Supreme Court says Guantanamo trials violate law

The U.S. Supreme Court rebuked President Bush and his anti-terror policies today, ruling that his plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law. The court declared 5-3 that the president's attempt to resurrect a type of military trial last used in the aftermath of World War II violates U.S. military law and the Geneva conventions that set international standards for dealing with people captured in armed conflicts. Read more in the Tennessean.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SCOTUS_GUANTANAMO_TRIALS?SITE=TNNAT&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

JENNIFER LYNN ALSIP ET AL. v. JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER ET AL.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Gary E. Brewer and Leslie A. Muse, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jennifer Lynn Alsip, Rebecca Dawn Alsip, and Geraldine Alsip.

Jeffrey M. Ward, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Louis Modica, M.D., and Medical Education Assistance Corporation d/b/a ETSU Physicians and Associates. Randall J. Phillips, Jackson, Tennessee, for Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association.

Melanie M. Stewart, C. Michael Becker, Germantown, Tennessee, and James M. Beck, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association. William B. Hubbard, Nashville, Tennessee, for Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Hospital Association.

David L. Steed and Jay N. Chamness, Nashville, Tennessee, for Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Medical Association.

Judge: WILLIAM M. BARKER

Pursuant to Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, we accepted this appeal to clarify the meaning of our holding in Givens v. Mullikin, 75 S.W.3d 383 (Tenn. 2002), as it relates to a trial court’s tailored discovery order in a medical malpractice lawsuit permitting ex parte communications between defense counsel and the decedent’s non-party treating physicians. Carefully weighing public policy concerns and considering the case law on this issue from other jurisdictions, we hold that the trial court erred by issuing this order. Today we announce that such ex parte communications violate the implied covenant of confidentiality that exists between physicians and patients and that public policy does not require the voidance of this covenant. This being the case, ex parte communications between the plaintiff’s non-party physicians and defense attorneys are not allowed in the State of Tennessee. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/alsipj062906.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JESSICA TROTTER AND ANDREW SHERIFF

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

Brett B. Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, Attorney for the Appellee, Jessica Trotter. Garland Erg_den, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Andrew Sheriff.

Judge: ADOLPHO A. BIRCH, JR.

Through forgery and credit card fraud, defendants, Trotter and Sheriff, stole approximately half a million dollars from Trotter’s employer. After both defendants had pleaded guilty to theft of property over sixty thousand dollars, a Class B felony, the trial court imposed an eight-year sentence upon each defendant. The defendants applied for alternative sentencing; the trial court denied the application on the grounds of general deterrence and depreciation of the seriousness of the offense. On appeal, the intermediate court reversed the trial court’s judgment and imposed alternative sentences of twelve months incarceration, with the balance to be served on probation. We accepted the State’s petition for review of this cause under Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure in order to determine whether the intermediate court erred in reversing the trial court’s sentences of confinement and substituting alternative sentences. We conclude that the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in modifying the defendants’ sentences. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed, and the judgment of the trial court is reinstated.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/trotter-sheriff062906.pdf


BANCORPSOUTH BANK, INC. v. BILLY J. HATCHEL

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

J. Brandon McWherter, Lewis L.Cobb, Jackson, TN, for Appellant

James H. Bradberry, Dresden, TN, for Appellee

Judge: ALAN E. HIGHERS

In this appeal, we are asked to review the trial court’s decision regarding the damages incurred by the plaintiff in a breach of contract action. The plaintiff, a bank, attempted to sell a parcel of distressed real estate containing residential dwelling units at a foreclosure sale. The defendant placed the highest bid for the property, but he subsequently refused to consummate the transaction. After the sale, a dispute arose over who would be responsible for certain repairs, and the defendant, who did not inspect the property prior to placing a bid, apparently felt that the property was not worth the amount he bid for it. The bank brought suit for breach of contract, but it failed to present any evidence of the property’s fair market value on the date of breach. After a bench trial in the matter, but before the trial court entered its final judgment, the bank sought to introduce additional evidence in the form of a second foreclosure sale conducted post-trial. The bank asserted that the amount it received at the second foreclosure sale represented the fair market value of the property. After considering this additional evidence, the trial court entered a judgment finding that the bank failed to present evidence of the property’s fair market value on the date of the breach. Accordingly, the trial court concluded that the bank was not entitled to the damages it sought as a result of the breach. The bank appealed that decision to this Court. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/bancorpsouth062906.pdf


BRIAN N. KNIGHT, M. CHANCE DUDLEY, KRISTY DUDLEY, AND D. CHAD DUDLEY v. FLANARY & SONS TRUCKING, INC., PATRICK RAY STURM, J. B. HUNT TRANSPORT, INC., AND SEAN M. HANSEN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

C. Mark Donahoe, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellants, Sean M. Hansen and J. B. Hunt Transport, Inc.

Jeffrey P. Boyd, Jackson, Tennessee, and James A. Morris, Jr., Beaumont, Texas, for the appellees, Brian N. Knight, M. Chance Dudley, Kristy Dudley, and D. Chad Dudley.

Judge: HOLLY M. KIRBY

This is an automobile accident case. The plaintiffs were traveling on the interstate in a pickup truck pulling a U-Haul trailer. The individual defendants were each driving a commercial eighteen-wheeler truck and were following the plaintiffs, one behind the other. The plaintiffs came upon road construction and slowed to a stop. The defendant driving the truck immediately behind the plaintiffs could not stop; he swerved to the right and hit the plaintiffs’ U-Haul. The defendant driving the second truck behind the plaintiffs was also unable to stop. He struck both the U-Haul and the pickup truck, causing both vehicles to catch fire and resulting in serious personal injuries to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs sued the drivers of both of the eighteen-wheeler trucks and their employers for damages resulting from the accident. The plaintiffs’ claim against the driver of the second truck and his employer was settled. The plaintiffs then proceeded to trial against the driver of the first truck and his employer. After a jury trial, the jury returned a verdict finding in favor of the plaintiffs, concluding that the defendant driving the first truck was 25% at fault for the accident. The defendants appeal, arguing that no material evidence supports the jury’s finding that their negligence caused the plaintiffs’ damages. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/knightb062906.pdf


ROBIN DAVIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Juni S. Ganguli, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robin Davis.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Thomas Hoover, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GARY R. WADE

The petitioner, Robin Davis, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. In this appeal, he asserts that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. The judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/davisr062906.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DONALD EUGENE FOWLKES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin and Kandi Kelley, Assistant Public Defenders, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donald E. Fowlkes.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Rolf Hazlehurst, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: DAVID H. WELLES

The Defendant, Donald Eugene Fowlkes, appeals from the order of the trial court revoking his probation and ordering that his eight-year sentence be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation and ordering that his sentence be served in confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/fowlkesd062906.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
BPR Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Stay means Reid's court battle may live on and on
Serial killer Paul Dennis Reid may have gained a few more months, or even years, of life after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift a stay of execution for him on Wednesday. Reid, who was convicted of killing seven people at eateries in Nashville and Clarksville in 1997 and who has given up his appeals, will continue to be at the center of a legal battle waged by the state and defense lawyers acting on his behalf. At issue will be whether he is mentally competent.
Tennessean
Alley's defense fight outlives him
The daughter of executed killer Sedley Alley wants to continue pursuing DNA testing from evidence found at the 1985 crime scene that his supporters say will show the state executed an innocent man early Wednesday, one of Alley's attorneys said. Read more in the
Tennessean.
UT officials support diversity funding
Since 2001, Tennessee has earmarked more than $78 million for diversity programs on college campuses in the state. Higher education officials said recently that they plan to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs. Wendy Thompson of the Tennessee Board of Regents has staked out her position already, saying that the programs should continue. In addition, Dr. Theotis Robinson, UT's vice president for equity and diversity, said the plan has been invaluable for the state.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Summers won't seek Supreme Court position
The deadline to apply for the second open seat on the Tennessee Supreme Court is tomorrow and one person thought to be interested in the spot has said he is not. State Attorney General Paul Summers said Wednesday he would not seek appointment. Read the story in
The City Paper.
Lawyer leaves rich legacy of philanthropy
Over the course of his life, bachelor lawyer Lindsay Young gave a great deal of money - usually anonymously - to many charities and causes he deemed worthy. Young died Feb. 9 at 93, but his philanthropy will live on. Though generous to family and friends, his will leaves much of his estate to charities. And Young took special care to provide for a very special friend: Aslan, his beloved golden retriever. Read more in the
Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Whitley is new president of district attorneys general
District Attorney General Ray Whitley of Gallatin was elected president of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference at the statewide organization's annual meeting. Whitley has served as district attorney for the 18th Judicial District of Sumner County since 1980. He served as president of the District Attorneys Conference in 1985 and 1986.

BPR Actions
Former Memphis attorney disbarred
Former Memphis attorney Vaughan Eugene Reid was disbarred on June 27 by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. In November 2004, the Court ordered the temporary suspension of Reid from the practice of law, based upon his failure to answer a complaint of misconduct and thereby posing a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public. His failure to respond to that suspension led to the disbarment.
Read the BPR release.
TBA Member Services
Last day to beat interest rate hike is Friday
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.
Visit SunTrust for more information.

 
 
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