Tennessee law students can now provide legal services

The Tennessee Supreme Court has adopted the first comprehensive rewrite of the student practice rule on its more than 30 years in existence. The revisions, proposed by the four law schools in Tennessee and recommended for approval by the TBA, more directly tie the law student practice rule to the law school experience. One major shift is to permit law students not just to appear in court but to provide "legal services" always under supervision. One provision recommended by the TBA but not adopted would have permitted law students from law schools not located in Tennessee to work in a supervised setting in government and legal aid offices. The TBA pointed out that 47 percent of the 800 lawyers admitted last year graduated from schools not located in Tennessee. Read the rule:

http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/news/2006/rule 7_sec10.03_060506.pdf

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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.

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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

DR. MARCEL ELUHU, ET AL. v. WALTER RICHARDS, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Mark A. Baugh and Helen F. Bean, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony Cebrun.

Winston S. Evans, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dr. Marcel Eluhu and Shirley Hardy Cole, Executrix of the Estate of Dr. Robert E. Hardy.

Judge: WILLIAM B. CAIN

This is an appeal contesting proper service of process after a default judgment was entered against Defendant. Defendant first appeared and raised the issue of ineffective service of process in a Rule 60.02 motion after Plaintiffs attempted to execute on the judgment. After a hearing, the court denied Defendantís motion determining that Defendantís attorney had the authority to accept service on his behalf and Defendant had otherwise failed to carry his burden to show that service was ineffective. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/eluhum060506.pdf


WAYNE FAUST, ET AL. v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, ET AL.

Correction


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Karl F. Dean, Director of Law, James L. Charles, Michael B. Bligh; Matthew J. Sweeney, April Y. Berman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and the Metropolitan Employee Benefit Board.

George E. Barrett, James Bryan Lewis, Gerald E. Martin; David Komisar, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Wayne Faust, Robert Clark, and Nashville Police Civil Association, Inc.

C. Dewey Branstetter, Mark A. Mayhew, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee intervenor-plaintiffs, Owen Frame, et al.

Judge: WILLIAM B. CAIN

This case involves eligibility for enhanced retirement benefits of certain employees of a local government. In 1996, civilian employees of the police department sued alleging that an administrative interpretation of eligibility requirements that allowed civilian employees of the fire department into the enhanced benefits plan available only to ďfiremenĒ and ďpolicemenĒ deprived the police department civilian employees of their rights to equal protection. Over the almost-eight-year course of this litigation in the trial court, a number of orders were entered that are challenged in this appeal. The practical result of these orders is that a large number of individuals who were civilian employees of the two departments at specified times, which times differed for the two departments, were included in an enhanced benefit plan for which they were clearly not eligible by the terms of the ordinances establishing the plan. For the reasons set out below, we reverse the decision of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/faustwCorr060506.pdf


JERRY JOYNER v. PERSONAL FINANCE CORPORATION

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Richard L. Dunlap, III, of Paris, Tennessee for Appellant, Jerry Joyner

Emily B. Bjorkman and Robin H. Rasmussen of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellee, Personal Finance Corporation

Judge: W. FRANK CRAWFORD

This is a summary judgment case. Appellant/Husband and his ex-wife entered into a marital dissolution agreement wherein the ex-wife was awarded the marital residence subject to the condition that should she choose to sell the property Appellant was then entitled to $20,000.00 from the net proceeds of the sale. The ex-wife refinanced the property and executed a Deed of Trust in favor of the Appellee. When ex-wife defaulted on her payments, Appellee foreclosed on the property. Appellant/Husband filed suit against the Appellee seeking enforcement of an equitable lien against the property. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Appellee. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/joynerj060506.pdf


IN RE T.B.L.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Paul A. Rutherford and Wende J. Rutherford, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, M.J.L.

Jerry W. Hamlin, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellee, D.M.D.

Judge: WILLIAM C. KOCH, JR.

This appeal involves the termination of the parental rights of the biological father of a two-year-old child. The childís mother and her husband filed a petition in the Chancery Court for Cheatham County seeking to terminate the biological fatherís parental rights and to approve the husbandís adoption of the child. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition and terminated the fatherís parental rights on the ground of abandonment. The father appealed. We have determined that the order terminating the fatherís parental rights must be vacated because the appellate record is insufficient to enable this court to review the trial courtís decision.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/tbl060506.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARCUS JAMES COPENNY, ALIAS DESHUN NORWOOD, ALIAS MARK JAMES COPENNY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brandon D. Raulston, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Marcus James Copenny, alias DeShun Norwood, alias Mark James Copenny.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Bill Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR.

The defendant, Marcus James Copenny, alias DeShun Norwood, alias Mark James Copeny, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Courtís sentencing determinations that followed his guilty plea to and conviction of attempt to commit voluntary manslaughter. The court imposed a maximum, incarcerative sentence of eight years. The defendant challenges the length and manner of service of the sentence. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/copennym060506.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JODY EVANS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Michael Kerr, Jefferson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jody Evans.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Al Schmutzer, Jr., District Attorney General; and Charles L. Murphy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JERRY L. SMITH

The defendant pled guilty in Jefferson County Circuit Court to aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault, vandalism, simple possession of marijuana and driving on a revoked driverís license, second offense. The trial court sentenced the defendant to nine years on the aggravated assault conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days on each of the other convictions. These sentences were all ordered to run concurrently. The defendant now appeals the trial court imposition of his sentence for the aggravated assault. He argues that the trial court incorrectly applied two enhancement factors and failed to apply one mitigating factor. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/evansj060506.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JULIE FOSTER, ALIAS JULIE JOINES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender; Shawn G. Graham, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial); and Julie A. Rice, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), for the Appellant, Julie Foster, alias Julie Joines.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Michael A. Gallegos, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR.

Accused of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more, see Tenn. Code Ann. ß 39-14-103 (2003), a Class D felony, see id. ß 39-14-305(3), the defendant, Julie Foster, alias Julie Joines, entered into a plea agreement that reserved for the trial court to determine whether she would be placed in a judicial diversion program, see id. ß 40-35-313 (Supp. 2005), and if not, the length of sentence and whether she would receive a sentencing alternative to incarceration, see generally id. ßß 40-35-104 & -109 (2003). The trial court denied diversion but imposed a suspended Department of Correction sentence of three years. The defendant appealed in a timely manner, see Tenn. R. App. P. 37(b)(2)(ii); Tenn. R. App. P. 4(a), and contests the denial of diversion and the length of her sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/fosterj060506.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARIO JOHNSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance Chism, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Johnson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: DAVID H. WELLES

This is a direct appeal from convictions on a jury verdict of four counts of aggravated robbery. See Tenn. Code Ann. ß 39-13-402. The Defendant was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to sixteen years for each conviction to be served consecutively in part for an effective thirty-two-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant raises four issues: (1) the trial court erred in consolidating the Defendantís two indictments for a single trial; (2) the admission of hearsay statements is plain error; (3) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of aggravated assault; and (4) the trial courtís imposition of consecutive sentences violated the Defendantís constitutional rights pursuant to Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/johnsonm060506.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEFFREY ALLEN PHILLIPS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Andy Kennedy, Assistant District Public Defender, for the Appellant, Jeffrey Allen Phillips.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Ricky Curtis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JAMES CURWOOD WITT, JR.

The defendant, Jeffrey Allen Phillips, appeals the Sullivan County Criminal Courtís judgment denying alternative sentencing. The record evinces no basis for disturbing the criminal courtís determinations, and we affirm the judgments.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/phillipsj060506.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CASSANDRA ROBINSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Garland Erg_den (on appeal) and Timothy J. Albers (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Cassandra Robinson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Stephanie Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GARY R. WADE

The defendant, Cassandra Robinson, was convicted of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault. The trial court imposed Range I, concurrent sentences of four years, nine years, and four years, respectively. In this appeal, the defendant asserts that the evidence was insufficient to support her convictions. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/robinsonc060506.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legislative News
Legal News
TBA Member Services
Election 2006

Legislative News
Waltz jury sees 2nd clip of Dixon taking cash from informant
A second video clip showing a state senator taking what was described as a payoff from a government informant was played Friday for a federal jury in the first trial for the FBI's Operation Tennessee Waltz investigation. "Oh man, you want me to carry that," Sen. Roscoe Dixon says on the clip when handed two envelopes that informant Tim Willis said contained a total of $1,500. Willis, a lead informant in the statewide investigation that rocked the Tennessee legislature, testified at Dixon's bribery and corruption trial that the money was part of $9,500 in bribes the senator is accused of taking.
The Tennessean has the story.
Legal News
Mt. Pleasant city attorney paid back for legal expenses
The City of Mt. Pleasant reimbursed former public works employee James Larry Holden for $10,900 of his legal expenses -- expenses to defend himself against criminal charges of falsifying documents regarding the amount of fecal coliform released by the city's wastewater plant. The city's attorney "researched the appropriateness of paying a portion of Holden's fees" and then the Board of Commissioners agreed to it. Read the story in the
Columbia Daily Herald.
Bredesen mum on salary plan
On the advice of his attorney, Gov. Phil Bredesen is remaining silent - well, almost - about accepting the governor's increased $155,000 annual state salary if re-elected to a second term. That's because declaring that he would refuse to take the salary could lead to a lawsuit seeking Bredesen's ouster from office, the governor's legal counsel says.
Read about it in the Knoxville News Sentinel
The hidden word: Metadata threat shouldn't be ignored
Because of the increased use of technology in modern legal practice, metadata presents serious implications for attorneys and their clients. Metadata is hidden data that isn't always obvious in the visible document and is an integral part of most word-processing software, such as Microsoft Word. Attorney Campbell Steele writes a guest commentary in this week's Nashville Business Journal outlining how this technology affects confidentiality, the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine.
Read it here.
Brandon sues judge over ad
General Sessions Court judge candidate Larry Brandon filed a lawsuit Friday, accusing opponent Randall Bennett of libel in a campaign advertisement. Brandon seeks a jury trial and $100,000 in damages from Bennett because he says a Bennett advertisement in The Daily News Journal stated, "Larry Brandon filed bankruptcy in the Middle District Bankruptcy Court." In an interview with The Daily News Journal, Brandon said he has never filed for bankruptcy.
Read the full story
Beckner ends last full Criminal Court term in Greeneville
Third Judicial District Criminal Court Judge James E. Beckner, who is retiring Aug. 31, concluded Friday his last full term of court at the Greene County Courthouse. After court was adjourned about noon Friday, the judge, who had held court here throughout the month of May, was honored with a brief celebration of his birthday in the courtroom where he has presided since 1976.
The Greeneville Sun has more.
Deadline for consolidating those student loans looms
A month ago, Vanderbilt University student C.J. Stimson consolidated $75,618 from two loans into a new loan. With that move, he escaped some upcoming changes in the federal student loan program that will increase the cost of financing college for thousands of students, the Tennessean reports. Also, on July 1, the variable rates on existing student loans are set to rise to 6.54 percent, and the rate on loans for past students who are still in repayment will go up to 7.14 percent. Read the story or learn about the Partnership Program the TBA and SunTrust Bank offer for loan consolidation.
Read the Tennesseean story.
TBA Member Services
Student loans at low rates through SunTrust
The TBA and SunTrust Bank now have a Partnership Program to help alleviate the burden of student loans. Members and their families can consolidate their federal student loans at a special low fixed rate - right now as low as 5.375%. In addition, those with consolidation loans greater than $10,000 are eligible to reduce their interest rate by another 1.5% for on-time payments and automatic debit payments.
Learn more
Election 2006
Expect political punchfest as Bob Rochelle tries for comeback
Republicans could not hate him more if he had horns and cloven hooves; he is their Tennessee version of the Clintons. Bob Rochelle, the deceptively cherub-faced Lebanon lawyer, is going to give them another shot at political exorcism. Standing in a Lebanon courtroom last week, Rochelle again became a candidate for the state Senate in the 17th District. Read Larry Daughtrey's column in the
Tennessean.

 
 
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