Florida court rejects award to smokers

The Florida Supreme Court today threw out a $145 billion punitive damage award against tobacco companies for injuring smokers, saying it was excessive, the New York Times reports.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/06/us/06cnd-tobacco.html?hp&ex=1152244800&en=097daa7facbfe85d&ei=5094&partner=homepage

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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GRENDA RAY HARMER v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Grenda Ray Harmer, pro se Appellant.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Bradley W. Flippin, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction, Commissioner Quenton White, Warden Jack Morgan, Captain Douglas Cook, and Charles Davidson.Grenda Ray Harmer, pro se Appellant. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Bradley W. Flippin, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction, Commissioner Quenton White, Warden Jack Morgan, Captain Douglas Cook, and Charles Davidson.

Judge: LEE

This appeal involves a petition for writ of certiorari filed by Grenda Ray Harmer, an inmate in the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC") prison system. Mr. Harmer was found guilty of stealing several bags of pretzels by the prison disciplinary board, placed in punitive segregation for five days, and ordered to pay a $4.00 fine. Mr. Harmer filed his petition in Morgan County Chancery Court, alleging that the disciplinary board violated his due process rights by acting in an arbitrary, illegal and fraudulent manner, and committing several violations of its own disciplinary procedures. The trial court, after granting the petition and reviewing the certified copy of the disciplinary record, found that Mr. Harmer failed to prove that the board acted illegally, arbitrarily or fraudulently, and dismissed the case. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/harmergrenda_070606.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PHYLLIS MCCRARY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Curtis D. Johnson, Jr. of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, Randy Madison, Sr. Mitzi H. Spell of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, Phyllis Mariah McCrary

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Amy T. Master, Assistant Attorney General for Appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services

Judge: CRAWFORD

This is a termination of parental rights case. Both Mother and Father appeal from the order of the Juvenile Court of Shelby County terminating their respective parental rights. Specifically, Mother asserts that the grounds cited for termination are not supported by clear and convincing evidence in the record, and that the Department of Children's Services did not meet the statutory verification requirement. Father asserts that the grounds cited for termination of his parental rights are not supported by clear and convincing evidence in the record, and that the Department of Children's Services did not meet the statutory verification requirement. Because we find clear and convincing evidence in the record to support the Juvenile Court's findings terminating the parties' parental rights based on at least one ground under the statute, and that the Department of Children’s Services did meet the statutory verification requirement, we affirm. Phyllis McCrary ("Ms. McCrary") is the mother of the three minor children at issue in this case, A.L.M. (d.o.b. 9/18/92), D.D.M. (d.o.b. 9/4/93), and R.R.M. (d.o.b. 9/4/00). Randy Madison ("Mr. Madison", together with Ms. McCrary, "Respondents) is the father of R.R.M. (d.o.b. 9/4/00). The parental rights of the fathers of A.L.M and D.D.M. were terminated on November 10, 2005, and they are not parties to this appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/McCraryP_070606.pdf


ROBERT MURPHY, ET AL. v. EARL SAVAGE, JR., d/b/a/ SAVAGE BUILDERS, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert W. Knolton and Thomas C. Cravens, IV, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robert and Julia Murphy.

Earl R. Booze, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellee, Central Mutual Insurance Company.

Judge: LEE

The issue presented in this case is whether privity of contract is required to maintain a cause of action under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiff homeowners filed a complaint alleging that the defective construction of their residence by the defendant building contractor and subcontractor resulted in flooding and consequential personal and property damage. The homeowners also sued the defendant contractor's insurance carrier under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, alleging that the insurer engaged in deceptive practices in processing the plaintiffs' claim. The trial court granted the insurer's motion to dismiss upon grounds that there was no privity of contract between the insurer and the plaintiffs. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand upon our determination that privity of contract is not required in order to maintain a cause of action under the Act.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/murphyrobert_070606.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES v. S.V., ET AL. In Re: M.V. and J.V.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Vance L. Baker, Jr., Athens, Tennessee for the Appellant, S.V.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; and Elizabeth C. Driver, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services. Bridget J. Willhite, Athens, Tennessee, guardian ad litem for M.V. and J.V.

The State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services ("the State") filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of S.V. ("Mother") and W.V. ("Father") to the minor children M.V. and J.V. ("the Children"). After a trial, the Juvenile Court terminated the rights of Mother and Father to the Children. Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. Father does not appeal the termination of his parental rights. We find that the State failed to make reasonable efforts to assist Mother and, therefore, reverse the termination of Mother's parental rights.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/sv_070606.pdf


MICHAEL B. TODD v. DEAN JACKSON, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael B. Todd, Pro Se.

Dale Conder, Jr., Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellees, Dean Jackson, Phil Belew, Mark Dickson, Bennie Scott, Mayor of the City of Lexington, and City of Lexington.

Judge: FARMER

Michael B. Todd ("Plaintiff") filed a retaliatory discharge claim after being terminated from his position as a water plant operator for the City of Lexington, Tennessee. At trial, the court dismissed his retaliatory discharge claim after finding that Plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case. Plaintiff appeals raising the issues of whether the trial court erred in dismissing his retaliatory discharge claim and whether the trial judge erred in failing to recuse himself from this case. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/ToddMichaelB_070606.pdf


MICHAEL HILL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Richard Hughes, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Michael Hill.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General, and John O. Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Michael Hill, appeals the Bradley County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for three counts of rape, a Class B felony, and effective sentence of twelve years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, rendering his guilty pleas unknowing and involuntary. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/hillmichael_070606.pdf


CHRISTOPHER KNIGHTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Knighton.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Rocky H. Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Christopher Knighton, appeals as of right from the order of the Blount County Circuit Court denying his petition for post-conviction relief from his 1999 convictions of aggravated rape, a Class A felony, aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and theft, a Class D felony, for which he is serving an effective thirty-one-year sentence. The petitioner claims he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on direct appeal because (1) counsel did not adequately advise him of the applicable law before he rejected a plea offer, (2) counsel failed to object to the state’s exercise of peremptory challenges to strike men from the jury venire, (3) counsel employed an ill-advised defense at trial, and (4) counsel failed to raise a sentencing challenge on direct appeal. We conclude no error exists, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/knightonchristopher_070606.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Election 2006
Online CLE
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Jailer gets life in prisoner death case
A former Wilson County Sheriff's deputy was sentenced to life in prison today for violating the civil rights of jail inmates and contributing to the death of one of them, the Tennessean reports. Because Patrick Marlowe, 28, was tried in federal court, he is not eligible for parole and will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Top courts in 2 states rule against gay marriages
The highest courts in two states dealt gay rights advocates setbacks today, rejecting same-sex couples' bid to win marriage rights in New York and reinstating a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Georgia.
Read the report in the Tennessean
Lewis talks about his path to leadership
TBA Vice President George T. "Buck" Lewis discusses his career and leadership interests with the Memphis Daily News.
Read the interview
New office tower could be home for law firm
A proposed 28-story office building south of Broadway in downtown Nashville could be the new home to the Bass Berry & Sims law firm. One hurdle blocking the project, however, is a debate over height restrictions for new developments in the area.
Read the Tennesseean story
6th Circuit denies request in football recruiting case
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request from the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association to rehear its appeal in a long-running case involving football recruiting at Brentwood Academy.
Read full coverage in the Williamson Herald
Knox County: Who would appoint who?
What happens if the state Supreme Court decides, after the August election, that the Knox County charter -- and its term limits provision -- is valid? Metro Pulse columnist Frank Cagle lays out some scenerios.
Read the column
Election 2006
Judicial candidates spar over case loads
The challenger to Knox County Criminal Court Judge Ray L. Jenkins says the incumbent handles fewer difficult cases than his colleagues, a charge that Jenkins says doesn't stand up against the numbers.
Read the Knoxville New Sentinel story
Online CLE
Build your internet research skills with online course
Everyone uses the Internet, but are you taking full advantages of the research capabilities that are available? Carole Levitt, a nationally recognized author and founder of Internet for Lawyers, has developed a special course for Tennessee lawyers that is now available from TennBarU. This one-hour interactive course teaches you how to efficiently search the Tennessee Code, perform historical legislative research, search municipal codes and more.
Register or find out more now
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
GEICO and the Tennessee Bar Association team up to offer the GEICO Preferred auto insurance program.
Find out more

 
 
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