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http://www.tba.org/tba_searchlink.html

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. To search all opinions in the TBALink database, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi.

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TBA members can get the full-text versions of these opinions three ways detailed below. All methods require a TBA username and password. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on-line at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi

Here's how you can obtain full-text version. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 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. Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion. Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

USHA HALEY v. UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE-KNOXVILLE, ET AL.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Irwin Venick, Nashville, Tennessee, and Carol S. Nickle, Knoxville, Tennessee, for thePetitioner, Usha Haley.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; KimberlyJ. Dean, Deputy Attorney General; and Devon L. Gosnell, Associate General Counsel, University of Tennessee, for the Respondents, University of Tennessee-Knoxville and JanWilliams.

We accepted a question of law certified by the United States District Court for the EasternDistrict of Tennessee to determine whether a voluntary non-suit before the Tennessee Claims Commission activates the waiver provision of Tennessee Code Annotated section 9-8-307(b)(2005), barring a federal or state cause of action arising from the same act or omission as the claim before the Claims Commission. We hold that it does. We also hold that TennesseeSupreme Court Rule 23 authorizing the certified question procedure is not an impermissible extension of this Court’s jurisdiction under the Tennessee Constitution.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/HaleyUsha_031706.pdf


DONNA J. OVERMAN v. ALTAMA DELTA CORPORATION Corrected Dissenting Opinion: Corrections on pages 1 and 2

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/overmandjdisscorr_031706.pdf


TERESA A. CARPENTER v. TIMOTHY P. KLEPPER, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

R. Stephen Doughty and Alvin L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teresa A. Carpenter.

Robert A. Talley and Dennis P. Hawkins, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Timothy P. Klepper.

W. Scott Sims, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Premier Medical Group, P.C.

Judge: CAIN

Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice action against doctor and his employer. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendants. Plaintiff appealed the admission into evidence of expert testimony offered by two physicians under the locality rule and the award of certain discretionary costs. The judgment of the trial court is reversed and the case remanded for a new trial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/CarpenterT_031706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, ex rel., DANA MONIQUE SMITH v. JOHN NEWTON FORD

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Edward M. Bearman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Newton Ford.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter and Warren Jasper, Assistant AttorneyGeneral, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court awarded Petitioner child support for one child in accordance with the childsupport guidelines. Respondent appeals, asserting the trial court erred by failing to deviate from the child support guidelines. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/SmithDanaM_031706.pdf


TENNESSEE FARMERS LIFE REASSURANCE COMPANY v. LINDA S. ROSE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Paul T. Coleman, Vivian Crandall, and Irmie K. Blanton, III, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Linda S. Rose.

Jennifer E. Raby, Rockwood, Tennessee, for the appellees, Kristin N. Taylor, Edward R. Langley, Phillip M. Langley, and Ethan E. Langley.

Judge: SUSANO

Tennessee Farmers Life Reassurance Company (“Tennessee Farmers”) brought this interpleader action seeking judicial guidance as to the person or persons entitled to receive benefits under a policy of insurance insuring the life of Brenda Gail Langley (“the deceased”). The deceased designated three of her four children and a grandchild as the beneficiaries of the policy; however, prior to the deceased’s death, her sister, Linda Sue Rose, acting under her authority as attorney in fact for the deceased, changed the beneficiary of the policy to herself. After the death of the deceased, Ms. Rose, the three children, and the deceased’s grandchild, Ethan E. Langley, all asserted rights to the proceeds of the subject policy. The trial court granted summary judgment to the deceased’s children and grandchild, finding that they were entitled to the proceeds because – as found by the trial court – Ms. Rose did not have the authority under the deceased’s power of attorney to change the beneficiary on the policy. Ms. Rose appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/TennFarmers_031706.pdf

SWINEY DISSENTING
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/TennFarmersDIS_031706.pdf


CRAIG LAMONT BEENE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lindsay C. Barrett, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Craig Lamont Beene.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Seth P. Kestner, Assistant Attorney General;Dan Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Mark A. Fulks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

This is an appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief. The Petitioner, Craig Lamont Beene,pled guilty to and was convicted of attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Petitioner was sentenced toseventeen years imprisonment. The Petitioner filed for and was denied post-conviction relief. The Petitioner now appeals the trial court’s order denying post-conviction relief, claiming histrial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel which resulted in unknowing and involuntary guilty pleas. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/BeeneCraig_031706.pdf


JOHN W. BREWER, III v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James O. Martin, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John W. Brewer, III.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General;Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, John W. Brewer, III, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’sdismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty plea to second degree murder, a Class A felony, for which he received a nineteen-year sentence. He contends that he received theineffective assistance of counsel, rendering his guilty plea involuntary. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/brewerjohnw_031706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICK CARL DAVIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joe L. Finley, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Rick Carl Davis.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General;and William Locke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

The defendant, Rick Carl Davis,1 was convicted of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, andfined $2,500. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-102 (1997). The trial court imposed a Range I sentence of six years to be served in the Department of Correction and to be served consecutivelyto a sentence for a prior probation violation. In this appeal as of right, the defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) imposing an excessive sentence; (2) denying alternativesentencing; and (3) ordering consecutive sentencing. The judgment is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/davisrickc_031706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PAMELA SUE KING

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mark A. Kovach, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pamela Sue King.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant AttorneyGeneral; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Pamela Sue King, appeals from the denial of her petition for post-convictionrelief. On appeal, she contends that she was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel. Following our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/kingpamelasue_031706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SABRINA RENEE LEWIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jay Norman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sabrina Renee Lewis.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant AttorneyGeneral; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The appellant, Sabrina Renee Lewis, was indicted with a co-defendant on one count of firstdegree felony murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery. After a trial, the jury found the appellant guilty of criminally negligent homicide and facilitation of attemptedespecially aggravated robbery. As a result, the appellant was sentenced to six years as a Range III persistent offender for criminally negligent homicide and fifteen years as a Range IIIpersistent offender for facilitation of attempted especially aggravated robbery. The trial court ordered the sentences to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of twenty-one years.After the denial of a motion for new trial, the appellant seeks resolution of the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court properly admitted the appellant’s video-taped statementinto evidence; (2) whether the prosecutor’s reference to an alibi during closing arguments was prejudicial in light of the trial court’s curative instruction; (3) whether the trial court properlyadmitted the victim’s dying declaration into evidence; (4) whether the trial court properly allowed an expert to testify about DNA testing; and (5) whether the trial court properlysentenced the appellant. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/lewiss_031706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKY LYNN NORWOOD, ALIAS Corrected Opinion

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mark Stephens, District Public Defender; John Halstead and Mary Ellen Coleman, Assistant District Public Defenders; and Candi Henry, Special Defense Attorney, for the Appellee, Ricky Lynn Norwood.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Marsha Mitchell and Steven C. Garrett, Assistant District Attorneys General; and Marla Holloway, Special Prosecuting Attorney, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

This state appeal, initially filed as a Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3 appeal, is deemed by this court an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 10. The state seeks review of the Knox County Criminal Court’s determination that, in the on-going driving under the influence (DUI) prosecution of the defendant, Ricky Lynn Norwood, a 1997 DUI conviction may not be used to enhance punishment. Because the record and the applicable law support the trial court’s ruling, we affirm the order.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/Norwoo_031706.pdf


CRAIG ROBERT NUNN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James A.H. Bell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Craig Robert Nunn.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; C. Daniel Lins, Assistant Attorney General;Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Katrin Novak Miller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Craig Robert Nunn, pled guilty to four counts of aggravated sexual battery with avictim less than thirteen years of age, and, in accordance with a plea agreement, the Petitioner was sentenced to twelve years for each conviction, to run concurrently. Subsequently, thePetitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the trial court dismissed as time barred. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court erred when it dismissed his petitionfor post-conviction relief finding that it was time-barred by the statute of limitations. We agree that the Petitioner filed his petition after the statute of limitations had run; however, because thePetitioner may have been deprived by his counsel of a reasonable opportunity to seek postconviction relief, due process considerations may have tolled the limitations period. Because therecord needs further development for this Court to decide this issue, we remand the case to the trial court for a further evidentiary hearing to determine the circumstances surrounding thePetitioner’s untimely filing of his post-conviction petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/Nunncr_031706.pdf


MICHAEL WAYNE PERRY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Harry A. Christensen, "Elbow" Counsel, Lebanon, Tennessee and Michael Wayne Perry,Petrose, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General;Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Robert Hibbett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Michael Wayne Perry, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-convictionrelief. On appeal, he alleges both prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel arising from the failure of the prosecutor and trial counsel to correct numerous instances of falsetestimony during his suppression hearing and at trial. Following our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying post-convictionrelief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/PerryMichaelWayne_031706.pdf


PATRICK THURMOND v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William Maurice Speek, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Patrick Thurmond.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant AttorneyGeneral; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Patrick Thurmond, appeals from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s dismissalof his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for two counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape, one count of aggravated sexual battery, and one count ofaggravated burglary and effective sentence of fifty years. He contends he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to remove prospective jurors fromthe jury panel, failed to exclude physical evidence, failed to object to hearsay testimony, failed to call an alibi witness, and advised the petitioner not to testify. We affirm the judgment of the trialcourt.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/thurmondp_031706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALD E. WADE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles R. Ray, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald E. Wade.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Seth P. Kestner, Assistant Attorney General;Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Sue Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Ronald E. Wade, was convicted of one count of facilitation ofpossession of over twenty-six (26) grams of cocaine for sale, a Class C felony, one count of facilitation of possession of over one and one-half ounces of marijuana for sale, a Class Amisdemeanor, and one count of facilitation of possession of a weapon in commission of an offense, also a Class A misdemeanor. Defendant received a sentence of four years for the felonyconviction, suspended after thirty days incarceration, with four years of probation, and a one thousand dollar fine. He received a suspended sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days,to be served on probation, for each misdemeanor conviction. All sentences were ordered to be served concurrently with each other. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred indenying his motion to suppress all evidence obtained pursuant to a warrant authorizing a search of his house. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/WadeRonaldE_031706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALFONZO WATERS, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul J. Walwyn, Madison, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alfonzo Waters, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant AttorneyGeneral; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm and Deborah Housel, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Alfonzo Waters, Jr., was convicted of first-degree murder by a Davidson Countyjury and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in allowing the state to present evidence that the victim was wearing “red” or “red shoelaces.”Following our review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/WatersAlfonzoJr_031706.pdf


The Residential Closing Funds Distribution Act, 2005 Tennessee Public Acts, Chapter 273

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-03-15

Opinion Number: 06-048

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2006/OP48.pdf

General Sessions Judge Running for Office of District Attorney General

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-03-16

Opinion Number: 06-049

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2006/OP49.pdf

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Commissioners appoint interim judge in Roane County
Roane County Commission appointed Kingston attorney Jeff Wicks as interim general sessions judge to fill the seat left empty by the suspension of indicted Judge Thomas A. Austin.
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Join your colleagues from the Tennessee legal community at the state's largest and longest running gathering: the annual Tennessee Bar Association convention. This year's event will be in Memphis, June 14-17 at the Peabody Hotel. The event will again be held in conjunction with gatherings of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association and the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women.
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New edition of Alimony Bench Book now available
The TBA Family Law Section has just released the 4th Edition of the Alimony Bench Book. This publication will be distributed to state court judges at next week's judicial conference and is available for purchase at the TBA's online bookstore or by calling 800-899-6993 or in Nashville at 383-7421.
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College hosts forum for judicial candidates
Chattanooga State Community Technical College will host a forum for judicial candidates on Tuesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. in Chattanooga State’s Faculty Staff Room located at the Albright Omni Plaza (in front of the visitor’s parking lot), the Chattanoogan.com reports.

Miller to run for Anderson County post
Claxton attorney Randy Miller has announced his candidacy for the position of Anderson County juvenile court judge, the Oak Ridger Reports.
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Memphis lawyer publicly censured
Memphis lawyer Barry E. Gilmore was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on March 13. The censure was issued pursuant to Rule 9, Section 8 of the Rules of the Tennessee Supreme Court after the board found that he seriously neglected and failed to move with reasonable diligence in his clients’ legal matters.
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The 3rd Annual Intellectual Property Forum is designed to benefit the beginner and the specialist alike. Join U.S. Patent Commissioner John Doll as he covers what is happing at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Basics - 3 general hours- Thursday, April 27 and Advanced – 6 general 1 dual - Friday, April 28.
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