Hidden metadata fair game, ABA ethics opinion says

Lawyers who receive electronic documents are free to look for and use information hidden in metadata -- information embedded in electronically produced documents -- even if the documents were provided by an opposing lawyer, according to a new ethics opinion from the American Bar Association. Read more about this opinion, which is contrary to the view of some legal ethics authorities, at the ABA web site:


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01 - TN Supreme Court
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TSC


Jimmy F. Rodgers, Jr., and Arnold A. Stulce, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Anna Sue Correll, Individually and as Administrator Ad Litem for the Estate of Edward H. Correll

John R. Lewis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co.


We accepted this appeal prior to its review by the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel primarily to determine whether an employer's subrogation right under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-112© extends to the recovery an employee’s surviving spouse obtains in a products liability action filed by the employee in Georgia prior to his death. We uphold the trial court’s determination that the employer's statutory subrogation extends to the surviving spouse's products liability recovery. In addition, we affirm the trial court's disposition of the plaintiff's claim concerning a Medicare lien for medical expenses, the trial court's holding that an offset for Social Security old-age benefits applies to the award of workers' compensation death benefits, and the trial court's resolution of the surviving spouse’s claim for attorneys' fees. We remand this case to the trial court to determine the amount of the recovery the employee's surviving spouse obtained in the Georgia products liability action and to allocate a reasonable portion of the recovery to the surviving spouse's claim for loss of consortium, to which the employer’s subrogation right does not extend. Finally, upon remand the parties may submit for the trial court's consideration proof concerning the amount of the deceased employee's medical expenses for which the employer is responsible.



Court: TCA


Daniel H. Puryear, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sheridan Music Group, Inc.

Norman Gillis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bonnie Lynn Bramlett


Sheridan Music Group, a company formed to collect and administer royalties for songwriters, appeals the trial court’s ruling that Letters of Authorization and Instruction signed by a songwriter were terminable at will. The Letters of Authorization specified no time frame and stated the directives therein were “irrevocable unless specifically changed in writing” by SMG. Pursuant to the Letters of Authorization, the songwriter directed any and all companies owing royalties to the songwriter, including BMI and Embassy Music, to pay to SMG royalties the songwriter was entitled to receive. When the defendant songwriter contacted the companies paying the royalties that she was rescinding the Letters of Authorization, SMG filed this action to inter alia enjoin the songwriter from interfering with its contractual right to receive the royalties unless and until SMG revoked the Letters. The trial court found the songwriter had the right to terminate her relationship with SMG, in which event SMG was under a duty to notify the companies owing royalties to the songwriter that the Letters of Authorization were revoked and to pay the royalties directly to the songwriter. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Gary Wallace ("Plaintiff") is an inmate at the Whiteville Correctional Facility. Plaintiff was sent a package through the U.S. mail which contained illegal drugs. Although the package was intercepted before being delivered to Plaintiff, Plaintiff was disciplined for conspiring to bring illegal drugs into a penal facility. Plaintiff appealed the disciplinary action through the appropriate channels within the Department of Corrections. The disciplinary action taken against Plaintiff was affirmed throughout this process. Plaintiff then filed a petition for common law writ of certiorari claiming the actions of the Department of Corrections and its representatives were illegal, fraudulent, and arbitrary. The Trial Court entered an order giving Plaintiff twenty days in which to make a partial payment toward the filing fee, in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. § 41-21-807. When Plaintiff failed to make the partial payment as ordered, the Trial Court dismissed the petition in its entirety. Plaintiff appeals, and we affirm.



Court: TCCA


Richard Hughes, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Arthur Shelton

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General; and William A. Reedy and Shari Young, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, William Arthur Shelton aka John Shelton, was convicted by a jury in the Bradley County Criminal Court of three counts of false imprisonment, two counts of vandalism, and one count of premeditated first degree murder. He received a total effective sentence of life imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's denial of a motion for severance of the murder counts from the remaining counts, the trial court's exclusion of a witness's complete statement to police, and the sufficiency of the evidence. From our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



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