Understanding lawyer advertising and the internet

Ethics rules have not kept up with the daily challenges that the Internet presents to lawyer advertising. A new course from the TBA's TennBarU sheds light on familiar and not-so-familiar activities regarding Internet advertising and how the ethics rules should be or are being applied to those activities.


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


Court: TCA


Stephen W. Grace, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Peggy Armstrong.

Karl F. Dean and Wm. Michael Safley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Civil Service Commission of the Hospital Authority of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the discharge of a clerical employee by the Metropolitan Nashville General Hospital. After her discharge was upheld by the Metropolitan Nashville Hospital Authority, the employee filed a petition in the Chancery Court for Davidson County seeking judicial review of the decision to discharge her. The trial court affirmed the discharge, and the employee has appealed. Like the trial court, we have determined that the decision to discharge the employee for deficient and inefficient performance of duties is supported by substantial and material evidence.



Court: TCA


David A. Siegel, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellants, David Austin, Tina Austin and April Austin.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Dawn Jordan, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: CAIN

Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Fayette County for injuries sustained in an automobile accident at the intersection of Mount Pleasant Road and State Highway 57. The County's answer alleged that the State rather than the County maintained the stop sign, intersection and highway which allegedly caused Plaintiffs' injuries. Plaintiffs filed a second complaint in the Tennessee Claims Commission against the State relying on the ninety day extension provided in Tennessee Code Annotated Section 20-1-119 since the applicable one year statute of limitations had expired. The Claims Commission dismissed Plaintiffs' complaint as time-barred. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the case to the Claims Commission.



Court: TCA


Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Lauren S. Lamberth, Assistant Attorney General for Appellant, State of Tennessee, ex. rel. Willie Beard.

No brief filed by Appellee.


This is a Title IV child support case. The State appeals from the trial court's Order refusing to set support because the Petitioner did not have legal custody of the child at the time she received public assistance from the Department of Human Services, nor was the biological parent given notice that she would have to reimburse the Department of Human Services for moneys spent on behalf of her son when she placed him in the custody of the Petitioner. We reverse and remand.



Court: TCA


S. Denise McCrary, Memphis, Tennessee, for Respondent/Appellant Martha Flowers.

Nick Rice, Memphis, Tennessee, for Petitioner/Appellee Steven Hasenmueller.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a contempt action arising out of a divorce. The parties' final decree of divorce incorporated a marital dissolution agreement. The husband filed a petition for civil and criminal contempt against the wife for several alleged violations of the martial dissolution agreement. At the first hearing on the husband's petition, the husband requested leave of court to amend his petition for contempt. Leave to amend was granted, and in light of the amendment, the trial court ordered a two-day continuance of the hearing. When the proceedings were reconvened, the trial court ruled that the wife had committed three violations of the marital dissolution agreement. The trial court awarded the husband $12,000 in attorney's fees for prosecuting the contempt petition. The wife appeals, asserting that the trial court erred in granting the husband leave to amend his petition, finding that the wife violated the terms of the MDA, and in awarding the husband $12,000 in attorney’s fees. We affirm the grant of leave to amend the petition and the finding that the wife violated the terms of the MDA. However, the award of attorney's fees is vacated and the cause remanded for reconsideration of this issue.



Court: TCA


Edmund J. Schmidt III and David Randolph Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nicole Francois.

Herbert J. Sievers, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Linda Willis.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a request for prejudgment interest in a personal injury case. After the Circuit Court for Cheatham County entered a $27,787.50 judgment for the prevailing motorist, the motorist filed a post-trial motion seeking prejudgment interest. The trial court denied the motion, and the prevailing motorist appealed. We affirm the trial court because prejudgment interest in not available in personal injury cases.



Court: TCA


J. Thomas Martin and S. Ralph Gordon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Interstate Marketing Corporation.

Robert E. Boston and Derek W. Edwards, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Equipment Services, Inc., d/b/a Blackhawk KJ.


The trial court dismissed Plaintiff's action upon determining the contract at dispute was governed by Tennessee Code Annotated Section 47-25-1301 et seq. as it existed prior to being amended by the General Assembly in 1999. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.



Court: TCA


J. Russell Parkes, Wesley Mack Bryant, Columbia, TN, for Appellant.

Paul A. Bates, Lawrenceburg, TN, for Appellee.


This appeal stems from a divorce case. In this appeal, we are asked to determine whether the chancery court erred when it named the wife as the primary residential parent, when it adopted a visitation schedule requiring the children to be transported between husband and wife on a daily basis during the week, and when it declined to award husband alimony. The husband contends on appeal that naming him primary residential parent and adopting his permanent parenting plan would be less disruptive on the children. Further, he asserts that the court should have awarded him alimony as he was the economically disadvantaged spouse and has a limited income due to his medical condition. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.



Court: TCA


William N. Bates, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, City of Brentwood.

L. Marshall Albritton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brock D. Short.


Plaintiff Brock Short (Plaintiff) asserted an inverse condemnation claim against Defendant City of Brentwood (Defendant) resulting from Defendant's blocking of Plaintiff's access to Meadowlake Drive in Brentwood, Tennessee. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff and subsequently awarded Plaintiff damages in a separate hearing. Defendant appeals. We reverse and remand.



Court: TCCA


Brandt W. Davis, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Thomas Alvin Carter.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and John Halstead, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

In this case appealed by Defendant Thomas Alvin Carter from the Knox County Criminal Court, we review the sufficiency of the evidence convicting the defendant of theft of property valued between $10,000 and $60,000 and the defendant's claim that the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial. We perceive no reversible error and affirm the judgment.



Court: TCCA


Donald E. Dawson, Nashville, Tennessee; and Catherine Y. Brockenborough, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Keen.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; and William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Capital Petitioner David Keen appeals as of right the judgment of the Shelby County Criminal Court denying his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner Keen pled guilty to first degree felony murder committed in the perpetration of the rape of eight-year-old Ashley Nicole (Nikki) Reed. See State v. Keen, 31 S.W.3d 196 (Tenn. 2000); State v. Keen, 926 S.W.2d 727 (Tenn. 1996). He was sentenced to death. On direct appeal, the petitioner's conviction was affirmed, but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the sentence of death after finding reversible error due to erroneous jury instructions. Keen, 926 S.W.2d at 736. On remand, the jury, again, imposed the penalty of death. Keen, 31 S.W.3d at 202. Our Supreme Court affirmed the sentence of death on direct appeal. Id. A pro se petition for post-conviction relief was filed on May 3, 2001, which was followed by the appointment of counsel and an amended petition on November 16, 2001. An evidentiary hearing was conducted and, on August 2, 2004, the post-conviction court denied relief and dismissed the petition. On direct appeal to this Court, the petitioner presents for our review the following claims: (1) whether the petitioner was denied a fair trial due to jury misconduct; (2) whether the petitioner received constitutionally effective assistance of counsel at his sentencing hearing; (3) whether the death sentence violates the holdings in Apprendi, Ring, or Jones; (4) whether the prosecutor's discretion in seeking the death penalty violates Bush v. Gore; (5) whether the imposition of the death penalty is unconstitutional; and (6) whether imposition of the death penalty violates international law. After a careful and laborious review of the record, this Court concludes that there is no error requiring reversal. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Earl Jerome Lee, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; and Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Earl Jerome Lee, pled guilty to aggravated kidnapping, attempted felony escape, concealing stolen property, and fraudulent use of a credit card, and he received a total effective sentence of forty years incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that the sentences imposed were illegal. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition without appointing counsel or conducting an evidentiary hearing. The petitioner appeals the dismissal. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.



Legal News
Legislative News
Election 2006

Legal News
Baker and McWherter to chair conservation campaign
Senator Howard H. Baker Jr. of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC and former Tennessee Governor Ned Ray McWherter have been named honorary co-chairs of the Nature Conservancy's statewide campaign "Saving the Last Great Places of Tennessee." The campaign is the state's most ambitious conservation effort to date, with a goal of raising $14 million to expand programs across Tennessee. It will run through the end of 2006.

U.S. Supreme Court to consider racial makeup of schools
The Supreme Court agreed this week to rule on what measures, if any, public school systems may use to maintain racial balance at individual schools. The issue will be addressed in two cases; one from Louisville, Ky., where schools were once segregated by law, and one from Seattle, where segregation was never official but was widespread due to residential patterns.
Read more in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Pretrial detainees costly says county mayor
Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey says millions of dollars are being spent on inmates before they go to trial in his jurisdiction and that jail overcrowding and slow court processes are making the situation worse. The capacity of the county jail is 490. As of this morning it was housing 562 inmates. Some critics have suggested using house arrest as an alternative until the situation can be remedied, reports News Channel WDEF.

Future of juvenile detention center unclear
Local government officials in Jackson are debating closing the Madison County Juvenile Detention Center as a way to help balance the county's budget. Juvenile Court Judge Christy Little is fighting that move. The Jackson Sun editorializes about the situation and comes to the conclusion that the center should remain open.
Read the editorial
Nashville lawyer seeks new brand of justice
Mickell Branham was not among the attorneys arguing the terrorism case of Zacarias Moussaoui in court, but she was one of three nationally recognized restorative justice experts working to bridge communication between the defense team and the victims. Defense-based victim outreach is foreign in the adversarial legal system as we know it, but Branham believes it is a cutting-edge way to transform that system into something better.
Read more in the Tennessean
U.S. justice lived and died at Nashville mansion
A multimillion-dollar brick mansion along U.S. 70 near the intersection of Highway 100 in Nashville was once home to Howell Edmunds Jackson, one of only six Tennesseans to hold seats on the nation's highest court. The Tennessean explores the history of the house and its famous visitors.
Read the piece
County denies racial bias
Sumner County Law Director Leah Dennen has denied racial discrimination charges brought against County Trustee Betty Gregory. Former trustee employee Carla Brown filed the lawsuit, alleging that she was exposed to racial epithets and other harassment, and that decisions impacting the public were motivated by race.
Read more about the case in the Ashland City Times
Elvis house in legal battle
The former home of Elvis Presley at 1034 Audubon in Memphis appeared to have been sold at auction last month, but when details of the contract could not be worked out, the house was sold to another buyer. The original buyer has cried foul and has asked the court to reopen an old bankruptcy case involving the seller and determine whether proceeds from the sale of the house should be used to pay off creditors previously denied assets.
Read about it in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Legislative News
Defense rests in Dixon case
Former lawmaker Roscoe Dixon testified yesterday that he took cash during the Tennessee Waltz investigation but insisted it was not a payoff. The defense then rested Tuesday after calling Dixon as its only witness.
Get more details in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Election 2006
Law director tells county to file charter
A court challenge by five incumbent commissioners to term limits prescribed under Knox County's charter has yielded an embarrassing discovery: the charter was never sent to the secretary of state for approval. Eighteen years after voters endorsed the charter in a referendum, Knox County Law Director Mike Moyers said it's time to file the document, reports the Associated Press.

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