Kentucky Judge Strikes Down Same Sex Marriage Ban

A federal judge in Kentucky on Tuesday struck down the state’s ban on gay and lesbians who want to wed, SCOTUS Blog reports. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II concluded that allowing such new marriages would not diminish anyone else’s rights “to any degree.” Heyburn based his decision solely on a need for equality, refusing to rule that same-sex couples have a “fundamental right” to marry. He took his cue on the second point from Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion a year ago, in United States v. Windsor. The ruling continued the unbroken string of recent decisions by federal trial judges — since joined by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit — nullifying state bans on same-sex marriage.

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


R. Wayne Peters and Gary L. Henry, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, H. Michael Chitwood and James S. Dreaden.

Sheri A. Fox and Marcie Kiggans Bradley, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Raines Brothers, Inc.


This contract action stems from the defendant’s, H. Michael Chitwood’s, failure to pay for construction work that was performed by the plaintiff, Raines Brothers, Inc. (“Raines”). The work was performed on a home that was occupied by Mr. Chitwood but owned by a trustee, James Dreaden, who was also named as a defendant. Following a bench trial, the trial court awarded Raines a judgment against Mr. Chitwood and Mr. Dreaden (collectively “Defendants”) in the amount of $66,762.71. The trial court also awarded pre-judgment interest at the rate of eighteen percent per annum, beginning August 14, 2007. The trial court denied Raines’s claim for attorney’s fees. Defendants timely appealed the trial court’s ruling. Having determined that Raines adequately proved its entitlement to this amount pursuant to the parties’ contract, we affirm the trial court’s judgment of $66,762.71 against Mr. Chitwood. We reverse the trial court’s judgment against Mr. Dreaden. We modify the trial court’s award of the rate of interest from eighteen percent per annum to ten percent in accordance with relevant statutory and case law. We also reverse the trial court’s denial of Raines’s claim for attorney’s fees pursuant to the parties’ contract and remand for a determination of the proper amount of interest to be charged, as well as a reasonable award of attorney’s fees.

CORRECTION: The correction is on page 10 in the citation in the first full paragraph of Caldwell v. Vanderbilt University. The opinion date should be February 20, 2013, and the perm app. denied date should be June 13, 2013. These dates have been corrected.

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 to dismiss a medical malpractice complaint for failure to strictly comply with Tennessee Code Annotated 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


Gerald L. Melton, District Public Defender; Russell N. (Rusty) Perkins, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Robert King Vaughn, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle L. Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General; William Whitesell, District Attorney General; and Shawn Puckett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Robert King Vaughn, Jr., pled guilty to aggravated burglary and theft in case number F-64238 and aggravated burglary in case number F-68086 in Rutherford County Circuit Court. As a result, in case number F-64238, Appellant was ordered to serve 90 days in incarceration and the remainder of a four-year sentence on probation. In case number F- 68086, Appellant was sentenced to thirteen years. The sentence was suspended and Appellant was ordered to serve the term on Community Corrections. A warrant was filed against Appellant for a violation of the terms of the Community Corrections sentence and probation. After a hearing, the trial court ordered Appellant to serve the remainder of the four-year sentence and thirteen-year sentence in incarceration. Appellant appeals. After a review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the matter to the trial court for correction of the order revoking Appellant’s Community Corrections sentence in case number F-68086 to reflect a violation of Community Corrections rather than probation.

TBA Closed for 4th of July

The Tennessee Bar Association will be closed tomorrow for Independence Day. The office will reopen Monday at 8 a.m. As you celebrate the holiday and the rights we enjoy as citizens, remember the words of President Andrew Jackson, “All the rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth nothing, and a mere bubble, except guaranteed to them by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.”

Remembering the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's signing into law of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the most significant civil rights achievements in U.S. history. The new law made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended school, work and public facility discrimination, and barred unequal application of voter registration requirements. In observing the law's 50th anniversary, President Barack Obama said "few pieces of legislation have defined our national identity as distinctly, or as powerfully." WKRN has more from the Associated Press. Learn about lawyers’ roles in the Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee from this 2010 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal.

Juvenile Court Judges, Magistrates Face Lawsuit

A complaint filed in Shelby County Chancery Court on Tuesday alleges longstanding violations of due process in the juvenile court system of Shelby County. The complaint argues that people with business before the court have the right to have their cases heard before the elected judge, and claims the judge has declined to hear cases, passing that responsibility on to appointed magistrates. The juvenile court responded, saying it handles approximately 50,000 cases each year and that state laws do authorize Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person to appoint magistrates who have the power of trial judges. News Channel 5 has more.

Clarksville Attorney Earns Unity Award

Merriel Bullock-Neal has been named recipient of the 5th Annual Unity Day Award for Community Service, the Leaf Chronicle reports. The Clarksville-Montgomery County Unity Day Awards unite the community and celebrate the accomplishments of those in leadership who serve and help make a difference. Bullock-Neal is a practicing attorney, licensed school psychologist and special educator, as well as a Supreme Court Rule 31 mediator. She has donated countless hours in defense of special needs children and low-income youth.

Appeals Court OKs Memphis Annexation

The Tennessee Appeals Court ruled yesterday that the city of Memphis can move ahead with plans to annex Southwind because a recently enacted moratorium on annexation by the state legislature does not apply to the earlier annexation decision. In the ruling, the court specifically overturned a December 2013 ruling by Chancellor Walter Evans granting an injunction preventing the city from annexing the area until the moratorium expired. The Memphis Daily news has the story.

DCS Grant Expands Children's Center

The Claiborne Children’s Center (CCC) has received a Community Partnership Program grant from the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) to its expand programming and allow DCS to regain its presence in Claiborne County, the Claiborne Progress reports. The old Juvenile Detention Center has been used to house the offices of the CCC but the limited space did not provide adequate room for the Center to expand its programs and projects inside the county. The new center is expected to open in July.

Chattanooga Bar Endorses Amendment 2

The Chattanooga Bar Association announced it is endorsing Amendment 2, the Chattanoogan reports. “The Chattanooga Bar Association Board of Governors voted to support the amendment and the association has endorsed the Yes on 2 campaign led by Governor Bill Haslam, former Governor Phil Bredesen and former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson," CBA Executive Director Lynda Hood said. The amendment would allow the governor to appoint judges to the Tennessee Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal subject to confirmation by the General Assembly.

3 Vie for Circuit Court Judgeship

Incumbent Judge John H. Gasaway III, Chief Deputy Assistant District Attorney Daniel Brollier and attorney Ben Dean are vying for the Division III Circuit Court judge position in the 19th Judicial District. Gasaway was elected in 1990 and has been on the bench for almost 24 years. Brollier, who previously practiced civil law, served as an interim judge and has been a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office since 1996. Ben Dean, who has been practicing law for nine years and is a local attorney, has never run for a political office but said he ran to see changes in Division III. The Leaf Chronicle has more on each candidate.

Court Grants Review in Six Cases

The Tennessee Supreme Court has granted review in six cases. Civil cases involve powers of attorney, comparative fault in Claims Commission cases, arbitration agreement enforceability, and motions for new trial. Criminal cases involve jury selection and impeachment by prior conviction. The Raybin Perky Hotlist offers a forecast of each case.

Sumner County Lawyer Suspended for Misconduct

On June 30, Mary Jeanette Clement was suspended from the practice of law based on four counts of misconduct. She was suspended for a period of two years with nine months of the suspension to be served as an active suspension and 15 months probated with conditions. View the BPR notice.

Sumner County Lawyer Placed on Probation

Jon David Rogers was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court for one year and one day, all of which is to be served on probation subject to the conditions that he engage in a practice monitor and pay restitution and costs. Rogers allegedly committed several errors in Bankruptcy Court including accepting clients who did not qualify for bankruptcy protection, failing to advise clients to obtain credit counseling, paying filing fees in installments when the client had paid him the fee in full, as well as other errors that a competent bankruptcy practitioner should not make. View the BPR notice

Protect Your Practice with the Bar Plan

Protecting your practice and your family from an unexpected loss is a priority for many TBA members. The Bar Plan program provides TBA members with the most comprehensive and fairly priced professional liability coverage available. Learn more online.


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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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