Newport lawyer named to claims commission

Governor Phil Bredesen has selected William O. Shults of Newport to serve on the State Claims Commission, filling a vacancy created when Vance Cheek resigned to run for congress. Since 1991, Shults has been practicing law in his hometown. His legal career began as a law clerk to the chief judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals. He also has served in the legal department of the United Mine Workers of America and as counsel to the National Labor Relations Board. He graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis and received his legal degree from the University of Memphis.
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TWCA


Martin D. Holmes, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, Robert Merrimon.

Kenneth M. Switzer and Kitty Boyte, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.

Judge: INMAN

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Tennessee Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated Section 50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employee complained of back pain for many years, culminating in a workers' compensation complaint alleging disability owing to his back problems, with little specificity. The trial court concluded that the Plaintiff's condition was not caused by his employment. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

IN RE ADOPTION OF K.M.K., D.O.B. 11/16/97, AND K.L.K., D.O.B. 4/30/01


Court: TCA


Beth F. Belew, Paris, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephen John Kares.

Teresa McCaig Marshall, Paris, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jeffrey Lee Eneix and Keri Ann Eneix.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an adoption and termination of parental rights case. The maternal grandparents of the two children at issue filed this petition requesting that the rights of the children's father be terminated and that the grandparents be permitted to adopt the children. The mother of the children joined in the petition. The petitioners alleged that the father's rights should be terminated based on his abandonment for failing to visit or support the children for a period of four months preceding his incarceration. After a hearing, the trial court found three grounds on which to terminate the father's parental rights: abandonment, persistent conditions, and the length of the father's prison term. The trial court also found that the children's best interest would be served by terminating the father's parental rights. The father now appeals, claiming that the trial court erred in terminating his rights based on abandonment. We affirm the trial court's decision, because the father did not challenge the other two grounds on which his rights were terminated, and the termination of the his rights based on those grounds must stand.


Court: TCCA


Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender, (at trial and on appeal), and John Halstead (at trial) and J. Steven House, (on appeal), Assistant Public Defenders, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas Martin McGouey.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and C. Lewis Walton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Thomas Martin McGouey, was convicted by a Knox County jury of aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment. On appeal, he argues: (1) an unloaded pellet gun without a propulsion source is not a deadly weapon and (2) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions. Following our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Legal News
Legislative News

Legal News
UT scholarship will honor late Knoxville lawyer
The Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation has established a scholarship at the U.T. College of Law in memory of Knoxville attorney Robert W. Ritchie, who died April 28 after a battle with cancer. Speaking for the organization, Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Gary R. Wade said the scholarship is appropriate because Ritchie was a mentor to many young lawyers, was devoted to the law school he once attended and served there as an adjunct faculty member. Donations in memory of Ritchie may be sent to the foundation's treasurer, Suzanne Keith, 1903 Division Street, Nashville 37203.
Read the court's press release
Former senator issues subpoenas to lawmakers
Indicted former state Senator Roscoe Dixon appeared on capitol hill today to distribute subpoenas to lawmakers he wants to testify in his defense. Dixon was one of the five public officials caught in the FBI's Tennessee Waltz bribery sting.
The Tennessean has the story
Contractor ordered to pay restitution for waste dumping
Kenneth Wayne Bush, a former construction contractor and waste hauler in Dickson, pleaded guilty last year to the illegal disposal of hazardous wastes. At his sentencing, he was given probation in exchange for agreeing to make restitution to victims. The attorney general's office announced today that restitution has been set at $224,052, which is believed to be the largest environmental crimes restitution order in Dickson County history. If restitution is not paid, Bush's probation will be revoked and he will serve a six-year sentence.
Read the AG's release
Funding for Legal Services in jeopardy
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) has become the first Tennessee member of Congress to join in a "dear colleague" letter to House Appropriations Committee members urging them to increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation. Cooper is expected to be joined by several other Tennessee lawmakers and more than 150 representatives from around the country in urging a funding increase at a time when the Bush Administration has proposed a $20 million cut. The TBA leadership visited with members of the Tennessee delegation earlier this month and told them that Tennessee stands to lose $400,000 if such cuts are enacted.
Learn more at the ABA's legislative advocacy website
Boy, 14, to stand trial as adult
A 14-year-old Knoxville boy is accused of masterminding a fatal ambush and robbery, including identifying the victim, procuring guns for his accomplices and firing the shot that killed 19-year-old Jermont Jarnigan. After hearing the case, Juvenile Judge Tim Irwin stated that the juvenile justice system could not rehabilitate Eugene "Baby Gene" Brown, who has been linked to a violent street gang and has faced a litany of juvenile charges. As result, Irwin ordered Brown to stand trial as an adult, making him one of the youngest defendants transferred to Knox County Criminal Court.
Read about the case in the News Sentinel
Officer pleads guilty to traffic stop thefts
A Memphis police officer has pleaded guilty to federal charges of taking cash from motorists during traffic stops. James Fetter pleaded guilty Monday to two charges of violating the civil rights of motorists and one charge of unreasonably seizing property from an individual. Fetter could face maximum sentences of up to 10 years and $250,000 for each conspiracy charge, and a year and $100,000 for the unlawful seizure charge.
Read more in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Memphis police make big changes to property room
The Memphis Police Department has made a number of sweeping changes to the operation of its property room, including installation of new security system and new protocols for handling evidence. Problems with the department's property room came to light in 1999 and 2003 when state auditors raised the issue of lax security and poor reporting practices. But it took a civilian employee stealing millions of dollars worth of drugs to spur real change.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the story
Legislative News
Eminent domain bill sent to governor
Legislation that limits the power of cities and counties to seize private property in Tennessee is on its way to the governor after passing the House today 90-6. The Senate had earlier unanimously approved the measure. The legislation is among the least restrictive of several dozen measures lawmakers proposed following last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling giving governments the authority to seize property for private development.

A TennBarU CLE this summer will look at the changes and their impact.
Read more specifics in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Governor signs bill to create legal aid fund
Governor Phil Bredesen recently signed into law the "Tennessee Voluntary Fund for Indigent Civil Representation." The legislation establishes a state fund for legal aid programs to receive donations, class action residuals and grants in a centralized and equitable way. The new fund will help legal aid programs represent low-income Tennesseans with unmet legal needs. The bill was championed by the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS).
Download a copy of the bill
Senate pulls THP immigration bill
The sponsor of a measure allowing the Tennessee Highway Patrol to be trained to enforce immigration laws withdrew the bill from Senate consideration today in the face of attempts to make the proposal mandatory. A measure containing the optional language was approved unanimously in the House earlier this month.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
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