Senators Plan Hearing on Handling of Ethics Complaint

State Sens. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, and Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, announced today that the Senate Government Operations Committee will hold a formal inquiry “sometime this month” into the Board of Judicial Conduct’s decision to dismiss a complaint against Chief Justice Gary Wade. That anonymous complaint questioned whether Wade broke ethics rules by commenting on judges subject to review by the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. After the board dismissed the complaint, Bell came forward as the source of the complaint. Bell and McNally also said today they may also take up issues associated with the composition of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. A Davidson County judge ruled earlier this year that the commission’s makeup was illegal because it did not reflect the diversity of the state. The Tennessean has more.

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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

CORRECTION: The citation for Caldwell v. Vanderbilt University in the first paragraph of page 10 is changed to include the correct perm. app. denial date of Feb. 20, 2013.

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.

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.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Joseph O. McAfee, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Hearing.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Connie Trobaugh, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, David Hearing, filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, seeking relief from his two convictions of felony murder and the accompanying life sentences. The coram nobis court denied relief, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Kristopher Blake Kincer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Kristopher Blake Kincer, pleaded guilty as a Range I offender to theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. § 39- 14-103 (Supp. 2013) (theft of property); 39-14-105(a)(3) (2010) (amended 2012) (grading of theft). The plea agreement called for a two-year sentence, and the trial court ordered that the sentence be served in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying alternative sentencing. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for the trial court to consider whether the Defendant should be placed on community corrections.

New Attorneys Take Oath at Nashville Ceremonies

About 80 new attorneys were welcomed to the practice of law during ceremonies today in Nashville. All had passed the February Bar Exam. Prior to the afternoon ceremony, many of those being admitted joined with their families at an open house and luncheon at the Tennessee Bar Center, sponsored by the TBA.

UT Opens Process for Hiring Law School Dean

With University of Tennessee College of Law Dean Doug Blaze returning to teaching full time in the fall of 2015, the university has announced the process for selecting his replacement. Bob Rider, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, is chairing the search committee and has set a goal of filling the position by July 2015. Committee members, all from the College of Law, are Teri Baxter, Scott Childs, Michael Higdon, Alex Long, Teresa Peterson, Joy Radice, Paula Schaefer and Greg Stein. Brianna Powell, a second-year law student, also is on the committee. Read more about the effort or read a full description of the position.

Wyrick Response: Bell Gives Incomplete Story

Writing in response to a column by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, recently published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, TBA President Cindy Wyrick says Bell’s criticism of the Tennessee Supreme Court “gives an incomplete story.” She then goes on to provide additional information about two death penalty cases cited by Bell in his criticism. After considering all of the facts, Wyrick concludes that the court was “doing its job, and following the law, exactly what we want a good judge to do.” Read her piece in the newspaper.

New Grant will Help Memphis Process Rape Kits

In addition to new funding approved recently by the U.S. House of Representatives, Memphis will get $750,000 to reduce the city’s untested rape kit backlog, the Memphis Daily News reports. The funds will come from the Plough Foundation. Mike Carpenter, executive director of the foundation, says it is a “last dollar” grant. “The city has to come up with the gap in funding, and then we will give the last $750,000 regardless of what the total cost is,” he said. The group also wanted assurances that the city would process every rape kit before it committed to the money.

Drug Court Gets State Grant

The 15th Judicial District Drug Court has been awarded a $70,000 grant by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, the Tennessean reports. The drug court program provides community-based treatment and supervision for non-violent felony offenders whose contact with the court system is due to drug or alcohol abuse. The program focuses on treatment, employment, education and supervision and covers Macon, Trousdale, Smith and Jackson counties.

Law Professor Looks at Lawyers’ Role in Elections

An ethics column by University of Tennessee College of Law Professor Judy Cornett ran in this month’s issue of DICTA, the Knoxville Bar Association’s monthly newsletter. In the piece, which appears on page 19, Cornett reminds lawyers of their ethical obligations regarding judges and judicial candidates. Her recommendations: don’t lie about judges, defend judges who are unjustly criticized, and if you want to educate others about the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary contact the bar for an Informed Voters Project presentation.

Senators Hit Board of Judicial Conduct on Complaint Dismissal

Seven Tennessee senators – all Republicans – sent a letter to the Board of Judicial Conduct Monday protesting the body’s decision to dismiss an ethics complaint against Chief Justice Gary Wade. Senators Janice Bowling, Rusty Crowe, Todd Gardenhire, Mark Green, Ferrell Hale, John Stevens and Bo Watson said the board failed to "provide transparency and fairness" in its consideration of a complaint claiming Wade violated ethics rules when he commented on judges subject to review by the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. The Tennessean has the story.

TBA Convention: Register Now to Avoid Late Fees

Late registration fees for the upcoming TBA Annual Convention in Gatlinburg kick in tomorrow, so now is a great time to sign up. This year’s event features compelling programming, networking, entertainment for the whole family and a great location right in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. It all begins on June 11, so sign up now.

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

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.

© Copyright 2014 Tennessee Bar Association