ABA House votes on signing statements and other issues

The American Bar Association's House of Delegates adopted new policy this week on an array of issues, including opposing the misuse of presidential signing statements; supporting the preservation of the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine; opposing current legislation that would create an inspector general for the federal judiciary answerable to Congress; and urging expansion of the "pipeline" of minority students going to law school. The TBA co-sponsored the diversity pipeline and attorney-client privilege resolutions. Read about these decisions and more at the ABA Press Room.


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


Court: TCA


Stephen C. Barton and Kevin Baskette, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellant/Defendant Fischer Steel Corporation.

David G. Mills, Cordova, Tennessee, for Appellee/Plaintiff Jerry T. Troup, Jr.


This is a personal injury action involving comparative fault. At a warehouse construction site, the defendant steel subcontractor cut a hole in the roof of the partially constructed warehouse. A temporary cover was put over the hole. A week later, the plaintiff employee of a roofing subcontractor fell through the hole and sustained serious injuries. The plaintiff received full workers' compensation benefits from his immediate employer, the roofing subcontractor. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant steel subcontractor. The steel subcontractor then sought to assert fault against the general contractor in charge of the entire warehouse construction project. The steel subcontractor filed a motion in limine to assert fault against the nonparty general contractor. The motion was denied and the case proceeded to a jury trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $546,000. The defendant steel subcontractor now appeals, asserting numerous errors by the trial court, including error in precluding the steel subcontractor from asserting fault against the general contractor. We reverse the trial court's denial of the motion in limine, vacate the judgment, and remand, finding that the steel subcontractor should have been permitted to assert fault against the general contractor.



Court: TCCA


Tony N. Brayton, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellant, Calvin Austin.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Tiffani Taylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The appellant, Calvin Austin, was charged with violating probation. After a hearing in which the trial court revoked the appellant's probation solely on the fact that the appellant received a new arrest, the appellant appealed. Because the trial court improperly revoked the appellant's probation without a finding that the revocation was based on a preponderance of the evidence, we reverse the revocation of probation and remand the case for a hearing in which the trial court determines whether the preponderance of the evidence justifies a revocation.



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Move of trust's assets invalid, court rules
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Nashville lawyer to be reinstated
Nashville lawyer Kevin Shalom Terry, who was suspended June 5, 2000, will be reinstated to the practice of law contingent on passing the bar examination and other conditions, the Board of Professional Responsibility reports.
Read the BPR news release.

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