Priorities change as Democrats take over committees

With Republicans in control, the hot topics for U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees were tort reform, judicial activism and socially divisive issues such as abortion and gay rights. These topics will likely move to the back burner as Democrats take control for the first time in 12 years. A National Law Journal article explores the Democrat agenda for these committees and profiles the chairmen who will be holding the gavels.

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1163449248503

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

JOSEPH WAYNE PALANKI, A MINOR BY NEXT FRIEND AND MOTHER, MICHELLE ELIZABETH PALANKI v. VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Todd A. Rose, Paris, Tennessee; Les Jones, Memphis, Tennessee; Rosella M. Shackelford, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Wayne Palanki, a Minor by Next Friend and Mother, Michelle Elizabeth Palanki.

Andree Sophia Blumstein, Steven D. Hurd, Steven E. Anderson, Sara F. Reynolds, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Vanderbilt University.

Judge: CAIN

Minor, through mother and next friend, filed a medical malpractice action against hospital for the admittedly negligent removal of ninety percent of the minorís bladder. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of Plaintiff for $16,000,000.00. The trial court suggested a remittitur that reduced the amount of Plaintiff's judgment to $6,500,000.00. Plaintiff accepted the remittitur under protest and filed the instant appeal, seeking a reinstatement of the jury's verdict and prejudgment interest. The hospital cross-appealed seeking an increase in the trial court's suggested remittitur, arguing that the judgment was excessive in light of other medical negligence actions and that the trial court erred in admitting testimony about improbable risks of medical complications as a result of infant's injuries and admitting evidence of pre-majority medical expenses. The decision of the trial court is affirmed in all respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/palankij_111406.pdf


HERMAN SAWYER v. MEMPHIS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Kathleen L. Caldwell, Memphis, TN, for Appellant.

Samuel Morris, Timothy Taylor, Memphis, TN, for Appellees.

Judge: HIGHERS

This case involves allegations of employer discrimination by an African-American male employee. He claimed that he experienced race and gender discrimination because he was treated differently than his co-workers who were African-American females and a white male. He also claimed to have been retaliated against after he filed various grievances and complaints against his employer, and he alleged outrageous conduct on the part of his employer and his supervisor, individually. The trial court dismissed the case, and for the following reasons, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/sawyerh_111406.pdf


TEG ENTERPRISES v. ROBERT MILLER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeffrey A. Cobble, Greeneville, Tennessee, for appellant.

Robert W. Miller, Kingsport, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

In this action for damages to personal property caused by an allegedly defective storage container, the Trial Court granted Judgment for plaintiffs. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/teg_111406.pdf


DWAYNE E. ANDERSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE, RICKY BELL, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dwayne Anderson, pro se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Dwayne E. Anderson, appeals from the order of the trial court summarily dismissing his petition seeking habeas corpus relief. The trial court dismissed the petition because it determined that the petition did not state valid grounds for habeas corpus relief. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/andersond_111406.pdf


TERRANCE DAVIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terrance Davis.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Assistant District Attorney General,for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Terrance Davis, pled guilty to two counts of selling more than .5 grams of cocaine in a school zone in exchange for concurrent Range I sentences of twenty-two years served at 100%. The petitioner now appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his request for post-conviction relief and contends that (1) he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and (2) his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/davist_111406.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES SHANNON DIGBY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), and Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, James Shannon Digby.

Michael E. Moore, Acting Attorney General; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Nichole D. Bass, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, James Shannon Digby, appeals from the Blount County Circuit Court's order revoking his probation for failure to pay court costs and supervision fees for a misdemeanor worthless check conviction. The trial court ordered the defendant to serve his sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail, less credit for time served. The defendant claims that the trial court failed to find that his failure to pay was willful. We hold that the trial court made the appropriate findings and affirm its judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/digbyj_111406.pdf


GARLAND GODSEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John E. Appman, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Garland Godsey.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William Edward Gibson, District Attorney General; and Benjamin W. Fann, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Garland Godsey, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his second degree murder conviction, arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request a jury instruction on diminished capacity and for failing to file a timely motion for a new trial. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court's denial of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/godseyg_111406.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ARIKO T. HALIBURTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ariko T. Haliburton.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Russell Thomas and James Todd, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Ariko T. Haliburton, was convicted of attempted second degree murder and received a sentence of eighteen years as a Range II, Multiple Offender. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Following our review of the parties' briefs and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/haliburtona_111406.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY SHANNON LANE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William K. Cather, Assistant District Public Defender, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Shannon Lane.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Robert N. Hibbett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Anthony Shannon Lane, was convicted of aggravated child abuse and sentenced to twenty-five years in the Department of Correction to be served at 100%. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the sentence imposed by the trial court. Following our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/lanea_111406.pdf


ANDRE L. MAYFIELD v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Andre L. Mayfield, Mountain City, Tennessee, pro se, for the appellant.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Andre L. Mayfield, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, for this Court to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion. We grant the motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/mayfielda_111406.pdf


Arrest Based on Refusal to Sign Citation or Provide Identification Following a Violation of City

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-11-09

Opinion Number: 06-167

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2006/ag_06-167.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Developer hit with big penalty for 'scorched-earth litigation strategy'
Circuit Judge W. Dale Young has slapped a Florida real estate developer with a $1.26 million penalty, saying he employed a "scorched-earth litigation strategy" in a seven-year lawsuit over an Alcoa shopping center.
Read about it in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Davidson County juvenile records compromised
Sealed juvenile court records have been released to the public in Davidson County amid a governmental snafu that has state and local agencies blaming each other. At the same time, officials in both the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and the Davidson County Public Defender's Office said Monday that thousands of juvenile court records are co-mingled with adult criminal records.
The Nashville City Paper has more
School board delays desegregation vote
The Jackson-Madison County School Board voted unanimously to postpone a decision on whether the school system should petition the court to lift parts of its desegregation order. Board members initially were split along racial lines on the decision. However, after agreeing that additional time was needed to review the consent decree, the board decided to postpone the vote until February.
The Jackson Sun has an update
Bradley County crime lab faces backlogs and funding crunch
County Sheriff Tim Gobble said funding for the department's crime lab has become such a burden that he may ask the state for money. The lab currently is facing a 40-week backlog for testing evidence. Read more in the
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Republican will chair panel on juvenile court expansion
Shelby County Commissioner Mike Carpenter, who cast the lone Republican vote last week to expand the county's juvenile court, has been named chairman of the panel charged with implementing the change. The panel will determine the cost of adding a second judge and sort out logistics of operating with two judges.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Campaign afoot to name juvenile court building
Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person, who was elected this year to succeed Kenneth A. Turner on the Shelby County court, is leading an effort to name the juvenile court building at 616 Adams the "Kenneth A. Turner Juvenile Justice Center."
An editorial from the Commercial Appeal makes a case for the naming
UT Chattanooga seeks funding for diversity
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is working to expand student diversity after settlement of the Geier desegregation lawsuit earlier this year. The school has asked the state legislature for $450,000 for this purpose, according to Newschannel 6. While race-based scholarships are no longer legal, schools may offer programs that are open to all students facing barriers to college.

Oak Ridge attorney appointed to ABA committee
TBA member Neil McBride has been appointed to the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defense, which advises the association on how the country's justice system can better serve low- and moderate-income people.
Read about McBride in the Oak Ridger
Judiciary critics undeterred
Despite major losses in the polls last week, critics of the nation's judges pledged to keep fighting against a judiciary they say has lost touch with America. Read how both sides are responding to the election results in this AP story from the
Knoxville News Sentinel
DOJ: detainees have no right to challenge status
The Bush administration says prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay have no right to challenge their detentions in civilian courts. In documents filed yesterday with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department argued that suits by hundreds of detainees should be dismissed. It also defended the military's authority to arrest people overseas and detain them indefinitely. It's the first time the administration's legal arguments have been spelled out, reports WATE Newschannel 6.

Legislative News
Ford deciding whether to continue suit
Now that the voters have decided to return Ophelia Ford to the state Senate, the Memphis Democrat is deciding if she will press on with a federal lawsuit filed after senators removed her from office last year. Her trial was delayed but lawyers from both sides are scheduled to meet with Judge Bernice Donald on Dec. 18. Learn more in this AP story
from the Johnson City Press
Upcoming
Chattanooga bar hosts mediation luncheon
The Chattanooga Bar Association is celebrating Mediation Day in the state by hosting a luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Walden Club. High school students will present a mock mediation and local officials will be on hand to support dispute resolution methods. Contact Chattanooga Bar Association Executive Director Lynda Hood at (423) 756-3222 to reserve a spot.

UT offers program on how to avoid driving judges crazy
Also tomorrow, the UT College of Law Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution is sponsoring a program with Judge Joe G. Riley, a 25-year veteran of the Tennessee trial and appellate courts, on what it takes to succeed in the courtroom. For more information contact Penny White at pwhite4@utk.edu

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