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


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Hugh P. Garner, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Cameron.

C. Scott Johnson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, United Parcel Services, Inc. and Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company.


The employee was injured in a motor vehicle accident while at work. He claimed permanent injury to his left elbow and left shoulder. The trial court found that his left elbow was permanently injured but that his left shoulder was not permanently injured. The employee has appealed, contending that the trial court erred by not finding that the left shoulder was permanently injured, by not awarding additional temporary disability benefits, and by failing to order surgery for his left shoulder. 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.


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


William Troy Hart and Kristen C. Stevenson (on appeal), and Daniel W. Starnes (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, ACE-American Insurance and Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.

J. David Miller, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellee, Karen R. Woods.


The employee fell at work and suffered a lower back injury. She received medical treatment, including two back surgeries, over a period of years. The trial court awarded permanent disability benefits based on the employee’s back injury and a bladder and bowel dysfunction that developed during her subsequent treatment. Her employer’s insurer has appealed, asserting that the trial court erred by adopting one medical expert’s disability rating over another, by finding that the bladder and bowel dysfunction was caused by the work-related injury, and by awarding benefits in excess of the one and one-half times impairment cap because the employee voluntarily resigned. 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. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Rhonda Jo Elfvin, Seymour, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

David Wayne Webb, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Steven C. Loveday.


The appellant (“Mother”) appeals from an order of the trial court entered on February 24, 2014, which partially granted the Petition and Amended Petition to Modify filed by the appellee (“Father”) in this post-dissolution proceeding. The February 24, 2014 order stated that “any other issues not addressed in this Agreed Order are reserved for further hearing upon motion of either party, including but not limited to, whether or not Father owes retroactive child support.” It is clear that the order appealed from does not resolve all issues raised in the proceedings below. The Notice of Appeal also was filed more than thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the February 24, 2014 order. As a result of these jurisdictional defects, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Fred Arnold McMahan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Alcock, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; and Matthew Dunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

The Defendant, Fred Arnold McMahan, pled guilty to multiple felony drug offenses, and the trial court sentenced him to a fifteen-year Community Corrections sentence, consecutive to a ten-year prison sentence in another criminal case. In July 2013, the Defendant’s Community Corrections officer filed an affidavit alleging that the Defendant had violated his Community Corrections sentence by failing to report for intake, and, after a hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it revoked his Community Corrections sentence because there was insufficient evidence presented to support the revocation. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the trial court did not err when it revoked the Defendant’s Community Corrections sentence, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Surname Entered on Birth Certificate

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-08-14

Opinion Number: 75

Special School District Tax Rate

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-08-14

Opinion Number: 76

State Blames Feds for TennCare Delays

In a memo filed last night, attorneys for the state asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against TennCare officials accusing them of creating months-long delays for thousands of Tennesseans trying to apply for Medicaid. Attorneys argued that the long delays are not in their hands, but are the fault of the federal government. “In short,” state attorneys wrote, “Plaintiffs allege an injury that results directly from the actions or inactions of the [federally-facilitated marketplace].” The initial lawsuit was filed last month by three legal advocacy groups — the Tennessee Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Health Law Program — on behalf of 11 people who have waited two and three times the federal limit to learn whether they will be receive Medicaid coverage. The Chattanooga Times Free Press has more.

Vandy Law Prof: Justices Will Stand Behind AG

The three recently re-elected sitting justices on the Tennessee Supreme Court may follow up their retention vote by Tennesseans last week by standing behind state Attorney General Bob Cooper, who is seeking another eight-year term, according to Tracey George a professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt University Law School. George admits, however, that it’s tough to say given the nature (and novelty) of the retention vote, where vast sums of money were spent, including more than $1 million combined among the three Democratic-appointed justices, and Republican opposition zeroed in on their nomination of Cooper, a Democrat. “The justices could rightly view the retention in the face of such strong opposition as a sign of support,” George said. “Based on my intuition, it will not effect what the Supreme Court does. They won’t face retention for several years and I’d be surprised if they do not reappoint [Cooper].” The Nashville Business Journal has more.

Justice Bivins Speaks Out in Support of Amendment 2

New Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Jeff Bivins threw his support behind Amendment 2 during remarks before the 74th annual Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation Presidents Conference yesterday in Franklin. The amendment to the Tennessee Constitution calls for the governor to appoint Tennessee appellate court judges, subject to legislative confirmation, and followed by retention elections. The question is one of four proposed amendments before voters statewide on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. “The primary reason for Amendment 2 is to bring stability, conclusion and finality to the process,” said Bivins. The Tennessean has more.

Tennessee Improves Awareness of Sex Trafficking

The UT student newspaper takes a look at how Tennessee has improved action against underage sex trafficking in a Daily Beacon article published today. The Protected Innocence Challenge, a comprehensive study which grades states on its laws to respond to domestic minors forced to engage in sex trafficking, graded Tennessee with a 93.5, or A, for human trafficking in 2013, up from its score of 79.5 in 2012 and 73 in 2011. Two notable changes behind the state's improved score are the amending of the patronizing prostitution law which significantly increased the penalty for buying sex with a minor and a new law requiring the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to update its website upon a missing child's recovery.

Federal Court Sets Date for Gay Marriage in Virginia

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals clarified yesterday that same-sex couples in Virginia may get married beginning next Thursday at 8 a.m. unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes and puts a hold on the ruling, TriCities reports. The court on Wednesday denied a motion by one of the defendants in a federal case seeking to overturn Virginia's same-sex marriage ban to stay its recent ruling that found the ban unconstitutional. Legal experts believe that the Supreme Court will grant an appeal by the defendant, Michele B. McQuigg, circuit court clerk in Prince William County, to stay the ruling until it resolves the issue of same-sex marriage for all states.

FedEx Faces New Charges in Drug Shipping Case

Memphis-based shipper FedEx Corp. is facing a new charge of conspiring to launder money in the case involving shipments of drugs for illegal pharmacies. The company was charged today with knowingly accepting payment related to shipments of rogue Internet-based pharmacies, bringing the total number of charges up to 16. The Memphis Business Journal has more.

DOJ to Launch Civil Rights Investigation in Police Shooting

The FBI and Justice Department are conducting a full, independent civil rights investigation into the death of an unarmed black teenager shot by police in Missouri, Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday. Protests have followed the incident, some of them violent and involving clashes between demonstrators and police in riot gear. Representatives from the Justice Department's Community Relations Service, which works to mediate race disputes, has been sent to Missouri. WRCB has the story.

Attorneys Seek to Dismiss Case Against Former Knox Trustee

With a trial set to start Monday, attorneys representing former Knox County trustee Mike Lowe along with Ray Mubarak and Delbert Morgan were in court Thursday asking the charges be dismissed because documents needed for their defense were destroyed when Lowe's successor took office, WATE reports. The three were charged with theft more than two years ago stemming from an investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, state auditors and the county district attorney's office that alleged the group funneled money through the trustee's office to a company that Mubarak owned.

Howard Baker Remembered for Civility in Column, Book

Bill Haltom remembers in his monthly Journal column, how the late Sen. Howard Baker advanced the conversation on civility in the law. The column is an excerpt from Haltom's newly released book, The Other Fellow May Be Right: The Civility of Howard Baker.

Show Your Professional Pride with the TBA Visa

TBA members can now show their professional pride and get rewarded for doing so. The Tennessee Bar Association Visa® Platinum Rewards Card is now available to all members. Apply now and earn points at hundreds of online retailers. Redeem your points for name-brand merchandise, event tickets, gift cards, travel rewards options and more. Apply now!

Immigrant Children Filing for Asylum, Not Citizenship

A WREG story referenced in yesterday’s edition of TBAToday incorrectly reported that the current wave of immigrant children are trying to become U.S. citizens. TBA Immigration Law Section Chair Bruce Buchanan points out that the children are not attempting to become U.S. citizens, but are filing for asylum and, if granted, they would become asylees. After a year as an asylee, they can apply for permanent residence (green card) and continue in that status for a number of years. At some later date — at least 5 years depending on the age they obtained the green card — they could apply to naturalize to be U.S. citizens.

Williamson County Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

On Aug. 13, Sharon Elizabeth England was temporarily suspended from the practice of law for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. View the BPR notice.


Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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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