Getting paid a problem? New TennBarU course can help

Collecting fees is not directly addressed in the Rules of Professional Conduct, however both the rules and malpractice carriers urge lawyers not to sue clients or former clients for payment except when absolutely necessary. A new online course from TennBarU explores practice management strategies to help reduce the number of non-paying clients and discusses ethical obligations for collecting fees from such clients.

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

03 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
00 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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

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

Corrected List

Court: TSC

Corrected List. Version on 03/20/2006 did not include date.

Corrected Dissenting Opinion

Court: TSC


The last full sentence of page two of the original opinion reads: "Even the plaintiff here conceded that the Panel's holding in Nay - that absolute waivers of reconsideration rights (as opposed to conditional waivers, the issue in this case) - is valid for settlements of workplace injuries occurring before the statutory prohibition!"

In the corrected opinion, the "that" preceeding "absolute waivers" is changed to "which upheld".

Corrected Dissenting Opinion. Opinion originally filed 3/16/2006.

Corrected Case

Court: TSC


H. Randolph Fallin, Mountain City, Tennessee; Roger G. Day, Johnson City, Tennessee (at trial and on appeal) for the appellant, Steven James Rollins.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and Barry P. Staubus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Steven James Rollins, was convicted of premeditated murder, felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. The trial judge merged the felony murder conviction with the premeditated first degree murder conviction. Upon conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the jury found that the State had established beyond a reasonable doubt the following five aggravating circumstances: (1) the defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies, other than the present charge, whose statutory elements involve the use of violence to the person; (2) the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel in that it involved torture or serious physical abuse beyond that necessary to produce death; (3) the murder was committed for the purpose of avoiding, interfering with, or preventing a lawful arrest or prosecution of the defendant or another; (4) the murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed, or aided by the defendant, while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, or was fleeing after having a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit, any robbery; and (5) the victim of the murder was seventy (70) years of age or older. See Tenn. Code Ann. Sec. 39-13-204(i)(2), (5), (6), (7), (14) (1999). After further finding that these aggravating circumstances outweighed mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury imposed a sentence of death. The defendant appealed, challenging both his conviction and sentence of death. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. The case was automatically docketed in this Court. See Tenn. Code Ann. Sec. 39-13-206(a)(1). Thereafter, this Court entered an order specifically requesting that the parties address the following three issues at oral argument: (1) whether the interrogation of the defendant by the sheriff's officers after his arrest violated the defendant's state and federal constitutional rights to counsel such that the trial court erred by refusing to suppress the defendant's statements; (2) whether the trial court erred in refusing to allow the defendant to call his co-defendant, Greg Fleenor, to the witness stand to invoke his privilege against self-incrimination in the jury's presence; and (3) whether the mandatory review provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-206(c)(1) require reversal of the defendant's death sentence. Upon thoroughly considering these and all issues raised by the defendant, the record on appeal, and the relevant authority, we affirm the defendant's conviction of first degree murder and sentence of death.

Case originally filed 3/16/2006. Case corrected to change


Court: TCA


James S. Stephens, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, L.G.F.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel; Elizabeth T. Ryan and Wilson Harpe, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Christine Milene Flury Sitz, Guardian ad litem.


Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, J.M.F. The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights on the grounds of failure to remedy persistent conditions, substantial noncompliance with permanency plans and abandonment by failing to visit and failing to provide support. The trial court also found the termination of Mother's parental rights was in the child’s best interest. We affirm the trial court's termination of parental rights based upon Mother's failure to remedy persistent conditions and substantial noncompliance with permanency plans.


Court: TCA


John N. Bean, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Gregory M. Lyons.

Stacy Alane Clinton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Kerry C. Lyons.


The trial court determined a material change of circumstances had occurred which warranted modification of the parties' child visitation scheduled. Father appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Richard A. Schulman and R. Jonathan Guthrie, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant Joan Oates.

L. Michael Zinser and Matthew Salada, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee Chattanooga Publishing Company d/b/a Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Joan Oates (Plaintiff) was employed by the Chattanooga Publishing Company (Defendant) for approximately twenty-three years. In January of 2004, Plaintiff was observed on Defendant's security camera making obscene gestures with her middle finger toward the camera and then covering the security camera with a cup for a period of time. Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit alleging that she was terminated because of a disability. Plaintiff also claimed that she was subjected to a hostile work environment and malicious harassment while employed by Defendant. Plaintiff also sued for intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Trial Court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff appeals, and we affirm.


Court: TCA


Randall N. Songstad, Memphis, TN, for Appellant.

John D. Horne, Memphis, TN, for Appellee.


In this case we are asked to review a trial court's decision to hold the defendant in contempt of the court's order. After the plaintiff filed its lawsuit to recover amounts allegedly owed on certain invoices, the trial court ordered the defendant to file a sworn statement setting forth any amounts it believed it owed to the plaintiff and the "basis" for that statement. The defendant submitted the affidavit of its president who asserted that it owed nothing to the plaintiff and that plaintiff breached the parties' contract. The defendant subsequently filed an answer denying it owed the money and filed a counter-complaint for breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, and fraud. The plaintiff filed a petition seeking to hold the defendant in contempt of the court's order, asserting that the affidavit filed by the defendant did not set forth specific facts. The chancery court granted the motion and found the defendant in contempt of the order holding that the affidavit did not contain enough "detail" as required by the order. The defendant appealed to this Court. We reverse.


Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
FBI completes investigation of Till murder
The FBI recently completed its investigation of the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, which many believe sparked the civil rights movement. Investigators determined that the federal statute of limitations precludes prosecution under U.S civil rights laws, but turned their findings over to the district attorney in Greenville, Miss., for possible prosecution under state law. In Mississippi, there is no statute of limitations on homicide cases. Read more in the
Commercial Appeal
Legal lectures this week
Nashville attorney Anne C. Martin will lecture on sexual harassment issues and show the 2005 film North Country, about a Minnesota female miner's sexual harassment class-action lawsuit on Wednesday. Martin is an attorney with Bone, McAllester Norton PLLC. The event starts at 4 p.m. at the Keathley University Center Theatre on the campus of MTSU in Murfreesboro. For more information call 615-494-8918.

Nadine Strossen will speak Thursday on gender, sexuality and civil liberties as part of MTSU's National Women's History Month celebration. Strossen is president of the American Civil Liberties Union and a law professor at New York Law School. The lecture begins at 4 p.m. at the State Farm Lecture Hall in the Business Aerospace Building. For more information call 615-898-5910.

Oak Ridge mom sues McDonald's for $5.5 million
Oak Ridge native Amanda Spaid has sued McDonald's for failure to disclose that its french fries contain dairy products. Her children, who suffer from a rare genetic disorder that keeps them from digesting dairy products, are frequent customers of the fast food chain. McDonald's disclosed the dairy component on its website last month after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cracked down on regulations. For more of the story, see this article in the
Oak Ridger
Clay County judge charged with drunk driving
State troopers arrested Clay County General Sessions Judge James D. White last week on suspicions he was driving drunk in Lafayette. White has law offices in Celina and Lafayette and serves as attorney for Macon County, responsible for advising the county mayor and commission. He posted bond Friday afternoon.

Campbell announces for DA
Assistant District Attorney Colin Campbell has announced that he will seek the office of District Attorney General for the 25th Judicial District. The office serves Fayette, Hardeman, Lauderdale, McNairy and Tipton counties. District Attorney General Elizabeth Rice has announced that she is retiring at the end of her current term. Read about Campbell's campaign in the
Fayette County Review
UM law professor bans laptops
Earlier this month University of Memphis Law School Professor June Entman banned laptop computers from her classroom because she considered them a distraction in lectures. She warned her first-year students instead to bring pens and paper to class for note taking. Students filed a complaint with the American Bar Association based on an ABA rule on technology at law schools, but the complaint was dismissed. Students now are collecting signatures on a petition against the move. Law School Dean James Smoot said the decision is up to individual professors.

Legislative News
Complaint against Matheny dismissed
The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously Monday to dismiss a complaint against Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma), saying that his actions did not violate state law or the House Code of Ethics. The complaint, which was filed in January by Rep. Phillip Pinion (D-Union City), alleged that Matheny accepted a prohibited consulting fee. After the committee's actions yesterday, Matheny stated that Pinion signed a "false affidavit" and should now be prosecuted for perjury, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
Nissan North America is relocating its headquarters to the Nashville area and is looking for a trademark attorney, business law attorney and securities lawyer. Check out these and other job listings at TBA JobLink - a job seeking and recruitment tool available to TBA members at no charge.
Visit the site

But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

TBALink HomeContact UsPageFinderWhat's NewHelp
© Copyright 2006 Tennessee Bar Association