DA Announces Judge Candidacy

Suzanne M. Lockert-Mash has announced her candidacy for the position of Circuit Court judge, Division 3 of the 23rd Judicial District, which is comprised of Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys and Stewart counties. Lockert-Mash has 23 years' experience as an assistant district attorney, and has presided over grand jury cases in all five counties of the district. She has completed the Supreme Court Approved Rule 31 Family Mediation Studies at David Lipscomb University and was also selected to partake in a Pilot Mentor Training Program, which was designed to train experienced attorneys to mentor new attorneys. The Tennessean has more from the Ashland City Times.

Veterans and Drug Courts Top Judicial Candidate's Goals

The Leaf Chronicle profiles attorney Ben Dean, candidate for Circuit Court Judge, Division 3 of the 19th Judicial District, which covers Montgomery and Robertson counties. The Memphis law graduate and first-time political candidate said his top goals if elected are to expand the Veterans Court program to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County and establish a Drug Court. The story is part of a series of candidate profiles published by the newspaper.

Circuit Court Judge Receiving Treatment for Alcoholism

Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge W. Neil Thomas III today addressed his current medical leave, stating he was receiving treatment for alcoholism. “I've been working with a medical team to address my current health needs as a patient, with the Tennessee Legal Assistance Program to address the correct pathway regarding my role as judge, and with our family as husband, dad and granddad.” Thomas said. Judge Jeff Hollingsworth, Judge Jackie Bolton and Judge Marie Williams will be accepting his docket during his requested leave. The Chattanoogan has more.

LAET Project Brings Millions to Chattanooga Economy

Legal Aid of East Tennessee’s (LAET) Family Stabilization Project continues to reap great benefit for the local community. The project focuses on the recently unemployed in the Chattanooga area to identify those who lost a job through no fault of their own, and yet were denied unemployment benefits. Funded by an anonymous $34,000 grant, the program provides legal services to help low-income residents appeal wrongful denials by the Tennessee Department of Employment Security. In its four-year history, the project has appealed and won 744 cases, bringing $2,465,471 into the Chattanooga economy. For more information on this program, contact LAET’s Chattanooga office at (423) 756-4013.

Services Friday for Hamilton County Attorney

Lorraine Helen Raymond died Tuesday (May 27) at her home, surrounded by family. She was 66. Raymond earned her law degree from Southern Illinois University and was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. She practiced law in Chattanooga for over 25 years. Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Ascension Church at 720 S. Germantown in East Ridge.

Lawyers Unite for Public Defense Reform Tonight

Gideon’s Promise is hosting an event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on the Square Gastropub in Memphis tonight (Thursday) to advocate for public defense reform. The organization states it is “setting out to ensure the 12 million citizens who move through America’s criminal justice system each year receive a fair and zealous defense.” Tennessee public defender Keeda Haynes is slated to provide remarks, as well as photography and B-roll of Gideon’s Promise Founder and President Jonathan Rapping delivering remarks to an assembled crowd.

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.


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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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