Judge allows families to pursue punitive damage claims

Two families who lost loved ones in a Nashville nursing home fire can pursue punitive damage claims against the company that owned the facility, a judge ruled today. At least 16 people died and an unknown number of other elderly residents were injured in the 2003 fire, the Tennessean reports.


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


Court: TCA


Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Dean L. Battleson.

Thomas C. Jessee, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Lara L. Battleson.

Judge: LEE

In this post-divorce case, Mr. Battleson petitioned the trial court to modify the parties' parenting plan and designate him as the primary custodial parent of the parties' two minor children. After a hearing, the trial court (1) sua sponte held Mr. Battleson in civil contempt and awarded Ms. Battleson her attorney's fees and the cost of her medical expert's deposition as sanctions; (2) found no material change in circumstances justifying the change of primary parenting responsibility from Ms. Battleson to Mr. Battleson; and (3) clarified an ambiguous portion of the parenting plan regarding Mr. Battleson's one week per month visitation of the younger child. After careful review, we hold that the trial court erred in holding Mr. Battleson in civil contempt and in awarding Ms. Battleson attorney's fees and costs when Ms. Battleson did not request such relief. We affirm the trial court's refusal to change primary parenting responsibility from Ms. Battleson to Mr. Battleson and affirm the trial court's clarification of the parenting plan.



Legal News
Election 2006

Legal News
Carter County faces jail decertification
The Tennessee Corrections Institute has decertified the Carter County Jail, saying that overcrowding and understaffing issues have not been addressed by county leaders.
Read the full story in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Boult Cummings recognized for web site
Boult Cummings was recently recognized for outstanding web site development by the Web Marketing Association. More than 2,300 web sites from 35 countries were entered in the competition.
Visit the web site
TBA holds events at UT Law
Tennessee Bar Association members and staff were on hand for the association's annual law school outreach at the University of Tennessee College of Law last night and today. The events were sponsored by the TBA Young Lawyers Division. Next week, the TBA visits the University of Memphis School of Law on Thursday, Oct. 27. Join us on campus from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the membership drive or from 6 to 9 p.m. for the reception at Swig, located in Peabody Place.

Election 2006
Ford, Corker backers turn out early
Early voting in the home counties of Tennessee's two senatorial candidates is running far above average. Shelby County, home of U.S. Senate hopeful Harold Ford Jr., saw first day voting 14 times that of 2002, the Tennessean reports. In Hamilton County, home to Bob Corker, early voting was up 84 percent. In Knox and Davidson counties, early voting is running behind 2002, the newspaper reports.

Knox court building name to honor judge
The Knox County Juvenile Court Building will be named in honor of the late Judge Carey E. Garrett at a Nov. 17 ceremony at the site. A reception will follow the ceremony. To learn more, contact Laurence V. Gibney, director of court services, at (865) 215-6417

A TBA Today item Thursday linked readers to a Knoxville News Sentinel piece on the recent U.S. Supreme Court action regarding anti-discrimination laws in California. The piece, which was originally published as an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, implied the court ruled in favor of the law. But as indicated in this news story from the Los Angeles Times, the court actually denied certiorari, letting the California Supreme Court's decision in Evans vs. Berkeley stand.
Read the California Supreme Court's decision

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