Medical malpractice amendment killed on Senate floor

Limits on recovery by patients injured by medical negligence by doctors or hospitals were turned back on the floor of the Tennessee Senate late yesterday when an amendment offered by Sen. Jim Bryson, R-Brentwood, was rejected 13 to 16. The amendment would have capped pain and suffering, loss of consortium and other damages at $250,000. The TBA has opposed such caps. Read more in The City Paper.

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


Court: TCA


Vanessa G. Keeler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Denise Kissick.

Mitchell D. Moskovitz and Cynthia A. Pensoneau, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Edward Kallaher.


The juvenile court dismissed Mother's dependency and neglect petition. Mother appealed to circuit court, which dismissed her appeal without a hearing or presentation of evidence. Mother appeals. We vacate the order of dismissal and remand.


Court: TCA


Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Stuart F. Wilson-Patton, Senior Counsel; and Warren A. Jasper, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellants, Tennessee Attorney General and the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Wm. Kennerly Burger, Ben Hall McFarlin, III, and M. Keith Siskin, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jody A. Rodgers.

Diana Benson Burns, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for Muriel A. Rodgers.


This appeal involves the constitutionality of the Tennessee Department of Human Services' child support enforcement and collection procedures. In September 2003, the Chancery Court for Rutherford County ordered the father to pay $375 per month in child support directly to the mother. In April 2004, the Department of Human Services issued an ex parte order attempting to require the father's employer to begin deducting both the current and past due child support from his salary and to remit these funds to the Department. The father filed a petition against the wife and the Department requesting the trial court to vacate the Department's orders and to enjoin the Department from issuing further orders or to otherwise modify the final divorce decree. The trial court issued a temporary restraining order and, following a hearing, vacated the Department's orders with regard to the father's child support and enjoined the mother from further attempts to collect child support without first seeking relief from the court. The court also dismissed the Department on the ground that it was not a proper party, and then denied the motion of the Attorney General and Reporter to intervene to defend the constitutionality of the Department's administrative child support enforcement procedures. The Department and the Attorney General appealed to this court. While this appeal was pending, the father and the mother compromised and settled their child support dispute. We have determined that this appeal is now moot because there is no continuing justiciable controversy regarding child support.


Court: TCA


Mitchell D. Moskovitz, Adam N. Cohen, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Donna Marie Tait.

Darrell D. Blanton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee, William Frank Tait.


Donna Marie Tait ("Wife") filed for divorce from William Frank Tait ("Husband") citing grounds of inappropriate marital conduct. The parties entered into a Permanent Parenting Plan and a Property Settlement Agreement, but reserved the issue of alimony for trial. After hearing the evidence, the trial court found that Wife was not in need of additional alimony support from Husband, despite Husband's ability to pay. Wife appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


John D. Parker, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bronson Wayne Coker.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Bronson Wayne Coker, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance for failing to adequately investigate the case or explain the ramifications of the plea agreement and that his guilty pleas were consequently unknowing and involuntary. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition for post-conviction relief.


Court: TCCA


Gene Scott, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rita Kay Vines.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Joe C. Crumley, Jr., District Attorney General; and Dennis D. Brooks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Rita Kay Vines, pled guilty to accessory after the fact, aggravated burglary, theft over $500, theft under $500, vandalism under $500, and three counts of forgery in exchange for a total effective sentence of eight years as a Range I, standard offender, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. On appeal, she argues that the trial court erred in denying alternative sentencing. Based upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


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Edward Slavin Jr. disbarred
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If you still need CLE hours to meet your 2005 requirements, you should know that an important deadline is approaching. Attorneys who have received a Notice of Non-completion have only until May 31 to remedy the situation or face a $200 delinquent compliance fee. These attorneys will also have their names placed on the CLE Commission's draft suspension order for Supreme Court action.

To help prevent this from happening to you, the TBA's TennBarU online CLE program has 30 text-based and more than 100 interactive video courses available 24/7.
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