Bar Associations, Former Justice Endorse Retention

The Hamblen County Bar Association is unanimously supporting the retention of Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Gary Wade, Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee in the Aug. 7 election, the Citizen Tribune reports. “The Hamblen County Bar Association would urge voters to ignore the false and misleading advertisements, mailers, robo-calls and TV commercials which have been sponsored, in whole or in part, by “dark-money” groups and instead vote to keep partisan politics out of our courts,” officials stated. In Washington County, bar association members voted to support retention of the justices and to work to help educate the public about the significance of the election, and late this afternoon former Justice William Koch, a Republican, added his endorsement during a Knoxville campaign event.

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
09 - TN Court of Appeals
10 - 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 Workers Comp Appeals

RONALD BROWN v. NETHERLANDS INSURANCE COMPANY

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Charles W. Poss and James S. Hildebrand, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Netherlands Insurance Company.

Thomas L. Wyatt, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ronald Brown.

Judge: WADE

After a work-related accident in August of 2010, the employee filed suit against his employer for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming permanent injury to both knees. The employer agreed that the injury to the employee’s right knee was compensable, but contended that the injury to the left knee was not work related. The trial court found for the employee, awarding benefits for injuries to each knee. The employer appealed. 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 in accordance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


TN Court of Appeals

DONRIEL A. BORNE v. CELADON TRUCKING SERVICES, INC.
With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Dwight E. Tarwater, Ryan M. Connor, Knoxville, Tennessee; Jim Summers, Kevin W. Washburn, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Celadon Trucking Services, Inc.

R. Sadler Bailey, Thomas R. Greer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Donriel A. Borne

Judge: HIGHERS

Plaintiff was injured in an accident involving three tractor-trailer trucks. Plaintiff, who was driving a tractor-trailer, sued the other truck drivers and the trucking company owners of the vehicles. However, prior to trial, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with one of the trucking companies whereby Plaintiff and the agreeing defendant agreed to cooperate regarding the litigation and to work together to expose the defenses asserted by the non-agreeing defendant. The jury returned an itemized verdict of $3,705,000 for the Plaintiff against the non-agreeing defendant. The trial court denied the non-agreeing defendant’s motion for a new trial, but it suggested a remittitur of $1,605,000, for a total award of $2,100,000. Plaintiff accepted the remittitur under protest and the non-agreeing defendant appealed to this Court. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and we reverse in part. Specifically, we affirm the physical pain and mental anguish and permanent injury awards as reduced by the trial court; we reverse the trial court’s suggested remittitur of the loss of earning capacity award and we instead reinstate the jury verdict of $1,455,000; and we further reduce the loss of enjoyment of life award to $50,000. Thus, we approve a total award to Plaintiff of $2,105,000.


IN RE: COLBY W., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Samantha Elizabeth Guzall, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, R.T.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Leslie Curry, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: FARMER

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services filed a petition for temporary custody of child, alleging that he was dependent and neglected. On de novo review from the Juvenile Court, the Circuit Court, Maury County, adjudicated child dependent and neglected and found that child suffered severe abuse while in the care of his parents. Mother appealed. We affirm.


ALFRED E. EMRICK, JR. v. GREGORY MOSELEY ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

B. Lynn Morton and Nick T. Tooley, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jamie Sauers and Alan Crosslin d/b/a U Save Auto.

Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Alfred E. Emrick, Jr.

Judge: FRIERSON

The General Sessions Court of Montgomery County entered a final judgment against the garnishees for the full amount of the judgment debtor’s debt, even though the garnishees had filed an answer and informed the court of the amount of their payments made to the judgment debtor. On appeal, the Circuit Court affirmed this final judgment, and the garnishees timely appealed to this Court. We vacate the final judgment for the full amount of the debt because (1) no conditional judgment was entered, (2) the garnishees were not provided with notice of a conditional judgment, and (3) the garnishees answered and properly informed the court regarding the amount of their payments made to the judgment debtor. We remand this action to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


WARREN TYWON FOWLER v. JOY R. McCROSKEY, IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS CLERK OF THE CRIMINAL COURT OF KNOX COUNTY

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Warren Tywon Fowler, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Charles F. Sterchi, III, Deputy Law Director, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joy R. McCroskey.

Judge: FRIERSON

The plaintiff, a state prison inmate, appeals the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant criminal court clerk. The plaintiff alleges that the court clerk induced a breach of contract by assessing him with court costs he asserts the State agreed to waive in return for his pleading guilty to felony charges. The trial court found that the plaintiff could not use his affidavit to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding an alleged oral promise made by the prosecutor when the criminal judgments and written plea agreement, taken together, unambiguously assessed court costs to the plaintiff. The court therefore found that the plaintiff was unable to prove an essential element of his claim. Discerning no error, we affirm.


ERIC JOHNSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT OF KIN FOR THE DECEDENT, JANA LANELL JOHNSON ET AL. v. PARKWEST MEDICAL CENTER

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Dail R. Cantrell, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellants, Eric Johnson and the Estate of Jana Lanelle Johnson.

F. Michael Fitzpatrick and Rachel Park Hurt, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Parkwest Medical Center.

Judge: FRIERSON

Eric Johnson, acting individually and as next of kin of the decedent, Jana Lanell Johnson, and the Estate of Jana Lanelle Johnson (“Plaintiffs”), filed the instant action on April 27, 2010, regarding Ms. Johnson’s death. The action alleged health care liability claims pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-115, as well as other claims, including ordinary negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. An agreed order granting partial summary judgment to Parkwest Medical Center (“Parkwest”) was entered with regard to Plaintiffs’ non-medical claims. Parkwest subsequently filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that Plaintiffs failed to comply with all of the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121 regarding the health care liability claim. Upon hearing, the trial court granted the motion. Plaintiffs filed additional motions regarding newly discovered evidence, including a motion seeking to set aside the prior order granting partial summary judgment or to amend the complaint, a motion to amend the certificate of good faith, and a motion seeking sanctions. The trial court denied Plaintiffs’ motion seeking to set aside the prior order granting partial summary judgment or to amend the complaint, as well as Plaintiffs’ motion to amend the certificate of good faith. The trial court failed to rule on Plaintiffs’ motion seeking sanctions. Plaintiffs have appealed to this Court. We affirm the trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ health care liability claim based on Plaintiffs’ failure to substantially comply with the requirements of Tennessee Code Annotated § 29-26-121. We vacate the trial court’s rulings with regard to Plaintiffs’ motions to amend and motion to set aside the partial summary judgment order. We remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


PAUL L. McMILLIN v. TED RUSSELL FORD, INC. ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Paul L. McMillin, Knoxville, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Jerome D. Pinn and Rebecca B. Murray, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Ted Russell Ford, Inc., Ted Russell Management, Inc., Ted Russell, Gene Morris, Tim Shaw, and Stuart Brabston.

Judge: SUSANO

In 2011, for approximately four months, Plaintiff worked as a car salesman for Ted Russell Ford (“the dealership”) in Knoxville. After he was fired in November 2011, he brought this action against the dealership and others alleging, among other things, retaliatory discharge under the common law and the Tennessee Public Protection Act, Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1- 304 (2008 & Supp. 2013). Plaintiff alleged that his former employer fired him because he (1) refused to be involved when prospective customers test drove vehicles and (2) informed his supervisor that the dealership was breaking the law when it allowed test drives in cars that did not have dealer license plates or adequate proof of financial responsibility. The trial court granted the defendants summary judgment, holding that plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case because, in the court’s words, the plaintiff “did not engage in protected activity by refusing to take test drives without a license plate on the vehicle or proof of registration or insurance in the vehicle.” The trial court held that these infractions did not implicate “a matter of fundamental or significant public concern, such as would overcome Tennessee’s employment-at-will doctrine.” Alternatively, the court held that the person responsible for firing plaintiff was not aware, prior to the firing, that plaintiff had refused to participate in test drives. The court held that “[t]he allegedly protected activity was not the basis of the adverse employment action taken against Plaintiff.” We affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment and its dismissal of plaintiff’s action.


CHARLES M. MURPHY, JR. V. KATHY J. COLE, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Joseph F. Whalen, Associate Solicitor General; and Warren Jasper, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Department of Human Services of the State of Tennessee.

Charles M. Murphy, Jr., Lewisburg, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Judge: DINKINS

The Tennessee Department of Human Services appeals an order of the trial court reversing the Department’s holding that an applicant was not eligible for food stamp benefits or to apply for certain medicare coverage due to excessive income. Upon consideration of the record, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, affirm the decision of the Department and dismiss the petition for review.


IN RE NICHOLAS G., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Harold R. Gunn, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kimberly H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Kathryn A. Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a termination of parental rights case. Appellant/Mother appeals the trial court’s termination of her parental rights on grounds of: (1) abandonment pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Sections 36-1-113(g)(1) as defined by Tennessee Code Annotated Sections 36-1-102(1)(A)(i) and (ii); and (2) substantial non-compliance with the permanency plans pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-1-113(g)(2). We conclude that the grounds for termination of Mother’s parental rights are met by clear and convincing evidence in the record, and that clear and convincing evidence also exists that termination of Mother's parental rights is in the children's best interests. Affirmed and remanded.


IN RE TAYLOR A. B., ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Frank Deslauriers, Covington, Tennessee, for Respondent/Appellant G.A.B.

Rebecca S. Mills, Ripley, Tennessee, for Petitioner/Appellees B.T. and S.T.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves the termination of parental rights. The appellant father was incarcerated for the murder of the mother of the children at issue in this case. The foster parents, relatives of the children’s mother, filed this petition to terminate the father’s parental rights and adopt the children. After a trial, the trial court granted the petition and terminated the father’s parental rights. The father now appeals. On appeal, he challenges only the trial court’s finding that termination of his parental rights is in the best interest of the children. Discerning no error, we affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

DESHON EWAN, ET AL. V. THE HARDISON LAW FIRM, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard Glassman, Edwin E. Wallis, III, and William Terrell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan T. Martin.

Robert M. Fargarson, Daniel F.B. Peel, Ted S. Angelakis, and Daniel A. Seward, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, DeShon Ewan and Patrick Ewan.

Judge: STAFFORD

Defendant appeals the trial court’s order of voluntary dismissal of Plaintiffs’ complaint. Defendant argues that Plaintiffs were not entitled to a voluntary dismissal because a motion for summary judgment was filed prior to the entry of the order on the nonsuit. We hold that a motion for summary judgment filed after a written notice of nonsuit has been filed does not preclude the plaintiff’s right to take a voluntary dismissal pursuant to Rule 41 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. We also conclude that the Defendant is not entitled to sanctions pursuant to Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Affirmed and Remanded.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEVIN R. BEASLEY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Roger D. Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Jeffrey A. DeVasher, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal), and Aimee Soloway, Assistant Public Defender (at hearing), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kevin R. Beasley.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Davidson County grand jury indicted the Defendant, Kevin R. Beasley, for attempted first degree premeditated murder. The trial court ordered that the Defendant undergo a forensic evaluation, after which it found the Defendant was competent to stand trial. The Defendant filed a motion to suppress his statement to police, which the trial court granted. The case was dismissed, and the State filed a notice of appeal. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion when it granted the Defendant’s motion to suppress. As such, we reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand this case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALISCIA CALDWELL - RE: JENKINS BONDING CO.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joel H. Moseley, Sr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Joel H. Moseley, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jenkins Bonding Company.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General, and Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, Deborah Housel and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorneys General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

Jenkins Bonding Company executed as a surety an appearance bond for the Defendant, Aliscia Caldwell, on several cases as detailed below. The Defendant failed to appear, and the general sessions court forfeited the bond and issued a scire facias and a capias for the Defendant’s arrest. The bonding company physically surrendered the Defendant to the trial court and rquested that it be relieved as surety. The trial court denied the surrender and released the Defendant on the same bond. Subsequently, the Defendant failed to appear at another court hearing. The trial court entered a final forfeiture judgment against the bonding company. The bonding company filed a motion to alter or amend the forfeiture judgment against it, saying that it should be exonerated of the bond because it lawfully surrendered the Defendant. The trial court denied the motion. On appeal, the bonding company argues that the trial court did not have the authority to deny the surrender and release the Defendant over the surety’s objection. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we reverse the trial court’s judgment, and we remand the case for entry of an order releasing Jenkins Bonding as surety in this case.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COY J. COTHAM, JR., also known as CORY J. COTHAM

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jeffrey A. DeVasher and William Allensworth (on appeal) and J. Michael Engle and Melissa Harrison (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Coy J. Cotham, Jr., also known as Cory J. Cotham.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Thomas Thurman, Bret T. Gunn, Katrin N. Miller, and Janice Norman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Coy J. Cotham, Jr., also known as Cory J. Cotham, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and especially aggravated robbery and sentenced to life without parole and twenty-five years, to be served consecutively. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in: (1) denying his motion to suppress evidence seized pursuant to search warrants; (2) denying his motion to suppress Wi-Fi evidence; (3) denying his motion to recuse; (4) concluding that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the convictions; (5) allowing evidence of statements to the police by the victim’s husband; (6) allowing evidence of threats made by the defendant; (7) allowing proof as to the affidavit of indigency; (8) instructing the jury regarding parole; and (9) setting the defendant’s sentences and determining that they would be served consecutively. We have carefully reviewed the record and conclude that the defendant’s assignments of error are without merit. Accordingly, the judgments are affirmed.


RICARDO DAVIDSON V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Seth M. Lasater, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricardo Davidson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; Thomas M. Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Brent Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Ricardo Davidson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted by a jury of possession with intent to sell 300 grams or more of cocaine within a Drug Free School Zone, conspiracy to possess with intent to sell or deliver over 300 grams or more of cocaine within a Drug Free School Zone, possession with intent to sell or deliver ten pounds or more of marijuana within a Drug Free School Zone, conspiracy to possess with intent to sell or deliver over ten pounds of marijuana in a Drug Free School Zone, and possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia. He was subsequently sentenced to an effective term of fifteen years in the Department of Correction. Following the denial of his direct appeal, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel. On appeal, he specifically contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) failing to adequately argue the motion to suppress; (2) failing to argue the issue of the racial makeup of the jury on the Motion for Acquittal or New Trial; and (3) failing to make an argument for and request a jury instruction under the natural and probable consequence rule. The petitioner further alleges that both trial and appellate counsel were ineffective in failing to adequately communicate with him during their respective representations. Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CALVIN JONES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Marvin Ballin and Richard S. Townley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Calvin Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Carrie Shelton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant, Calvin Jones, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated child abuse and first degree felony murder, for which he received concurrent sentences of 20 years and life imprisonment. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. Additionally, he argues that the trial court erred in permitting Dr. Karen Lakin to testify as an expert witness and erred in admitting autopsy photographs of the victim. Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JESSICA KENNEDY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

John E. Eldridge, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jessica Kennedy.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and James H. Stutts and Steve Morgan, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Jessica Kennedy, was convicted by a Monroe County Criminal Court jury of facilitation of felony murder, a Class A felony, facilitation of aggravated robbery, a Class C felony, facilitation of burning personal property, a Class A misdemeanor, and facilitation of abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-202, 39-13-402, 39-14-303, 13-17-312,39-11-402, 39-11-403 (2010). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of twenty-two years for facilitation of felony murder, five years for facilitation of aggravated robbery, eleven months, twenty-nine days for facilitation of burning personal property, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for facilitation of abuse of a corpse. On appeal, she contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions, (2) the trial court erred by denying her motion for a judgment of acquittal, (3) the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress, (4) the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial related to the testimony of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) Special Agent Barry Brakebill, (5) the trial court erred by permitting the State to call witnesses not listed on the indictment, (6) the trial court erred by making improper statements related to her recorded police interview and by failing to grant a mistrial, (7) the trial court erred by limiting the testimony of a psychologist, (8) the trial court erred by denying her ex parte motion for funds to secure an expert, (9) the trial court erred by overruling her motions to dismiss and to disqualify the prosecutor and the district attorney general’s office, and (10) the trial court erred by misapplying mitigating and enhancement factors during sentencing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


MILTON L. KIRK, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jason R. Creasy, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Milton L. Kirk, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Alcock, Assistant Attorney General; and Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Milton L. Kirk, Jr., (“the Petitioner”) was convicted by a jury of sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine. The Petitioner then pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an effective sentence of sixteen years’ incarceration. The Petitioner subsequently filed for post- conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied following an evidentiary hearing. The Petitioner now appeals, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and that his guilty plea was constitutionally invalid. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


ARTHUR B. ROBERTS ET AL. v. ROBERT BAILEY ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Matthew A. Grossman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Richard Neal Bailey and Lisa Bailey Dishner.

Thomas M. Hale and Adam G. Russell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dale Littleton, Kimber Littleton, and Mark Lee Littleton.2

Judge: FRIERSON

This is the second appeal to this Court involving the instant real property dispute. At issue is a 58-acre portion (“Disputed Property”) of what was an approximately 100-acre tract acquired by N.B. Bailey and his wife, Pearl Bailey, by warranty deed in 1918. The original plaintiffs, Arthur B. and Tia Roberts,1 were neighboring landowners who brought a boundary dispute action in March 2009 against the original defendants, Robert W. Bailey, Richard Neal Bailey, and Lisa Bailey Dishner (“the Baileys”). During the course of the boundary dispute, N.B. and Pearl Bailey’s descendants and successors in title became aware that their ownership interest in the Disputed Property could be affected by the possibility that N.B. and Pearl Bailey owned the original 100 acres as tenants in common rather than tenants by the entirety. The first appeal arose when the Baileys, proceeding as third-party plaintiffs, filed a motion to quiet title to the Disputed Property against the third-party defendants, Dale Littleton, Alice Littleton, Kimber Littleton, Mark Lee Littleton, and Charlotte Dutton (“The Littletons and Ms. Dutton”). On March 30, 2010, the trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the Littletons and Ms. Dutton, and the court certified its order as a final judgment pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.02. On appeal, this Court questioned the finality of that March 2010 order but allowed the appeal to proceed on an interlocutory basis. Roberts v. Bailey, 338 S.W.3d 540, 541 n.1 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2010), perm. denied (Tenn. Mar. 9, 2011) (“Roberts I”). This Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling and held that because N.B. and Pearl Bailey acquired title during the “gap years” between the emancipation of women and enactment of the Bejach statutes reestablishing tenancies by the entirety–spanning January 1, 1914, through April 16, 1919–N.B. and Pearl Bailey owned the real property as tenants in common rather than as tenants by the entireties. Id. at 541. On remand, the Baileys moved to amend their third-party complaint, averring that despite the affirmed judgment in favor of the Littletons’ and Ms. Dutton’s ownership interest in the Disputed Property, the Baileys nonetheless possessed absolute fee simple title by prescription to the entire Disputed Property. The trial court granted the Baileys’ motion to amend the complaint and subsequently considered competing motions for summary judgment. The trial court found, inter alia, that the Baileys failed to establish title by prescription because the Littletons and Ms. Dutton had no knowledge of their co-tenancy prior to initiation of this action. The court granted summary judgment to the Littletons and Ms. Dutton, quieting title to the Disputed Property among the parties. The Baileys appeal. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm.


ERIC VISLOSKY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen D. Crump, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric Vislosky.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Stephen M. Hatchett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Eric Vislosky, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that his guilty plea to Class B sexual exploitation of a minor was therefore unknowing and involuntary. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


Don’t Let This Be Your Last TBAToday

For the few TBA members who have not yet paid their dues for the 2014-2015 membership year, this will be your last issue of TBAToday until payment is received. After today, all member services – including access to Fastcase online research, discounts on CLE programs and new issues of the Tennessee Bar Journal and other TBA publications – will be discontinued. Don’t let this happen to you. Renew online now to keep these and other services flowing.


What’s at Stake for Businesses in the Supreme Court Battle?

Amid the battle to challenge three incumbent Tennessee Supreme Court justices, the Nashville Business Journal takes a look at what is at stake for businesses. Charles Grant, an attorney at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz and president of the Nashville Bar Association, said keeping the courts nonpartisan and independent is paramount. Ensuring that independence in the court is key for businesses, he said, because "businesses rely on precedent and expectations." "No business wants to be in court where it is uncertain whether the court is independent," Grant said. "When you do not know what is motivating the court because it is not demonstrably independent that causes uncertainty ... that undermines business expectations."


More than $500K Already Poured in Judicial Race

What is supposed to be a non-partisan race is turning into one of the most heated contests in next week’s election, WBIR reports. Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice Cornelia Clark and Justice Sharon Lee have fought back against an attack campaign led by Lt. Gov, Ron Ramsey to oust them from the bench, prompting record-breaking spending. The Brennan Center for Justice, a national watchdog group, said campaign spending has eclipsed $578,510 and that's only a small portion. Some expect the total to double once more numbers are released. Figures released yesterday show Justices Clark, Lee and Wade as well as an independent group, Tennesseans for Fair Courts, have spent about $316,000 on TV ads so far. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Forum and the State Government Leadership Foundation, a national Republican group, have spent a combined $254,890 on television attacking the justices. That's not counting money spent on radio, direct mail, phone banking and other efforts by these groups and others, a list which includes the Tennessee chapter for Americans for Prosperity, a national group affiliated with the billionaire conservative Koch brothers, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.


Federal Court Halts Closing of Mississippi’s Lone Abortion Clinic

A federal appeals court ruled against a law that would have shut down the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi—contending that it is not right to simply pass the buck to other states, WREG reports. Mississippi House Bill 1390 requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Two of the three doctors at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization were denied admitting privileges by seven hospitals in and around Jackson, not because of their qualifications, but  because their "medical practice is inconsistent with" the hospitals' practices. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state could not impose a regulation that would effectively close the only clinic in Mississippi despite the state claiming residents could still get an abortion in Tennessee, Louisiana, Alabama or elsewhere.


DOJ Suggests Increasing Juvenile Age Limit

The Department of Justice is recommending raising the minimum age for those who can be tried as adults as a controversial solution to reducing violence in Memphis, WREG reports. The agency is recommending juvenile courts raise the age of teens they serve from 18 years old to somewhere between 21 and 24 years old. Shelby County Juvenile Court chief administrator Larry Scroggs said 21 would be a good compromise since cutting services off at 18 is too early.


Immigration Courts Work to Speed up Children’s Cases

Immigration courts are speeding up hearings for the tens of thousands of Central American children caught on the U.S. border after criticism that the backlogged system is letting immigrants stay in the country for years while waiting for their cases to be heard. There are 375,000 cases before the immigration courts, and many immigrants wait months or years for a hearing. Instead of bumping children to the back of that long line, the courts are now giving each child an initial court hearing within three weeks, according to the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review. A spokeswoman for the courts didn't answer questions about how many children's hearings had been set under the new plan or which courts had scheduled additional hearings. The Daily Times has more.


Ginsburg: Men on Supreme Court have 'Blind Spot' to Women

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who gave a blistering 35-page dissent in the Hobby Lobby birth control case last month, said that the male justices have a “blind spot” when it comes to women. When asked by Katie Couric in an interview if she believed the male justices truly understood the ramifications of their decision, Ginsburg said no but believes they can change. "I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow," she said. The Chicago Sun Times has the story.


House Abandons Plan on Immigration Crisis

Short on votes, House Republicans abruptly abandoned a bill today to address the immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border after last minute maneuvering failed to lock down conservative support. The developments were a disappointment for many House Republicans who were eager to produce a legislative solution to the situation on the border. Today marked Congress' final day of action ahead of a five-week summer recess. WSMV has more from the Associated Press.


 
 

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