Commission to meet Jan. 24 to pick 3rd court nominee

The Judicial Selection Commission will meet on Jan. 24 to choose the third nominee for the vacant Tennessee Supreme Court position, unless an appropriate court directs it otherwise through an appeal of Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle's recent ruling. The third person recommended by the commission will be one of those who previously submitted an application and went through the interview and public hearing process on Sept. 5. This person will join Judge D'Army Bailey and Judge William C. Koch Jr. as nominees submitted to Gov. Bredesen for appointment.
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TCA


William M. Jeter and Michael D. Herrin, Memphis, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellant American States Insurance Company.

Christopher J. Pittman, Clarksville, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellee Charles Hampton's A-1 Signs, Inc.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an insurance case. The plaintiff installs steel structures that hold billboard signs. On one of the sign structures, the sign fell from its sign pole after installation. An investigation revealed a defective weld between the sign pole and the mounting plate. A subsequent investigation indicated that all sign poles fabricated by a particular sub-contractor had similar defective welds. The plaintiff sued the sub-contractor for breach of contract on 78 structures and obtained a default judgment. The plaintiff then filed the instant lawsuit against the sub-contractor’s liability insurer, alleging that it was liable under the sub-contractor’s commercial general liability policy and umbrella policy. The defendant insurer filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted it in part, narrowing the plaintiff's claim to the sign structures which showed physical damage. After a bench trial, the trial court found there was coverage and entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff. We reverse, holding that physical damage arising out of and confined to the defective welds performed by the insured is not covered under either the commercial general liability policy or the umbrella policy.


Court: TCA

Judge: KIRBY

This is a termination of parental rights case. The three children involved in this action lived with their mother and the mother's boyfriend. The oldest child reported to authorities that the mother's boyfriend had sexually abused her. The State was notified of the allegations, and the mother was ordered to keep the children away from the boyfriend. The mother, however, did not believe her daughter's allegations of abuse, and the boyfriend continued to live with her and the children. Consequently, the children were removed from the mother's home and placed in protective custody. While in State custody, all three children underwent extensive counseling. Eventually, all three reported to their counselors a variety of serious acts of abuse by the mother's boyfriend and by the mother as well. The mother made only minimal attempts to fulfill the requirements of the children's permanency plans and continued to live with the boyfriend. The State filed the instant petition to terminate the mother's parental rights on the grounds of abandonment, failure to comply with the permanency plans, and persistent conditions which led to the children's removal. After a five-day trial, the trial court granted the State's petition on all grounds. The mother now appeals. We affirm, finding that clear and convincing evidence establishes grounds for termination, and that terminating the mother's rights is in the children's best interest.


Court: TCA


Aminah M. Collick and Gregory Dye Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth George Smithson, II.

Michael W. Binkley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Inge Lora Taubitz Smithson.

Judge: CAIN

Husband appeals the parenting plan adopted by the trial court, the award of rehabilitative alimony and attorney's fees, and the award of child support as a result of the divorce granted to Wife. We affirm the adoption of the parenting plan and award of attorney's fees. We modify the rehabilitative alimony award as well as the child support award. The modification of the child support award is in confirmance with the stipulation of the parties on appeal and the appropriate calculations under current child support guidelines. The cause is remanded for further proceedings.


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