Tennessee top court allows vote on gay marriage ban

Voters will be allowed to decide in November whether they want a constitutional ban on gay marriage in Tennessee, the state Supreme Court said in a unanimous decision filed today.

http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/news/2006/gaymarriage_071406.html

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

AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OF TENNESSEE, ET AL. v. RILEY C. DARNELL, ET AL.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Melody Fowler-Green, Abby R. Rubenfeld, and Anne C. Martin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Tennessee Equality Project, Beverly Robison Marrero, Bruce Barry, Jonathan Hines, Scott Hines, Nina Pacent, Renee Kasman, Larry Turner, and Tommie Brown.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Ann Louise Vix, Senior Counsel; Gina J. Barham, Deputy Attorney General; and Marnee L. Baker, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville Tennessee, for the appellees, Riley C. Darnell, Brook Thompson, Paul G. Summers, John S. Wilder, and James O. Naifeh. Benjamin W. Bull, Glen Lavy, Byron J. Babione, Heather Gebelin Hacker, Scottsdale, Arizona, Nathan W. Kellum, Memphis, Tennessee, and David L. Maddox, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Intervenors, sixty-seven members of the Tennessee House of Representatives and twenty-three members of the Tennessee Senate. Michael B. Bressman, Nashville, Tennessee, for Amicus Curiae, Public Notice Resource Center. Robyn E. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Judge: BARKER

We assumed jurisdiction of this case pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 16-3-201 to consider whether the Chancellor erred by refusing to declare Senate Joint Resolution 31unconstitutional and by refusing to enjoin the Secretary of State from placing a proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution on the November 7, 2006 ballot for a ratification vote. Having fully considered the record, the relevant authority, and the written and oral presentations of the parties -- and wishing to decide this constitutional matter, as we should, on the narrowest grounds possible -- we affirm the Chancellor's decision dismissing the complaint because Plaintiffs have failed to establish that they have standing to bring this lawsuit.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/darnellrc_071406.pdf


FORREST L. WHALEY and MARGARET ANN WHALEY v. JIM ANN PERKINS, ET AL.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Richard M. Carter, Paul H. Morris, and Brian K. Kelsey, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellants, Forrest L. Whaley and Margaret Ann Whaley.

John D. Horne, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Jim Ann Perkins, Albert Lewis Beshires, and Terry Lynn Beshires.

Judge: BIRCH

The Plaintiffs purchased from two of the Defendants a home located on a two-acre parcel of land that had been part of a larger parcel. The Plaintiffs later discovered that the two-acre parcel had been illegally subdivided from the larger parcel, and they filed suit alleging breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation, negligence per se, and breach of warranty of title. In addition to other damages, the Plaintiffs sought damages for emotional distress. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs and awarded $170,000 as compensatory damages and an additional $5,000 as punitive damages. The Court of Appeals held, in pertinent part, that the Plaintiffs' claim for damages for emotional distress was barred by the one-year statute of limitations applicable to personal injury actions. We hold that the one-year personal injury statute of limitations does not apply to this case, and we therefore reverse that part of the intermediate court's judgment. We affirm all other aspects of the intermediate court's judgment and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/whaleyf_071406.pdf


RICHARD BRADLEY STAATS v. NOEL ELIZABETH (STAATS) McKINNON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stanley A. Kweller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Noel Elizabeth (Staats) McKinnon.

Helen Sfikas Rogers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Richard Bradley Staats.

Judge: KOCH

This interlocutory appeal involves an interstate custody dispute over a nine-year-old child. The child's mother was designated the primary residential parent when her parents were divorced in 2000 in Florida. In 2002, the father filed a petition requesting the Florida court to change custody. While this petition was pending, the mother remarried, the mother moved to Massachusetts with her new husband and the parties' child, and the father moved to Tennessee. In June 2004, the Florida court granted the father's petition and designated him as the child's primary residential parent. As a result of this order, the child began living with the father in Tennessee and has lived in Tennessee ever since. In 2005, the Florida District Court of Appeal reversed the order changing custody and remanded the case to the Florida trial court for further proceedings. Thereafter, the father filed a petition in the Circuit Court for Davidson County seeking to modify the original Florida order designating the mother as the child's residential parent. The mother responded by filing an emergency petition in the Florida trial court to enforce the original custody order and by entering an appearance in the Tennessee proceeding to contest the Tennessee trial court's subject matter jurisdiction. Following a hearing and two conversations with the Florida trial court, the Tennessee trial court entered orders asserting jurisdiction over the father's modification petition and designating the father as the child's primary residential parent pending a final disposition of the father's petition. Both the trial court and this court granted the mother's application for a Tenn. R. App. P. 9 interlocutory appeal. We have concluded: (1) that the Florida trial court no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the custody of this child because the child and her parents have not lived in Florida since 2003; (2) that Tennessee became the child's home state while she was living with her father during the pendency of the Florida appeal; (3) that the Tennessee trial court was not required to decline to exercise its jurisdiction to modify the original Florida custody decree; and (4) that the father was not required to return the child to her mother in Massachusetts following the reversal of the Florida trial court's change of custody order. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's assertion of subject matter jurisdiction and remand the case for the consideration of the father's petition to modify custody.

This is a correction to an opinion originally filed on May 2, 2006
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/staatsrb_corr__071406.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RASHAD K. SANDERS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Frank L. Slaughter, Jr., Bristol, Tennessee (on appeal), and Michael J. LaGuardia, Kingsport, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Rashad K. Sanders.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Joseph Eugene Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Rashad K. Sanders, pled guilty to one count of introduction of marijuana into a penal institution, a Class C felony. The Sullivan County Criminal Court sentenced him to a four-year sentence to be served in the Department of Correction as a Range I, standard offender. The defendant appeals, contending the trial court erred in denying him alternative sentencing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/sandersrashadk_071406.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES S. VIOLETTE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael G. Hatmaker, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, James S. Violette.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Michael O. Ripley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

This is a direct appeal from a conviction on a jury verdict of driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI), second offense, a Class A misdemeanor. The Defendant, James S. Violette, was sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days with forty-five days to be served in the county jail and the remainder on probation. He was fined $600, and his driver's license was suspended for two years. The Defendant now appeals, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his DUI conviction beyond a reasonable doubt because the State failed to prove he drove on a public road. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/violettejames_071406.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Election 2006
TennBarU CLE Programs

Legal News
7 additional attorneys seeking AG post
Seven additional applicants have entered their names for consideration to be the next Tennessee attorney general. They are: 16th Judicial District Circuit Judge Don R. Ash of Murfreesboro; Margaret L. Behm, an attorney with Dodson Parker and Behm in Nashville; Andy Dwane Bennett, chief deputy in the attorney general's office in Nashville; Clayton Thomas Davenport Jr., general counsel for Electro-Mechanical Corporation in Bristol; David Alexander "Alex" Fardon, an attorney with Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner in Nashville; Herman Morris Jr., lead independent director for Perrigo Company in Memphis; and Pamela L. Reeves, an attorney with Anderson, Reeves & Herbert in Knoxville. The other applicants are: Joseph E. Feibelman, a Memphis attorney; Shelby R. Grubbs, an attorney with Miller & Martin in Chattanooga; and William Charles "Bill" Killian, a Jasper attorney. The deadline for applicants is Monday.

Court decision requires translation of documents
A recent decision from Rutherford County Chancery Court requires the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development to communicate with non-English speaking workers in a language they understand, the Tennessean reports. According to Legal Aid attorney Barbara Futter, the decision is going to affect all state agencies receiving federal funds.
Read the full story
UT Law students face 4.6% tuition increase
Students at the University of Tennessee College of Law will see a 4.6% increase in tuition and fees this coming year, with the total for Tennessee residents rising to $9,934 for two semesters. Out-of-state students will pay $25,290.

Memphis program offers mentoring for small firm lawyers
The Memphis Bar Association is joining with the Leo Bearman Sr. American Inn of Court, the Ben F. Jones chapter of the American Bar Association and the Association for Women Attorneys in a mentoring program for attorneys in small firms.
Learn more in the Memphis Daily News
Scopes trial reenactment this weekend
Interested in a taste of legal history this weekend? Head to Dayton, where the 19th annual Scopes Trial Play and Festival kicks off today. Actors will take the stage in the historic Rhea County Courthouse to re-enact some of the events that took place during the famed 1925 trial.
Learn more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Judge suspends Coopertown mayor
A judge in Springfield has suspended the mayor of Coopertown, who is accused of using racial slurs, intimidating political opponents and operating a speed trap to collect cash for his city.
Read the story in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Peaceable Schools program trains teachers
Teachers in Bradley County and Cleveland have been taking part in training sessions through the Peaceable Schools program administered by Tennessee Legal Community Foundation Law-Related Education director Janis Kyser, the Cleveland Daily Banner reports.
Learn more about the program
Officials take on Birch building woes
Metro Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall brings together top court and law enforcement officials to begin ironing out problems that have plagued the Justice A.A. Birch Building since it opened last month.
Read about it in the City Paer
Election 2006
Early voting underway
Early voting kicked off today across Tennessee. In Shelby County, voters are being urged to take advantage of the option, due in part to a large ballot -- the biggest in the county's history -- and 1,500 new voting machines that are coming on line.
Read the Commercial Appeal story
House candidates debate issues
The four Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives' 42nd District square off in a debate at Tennessee Tech University.
Read the Herald Citizen story
TennBarU CLE Programs
Summit designed to serve general practice attorneys
Take your practice to new heights with the essential knowledge, skills and trends you'll learn during the TBA's General Practice Summit, coming Aug. 24-26 in Nashville. Earn 15 hours CLE credit in fast-paced, 1-hour sessions on topics that are important to lawyers in general practice.
Find out more or register now

 
 
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