14 Apply for Workers' Compensation Appeals Board

The Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments will consider 14 applicants for the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board when it meets Tuesday in Nashville. The Eastern Section candidates are Timothy Wade Conner, David F. Hensley and Michael A. Nolan. Middle Section candidates are Aaron James Conklin, Marshall L. Davidson III, Brian Dunigan, Keith Jordan, Ronald W. McNutt, Janis O. Mize, Richard Murrell, Tamra Lee Smith, Sarah K. Stein and Dale A. Tipps. The Western Section candidate is Catherine Bulle Clayton.

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
01 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
08 - 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
01 -










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TN Workers Comp Appeals

JO DEAN NUCHOLS v. BLOUNT COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Tasha C. Blakney, Troy S. Weston and David S. Wigler, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jo Dean Nuchols.

Frank Q. Vettori and Gary M. Prince, Knoxville, Tennessee and Norman Newton, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Blount County, Tennessee.

Judge: CANTRELL

An employee alleged that she sustained a mental injury as a result of a confrontation with her supervisor, the Sheriff of Blount County. The trial court found that she had failed to provide notice of her injury as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-201 (Supp. 2001) and dismissed her complaint. The trial court made an alternative finding that she was permanently and totally disabled as a result of the incident. The employee has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s finding on the notice issue. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court dismissing the employee’s claim.


TN Court of Appeals

WILLIAM BARRY WOOD v. KARLA DAVIS, COMMISSIONER OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael E. Terry and Stephanie H. Gore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Barry Wood.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; and Mary Byrd Ferrara, Assistant Attorney General; for the appellees, Karla Davis, Individually and Officially as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, et al.

Judge: BENNETT

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development hired plaintiff in 2007 as an executive service appointment. The Department terminated his employment in 2011. In August 2012, Plaintiff filed a complaint based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of his due process rights. The trial court found that the statute of limitations for § 1983 actions had expired. Plaintiff appealed. We affirm.


WILLIAM BARRY WOOD v. KARLA DAVIS, COMMISSIONER TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael E. Terry and Stephanie H. Gore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Barry Wood.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Mary Byrd Ferrara, Assistant Attorney General; for the appellees, Karla Davis, Individually and Officially as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, et al.

Judge: BENNETT

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development hired plaintiff in 2007 as an executive service appointment. The Department terminated his employment in 2011. He petitioned for a declaratory order stating that his position was actually career service and, therefore, he was entitled to notice and a hearing pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. The order was denied. He filed a chancery court petition for declaratory and injunctive relief. The trial court held that his job classification was not reviewable under the facts of this case. He appealed. We affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LARRY MITCHELL BROOKS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; and Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

J. Russell Parkes and Charles M. Molder, Columbia, Tennessee for the appellee, Larry Mitchell Brooks.

Judge: SMITH

Appellee, Larry Mitchell Brooks, was indicted by the Maury County Grand Jury for one count of driving under the influence, one count of violation of the open container law, one count of violation of the registration law, one count of violation of financial responsibility law, and one count of failure to maintain control. Prior to trial, Appellee filed a motion to suppress the blood sample evidence on the basis that the State was unable to provide proper chain of custody for the sample. After a hearing, the trial court granted the motion to suppress by written order. The trial court entered an order of nolle prosequi. The State filed a notice of appeal on the same day that the order of nolle prosequi was entered. After a review of the record and applicable authorities, we determine that Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-410 does not require the certificate of the blood draw to include the person who took the blood specimen in order to establish chain of custody and that the evidence at the hearing on the motion to suppress adequately established the chain of custody. Accordingly, we reverse the grant of the motion to suppress and remand the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KAYLA CLARK

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael D. Cox, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kayla Clark.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Brent Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Kayla Clark, was convicted of two counts of sale of a Schedule III controlled substance and was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of four years each, to be served in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction. In this appeal, she challenges both the lengths of her sentences and the manner of service. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARK A. CRITES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Sandra L. Wells (on appeal), Franklin, Tennessee; and Everette Parrish (at trial), Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mark A. Crites.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Kelly A. Lawrence, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Mark A. Crites, was convicted of operating a motor vehicle after being declared a habitual traffic offender, a Class E felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-616. The trial court sentenced him as a career offender to serve six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, appellant argues that the assistant district attorney general committed prosecutorial misconduct in her opening statement and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


KENNETH L. PEACHMAN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Dominic Leonardo, Nashville, Tennessee (at hearing), for the appellant, Kenneth L. Peachman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Helen O. Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Kenneth L. Peachman, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which challenged his 2007 Montgomery County Circuit Court guilty-pleaded convictions of second degree murder and solicitation of first degree murder, claiming that the ineffective assistance of his trial counsel rendered his guilty pleas unknowing and involuntary.1 Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JIMMIE MARTIN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Barry W. Kuhn (on appeal) and Charles Mitchell, Coleman Garrett, and Gerald Skahan (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jimmie Martin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Tracy L. Alcock, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Patience Branham and Sam Winnig, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCGEE OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Jimmie Martin, of second degree murder, a Class A felony, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty years to be served at 100%. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction; that the trial court erred by allowing State witnesses to testify about his prior bad acts in violation of Rule 404(b), Tennessee Rules of Evidence; and that the trial court erred by ruling that statements made by the victim were admissible under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by ruling that the victim statements to a police officer qualified as excited utterances. However, we conclude that the error was harmless and affirm the appellant’s conviction.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PAMELA JAMISON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen Bush and Harry E. Sayle, III (on appeal) and Russell White (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pamela Jamison.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; and Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Jose Leon, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCGEE OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Pamela Jamison, of theft of property valued more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 and identity theft, Class D felonies, and she received an effective four-year sentence to be served as six months in confinement and the remainder on supervised probation. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, the case is remanded to the trial court for the correction of a clerical error on the judgment for identity theft.


DOMONIC LACY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Domonic Lacy, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Karen Cook, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

On November 5, 2010, Petitioner, Domonic Lacy, pleaded guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Court pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement to three counts of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated burglary. The offenses occurred when Petitioner was a juvenile and he had been transferred from juvenile court to criminal court. He received an agreed total effective sentence of twelve (12) years. No appeal was made from the judgments and they became final thirty days after they were entered on November 5, 2010. More than a year after the judgments became final, Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief on March 26, 2013. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition because it was not timely filed within the one-year statute of limitations, and Petitioner has appealed. We affirm the judgment of the trial court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NATHANIEL MACLIN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Juni S. Ganguli (on appeal) and Leslie Ballin and Benjamin Katz (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathaniel Maclin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Terre Fratesi, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Nathaniel Maclin, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury conviction of sexual battery by an authority figure, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY HENVEY aka ANTHONY HERVEY

Attorneys:

Tony N. Brayton (on appeal) and Brent Walker (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Henvey aka Anthony Hervey.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Megan Fowler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCGEE OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Anthony Henvey aka Anthony Hervey, of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony, and he received an effective sixteen-year sentence. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the attempted murder conviction and that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury on self-defense. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the self- defense instruction was erroneous but that the error was harmless. Therefore, the appellant’s convictions are affirmed.


Nashville Attorney Looks Back on Landmark Copyright Case

More than 20 years ago, Nashville attorney Alan Turk was hired to represent Miami-based rap group 2 Live Crew in what became a pivotal copyright infringement lawsuit with ramifications for everything from "Saturday Night Live" to modern hip-hop. The group was sued for sampling Roy Orbison’s song “Oh, Pretty Woman” without his permission for a rap parody. Turk would go down as the lead counsel on a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and set the standard for protecting works of parody under the fair-use clause in the federal copyright law. The Tennessean has more on this landmark case.


Chattanooga Attorney Elected to International Business Law Board

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel shareholder Dana Perry has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Meritas, a global alliance of independent business law firms. The board is comprised of 21 lawyers from its member firms around the world. Perry will serve a three-year term, during which time she will also serve on the group's Finance Committee. The Hamilton County Herald has more.


Exonerated: Tennessee Man Released After 11 Years in Prison

A Tennessee man who was imprisoned for 11 years for a rape he maintained he didn’t commit was released after DNA evidence and a wavering victim led prosecutors in Marshall County to drop all charges, the Tennessean reports. The case is one of a growing number of exonerations across the country. The National Registry of Exonerations has documented nearly 1,400 cases that have been reversed when evidence — DNA, perjury, witness and victim recantations, bad eyewitness identifications or withheld evidence — surfaced showing that a defendant was innocent.


Citizen to Senators: Stay Out of Judicial Branch

In an opinion published today by Knoxnews, a Strawberry Plains resident says that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Sen. Mike Bell and Sen. Randy McNally need to stay out of the judicial system. In their effort to defeat Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice Cornelia Clark and Justice Sharon Lee in order to create a Republican supermajority, they are attempting to undermine the foundational principal of three coequal branches of government, the author writes. “The executive and judicial branches are supposed to have power that the senators don’t control. That is by design — wise design.” Subscription required.


Legal Aid Awarded $50,000 Grant for Volunteer Lawyers Program

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has received a $50,000 AmeriCorps Planning grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. According to a press release, Legal Aid will use the award to plan a capacity building program using AmeriCorps service members as liaisons for its Volunteer Lawyers Program, which engages the private bar to provide pro bono legal services across 48 counties in Middle Tennessee and the Cumberland Plateau.


Deadline Extended for Eastern District Bankruptcy Judge Post

The Sixth Circuit Judicial Council has extended the deadline to apply for Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The position will become vacant upon the retirement of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John C. Cook effective March 31, 2015. Applications must be received by July 8.


People’s Law School Summer Schedule Announced

The Legal Aid Society today announced its summer schedule for the People’s Law School, a free program that provides an overview of legal issues that a typical person might face. Taught by Legal Aid Society attorneys and volunteer attorneys in Nashville, the weekly, one-hour classes will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays at Cohn Learning Center, 4805 Park Ave. and at Wright Middle School, 180 Mccall St. For more information, visit the Nashville Community Education Commission website.


AWA Judicial Forum Set for June 26

The Association for Women Attorneys (AWA) and the Informed Voters Project are co-sponsoring a Judicial Forum on June 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis. The purpose of this event will be to provide a forum for Shelby County judicial candidates to speak directly to voters and to provide voters with information about the judicial election process prior to Election Day on Aug. 7.


Attorney Announces Bid for 23rd Judicial District Public Defender

Kelly Jackson Smith has announced her candidacy for public defender in the 23rd Judicial District, the Tennessean reports. Smith has extensive courtroom and jury trial experience; both as an assistant district attorney general and as a private attorney. As a representative of the 23rd Judicial District, the position of public defender serves Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys and Stewart counties.


Hardin County Lawyer Disbarred for Perjury

James Strong Powell was disbarred on June 5 based upon his conviction of aggravated perjury. The Board of Professional Responsibility instituted a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed, to which Powell did not respond. View the BPR notice.


Lawyer in Vanderbilt Rape Case Censured

Fletcher Whaley Long of Clarksville was publically censured on June 4. The Board of Professional Responsibility alleged Long committed ethical misconduct for failure to deposit a fee into his trust account despite a written agreement to do so, failure to provide an accounting of fees and failure to refund unearned fees. Long appealed the disciplinary sanction, which was affirmed by the Chancery Court and Tennessee Supreme Court. View the BPR notice.


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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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