Supreme Court Issues First Ruling on ‘Regulatory Takings’

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state Constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, requires the government to compensate private property owners when governmental decisions, restrictions or regulations take or interfere with private property interests. The ruling came in the case of a couple that sought to subdivide property they own near Clarksville. After the local planning commission denied their request, the couple filed suit. Though the court has addressed physical occupation and nuisance-type takings, it had not previously ruled on so-called “regulatory takings,” which occur when government regulations or actions interfere with owners’ use of their property. The court remanded the claim to the trial court to determine if the facts of the case amounted to a regulatory taking. Read more from the AOC or download the opinion.

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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


Rachel Bonano, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Keren D.

Lauren P. Parker, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joel B.


Juvenile court entered a default order against mother of minor child declaring the parentage of father and ordering a permanent parenting plan. We have determined that this order is void due to improper notice. We have further determined that the juvenile court erred in ordering the attachment of the minor child, who was living with mother in California.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Andrea Sipes Lester (on appeal), Jackson, Tennessee and David A. Stowers (at trial), Bolivar, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jimmy Dale Qualls.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe Van Dyke and Katie Walsh, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Jimmy Dale Qualls, was convicted by a Hardeman County Circuit Court jury of thirty-seven counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, Class C felonies. See T.C.A. § 39-13-527 (2010). The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to five years for each conviction and ordered partial consecutive sentences. The thirty-seven counts were separated into seven groups for sentencing purposes. Group A contained Counts 1 through 6, Group B contained Counts 7 and 8, Group C contained Counts 9 through 14, Group D contained Counts 15 though 20, Group E contained Counts 21 through 26, Group F contained Counts 27 through 32, and Group G contained Counts 33 to 37. The court ordered each group to run consecutively to each other, for an effective thirty-five-year sentence. The court further ordered the effective thirty-five-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that the State failed to make a proper election of the offenses and that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. We conclude that the State failed to make an adequate election of the offenses, and we reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Michael Auffinger, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Emmett Lamon Roseman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Emmett Lamon Roseman, pled guilty to possession of marijuana, the sale of crack cocaine, the delivery of crack cocaine, and three counts of failure to appear. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the length of the sentences and the imposition of consecutive sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


William D. Massey and Joseph A. McClusky (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, and Mike Mosier (at trial) for the Defendant-Appellant, Phillip Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Phillip Smith, was convicted by a Chester County jury for rape of a child, for which he received a sentence of 25 years to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction and that he is entitled to a new trial due to prosecutorial misconduct. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Process to Fill Kyle Senate Seat Begins

Local Democratic leaders began taking applications Monday for the state Senate seat that will become vacant when Jim Kyle begins an eight-year term as chancellor on Sept. 1. Those interested in seeking the Democratic nomination should submit their name by noon Friday. The party will hold its caucus on Aug. 28 to choose a candidate. Republicans said they also would hold a caucus but did not release details. The winner of the special election will serve to the end of 2016, the Memphis Daily News reports. Among those rumored to be interested on the Democratic side are Beverly Marrero, who held the seat for six years until Kyle defeated her in the 2012 primary; Sara Kyle, a former Tennessee Regulatory Authority member and wife of Kyle; District 98 Rep. Antonio Parkinson; and District 93 Rep. G.A. Hardaway, the Commercial Appeal reports.

New Firm Offers Reduced Rates for Criminal Defense

Three northeast Tennessee lawyers have opened the Criminal Defense Clinic (CDC) to provide legal services for those who need a criminal defense attorney but do not qualify for a court-appointed one or cannot afford to pay full price for one. Jim Bowman, Chris Byrd and Nikki Himebaugh maintain separate legal offices, but collaborate on cases accepted by the CDC, the Johnson City Press reports. The attorneys assess each client and apply a sliding fee scale for the service. The trio stress they are not trying to undercut fees other lawyers charge, just trying to help defendants who legitimately do not have the money to pay for a lawyer. The CDC is currently taking cases in Washington and Unicoi counties.

Post-election Tensions High in Court Clerk’s Office

The election is over, but Hamilton County Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell says it does not feel like it. Clerk-elect Vince Dean, a Republican who represents House District 30 in the General Assembly, defeated Tidwell by nearly 5,000 votes on Aug. 7. Dean will leave his state seat and start the clerk’s job Sept. 2, but Tidwell said it seems as if he is already moving in. She claims Dean toured her office while she was on vacation, brought in his new chief of staff and interacted with employees and misrepresented her absence from the office in the press. Dean says he meant no harm and is only trying to make the transition smooth. The Chattanooga Times Free Press has the story.

Justice Holder Featured in ‘Litigants Without Lawyers’ Video

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder's appearance in a congressional briefing on “Litigants Without Lawyers: Equal Justice Under Threat in State Courts” is now available on video. The event was sponsored by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and featured justices from four states. The justices said that large numbers of unrepresented individuals lead to slow dockets and less efficiency.

Former Nashville Police Chief Leaving New Orleans

Former Nashville Police Chief Ronal Serpas says he is leaving his position as superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department after four years, the Tennessean reports. Serpas, who left his post in Nashville to take the New Orleans job, has come under fire from officers upset by changes to rules for off-duty work and disciplinary policies that have resulted in scores of officers leaving the department. For his part, Serpas says that when he came to New Orleans in 2010 the city “needed dramatic changes” but he has since “turned [the] department around and laid a strong foundation for the future.”

Wednesday is Deadline for EJU Registration

Tennessee lawyers who want to attend this year’s Equal Justice University (EJU), set for Sept. 10-12 in Murfreesboro, have until the end of the day Wednesday to register. A schedule for the event, which is cosponsored by the TBA, is available online as is the registration form. The program will offer 40 hours of CLE and keynote addresses by civil rights leader Diane Nash, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder and TBA President Jonathan Steen, who will speak on medical-legal partnerships, one focus of his presidency this year.

Judicial Receptions on Tap for Next Week

Judges who are retiring as well as those who are taking office will be honored at receptions across the state next week. On Monday, a reception will be held for retiring Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Carol Soloman beginning at 3 p.m. in the Historic Nashville Courthouse Jury Assembly Room. On Aug. 26, friends and colleagues will celebrate the career of Knox County Circuit Court Judge Bill Swann, who is retiring. That event will take place 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Club LeConte. Finally, on Aug. 29, incumbent and newly elected judges in Knox County will be sworn in during a ceremony at 2 p.m. at the Supreme Court Building in Knoxville.

Medical-Legal Partnership Attorney Sought

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands (LAS) has an immediate opening for an attorney in its Nashville office to direct its Middle Tennessee Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) program. The attorney will manage a program that provides legal services to the patients of its medical partners and will handle a general civil practice, including domestic violence, housing, mortgage foreclosure, consumer, elder law, health and benefit law and immigration. Learn more about the position and how to apply in the attached job description.

Reduced-Rate Display Ads Available for Lawyers

Lawyers and firms now may promote outstanding achievements, new associates, new partners, mergers, awards or any other news in the Tennessee Bar Journal. These Professional Announcements are display ads, available at special, lower-rate pricing. Show your peers across the state about your accomplishments by placing an announcement in the Journal. For information, contact Debbie Taylor at (503) 445-2231 or To have an announcement placed in the next issue, please contact her as soon as possible.


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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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