Governor Names Panel to Hear Hooker Case

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed a special Tennessee Supreme Court to hear the case of Hooker et al v. Lt. Governor Ramsey et al. All of the court except Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Holder recused themselves from the case. Named to the special court are Oscar C. “Bo” Carr III of Glankler Brown in Memphis; Rosemarie L. Hill of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel in Chattanooga; Thomas M. Hale of Kramer Rayson in Knoxville; and Melvin J. Malone of Butler Snow in Nashville.

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - 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 Supreme Court

Tennessee Supreme Court DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Court of Appeals

DEBORAH MASON HAWKINS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF WAYNE HAWKINS, DECEASED v. RODNEY A. MARTIN, M.D. AND BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Darrell J. O’Neal, Memphis, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellant Deborah Mason Hawkins

J. Kimbrough Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellee Rodney A. Martin, M.D.

Brett A. Hughes and Kannon C. Conway, Memphis, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellee Baptist Memorial Hospital

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves compliance with the statutory requirements for a health care liability action. The plaintiff filed a health care liability lawsuit. The attorney for the plaintiff inadvertently failed to provide the defendant health care providers with medical authorizations that complied with T.C.A. § 29-26-121(a)(2)(E). The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion, finding no extraordinary cause to justify noncompliance with the statutory requirement. The plaintiff filed his first appeal. The appellate court vacated the trial court’s decision and remanded the case for the trial court to consider the totality of the circumstances, including those of the attorney. After additional discovery on remand, the trial court again held that the plaintiff had not established extraordinary cause for noncompliance with the statutory requirement, and so dismissed the lawsuit. The plaintiff again appeals. After a careful review of the record, we find no abuse of the trial court’s discretion and affirm.


KATHY HUDSON v. WILLIAM T. HUDSON

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

George D. Norton, Jr., Selmer, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellee Kathy Hudson

Stuart Brian Breakstone, Memphis, Tennessee, and Leanne Thorne, Lexington, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellant William T. Hudson

Judge: KIRBY

This divorce appeal involves the division of marital property. The husband claims the trial court erred in its valuation of the marital assets and in its overall distribution of the marital estate. Discerning no error, we affirm.


MOUNTAIN WOOD PRODUCTS, LLC v. AUTUMN CREEK FIREWOOD, LLC
CORRECTION: On page 2, first paragraph, "corporation" has been changed to "company" so that it now reads Defendant/Appellee Autumn Creek Firewood, LLC (“Autumn Creek”) is a limited liability company...

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Samuel J. Gowin, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Clark E. Gulley, Colbert, Georgia, for Plaintiff/Appellant Mountain Wood Products, LLC.

W.I. Howell Acuff, Cookeville, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellee Autumn Creek Firewood, LLC.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a contract dispute. The appellant distributor challenges the damages awarded to the appellee supplier under a supply contract for bagged firewood. Additionally, the supplier challenges the trial court’s failure to award damages for lost profits and tortious interference with prospective business. Discerning no error, we affirm.


WISE NORTH SHORE PROPERTIES, LLC v. 3 DAUGHTERS MEDIA, INC., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Susie Lodico and McKinley S. Lundy, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wise North Shore Properties, LLC.

Timothy L. Mickel, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary E. Burns.

Judge: SWINEY

Wise North Shore Properties, LLC (“Plaintiff”) appeals the order of the Chancery Court for Hamilton County (“the Trial Court”) dismissing Plaintiff’s claims against Gary E. Burns. We find and hold as a matter of law that Mr. Burns executed the contract at issue in this case both in his capacity as CEO of 3 Daughters Media, Inc. and in his individual capacity personally guaranteeing the contract. We, therefore, reverse the Trial Court’s June 18, 2013 order dismissing Plaintiff’s claims against Mr. Burns.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

ANTWON COOK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Antwon Cook, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The pro se petitioner, Antwon Cook, appeals as of right from the McMinn County Criminal Court’s order denying his petition for writ of error coram nobis. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the State’s motion is well-taken and affirm the judgment of the McMinn County Criminal Court.


KELVIN DEWAYNE KING v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard D. Dumas, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kelvin Dewayne King.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Kelvin Dewayne King, appeals as of right from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by dismissing his petition as having been untimely filed. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. AMANDA HOPE McGILL

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

C. Brad Sproles, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Amanda Hope McGill.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and Joshua D. Parsons, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Amanda Hope McGill, appeals as of right from the Sullivan County Circuit Court’s judgment concluding that it did not have jurisdiction over her motion to modify her sentence. Because the Defendant filed her motion well past the 120-day time limit imposed by Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 35, and because the Defendant was housed in a facility under contract with the Tennessee Department of Correction, we agree with the trial court that it lacked jurisdiction to entertain the Defendant’s request for concurrent sentencing or placement in the Community Corrections Program. Therefore, the judgment is affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LARRY DAVID TAYLOR

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Russell Elliott Edwards, Hendersonville, Tennessee (at revocation hearing); and Eric Scott Mauldin, Gallatin, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Larry David Taylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Jayson Christopher Criddle, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

On February 7, 2013, the Defendant, Larry David Taylor, pled guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class D felony; one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; one count of assault, a Class A misdemeanor; and two counts of bigamy, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-101, -14-403, -15-301, -17-1003. The trial court imposed an effective six-year sentence and ordered the Defendant to serve one year of the sentence in confinement with the remainder to be served on community corrections. On September 13, 2013, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s community corrections sentence and resentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of sixteen years, nine months, and eighty-seven days to be served in confinement. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred in ordering his sentences to be served in confinement; and (2) that the trial court erred by ordering his sentences to be served consecutively. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Memo Looks at Legal Issues In Judicial Campaigns

A newly released legal memorandum from General Assembly attorneys examines ethics rules governing the campaigns of the three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices seeking retention. Prepared at the request of Senate Finance Committee Chair Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, the document says that there are no legal opinions specifically addressing Tennessee’s rules on judicial political activity, but other states with similar rules have strictly interpreted the prohibition against endorsing candidates to include any activity that “creates the impression” of support, Knoxnews reports. The memo also notes that when the court adopted the revised Code of Judicial Conduct in 2012, it omitted a provision from the ABA Model Rules that would have permitted "a candidate for elective judicial office (to) publicly endorse or oppose candidates for the same judicial office for which he or she is running."

A spokeswoman for the justices dismissed the memo. Speaking to Knoxnews reporter Tom Humphrey for his Humphrey on the Hill Blog, spokeswoman Carol Andrews said that “the activities of each of the justices is in full compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct,” and that "the opinion is being used as additional fodder for a wholesale political attack against the independence of our Tennessee Supreme Court.”


Haslam Names Thompson to Sumner Court

Responding to a request from the Sumner County judiciary, Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Joe H. Thompson as circuit court judge for Sumner County, effective Friday, the Administrative Office of the Courts reports. Thompson won the Republican primary on May 6, and faces no further opposition in the August general election. The position has been vacant since the death of Judge C.L. "Buck" Rogers on Feb. 27, with retired Judge Jane Wheatcraft presiding over cases until the new judge takes office. General Sessions Division I Judge James M. Hunter Jr. will swear in Thompson at 10 a.m. Friday in the second floor courtroom of the courthouse on the square in Gallatin. A reception will follow.


New Reports Find Progress, Work to Do at Juvenile Court

Two new reports released this month largely praised Shelby County Juvenile Court for its continued progress in making reforms ordered by the U.S. Department of Justice, but both highlight shortcomings that need attention, the Commercial Appeal reports. The first report dealt primarily with protecting those detained from harm. Progress was noted in the areas of employee training and performance evaluations as well as availability of medical and mental health services. However, concerns were raised with the lack of adequate staffing. The second report looked at due process for detainees. It found that while compliance rates had increased, none had reached substantial compliance. The report praised the creation of a juvenile unit in the public defender’ office and improvements in administering Miranda rights. Concerns with the transfer of juveniles to adult court and defense attorney access to psychological evaluations, however, continue to be an issue for the court.


Neal & Harwell Will Move to New Gulch Office

The Nashville law firm of Neal & Harwell will be moving to a new office building planned for a trendy area of Nashville known as the Gulch, the Nashville Business Journal reports. The firm reportedly will occupy about 26,000 square feet on at least one floor of the 15-story building. Construction on the building is set to begin this summer, which means new tenants will not move in until late 2016. The firm will be vacating space in the heart of downtown Nashville where it has been for the past 25 years.


Humphrey: Political Pressure Creates Danger of Judicial Bias

In an opinion piece yesterday, Knoxnews writer Tom Humphrey suggests that political pressure from the state legislature is “creating a judicial bias for cases to be decided whichever way the majority of legislators want them decided.” Whether the judges are Republicans or Democrats, “probably” does not matter, he says and cites three examples of how the legislature is impacting decisions “on a bipartisan basis.”


McNally Asks Conduct Board to Investigate Moreland

State Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, has asked the Board of Judicial Conduct to investigate whether two Nashville judges had “too close a relationship” with a lawyer involved in getting a client released from jail without spending a 12-hour “cooling off” period after he was charged with domestic assault. McNally told Humphrey on the Hill that he decided to contact the board after reading newspaper reports that General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland and Night Commissioner Thomas Nelson both waived the requirement in two separate instances at the request of lawyer Brian Lewis. Download McNally's letter to the board. A story in yesterday's Tennessean digs deeper into the connections between Lewis and Moreland.


MALS Fundraising Campaign Kicks off Tuesday

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) is kicking off its annual fundraising campaign with an event Tuesday at the Wiseacre Brewery from 5 to 7 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Young Lawyer Committee of the Campaign for Equal Justice and the Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, will feature food, drinks and a silent auction. Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton is expected to make a special appearance. A donation of $20 is requested. For more information or to RSVP contact Sarah Pazar.


Retirement Reception Tuesday for Judge Watson

McMinn County will hold a retirement reception in honor of General Sessions Court Judge Judge James Watson from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The reception will take place in the Grand Jury Room, located on the second floor of the McMinn County Courthouse. The public is invited to attend. The Daily Post Athenian reports.


6 Lawyers Suspended for Fee and IOLTA Violations

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued three orders last week suspending Tennessee-licensed attorneys who did not pay their registration fee to the Board of Professional Responsibility and/or did not file a mandatory compliance statement that eligible client funds are held in accounts participating in the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. Lawyers who since have complied with the requirements are noted as reinstated. See the updated lists and download the orders.


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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