Ginsburg draws 1,000 plus to Memphis bar event

More than 1,000 people turned out today in Memphis to hear U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg address a joint annual meeting of the Memphis Bar Association and the Memphis Bar Foundation. Ginsburg, who was honored with the Foundation's Benjamin L. Hooks Award, told those present that impressive progress has been made by women in the bar, but there are still more gains to be made to achieve full equality. Other attorneys honored at the event include Courtney Felts, David M. Cook, Caren B. Nichol and Jef Feibelman. Find out more and read Ginsburg's full remarks.

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


Court: TSC


Court: TCA


William Joseph Butler, Lafayette, Tennessee, for the appellant, T.M.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Elizabeth C. Driver, Assistant Attorney General, Douglas Earl Dimond, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Childrenís Services.


The Department of Children's Services petitioned the juvenile court to terminate the parental rights of an illegal immigrant mother to three of her children on multiple grounds. After a hearing, the court granted the petition. We have carefully read the record, and we believe the Department failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it was in the best interest of the children that their mother's parental rights be terminated. We accordingly reverse.


Court: TCA


Jennifer H. Lawrence, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant John P. Konvalinka.

Fred H. Moore and Joseph R. White, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority d/b/a Erlanger Hospital.


This appeal involves a public records request made to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority d/b/a Erlanger Hospital ("Erlanger") by John Konvalinka ("Konvalinka"), an attorney who practices law in Chattanooga. In a related case, we granted a Tenn. R. App. P. 9 interlocutory appeal filed by Alexander Stratienko, M.D. ("Stratienko") on the limited issue of whether the medical credentials of another physician were protected from disclosure by the Peer Review Statute. Konvalinka represents Stratienko in that related proceeding. We entered an order in the Stratienko appeal staying all proceedings below pending our decision on the merits of that appeal. While our stay was in effect, Konvalinka filed the present lawsuit, which is a petition for access to public records in the possession of Erlanger. The Chancery Court determined that all but two groups of the requested documents were covered by our stay in the Stratienko case and denied the petition as to all of the remaining documents because of our stay. Konvalinka appeals. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.


Court: TCA


Robert L. J. Spence, Jr., Memphis, TN; M. Scott Willhite, Jonesboro, AR, for Appellants

Connie Lewis Lensing, Richard C. Saxton, Edward J. Efkeman, Memphis, TN, for Appellee


This is the second time this case has been on appeal. This case stems from an alleged breach of an employment contract between an employer and its employees. In this appeal, we are asked to determine (1) whether the chancery court erred when it dismissed eight of the ten plaintiffs from the appeal as they had not perfected an appeal to the trial court's judgment notwithstanding the verdict that was reversed on appeal; (2) whether the chancery court erred when it found that the employer had not breached its contract when it incorporated an integrated master seniority list that did not "endtail" pilots from another corporation that merged into the employer; (3) whether, assuming that a breach occurred, the employees waived their breach of contract claims by failing to object to the alleged breach in a timely fashion; and (4) whether the chancery court erred when it awarded discretionary costs for court reporter expense for hearings. On appeal, the employees contend that the chancery court erred when it dismissed eight of the ten employees as they had not properly perfected an appeal because the eight employees should be able to benefit from the appellate decision regarding the remaining two employees. The employees also assert that the employer breached their employment contract when it incorporated an integrated seniority list altering their seniority rights and that they had not waived any claim for breach of contract because of their conduct. Finally, the employees contend that the chancery court erred when it awarded discretionary costs for court reporter expenses for hearings as rule 54.04(2) of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure allow for the recovery of court reporter expenses for depositions or trials only. The employer contends that it did not breach the employment contract and that, assuming breach, the employees waived any breach of contract claim because they failed to challenge the arbitration award that established the integrated master seniority list in a timely fashion and that they failed to object to the breach of contract in a timely fashion after the breach. We affirm the decision of the chancery court finding that the employer had not breached its employee contract with its employees and affirm the decision of the chancery court dismissing eight of the ten employees from the new trial as they had not properly perfected an appeal to the chancery court's original judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Further, we affirm the chancery court's award of discretionary costs.


Court: TCA


Barclay M. Roberts and Lesley Gunther, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Debra Owens.

Marcy N. Ingram, Assistant Shelby County Attorney, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shelby County Government.


This is a lawsuit for on-the-job injury benefits. The plaintiff was employed as a jailer for the defendant county government. She injured her back in a slip-and-fall accident which occurred during the scope of her employment. The county paid her on-the-job injury benefits while she was being treated for her injuries. After about two months, her treating physician released her from his care, stated that she had no permanent anatomical disability, and determined that she was capable of unrestricted work. The county stopped paying her on-the-job injury benefits and she returned to full-duty work. Later, complaining of continued back pain, the plaintiff saw another physician. This physician opined that the plaintiff had a 6% permanent disability to her body as a whole as a direct result of the slip-and-fall accident. The plaintiff filed this lawsuit for further benefits under the countyís OJI policy. After a trial, the trial court found that the plaintiff did not have a permanent vocational disability and held in favor of the county. The plaintiff now appeals. We affirm, concluding that there is no reason to reject the trial courtís determinations of credibility and that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial courtís decision.


Court: TCCA


Jay Norman, Nashville, Tennessee for the petitioner, James Donald Haynes.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Radford, District Attorney General; and Steven L. Garrett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: J.C. MCLIN

The petitioner, James Donald Haynes, appeals from the post-conviction courtís denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received the effective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered. Following our review of the record and the partiesí briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Harrison Melvin X. Pearison, Jr., Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Joe C. Crumley, Jr., District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Harrison Melvin X. Pearison, Jr., appeals from the trial courtís order denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial courtís denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The petition fails to establish a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the state's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Charles E. Gilchrist, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio Saulsberry

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


A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant of first degree premeditated murder, especially aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. This Court reversed the defendantís conviction for first degree premeditated murder on direct appeal and remanded for a retrial on the defendantís two charges of felony murder. Prior to his retrial, the defendant filed a motion stating that his prosecution for the felony murder charges is a violation of the principles of double jeopardy. The trial court denied the defendantís motion. The defendant now brings an interlocutory appeal to determine whether the principles of double jeopardy bar a trial on the two felony murder charges. We find that a retrial on the felony murder charges would not constitute double jeopardy and affirm the decision of the trial court.


Supreme Court Watch
Legal News
Election 2006

Supreme Court Watch
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Read it in The City Paper.
Judicial commission should be independent
The so-called Tennessee Plan, the process for selecting appellate judges, works well for Tennessee. What needs modifying, however, is the process for selecting the members of the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission, The Tennessean said in an editorial yesterday.
Read the editorial.
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Read his column in the Tennessean.
Legal News
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Find out why.
Amount of female clerks plummet on high court
The number of women who hold law clerkships with the U.S. Supreme Court has dropped to only seven out of the 37 law clerkships available for the 2006-2007 term. This is the first time that the number of female clerks has dropped into the single digits since 1994, reported the New York Times.
Read it in The Daily Times.
Tennessee court receiving hundreds of medication suits
With the number of plaintiffs growing by "three or four a day," there are now over 250 individuals claiming product liability actions against the New Jersey-based pharmaceutical corporation Novartis, all of which have been transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, lawyers for some of the numerous plaintiffs said last week.
The City Paper has the details.
McMinn jail escape highlight overcrowding, funding problems
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Find out more from WATE.
Lawsuit against former child abuse prosecutor modified
A federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit brought against a former Hamilton County child abuse prosecutor, while leaving other parts in. Mary Sullivan Moore had been sued in Federal Court for allegedly overstepping her bounds in a custody case. Moore, who ran unsuccessfully for General Sessions Court judge and is no longer a prosecutor, earlier said she acted to protect the child. Judge Sandy Mattice threw out part of the case, saying Moore had immunity as a prosecutor. He threw out claims involving a custody hearing in Juvenile Court in the case. But he allowed claims to remain involving actions outside the custody hearing in her individual capacity.
Read about the claims that still stand at
Ex-sheriff can still be called a 'law' man
Former Bedford County Sheriff Clay Parker may soon be at the state's table in the Marshall County Courthouse to help Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard prosecute cases. As a fourth-year law student at the Nashville School of Law, the Tennessee Supreme Court can authorize Parker to appear in court under the auspices of the district attorney, the public defender, or an attorney in private practice.
Read more in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette.
Newport policemen get jail time
A federal judge in Greeneville today ordered time behind bars for two Newport police sergeants convicted of stopping Hispanic motorists and stealing their money.
Read the story in the News Sentinel
Assistant district attorney Sanders dies
A long-time Columbia attorney and assistant district attorney who was known for trying nearly all of Maury County's murder cases during his career, died Saturday at his home. Bob Sanders, 75, was a 1959 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. Services were to be at 4 p.m. today at St. Peter's Episcopal Church with the Rev. Thomas Wilson officiating. Burial will be in St. John's Churchyard at Ashwood. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to St. Peter's Episcopal Church or St. John's Episcopal Church, 311 W. 7th St., Columbia, TN 38401.
Read more in The Daily Herald
Election 2006
Candidate Corker ordered to give deposition
Chancellor Howell Peoples ignored pleas from Bob Corker that he is too busy to give a deposition before the Nov. 7 election, and ordered the Republican Senate nominee to give a 3-hour deposition in a lawsuit brought by an environmental group over how the development of the Brainerd Wal-Mart affected a nearby natural area.
Read more in the

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