Election Fallout: What it Means for Ramsey, ‘Yes on 2’

How much was Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey hurt by his failed campaign to unseat three Tennessee Supreme Court justices? Nashville Post reporter Andrea Zelinski breaks it down, along with an analysis of how the defeat will affect the selection of the next attorney general and what it means for November's vote on a constitutional amendment to change the way appellate judges are selected. From Gov. Bill Haslam, Zelinski reports that he thinks the retention election vote was “probably a good indicator” of the amendment’s chances, and if the state moved to open elections, “it would be what we saw on steroids.” In contrast, Vanderbilt political science professor John Geer says 53 percent of voters oppose letting the governor pick judges. “I still think it may fail, but it really depends on how much money is out there for it and how well it can be explained.”

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.

03 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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

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TN Supreme Court

Tennessee Supreme Court DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court


Krisann Hodges, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, the Board of Professional Responsibility.

Donald Capparella and Tyler Chance Yarbro, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, R. Sadler Bailey.

Judge: CLARK

The Board of Professional Responsibility instituted a lawyer disciplinary proceeding against an attorney based on complaints it received from a judge and opposing counsel regarding the attorney’s disruptive behavior during trial proceedings. A hearing panel found that the attorney had violated several Rules of Professional Conduct and suspended him from the practice of law for sixty days. On appeal, the Chancery Court for Shelby County affirmed the hearing panel’s finding that the attorney had violated several ethical rules but reversed the suspension, instead recommending a public censure. The Board of Professional Responsibility appealed to this Court. We reverse the Chancery Court’s reduction of discipline and reinstate the hearing panel’s imposition of a sixty-day suspension.


Court: TN Supreme Court


Stanley M. Ross and Steven T. Atkins, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Mack Phillips and Leann Phillips.

Erik Fuqua, Austin Peay VII, and Dan L. Nolan, Jr., Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Montgomery County, Tennessee and Clarksville Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission.

Judge: CLARK

We granted permission to appeal to determine whether article I, section 21 of the Tennessee Constitution requires a government to compensate a property owner for a regulatory taking of private property. We hold that article I, section 21 encompasses regulatory takings in the same manner as the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals dismissing the property owners’ complaint alleging a state constitutional regulatory takings claim and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


James D. R. Roberts and Janet L. Layman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Wesley Green, individually and as a shareholder of Champs-Elysees, Inc.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; and Janet M. Kleinfelter, Deputy Attorney General; for the appellee, Chancellor Perkins.


This appeal arises from a post-judgment discovery dispute. While the plaintiff’s prior appeal from the trial court’s judgment was pending in this court, the plaintiff made a discovery request in the trial court seeking to obtain alleged ex parte communications pertaining to the plaintiff’s attorney, the plaintiff, or the case. The trial court conducted a hearing and entered an order denying the discovery request; this appeal followed. We have determined that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to rule on the plaintiff’s discovery requests; therefore, the order at issue in this appeal is void. Further, this court’s ruling in the prior appeal, which resolved all issues in the underlying case, is now a final judgment. The underlying case is concluded and, thus, no further proceedings are available other than the assessment and collection of costs.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


James D. R. Roberts, Jr. and Janet L. Layman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William E. Kantz, Jr. Irrevocable Trust.

Andre P. Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Herman C. Bell.

Mark A. Polk, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Scott Findlay.


This dispute concerns a contract for the sale of real property. Believing the seller was impairing the buyer’s ability to close on time in order to sell the property under contract to someone else, the buyer filed this action to enjoin the seller from transferring the property to another and to require the seller to provide documentation necessary to close. The buyer also asserted claims for specific performance of the contract, breach of contract, and conspiracy against the seller, as well as claims for tortious interference with the contract and conspiracy against another defendant. The trial court found that the seller’s discussions with another potential buyer were merely to have a “back-up plan” in the event the buyer did not close; nevertheless, the court granted injunctive relief by extending the deadline to close the sale by thirty days and enjoined the seller from selling the property to another in the interim. One week later, the sale closed. The plaintiff then amended its complaint to limit its claims to breach of contract against the seller, and tortious interference with a contract and conspiracy against the seller and the party alleged to have tortiously interfered with the contract. The defendants filed motions to dismiss for failure to state claims for which relief could be granted pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6). The trial court found that the seller did not breach the contract because the property was conveyed to the plaintiff pursuant to the terms of the contract and the delay in closing was not a breach of the contract. The court dismissed all other claims but for the conspiracy claims and declared the order a final appealable judgment pursuant to Tenn. R. App. P. 54.02. The plaintiff appealed. Finding no error, we affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


A. Philip Lomonaco, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demarcus Ant-Juan Nelson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Randall Nichols, District Attorney General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Demarcus Ant-Juan Nelson (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to possession with intent to sell .5 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine within 1000 feet of a school. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to twenty years’ incarceration. The plea agreement provided for reservation of a certified question of law as to whether the Defendant’s seizure was lawful. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we conclude that the Defendant is entitled to no relief. However, we remand this matter to the trial court for entry of corrected judgment orders indicating that count two was dismissed. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Gene S. Rucker, pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; and William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Gene S. Rucker, was convicted of aggravated arson and criminally negligent homicide, for which he was sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty-two years. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed his convictions and sentence. State v. Gene Shelton Rucker, Jr., No. E2002-02101-CCA-CCA-R3-CD, 2004 WL 2827004 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Dec. 9, 2004), perm. app. denied (Tenn. March 21, 2005). Subsequently the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which was denied on the grounds that it was time barred. This Court affirmed the post-conviction court’s judgment denying relief. Gene S. Rucker v. State, No. E2007-00380-CCA-R3-PC, 2007 WL 2405133 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Aug. 24, 2007) no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 app. filed. On February 18, 2013, the Petitioner filed a motion to reopen his petition for post-conviction relief. The postconviction court denied the motion to reopen, and the Petitioner appeals that decision. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.

Bass Berry Opens Pharma Practice

The Memphis office of Bass, Berry & Sims has opened a specialty pharmacy, pharma services and distribution practice. Michael R. Hess, the former chief counsel and vice president of strategic development at Accredo Health Group, will chair the endeavor. The Memphis Daily News reports that Hess will focus on pharmaceutical trade and distribution, strategic business advice, and transactional and regulatory guidance. The group also will include attorney Shannon L. Wiley.

New Domestic Violence Court Begins Sept. 2

Courtroom 4B looks like any other room in the Justice A.A. Birch Building, but beginning Sept. 2, it will be the site of Davidson County’s new Domestic Violence Court, the Tennessean reports. For the first time, all domestic violence cases will be referred here, with judges, prosecutors and security staff specially trained to handle such matters. “We’re going to see a major change in how the cases are handled,” said General Sessions Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton, who will be the first in a three-judge rotation to run the new court. General Sessions Judge Gale Robinson and newly elected Judge Allegra Walker will round out the rotation.

TBI Launches New Anti-Trafficking Resource

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has launched a new outreach campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking in Tennessee, WRCB News 3 reports. The campaign, “IT Has To Stop,” provides information, research and statistics, contacts and links for visitors. The campaign also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Court Reinstates 60-Day Suspension for Memphis Lawyer

The Tennessee Supreme Court today reinstated a 60-day suspension for Memphis attorney R. Sadler Bailey that had been recommended by the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR). The BPR had found that while representing a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case, Bailey “became upset,” engaged in “vehement arguments” with opposing attorneys, objected 12 times during the defense’s opening statement and repeatedly criticized the judge. Because of this “contentious conduct,” a mistrial was declared. Bailey appealed the suspension to the Shelby County Chancery Court, which agreed rules had been violated but found that a 60-day suspension was not warranted. The BPR appealed to the Supreme Court, which concluded that the 60-day suspension was consistent with other cases involving similar violations. Read the court's press release, download the BPR notice or download the opinion.

Deadline Extended for Conservatorship Director

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County has announced that the application deadline for the newly created position of director of the Office of Conservatorship Management has been extended to Sept. 2. The goal of the new position is to improve the administration of justice and delivery of legal services to the impaired elderly and persons with disabilities. The director will manage guardianships and conservatorships within the Metro area. The position reports to the Probate Court judge and trial court administrator. Candidates should have at least three years experience as a practicing attorney. Learn more online or download a job description.

Seersucker Day to Raise Funds for ChildHelp

Knoxville lawyers are encouraged to participate in the first Seersucker Day on Thursday (Aug. 21) to benefit ChildHelp of East Tennessee. Lawyers are asked to make a $10 donation to the group, which works to protect local children from abuse and place local foster children in loving homes. A group photo of all those participating will be taken on Market Square at noon that day. For more in information or for promotion material contact Kyle Baisley at Pilot Corp.

UT Law Grad, JAG Officer Dies

Knoxville lawyer and TBA senior counselor Cecil L. Forinash died July 25 after a brief illness. He was 96. A 1949 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Forinash spent his entire career in the Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps, serving across the United States, Korea and Europe. He retired in November 1969. Funeral services were held last Friday at the Church Street United Methodist Church. Forinash will be laid to rest with his wife at Arlington National Cemetery. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Church Street United Methodist Church, 900 Henley St., Knoxville, TN 37902. Read more about Forinash’s life in Knoxnews.

Nashville Lawyer, Bank Executive Dies

Nashville area lawyer John Hopkins Dillon died Aug. 12 at 76. A native of Woodbury, Dillon earned his law degree from the then-Nashville YMCA Night Law School in 1967. He spent his entire career at Commerce Union Bank, which had become NationsBank by the time he retired in 1998. Funeral services were held last Friday at Harpeth Hills Memorial Gardens. The family requests that memorials be made to the Tennessee Trails Association or the Cannon County Historical Association. Read more about Dillon’s life in the Cannon Courier.

TBA Online: Your Source for Valuable Resources

Remember to visit and bookmark TBA.ORG, the TBA website that features current news, new member benefits, CLE courses, your access to Fastcase online legal research and more. You can also keep up with news from the Tennessee legal community through the TBA's Twitter feed, its Facebook page and its LinkedIn group.


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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