Applications for Supreme Court vacancy due this week

To date, the following Tennessee attorneys have applied to be considered for appointment to the state Supreme Court: 30th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge D'Army Bailey of Memphis, Covington lawyer J. Houston Gordon, Judge William C. Koch Jr. of the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Judge J.C. McLin of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. In addition, the Judicial Selection Committee has received a letter from Davidson County Chancellor Richard Dinkins indicating his intent to apply. Applications must be received in the Administrative Office of the Courts by 4:30 p.m. CST this Friday, June 30.
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TCA


Dana C. McLendon III, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, A.L.W.

Bert W. McCarter, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, D.W.


The maternal grandmother of a four year old girl filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's young mother on the ground of abandonment. The trial court found that abandonment had been proven by clear and convincing evidence, because the mother had failed to visit with the child for at least four months prior to the filing of the termination petition. However, the evidence also showed that during the time between the filing of the petition and its hearing, the mother turned her life around and also established a warm relationship with her daughter. Nonetheless, the trial court granted the petition, declaring it to be in the child's best interest that the mother's rights be terminated. We reverse because we do not find clear and convincing evidence in the record that it is in the best interest of the child to sever the parental relationship.

Corrected Case

Court: TCA


Yvette Y. Cain, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Veronica W.

Jeffrey Spark, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Laurice B.

Robert M. Robinson, Nashville, Tennessee, Guardian ad litem, for Lamont B., II.

Judge: KOCH

This case concerns an initial custody determination of a four-year-old child. The child's parents ended their relationship before he was born. The child's mother was his sole caregiver during the first four months of his life, then the child's parents shared parenting responsibilities equally for the next eighteen months. The father eventually filed a petition in the Davidson County Juvenile Court seeking to be designated as the child's primary residential parent. Following a bench trial, the juvenile court designated the father to be the child's primary residential parent after finding him to be comparatively more fit. The mother has appealed. We affirm the juvenile court.


Court: TCA


Basil Marceaux, I, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, appearing pro se as appellant.

James E. Thompson, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jim Thompson, Brock Hill, Butch Burgess, and Bill Gibson.

Alfred H. Knight and Alan D. Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, The Tennessean Newspaper and U.S.A. Today.

Robert G. Norred, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Chattanooga Free Press (Chattanooga Publishing Company), Comcast (Comcast of the South), Channel 9 News (Freedom Broadcasting of Tennessee, Inc.), and Channel 3 News (Sarkes Tarzian, Inc.).

Judge: LEE

In this case, the plaintiff argues that the trial court erred in dismissing his complaint against various Cumberland County officials in association with the conduct of routine traffic stops and against various media defendants for failure to inform the public of the occurrence of these stops and of the alleged illegality of same. The trial court entered orders dismissing the plaintiff's complaint upon motions to dismiss and motion for summary judgment. Upon our finding that the plaintiff's complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Christopher W. Cardwell and Mary Taylor Gallagher, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, DACCO, Inc.

W.I. Howell Acuff, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Garry Rector.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the application of the saving statutes in Tenn. Code Ann. Section 28-1-105(a) (2000) and Tenn. Code Ann. Section 28-1-115 (2000) to claims brought under the Tennessee Human Rights Act. An employee initially filed a complaint in the United States District Court asserting claims under both federal and state law. The employee voluntarily dismissed his complaint but later filed a second identical complaint in the District Court. The District Court dismissed the federal claims in the employee's second complaint and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the employee's state claims. Thereafter, the employee filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Putnam County asserting only state claims. The employer moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that Tennessee's saving statutes do not apply to claims under the Tennessee Human Rights Act and, even if they do, that state law prevented the employee from filing suit after the expiration of the one-year saving period. The trial court denied the employer's motion to dismiss but permitted the employer to apply for a Tenn. R. App. P. 9 appeal. We granted the interlocutory appeal and have now determined that the trial court erred by concluding that the employee's complaint was timely filed.


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Information on capital cases
This afternoon, U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell granted a stay of execution for Paul Dennis Reid until a full evidentiary hearing on Reid's competency can be held. Reid was scheduled to be executed early Wednesday morning. The state immediately filed a notice of appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. At press time, Sedley Alley was still scheduled to be executed early on Wednesday, although motions from his defense team asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene were still outstanding.
Keep track of these and other cases on the AOC's website
'Choose Life' tags to be issued
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal challenging the state's "Choose Life" license plate, clearing the way for the plates to be issued. The ACLU had argued that the plate was unconstitutional because there was no competing speciality plate for abortion supporters.
Read more in the News Sentinel
U.S. Supreme Court upholds right to choose defense lawyer
In one of its final decisions of the term, the high court ruled yesterday that the right to hire a lawyer of one's choice is so basic that a defendant forced to accept a different lawyer should have his conviction overturned. The Justice Department had argued that such a defendant should have to show actual harm to his case.
Learn more in this AP article
Event to honor justices
The Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society will honor retired Justices Adolpho A. Birch Jr., E. Riley Anderson and Frank F. Drowota III, as well as current members of the court at a reception and dinner in October. The event, scheduled for October 5, will be held at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville. A cocktail reception will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Judge OKs meth law
Circuit Judge Thomas Graham of Jasper ruled yesterday that the state's methamphetamine law is constitutional, but told attorneys for dozens of defendants that he would listen to additional complaints at a July 20 hearing. Opponents of the law argue it is vague and violates the due-process rights of innocent consumers.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Garth elected PD president
Ardena Garth has been elected president of the Tennessee District Public Defenders Conference. She is public defender for the 11th Judicial District and serves on the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors as a representative for the Public Defenders Conference. has a profile
Adams and Reese stays in Armstrong Allen space
Adams and Reese ended its office search by extending the lease Armstrong Allen negotiated for space in Memphis' downtown Brinkley Plaza building, reports the Memphis Business Journal. Fifteen attorneys from Armstrong Allen joined Adams and Reese earlier this year when Armstrong Allen closed its doors.

Goodlettsville lawyer dies
Gundega D. Gaigals, formerly with the personal injury law firm of Michael D. Ponce & Associates, passed away on June 24. Gaigals joined the firm in 1998 after earning her law degree from the University of California School of Law and a Masters degree in management from the Northwestern University Graduate School of Management.

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SunTrust Bank offers Tennessee Bar Association members and their families special interest rate reductions on Federal Student Loan Consolidation of loans $10,000 or more. Lower your interest rate by .50 percent just for having your monthly payments deducted from your personal bank account. Act now, as interest rates are scheduled to increase by 1.84 percent on July 1.
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