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


Court: TCA


Michael R. Campbell, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, The Heuer Insurance Agency, Inc.

Thomas L. N. Knight, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Globe American Casualty Co.


Globe American Casualty Company (Globe) filed suit against The Heuer Insurance Agency, Inc. (the insurance agency), seeking indemnification for claims purportedly paid under a policy of automobile insurance issued to Danny Hodge (the insured). Following a bench trial, the court held that the insurance agency, in handling the insured's application for insurance, negligently supplied inaccurate information to Globe, which resulted in Globe issuing a policy of insurance to the insured and thereby ultimately incurring a loss of approximately $75,000. The court ordered the insurance agency to indemnify Globe for its loss. The insurance agency appeals, arguing that Globe's payment to the insured was voluntary, thus barring Globe's right to seek indemnification. We reverse and dismiss.



Court: TCA


Michael A. Anderson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Lawrence Levy, Sherman Oaks, California, for the appellants, Ronald H. Peeler and Paige Peeler.

Travis R. McDonough, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Louis A. Colombo, Cleveland, Ohio, for the appellees, The Way International, Inc., John R. Reynolds, Loy C. Martindale, Howard R. Allen, Rosalie F. Rivenbark, Harve Platig, and Stephen Roberts.


Dr. Ronald H. Peeler and his wife, Paige Peeler, are former members of The Way International, Inc. (The Way), a worldwide religious organization. The Peelers brought this action against The Way and several individuals alleged to be agents of The Way, asserting multiple tort claims arising out of The Way's alleged "coercive persuasion" and "mind control" practices. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants, finding that most of the Peelers' claims were time-barred, and that the First Amendment barred all of the Peelers' claims. On appeal, the Peelers argue that their claims are not time-barred; they rely upon the discovery rule. They also claim that the First Amendment does not insulate the defendants from their alleged wrongful acts. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Kenneth R. Jones, Jr. and William B. Hawkins, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Douglas A. VanderPloeg.

Susan D. Bass and Thomas M. Pinckney, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Xavier Sikora.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a dispute over the sale of a chiropractic practice. The purchaser made several significant changes in the practice following the sale and, when the practice began to fail, filed an action for breach of warranty against the seller in the Circuit Court for Davidson County. The seller attributed the failure of the practice to the seller's poor business judgment and counterclaimed for unpaid lease payments. Following a three-day bench trial, the trial court found that the seller had breached the warranties of sale and awarded the purchaser $34,443 in damages. The trial court offset this award with a $18,294 judgment in favor of the seller for unpaid lease payments and then awarded the purchaser an additional $52,592 in attorney's fees and costs. We have determined that the trial court erred by failing to reform the purchase agreement to reflect the true agreement between the parties and by concluding that the seller violated his warranty to disclose all material or significant information regarding the practice.



Court: TCA


Duke H. Brasfield, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mary L. Whitley.

James F. Horner, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Marshalls of MA., Inc., The Marmaxx Group, d/b/a Marshalls.


The trial court awarded Defendant Marshalls summary judgment in this premises liability, slip and fall action. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Juni S. Ganguli (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, and Larry Fitzgerald (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee for the appellant, Thaddeus Johnson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Hagerman and Ray Lepone, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Thaddeus Johnson, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and attempted first degree murder. He received a sentence of life imprisonment for his murder conviction and a consecutive twenty-five year sentence for his attempted murder conviction. On appeal, the defendant presents the following issues for review: (1) the trial court committed plain error by admitting hearsay statements from non-testifying co-defendants; (2) the evidence was insufficient to convict the defendant of first degree premeditated murder and attempted first degree murder; and (3) the trial court erred in ordering consecutive sentencing. Upon review of the record, parties' briefs and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Kari I. Weber and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Derrick Lamouns Jones.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Tracey Brewer-Walker, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

Following a bench trial, the defendant, Derrick Lamouns Jones, was convicted of felony DUI, a Class E felony, and violation of the implied consent law and was sentenced to the Department of Correction for two years as a Range I, standard offender, and to the county jail for eleven months, twenty-nine days, respectively. The sentences were run concurrently with the exception of five days to be served in the county jail. In addition, the defendant's driver's license was suspended for five years and he was fined $6000. On appeal, he argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress and his motion to exclude a prior DUI conviction; the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; and the trial court improperly sentenced him to an enhanced sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Corrected Case

Court: TCCA


Ross E. Alderman, District Public Defender; and Jeffrey Devasher, Assistant District Public Defender, for the Appellant, Walfrido L. Rodriquez.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Robert McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Walfrido L. Rodriguez, appeals from his Davidson County Criminal Court jury convictions of second degree murder and aggravated assault, claiming that the trial court erred by instructing the jury to consider the charges sequentially, that the convicting evidence is insufficient, and that the trial court erred in rejecting a request for a special jury instruction. We discern no reversible error and affirm the convictions.

This case was originally filed on June 7, 2006. The correction is on page 5 in the first line of the second full paragraph. The word "potentioal" was corrected to read "potential."



Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender (at trial and on appeal), and Amanda Heard, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Louis Bernard Williams.

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

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Louis Bernard Williams, was convicted by a Madison County jury of possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, a Class E felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia and evading arrest, both Class A misdemeanors. The trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to four years in the Department of Correction for the felony conviction and to eleven months, twenty-nine days in the county jail for each of the misdemeanor convictions and ordered that the evading arrest sentence be served consecutively to the sentence for possession of marijuana. The trial court also ordered that the defendant serve the sentences consecutively to his eight-year sentence for a felony for which he had been on probation at the time of the instant offenses and consecutively to a nine-year sentence he had received for additional offenses he committed while out on bond in the instant case. The defendant raises three issues on appeal: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) whether the trial court erred in excluding the hearsay statement of a man who claimed ownership of the drugs; and (3) whether the trial court erred in not declaring a mistrial when a law enforcement officer referred at trial to the defendant's having been on probation at the time of the offenses. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Legal News
BPR Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Knox county asks Supreme Court to hear charter case
Knox County attorneys today asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a chancellor's decision to invalidate the charter. The motion asks the justices to intercede in the lawsuit of five county commissioners seeking to overturn term limits for public officials, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Finger pointing begins over Birch building frustrations
A source with knowledge of Nashville's court system has said that many of the problems associated with the new building are the result of changes made to the structure's original plans -- changes that were made with little regard to the effect they would have on those doing business in the building each day. Frustration over conditions boiled over last week after a number of private defense attorneys questioned having to wait hours to see clients and having to yell to be heard.
The Nashville City Paper has the story
Gang violence increasing in the south
A national survey shows gang activity is increasing in the south and law enforcement in Tennessee as well as other states is taking steps to curtail it.
Learn more about the issue in this AP report
Immigration judges under scrutiny
Increasingly, rulings from the nation's 200 immigration judges are being examined by federal appeals courts and the findings are of concern to immigration attorneys around the country. A review of cases by McClatchy Newspapers found that appeals courts have found many judges' decisions to be biased and unjust. Judges say they are overworked having to complete 27 cases a week to keep pace with the workload. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales launched a review of the immigration courts in January and is expected to make recommendations later this year.
Get the full account in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Music companies to sue Yahoo China over downloads
A group of major music companies are preparing to sue Yahoo China over complaints the popular search engine violates copyrights by linking to web sites that offer pirated music. The suit from the International Federation of Phonographic Industries could come within the next few weeks.
The Knoxville News Sentinel has the story
BPR Actions
Nashville attorney censured
Paul J. Walwyn was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on June 19 for failing to respond to disciplinary counsel in a timely manner.
Read the BPR press release
Former Memphis lawyer disbarred
On June 27, the Supreme Court of Tennessee disbarred attorney Vaughan Eugene Reid based on Reid's failure to answer a complaint of misconduct and posing a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public.
Read the BPR release
TBA Member Services
July TBJ is online
The July Tennessee Bar Journal features ways to know if immigration documents are legitimate; a how-to for keeping supervisors from being held liable for discrimination or sexual harassment; and an account of a prominant Nashvillian's early 20th century trial. Don Paine outlines the 2006 rule amendments and -- get ready to laugh -- Bill Haltom's humor column returns!
View the text or download a pdf
2006-2007 TBA Access to Justice Awards
The Tennessee Bar Association is now accepting nominations for the 2006-2007 Access to Justice Awards. The awards are presented to individuals in three categories: public service attorneys, members of the private bar and law school students who provide outstanding representation to the state's poor. The winners will be announced during the 2007 TBA Leadership Conference and will be featured in the Tennessee Bar Journal.
For information or to apply

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