Tennessee Supreme Court upholds term limits
The state Supreme Court upheld term limits for county commissioners in a unanimous ruling issued this morning. The decision came in a case filed by Shelby County commissioners who challenged a two-term limit authorized by voters in 1994. Commissioners opposed to the limits argued that they violated the state constitution, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The court expedited the case, issuing a ruling just eight days after hearing arguments and just over one month before the Shelby County primary election.
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.
03 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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 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
| STATE OF TENNESSEE V. SEDLEY ALLEY
Order of the Court
On January 16, 2004, this Court ordered that Sedley Alley's death sentence be executed on June 3, 2004. Subsequently, Alley filed a motion in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee requesting relief under that court's inherent authority and under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b); Alley also filed a motion for stay of execution in the federal district court.
On May 19, 2004, the federal district court entered an order staying the execution pending that
court's "ruling on Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion." On November 28, 2005, the federal district
court entered an order denying Alley's motion for relief from the judgment. On November 30,
2005, the State of Tennessee filed a motion in this Court to reset the date of Alley's execution.
On December 5, 2005, Alley filed a response to the State's motion. On December 9, 2005, Alley
filed in the federal district court a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ.
P. 59(e). This Court held the State's motion to reset Alley's execution date in abeyance pending
disposition of the Rule 59(e) motion. On March 22, 2006, the State filed a Notice of Filing
Document in this Court stating that the federal district court had that same day entered an order
denying the motion to alter or amend judgment. A copy of the district court's order was attached
to the Notice. On March 24, 2006, Alley filed a response to the State's Notice of Filing Document.
Upon due consideration of the Motion to Set Execution Date, Alley's Response, the
Notice of Filing Document, and Alley's response thereto, the State's motion is GRANTED. It is
hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED by this Court that the Warden of the
Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, or his designee, shall execute the sentence of death as
provided by law on the 17th day of May, 2006, unless otherwise ordered by this Court or other
Counsel for Sedley Alley shall provide a copy of any order staying execution of this
order to the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Court in Nashville. The Clerk shall
expeditiously furnish a copy of any order of stay to the Warden of the Riverbend Maximum
Justice Birch would deny the State's motion to reset an execution date.
WALTER BAILEY, ET AL. v. COUNTY OF SHELBY, ET AL.
Allan J. Wade, Lori Hackleman Patterson, and Brandy S. Parrish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellees, Walter Bailey, Julian Bolton and Cleo Kirk.
Leo Bearman, Jr. and Jason A. Strain, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, County of Shelby,
Shelby County Election Commission, Gregory M. Duckett, Richard L. Holden, Nancye E. Hines,
O. C. Pleasant Jr. and Maura Black Sullivan.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Ann
Louise Vix, Senior Counsel, for the Intervenor, State of Tennessee.
In this expedited appeal, this Court is asked to decide two questions of first impression. The
first question is whether a term limit provision contained in a county charter is authorized by
Tennessee Code Annotated Section 5-1-210(4). Like the lower courts, we answer this question in
the affirmative. The second question before this Court is whether Tennessee Code Annotated Section
5-1-210(4) violates Article VII, section 1, of Tennessee's constitution to the extent that the statute
authorizes a county with a charter form of government to impose terms limits upon members of its
legislative body. Unlike the Court of Appeals, we answer this question in the negative.
Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The judgment of the chancery court
MISTY MICHELLE GLISSON v. MOHON INTERNATIONAL, INC./CAMPBELL RAY
Mark C. Travis, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mohon International, Inc./Campbell Ray.
Robert T. Keeton, III, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Misty Michelle Glisson.
The employer in this workers' compensation action has appealed from a judgment of the Circuit
Court of Henry County finding that the employee suffered a work-related back injury. The trial court
awarded the employee benefits based on 30% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole.
The employer contends on appeal that the medical proof, which does not include any medical
testimony, is insufficient to establish a causal connection between the employee's injury and her
employment. The dispositive question before this Court is whether the evidence preponderates
against the trial court's finding that the employee's injury arose out of her employment. We
conclude that the record and applicable law support the trial court's decision to award benefits. We
further hold that a local rule of the 24th Judicial District which prohibits the taking of medical
depositions in workers' compensation cases absent leave of court is invalid. The trial court's
judgment is affirmed.
Case corrected on page four to add the word "or" between the words "record" and "otherwise" on line 6 of the paragraph quoting the 24th Judicial District Order of April 18, 1996.
LAWRENCE LEE BROWN v. KELLY SUE BROWN
Edwin C. Lenow of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, Lawrence Lee Brown.
David E. Caywood and Amy Black of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellee, Kelly Sue Brown.
This appeal involves a post-divorce dispute regarding child support and related issues. The
trial court awarded Wife/Appellee all of her attorney's fees and expenses, and couched one-half of
that award as additional child support pursuant to T.C.A. Section 36-5-103(c)(2005). Husband/Appellant
appeals asserting that the trial court erred in categorizing the attorney's fees as child support and on
the ground that the attorney's fees are excessive. We affirm.
PAUL LOUIS GRATTON v. BERNADETTE JULIANA GRATTON
Alfred H. Knight, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Louis Gratton.
Helen Sfikas Rogers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bernadette Juliana Gratton.
In this divorce action, Husband appeals the trial court's allocation of residential time for couple's
only minor child, and Wife appeals the division of marital property and related issues. We
affirm the trial court.
JAVIER SOTO-HURTADO v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
Javier Soto-Hurtado, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia Lee, Assistant Attorney General; and Robert
Radford, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennesse.
The petitioner, Javier Soto-Hurtado, has filed a pro se appeal of the post-conviction court's refusal
to reopen an earlier post-conviction petition which had been dismissed. He claims that he is entitled
to relief based upon the ruling in Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). The judgment is
affirmed and the appeal dismissed.
JOSEPH JACKSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
Kamilah E. Turner, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Jackson.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General;
William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Horne Dwyer, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
The petitioner, Joseph Jackson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition
for post-conviction relief from his convictions for two counts of attempted first degree murder and
resulting twenty-year concurrent sentences. On appeal, the defendant claims that his convictions
violate the Double Jeopardy provision of the federal constitution, that his indictments were
constitutionally defective, and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CLARICE PERKINS
Clarice Perkins, Pro Se.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General;
Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jim Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
This is an appeal from the order of the trial court denying the Defendant's motion to withdraw guilty
pleas and motion to dismiss all charges. The Defendant, Clarice Perkins, was convicted of two
counts of aggravated assault pursuant to entry of guilty pleas. She received an effective eight-year
sentence to be served on probation. After sentencing, but before the judgments became final, the
Defendant filed pro se motions to withdraw her guilty pleas and to dismiss all charges. After
conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied both motions. On appeal, the Defendant
raises two issues: the trial court erred in denying (1) the Defendant's motion to withdraw her guilty
pleas, and (2) the Defendant's motion to dismiss all charges. We affirm the judgment of the trial
| Legislative News
TennBarU CLE Programs
|Bill to cap medical damages rejected
|The House Judiciary Civil Practice Subcommittee last night voted down a proposal to cap damages and further limit attorneys' fees in actions against doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and other providers. The 3-2 vote may mean the death of the measure for this year.
|Legislative news of the day
|Legislation raising the base pay for state trial judges by 15% from $111,000 to $140,000 - with corresponding increases for appellate judges - had its first hearing today and successfully moved to the next step.
A bill to improve enforcement of prohibitions on the unauthorized practice of law cleared its first hurdle today when it was voted out of the Judicial Administration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Commmittee.
The TBA bill to better conform estate recovery by TennCare with probate practice passed out of the House Civil Practice Subcommittee and will be heard next week in both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.
|Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
|The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
|TBA Bill Tracking Service
|Nominee to 6th Circuit Court of Appeals withdraws
|Judge Henry Saad has asked President Bush to withdraw his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit after waiting four years for confirmation by the Senate. Saad plans to remain in his current post on the Michigan Court of Appeals. Read about his long and winding nomination in an article by the
|Detroit Free Press
|Former county judge admits extortion charges
|At a brief hearing in U.S. District Court this morning, former Roane County General
Sessions Court Judge Thomas Alva Austin pleaded guilty to federal extortion charges and admitted forcing kickbacks from two driving school instructors and the chief of a local probation office. Austin is free on bond pending a sentencing hearing, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
|U.S. high court weighs EBay patent issue
|U.S. Supreme Court justices heard arguments this week in a case pitting the popular web-based marketplace EBay against a small Virginia patent holder claiming that the company is infringing its patented idea for selling products on the Internet. Read about the case in this
|Associated Press report
|UT announces symposium on retiring Supreme Court justices
|The Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy will hold a symposium titled "The Tennessee Supreme Court's Impact on Law & Policy: Celebrating the Legacies of Justices Anderson, Birch, and Drowota" on April 10 at the UT College of Law. Each of the three justices will attend the symposium, which begins at 1:15 p.m. EST and concludes with a reception honoring the justices. For more information contact the law school at (865) 974-2521.
|Law firm offers post-Katrina guide for businesses
|Memphis law firm Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC has created a guide outlining the government benefits available to businesses seeking to rebuild or begin operations along the Gulf Coast. The incentives are part of the Gulf Opportunity Zone, or GO Zone, created after Hurricane Katrina struck the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi coasts. To obtain a copy of the booklet call Butler Snow at (601) 985-4104 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
|TennBarU CLE Programs
|Bankruptcy update: How is new law working
|The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 made sweeping changes to the Bankruptcy Code. Join bankruptcy judges and practioneers who have worked with the new law to learn what issues have arisen and how it is working. March 31 in Knoxville, April 7 in Memphis and May 4 in Nashville. 3 general credits.
|Register or learn more