Will ineffective counsel become trial strategy?

Chief Judge Danny Boggs of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in an opinion released yesterday that prisoners who receive ineffective counsel are likely to be spared for many years, and frequently forever, raising the possibility that trial attorneys might make a calculated decision not to provide a fully effective defense. Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey, took issue with Boggs' assessment in a separate opinion, expressing her dismay at such an "unjustified attack" and calling on the chief judge to "spend less time denigrating the dedicated, but often overwhelmed, attorneys who have accepted...these very difficult cases, and more time working for improvement of the system."


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


Court: TSC


Thomas M. Horne, for the appellant, Earthworks Unlimited, Inc.

Philip R. Strang, for the appellee, Steve D. Barnett.


The sole issue in this workers' compensation action is whether the employee's claim for benefits is barred by the statute of limitations. The employee was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, a gradually occurring injury. He notified his employer of this diagnosis and told his employer that he thought it was work-related, although he did not discuss the work-related nature of his injury with his doctor until about a year later. He did not miss any work due to his injury, but was terminated from his employment for unrelated reasons. He filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits approximately thirteen months after he initially spoke with his employer about his injury; this was about six months after his last day worked. The trial court held that the claim was not time-barred by the statute of limitations and found that the employee was twenty-five percent permanently partially disabled in each arm. The employer appealed the trial court's determination that the claim was not barred by the statute of limitations. We accepted review before the case was heard or considered by the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel. Upon due consideration, we hold that the claim is not time-barred because the statute of limitations did not begin to run until the employee's last-day-worked. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCA


George D. Blackburn, Pro Se.

Betty G. Blackburn, Pro Se.

Mimi Phillips and R. H. Chockley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee.


Defendants/Appellants appeal the order of the circuit court dismissing their appeal from general sessions court based upon their failure to appear for trial in the circuit court. We affirm.



Court: TCA


William E. Friedman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jonathan Hulon Brown.

John C. Ryland, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Jackie Lynn Ross.


Jonathan Hulon Brown (Father) appeals the trial court's refusal to change the surname of his minor child, born out of wedlock, from that of the minor child's mother Jackie Lynn Ross (Mother) to that of Father. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.



Court: TCA


J. Wesley Edens, Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sharon R. Fleenor, dba Fleenor Family Properties.

Gary L. Edwards, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellee, American Title Company, Inc.


This action finds its genesis in an ultimately-rescinded mortgage loan agreement between two non-parties to this litigation, Ameriquest Mortgage Company (the Mortgage Company) and Tyler Britt (the Judgment Debtor). The sole defendant, American Title Company, Inc. (the Closing Agent), was the closing agent for the loan made by the Mortgage Company to the Judgment Debtor. The Closing Agent was directed to issue checks from the loan proceeds to various creditors of the Judgment Debtor. The plaintiff, Sharon R. Fleenor, doing business as Fleenor Family Properties, was one of those creditors; she was the holder of a judgment against the Judgment Debtor. The Closing Agent issued a check for the purpose of satisfying the judgment and the check was deposited in the trust account of Fleenor's attorney. At about the same time, the Judgment Debtor and the Mortgage Company agreed to rescind the loan agreement. The Closing Agent immediately issued a stop payment order on Fleenor's check; the order "caught" the check before it cleared the Closing Agent's bank. Fleenor filed this action against the Closing Agent for "breach of warranty by a maker to a holder in due course." The Sullivan County General Sessions Court awarded Fleenor a judgment in the amount of the previously-issued check plus prejudgment interest. The Closing Agent appealed to the trial court, which held in favor of the Closing Agent and dismissed Fleenor's complaint. From this judgment, she appeals. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Mitchell D. Moskovitz and Adam N. Cohen of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, Lee T. Myers.

No Appearance by Appellee.


This is a child custody case which originated in juvenile court. On March 24, 2005, the court entered an order which, inter alia, awarded joint custody to the parties, with the mother being the primary custodian. Relying on Local Rule 15 of the Shelby County Juvenile Court, father timely appealed to the Circuit Court of Shelby County. By order entered October 11, 2005, the circuit court dismissed the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. On October 28, 2005, father filed a notice of appeal in the circuit court, appealing the final judgment of dismissal in the circuit court and the final judgment of the juvenile court entered on March 24, 2005. We vacate the order of the circuit court dismissing the case and remand the case to the trial court with directions to enter an order transferring this appeal to the Court of Appeals.



Court: TCCA


Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin Allen, Tonya Keith, and Joe Lodato, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Randall J. Kilby (on appeal) and Kenneth F. Irvine, Jr., (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Dale Ariss Robinson.

Judge: OGLE

A Knox County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellee, Dale Ariss Robinson, of aggravated sexual battery, and the trial court sentenced him to seven years, two months in confinement. In this appeal, the State claims that the trial court improperly refused to apply an enhancement factor to the appellee's sentence, which resulted in the appellee's being improperly sentenced as an especially mitigated offender. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we agree with the State, modify the appellee's sentence to reflect that he is a Range I, standard offender who must serve eight years in confinement at one hundred percent, and remand the case to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment.



Legal News
Election 2006
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Legal News
Judge Bennett leaving bench
Memphis Judge Arthur Bennett, 73, has announced that he is leaving the bench after 30 years of service. Bennett, who presides over the 30th Judicial District's Division 7 criminal court, will take "special judge" status on Sept. 1.
Read a profile of his career in the Commercial Appeal
ABA task force criticizes signing statements
An ABA task force convened to examine issues raised by so-called signing statements (statements that presidents attach to legislation they sign) has issued a report on its findings. The task force will present the report with recommendations to the ABA House of Delegates next week at the association's annual meeting.
Read more about the report on the ABA website
In related news, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is readying a bill that would allow Congress to sue the president over such statements.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Crutchfield trial set for February
Senator Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, will have his day in court beginning Feb. 5 with the start of his public corruption trial. Crutchfield is charged with conspiracy to commit extortion and with accepting bribes. The trial is expected to last two to three weeks, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Read more about the case
Ethics commission to meet Thursday
The Tennessee Ethics Commission will meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 27 in the conference room of the Tennessee State Library & Archives in Nashville to review proposed rules and regulations, discuss the status of its search for an executive director and review other organizational start-up matters. The meeting is open to the public.

Election 2006
New judgeship in Rutherford County
Growth and crowded dockets are the reason behind the creation of another General Sessions judgeship in Rutherford County. Three candidates are vying for the new position, which will deal primarily with civil cases.
Read a review of their campaigns in the Murfreesboro Daily news Journal
Memphis Bar Association rates judicial candidates
Read the Memphis Bar Association's list of best qualified judicial candidates in countywide contested races.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the round-up
Group recommends term limits for all but judges
A group of citizens and elected officials looking for answers to Knox County's charter woes is strongly recommending that term limits apply to all elected officials except judges. The charter review committee was formed last month by Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale to address deficiencies identified by Chancellor John Weaver, who ruled the charter is invalid.
Read more about the group's work in the News Sentinel
Indicted lawmaker hoping for re-election
State Senator Kathryn Bowers, D-Memphis, who is facing bribery charges in the Tennessee Waltz scandal, hopes to win her primary on Aug. 3, and ultimately, re-election. She is the only current or former lawmaker indicted in the federal case who is seeking to retain office.
Read about her race in the News Sentinel
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
TBA Member Services
New edition of Alimony Bench Book now available
The TBA Family Law Section has just released the 4th Edition of the Alimony Bench Book. This publication will be distributed to state court judges at next week's judicial conference and is available for purchase at the TBA's online bookstore or by calling 800-899-6993 or in Nashville at 383-7421.
Order online now

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