Court set for AG applications, interviews

The Tennessee Supreme Court will accept applications through the end of the business day July 17 from attorneys interested in becoming the state's next attorney general. Under the process outlined today by Chief Justice William M. Barker, the court will then review the applications and select candidates to interview Sept. 12-13. Learn more or download an application.

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

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

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


Court: TSC


William B. Cottingham, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Stuart F. Wilson-Patton, Attorney General, for the Appellee-Plaintiff, Donna Cottingham, and the Appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Human Services.


We granted this appeal to determine the propriety of the defendant's criminal contempt convictions arising out of his failure to pay child support and alimony. We conclude that: 1) the defendant was denied the right to counsel; and 2) the evidence is insufficient to support the defendant's criminal contempt convictions for the failure to pay both child support and alimony. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals. Due to the insufficiency of the evidence, the criminal contempt charges are dismissed.


Court: TWCA


Robyn Beale Williams, Nashville, Tennessee, attorney for Appellant, City of Dickson.

Tonya M. Crownover, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Jeffrey Dean Bledsoe.

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 Plaintiff, a thirty-seven year old police officer, suffers from mild hypertension, readily controlled by medication. He claims that the stress of his job causes his hypertension, and relies on the presumption created by Tennessee Code Annotated Section 7-51- 201(a)(1) to support this claim. The trial court held that this presumption was not rebutted and found that the Plaintiff retained a 3 percent anatomical disability owing to the hypertension. We find that the presumption was sufficiently rebutted, and that the evidence preponderates against a finding that the Employee's hypertension arose out of his employment. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed.


Court: TCA


Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, and Juan Villasenor, Assistant Attorney General, for the State of Tennessee.

Joesph E. Tubbs, for the appellee, Thomas Conley.


The trial court granted Respondent Father a downward deviation from the child support guidelines when setting retroactive child support. We reverse.


Court: TCA


Dixie W. Cooper and Amy D. Hampton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, William H. Sherwood, M.D., and Cripps, Hooper & Rhody, PLLC.

Donald Capparella, Anna B. Williams and Charles J. Williams, Nashville, Tennessee; and Henry E. Dugan, Jr., and Bruce J. Babij, Timonium, Maryland, for the appellees, Miranda Luna and Darlene and Bobby Luna.


The issue on appeal is whether the doctrine of forum non conveniens applies in a transitory, intrastate tort action. This is a medical malpractice action in which all of the alleged negligent acts and omissions occurred in Dekalb County. Plaintiffs, White County residents, filed suit in Davidson County, where two of the four defendants have their principal offices. The two Dekalb County defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss based upon improper venue, or in the alternative, forum non conveniens. The trial court found forum non conveniens inapplicable to this intrastate forum dispute and venue proper. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Curtis D. Johnson, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, T.H.W.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter and Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.


In this termination of parental rights case, the juvenile court terminated the parental rights of T.H.W. ("Mother") and all potential fathers. Mother appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Kenneth R. Jones, Jr., and William B. Hawkins, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, V. H. "Herb" Pickle, Steve C. Pickle, and Lakefront Properties, Inc.

Shawn McBrien, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kevin Early.

Anne C. Martin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Craig and Karmen White.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a fraudulent misrepresentation/breach of contract claim involving the sale of a boat slip. The defendant owned a marina on a lake, which was subject to a twenty-year lease from the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The defendant marina owners sold boat "slips" at the marina, that is, space at a dock at which the owner could dock his boat. In May 2000, the plaintiffs purchased the defendant slip owner's boat slip at the marina. The defendant marina owners acted as brokers for the defendant owner of the slip and received a commission on the sale. Prior to the sale, the defendant marina owners represented to the plaintiffs that (1) the defendant slip owner had clear title to the boat slip, and (2) the Corps of Engineers lease, which allowed the marina to operate on the lake, would be in effect for another twenty years, when actually the lease was scheduled to expire in 2005. In August 2000, it was discovered that the breakwater barges surrounding the perimeter of the marina were in a dangerous condition, and the Corps ordered the defendants to remove the barges. A dispute arose about who was responsible for removing the barges, the defendant marina owners or the association of boat slip owners. The deteriorated barges were not removed. Consequently, the Corps revoked its lease, the marina closed, and the plaintiffs were no longer able to use their newly purchased boat slip. The plaintiffs filed this action against the defendant marina owners and the previous owner of the slip, alleging fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. After a bench trial, the trial court held in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the defendant marina owners made fraudulent misrepresentations and that the defendant slip owner transferred rights that were illusory. All of the defendants appeal. We reverse, finding, inter alia, that valuable rights were transferred and that the damages to the plaintiffs were not caused by the allegedly fraudulent misrepresentations.


Court: TCCA


James F. Logan, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Festus Babundo.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General; and Dorothy Atwell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Festus Babundo, appeals from the judgments of the Bradley County Criminal Court, which, pursuant to his guilty pleas, convicted him of felony possession of cocaine with intent to sell and misdemeanor possession of marijuana and sentenced him to a suspended, effective sentence of eight years. Prior to submitting his guilty pleas, the defendant moved the trial court to suppress evidence seized during a police officer’s search of the defendant’s vehicle. After the trial court apparently denied the motion to suppress, the defendant filed written guilty pleas, "reserving a certified question of law." Following the entry of judgments, the defendant filed a timely appeal. The state has requested that this court dismiss the appeal because no certified legal question was properly reserved for appellate review. Because the state is correct in its claim, this court is without jurisdiction, and the appeal is dismissed.


Court: TCCA


Jeremy Catron, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Elizabeth Bingham Marney, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Jeremy Catron, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for post-conviction DNA testing. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because Petitioner has failed to satisfy the qualifying criteria under the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.


Court: TCCA


Robert B. Gaia, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andrew Ewing.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The Petitioner, Andrew Ewing, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because the petition for post-conviction relief is barred by the statute of limitations, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.


Court: TCCA


Lee Gerald, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Mozella Newson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Seth P. Kestner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Jack Irving, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Mozella Newson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of her petition for post-conviction relief. Following a transfer hearing, Newson, who was fourteen years old at the time of the crimes, was transferred from the juvenile court to the Shelby County Criminal Court to be tried as an adult. She subsequently pled guilty to carjacking, especially aggravated robbery, and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, for which she received an effective fifteen-year sentence. On appeal, Newson argues that she was denied her Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel, specifically arguing that the attorney representing her during the transfer hearing was ineffective by: (1) failing to advise the juvenile court of Newson’s age; (2) failing to challenge the transfer order which stated that Newson was sixteen years old or older; (3) failing to present any favorable evidence at the transfer hearing which might have prevented her transfer; (4) failing to object to the identification procedure employed at the transfer hearing; and (5) failing to advise Newson of her right to appeal the juvenile court's decision to transfer the case. After review, we conclude: (1) Newson's subsequent guilty pleas waived all issues regarding guilt; and (2) Newson's failure to prepare a complete record precludes review of her allegations of deficient performance which resulted in her transfer to the criminal court. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Bryan Pearson, Appellant, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; and James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Bryan Pearson, filed a 2005 Bledsoe County Circuit Court petition for habeas corpus relief from his 1993, guilty-pleaded, Knox County conviction of second degree murder and alleged that he was improperly sentenced. The 1993 Knox County judgment appended to the petition showed that the defendant was convicted of an offense occurring on March 29, 1989, and was sentenced pursuant to the 1982 sentencing act as a standard offender to a term of 25 years in the Department of Correction. The habeas corpus court entered an order summarily dismissing the petition, after holding that the petitioner's claims were previously adjudicated. We affirm the order.


Court: TCCA


Joe H. Walker, District Public Defender, and Walter B. Johnson, II, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Bradley David Townsend.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; J. Scott McCluen, District Attorney General; and D. Roger Delp, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Bradley Townsend, was indicted by the Roane County Grand Jury on one count of aggravated sexual battery and twenty-one counts of rape of child based on acts he committed against his eight-year-old stepdaughter over the course of a five-month period. Following a jury trial, he was convicted of the aggravated sexual battery count and of the lesser-included offense of aggravated sexual battery in one of the rape counts, but acquitted of the remaining rape counts of the indictment. The trial court subsequently sentenced him as a violent offender to concurrent eight-year terms at 100% release eligibility for each conviction. On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions, the trial court erred in not instructing the jury on misdemeanor assault and child abuse as lesser-included offenses of both rape of a child and aggravated sexual battery, and the State made improper and prejudicial comments in closing. Based on our review, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the convictions, that the failure to instruct on the lesser-included offenses does not rise to the level of plain error, and that the prosecutor engaged in improper closing argument by referring to matters that were not in evidence but that the improper comments could not have influenced the jury's verdict. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Jason B. Rudd and Jon A. York, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Susan Wallace.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Bill R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Susan Wallace, a special education teacher, was indicted by the Henderson County Grand Jury for fourteen counts of child abuse and fourteen counts of assault. She filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, arguing that the State had not complied with the School Discipline Act, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 49-6-4101, et seq. The trial court denied the motion, finding that any procedural defects were cured by the return of the grand jury indictment, and this Rule 9 interlocutory appeal followed. Following our review, we affirm the order of the trial court denying the motion to dismiss the indictment.


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