Legal services funding restored
The U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment last night that restores $25 million to the Legal Services Corporation, bringing the total funding approved to $338 million for the coming fiscal year. The amendment, offered by Rep. David Obey, D-WI, passed by a vote of 237-185. Tennessee lawmakers who voted for the amendment were: Jim Cooper, Lincoln Davis, John Duncan, Harold Ford Jr., Bart Gordon and John Tanner. Representatives Marsha Blackburn, Bill Jenkins and Zach Wamp voted against it. The U.S. Senate still must consider the legislation and any funding differences between the two bills must be worked out in conference committee.
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Howard H. Vogel
BETTY G. BROWN v. GARY A. HUGO
Michael C. Skouteris, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Betty Brown.
Douglas A. McTyier, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary A. Hugo.
Betty Brown (Plaintiff) was involved in an automobile accident where her car was struck in the
rear by the vehicle driven by Gary Hugo (Defendant). Plaintiff subsequently filed suit against
Defendant in order to recover medical expenses for injuries Plaintiff claims to have incurred as a
result of the accident along with other damages. At trial, the jury found that Plaintiff was not entitled
to recover from Defendant. Plaintiff appeals arguing that the jury's verdict was unsupported by
competent and credible material evidence. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
DAVALON HIGGINS v. QUENTON WHITE, ET AL.
Davalon Higgins, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Mark A. Hudson, Senior
Counsel, for the appellees, Quenton White and Flora Holland; Brian L. Kuhn, Shelby County
Attorney, Thomas E. Williams, Assistant County Attorney, Memphis Tennessee, for the appellee,
Mark H. Luttrell, Jr.
A prisoner in the custody of the Department of Correction was turned down for work release because
an entry in his correctional record indicated that he was a member of a criminal gang. He
subsequently filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 contending that it was a violation of his civil
rights to label him as a gang member without a hearing and without giving him any opportunity to
challenge the classification. He claimed that he had never been a member of any such group, and
that he did not even know until his work release application was rejected that he had been
stigmatized by being mistakenly labeled with a gang affiliation. The trial court dismissed the
prisoner's complaint, holding that he did not have a constitutional right to any particular security
classification. We agree with the court's determination of the constitutional question, but reverse
the dismissal because we believe that the trial court had the authority to review his claim under the
common law writ of certiorari.
JOHN FLOYD HOWELL, JR. v. REBECCA MOSELEY HOWELL
Karla C. Hewitt, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Floyd Howell, Jr.
Marlene Eskind Moses and John D. Kitch, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Rebecca Moseley Howell.
This appeal concerns Husband's efforts to reduce his alimony in futuro obligation following a
twenty-two year marriage. Less than one year after the final decree of divorce, Husband's job was
eliminated and he sought alternative employment. However, Husband incurred a significant
reduction in compensation at his new job and thus he petitioned the court for a modification of
spousal support. Wife counter-petitioned for arrearage and contempt asserting that Husband had
ceased paying alimony and child support. Upon finding that a substantial and material change in
circumstances had occurred, the trial court reduced Husbandís alimony payment. However, the court
also found Husband in civil contempt for willful failure to pay alimony and child support. The court
denied Husband's request for a retroactive reduction in alimony and entered a judgment against him
for alimony arrears. Husband appealed. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part and
reversed in part and remanded.
HRP OF TENNESSEE, INC., d/b/a HOSPITAL RESOURCE PERSONNEL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE, DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and
Michael B. Schwegler, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee; for the appellant State of
Tennessee, Department of Employment Security.
William A. Harris and Zachary H. Greene, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, HRP of
Tennessee, Inc., d/b/a Hospital Resource Personnel.
The issue in this case is whether a nurse registry business that places nurses at medical facilities on
a temporary, as-needed basis, owes unemployment insurance taxes on the nurses' earnings. The
determinative factor is whether the nurses are independent contractors or employees pursuant to
T.C.A. Section 50-7-207. Unemployment insurance taxes were assessed against the nurse registry business
and paid under protest. The nurse registry business petitioned the Tennessee Claims Commission
for a refund. An administrative law judge ruled that the nurses were independent contractors and
ordered a refund. The State of Tennessee, Department of Employment Security appealed. After
careful review, we hold that the nurses were independent contractors and that the nurse registry
business was not required to pay unemployment insurance taxes related to services the nurses
performed. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the administrative law judge and remand.
NANCY WOODALL HUNT v. GARY FRANKLIN HUNT
Lance B. Mayes, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gary Franklin Hunt.
Helen S. Rogers and Audry L. Anderson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Nancy Woodall Hunt.
Husband appeals the action of the trial court asserting that the trial court erred in denying his pro se
motion for a continuance after allowing his attorney to withdraw. He further asserts that the trial
court erred in the disposition of marital property. The action of the trial court in denying a
continuance and granting a divorce to Wife is affirmed. The action of the trial court on all other
issues is reversed, and the cause remanded for further proceedings.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS GROUP, INC., ET AL. v. AZTECH INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY, INC., ET AL.
Raymond G. Prince, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Aztech Industrial Supply, Inc., Philip
Kelly, and Lesly Hart-Kelly.
Douglas Fisher, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Baker Donelson Bearman & Caldwell.
The trial court summarily dismissed the plaintiffs' legal malpractice action against the law firm after
finding no violations of the standard of care, that no causal link existed between the alleged negligent
acts and omissions of the law firm and the harm suffered, and the action was barred by the statute
of limitations. Finding no genuine dispute of material facts exists and the law firm is entitled to
summary judgment as a matter of law, we affirm.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, EX REL. DONNIE DIANE LITTLE v. JAMES GEARIN
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter, and Lauren S. Lamberth, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, TN, for the appellant, State of Tennessee, ex rel. Donnie Diane Little.
James Gearin, appellee, Pro Se.
This appeal involves a retroactive modification of a child support order. The legal custodian of the
child at issue received state benefits on behalf of the child. The State, on behalf of the custodian,
filed a petition against the father to set child support. In August 2000, the trial court granted the
petition, set child support, and entered an order establishing that the father owed a child support
arrearage of $14,000 as of the date of the order. This order was not appealed. Years later, the father
filed a petition for custody of the child. After a hearing, the trial court granted him custody of the
child and terminated his future child support obligation. The trial courtís order also gave the father
a $2,962 credit toward the arrearage established in the August 2000 order. The State filed a
motion to alter or amend, arguing that the trial court was not permitted to retroactively modify the
arrearage established in the earlier order. This motion was denied. The State now appeals. We
reverse, finding that the trial court erred in retroactively modifying the arrearage amount set out in
the original order.
JASON WAYNE MOUSER v. BUCKHEAD CONSTRUCTION CO., ET AL.
Eugene B. Dixon, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason Wayne Mouser.
Stephen E. Yeager and Chris D. Tucker, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Buckhead
Trevor L. Sharpe, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Knox-Tenn Rental & Sales Co.
Jason Wayne Mouser (the Employee) worked for CDE Electrical Contracting Company (the
Subcontractor). He was injured while engaged in the work of his employer's subcontract with
Buckhead Construction Co. (the Principal Contractor). The Employee sued the Principal
Contractor in tort, alleging that the latter had negligently maintained the piece of equipment that
allegedly caused the Employee's injury. In addition, the Employee sued Knox-Tenn Rental & Sales
Co. (Knox-Tenn Rental), the lessor of the equipment, alleging that it, too, had negligently
maintained the subject equipment. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Principal
Contractor, finding that, under the workers' compensation statutory scheme, the Principal Contractor
was the statutory employer of the Employee and, hence, could not be sued by him in tort. The trial
court also dismissed the Employee's claim against Knox-Tenn Rental, holding that, as the lessor of
the equipment, Knox-Tenn Rental could not be held liable to the Employee for a claim under the
rubric of a product liability action. The Employee appeals. We affirm.
HERMAN S. PHILLIPS v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION
Herman S. Phillips, Whiteville, TN, appellant, Pro Se.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Jennifer
Brenner, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, TN, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of
This is a petition for a common law writ of certiorari arising out of prison disciplinary proceedings.
The prison disciplinary board charged the petitioner with money laundering, a state offense. After
a hearing, he was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to punitive and administrative
segregation. He filed this petition for a common law writ of certiorari, challenging the board's
disciplinary decision. The writ was granted, and the record of the disciplinary proceedings was sent
to the trial court for review. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a motion for summary judgment. The
respondent filed a notice that it did not intend to respond to the motion, because the record had
already been sent to the trial court for review. The trial court dismissed the petition on the merits
without first addressing the petitioner's motion for summary judgment. The petitioner now appeals,
arguing that the trial court was required to decide his motion for summary judgment before
addressing the merits of his petition. We affirm, concluding that, under the circumstances, the trial
court was under no obligation to address the petitioner's motion for summary judgment prior to
dismissing the action.
BONNIE REECE v. LINDA ELLIOTT and DIANE DEMPSY, Individually and as Co-Executrixes of the Estate of Eugene Reece
B.J. Reed, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant.
Johnny V. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for appellees.
Plaintiff's Declaratory Judgment suit to declare the antenuptial agreement invalid was dismissed by
the Trial Court which held the agreement enforceable. On appeal, we affirm.
DONLEY D. SIDDALL, M.D. v. TENNESSEE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS
John S. Hicks, Timothy L. McIntire, Nashville, TN, for Appellant.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Sue A. Sheldon, Senior Counsel, Nashville, TN,
In this appeal, we are asked to determine if the chancery court erred when it upheld the Tennessee
Board of Medical Examiners' decision to revoke a physician's medical license. On appeal, the physician asserts that there was not material and substantial evidence to support the charges against him (1) because the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners failed to present expert medical
testimony in compliance with Section 29-26-115 of the Tennessee Code to establish a standard of
care as to the gross malpractice and unprofessional, dishonorable, or unethical conduct charges, (2)
because the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners failed to articulate a professional standard of
care for the sound medical practices exception to rule 0880-2-.14(7) of the Official Compilation of
Rules & Regulations of the State of Tennessee, and (3) that he did not provide sound medical
practices under the express exceptions under rule 0880-2-.14(7) of the Official Compilation of Rules
& Regulations of the State of Tennessee. We affirm.
Open Meetings Act Application to a Task Force Committee
TN Attorney General Opinions
Opinion Number: 06-105
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|The Tennessean has the story
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|Knox County Chancellor John Weaver today granted the county's request for a stay of his ruling that invalidated the county charter. In a written opinion, Weaver said the stay would be in effect for 180 days or for the duration of the appeals process, whichever takes longer. Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge James H. Jarvis used a federal lawsuit as a basis for asking the Tennessee Supreme Court to rule whether Weaver was correct in striking down the charter. Jarvis also asked the high court for guidance on how to prop up the county government if justices agree the charter is invalid.
|The Knoxville News Sentinel has both stories
|Judicial candidates object to survey
|Thomas Boyers V, president of the Sumner County Bar Association and independent candidate for criminal court judge in the 18th Judicial District, responded to the Family Action Council's recent judicial questionnaire by saying that the questions have "absolutely nothing to do with the position that I am seeking." But he pledged to abide by the canons and rules of Tennessee, including Canon V as well as the TBAís Code of Conduct. Mike Carter, another independent candidate for criminal court judge, said the majority of the questions involved issues that he might possibly be required to rule upon and, therefore, declined to respond.
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|Justices uphold most of Texas redistricting plan
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|The Washington Post has the full story
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|Read the AP story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
|TLAW elects new officers
|The Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women has elected new leadership who will take office July 1. They are: Jacqueline Dixon, president; Marcia McMurray, president-elect; Linda Knight, treasurer; Heather Anderson, recording secretary; Valerie Walsh Johnson, corresponding secretary; and Amy Hollars, middle Tennessee director at large. Immediate Past President Linda Warren Seely of Memphis will serve on the organization's board.