CLE offers introduction to state and federal court practice

The TBA Young Lawyers Division, in partnership with TennBarU, will offer a two-hour seminar next Wednesday, Jan. 10, in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. The session introduces the basics of practicing in Tennessee's state and federal trial courts. Participants will hear from seasoned practioners who will talk about court rules and customs and share their own observations about developing an effective trial practice. Learn more or register at:

https://www.tba.org/tennbaru/skills_01_2007.html

TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi.

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TBA members can get the full-text versions of these opinions three ways detailed below. All methods require a TBA username and password. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on-line at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi

Here's how you can obtain full-text version. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion. Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

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

WILLIAM DORNING, SHERIFF OF LAWRENCE COUNTY v. AMETRA BAILEY, COUNTY MAYOR OF LAWRENCE COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William M. Harris, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ametra Bailey, County Mayor of Lawrence County, Tennessee.

John S. Colley, III, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, William Dorning, Sheriff of Lawrence County, Tennessee.

Judge: CLEMENT

The Sheriff of Lawrence County filed this action against Lawrence County pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 8-20-101 seeking additional personnel and funding, some of which the Sheriff had not requested through the budget process. The trial court ruled in the Sheriff's favor on most issues, and Lawrence County appeals the trial court's decisions to grant the Sheriff eight new deputies and across-the-board salary increases for all personnel, retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year. We have concluded that the Sheriff is estopped pursuant to the County Budgeting Law of 1957 to petition the court for any relief not requested in the Sheriff's budget proposals submitted to the County during the formal budget process. Therefore, we modify the award for additional deputies, limiting the increase to two deputies, which is the number the Sheriff requested in his budget request proposals submitted to the County. We affirm the trial court's decision to make the salary increases retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/dorningw_010407.pdf


LISA DAWN WINTON HAINES v. LEE ALAN HAINES
With Appendix


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Geri D. Spindel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lisa Dawn Winton Haines.

Kirk Andrews and Laura Jane Webb, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lee Alan Haines.

No brief filed on behalf of Jerry W. Cunningham, Maryville, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem for Abigayle Leigh Haines and Jessica Dawn Haines.

Judge: SUSANO

In this post-divorce proceeding, the trial court granted the petition of Lee Alan Haines ("Father") to change the custody of the parties' two minor children from Lisa Dawn Winton Haines ("Mother") to Father. The change in custody followed a bench trial at which the trial court heard, in chambers, the testimony of the children as elicited by the leading questions of the Guardian Ad Litem ("the GAL"). The examination took place outside the physical presence of counsel for the parties. Mother appeals, (1) challenging the change of custody; (2) questioning evidentiary rulings by the trial court; and (3) asserting that the trial court erred in allowing the children to be questioned in chambers by the GAL outside the physical presence of counsel for the parties. We hold that the in-chambers proceeding, as designed and conducted by the trial court, constitutes error. Because we deem the error to be a violation of due process and prejudicial to the judicial process, we vacate the trial court's judgment in toto and remand for a new trial before a different judge.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/hainesldw_010407.pdf

Appendix
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/hainesldw_appx_010407.pdf


JEAN E. HOOD v. J. DANIEL FREEMON, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

H. Anthony Duncan, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jean E. Hood.

J. Daniel Freemon, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, pro se for the appellees, J. Daniel Freemon and Ron Mayes.

Judge: COTTRELL

The owner of a tract of undeveloped commercial property in the city of Lawrenceburg asked the trial court to enjoin the lessees of that property from subletting it to the city for the purpose of building a retention pond. She claimed that such a use would constitute waste or create a permanent and private nuisance on the land. The trial court declined to issue the injunction and certified its decision as final for purposes of appeal. We reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/hoodj_010407.pdf


WILLIAM JAMES JEKOT v. PENNIE CHRISTINE JEKOT
With Separate Dissenting and Concurring Opinion


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, William James Jekot.

Darrell L. Scarlett, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Pennie Christine Jekot.

Judge: LEE

In this divorce case, the husband appeals the trial court's division of marital property, the amount of the award of rehabilitative alimony to the wife, and the grant of divorce to the wife based on the husband's adultery. The wife argues that she should have been awarded alimony in futuro rather than rehabilitative alimony. After review, we find no error in the trial court's division of the marital property and the award of divorce to the wife based on the husband's adultery. However, we do find error in the award of alimony. We find that the wife is not capable of being rehabilitated and that the amount of monthly alimony awarded should be altered. We affirm the judgment as to the marital property and the award of divorce based on the husband's adultery and modify the trial court's judgment to award the wife alimony in futuro in the amount of $9,000 per month.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/jekotw_010407.pdf

D. MICHAEL SWINEY, J., Separate Dissenting and Concurring Opinion
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/jekotwDIS_010407.pdf


CARLTON B. PARKS v. CITY OF CHATTANOOGA, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Carlton B. Parks, appellant, pro se.

Crystal R. Freiberg and Michael A. McMahan, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees City of Chattanooga, William S. Parker, Jr., Jimmie L. Dotson, Steven M. Parks, Stephen W. Angel, and James T Carroll.

Judge: SUSANO

Carlton B. Parks ("the plaintiff") is a former police officer with the Chattanooga Police Department. While employed as a police officer, the plaintiff was charged with rape. As a result of the rape allegations, the plaintiff's employment with the City of Chattanooga was terminated. After the rape charges against the plaintiff were dismissed, he unsuccessfully sought reinstatement. The plaintiff filed two lawsuits against the City of Chattanooga and various other defendants in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. In those two lawsuits, the plaintiff asserted numerous constitutional, statutory, and common law violations. Both of the federal court lawsuits were dismissed on summary judgment. The present lawsuit is the plaintiff's third lawsuit; he asserts only state law claims in the present suit. The trial court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss after finding the present claims were barred by the claim preclusion doctrine. The plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/parksc_010407.pdf


STEVEN E. SCHRADER v. KATHY H. SCHRADER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charles W. Swanson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant Steven E. Schrader.

Kirk Andrews and Paul Randal Dillard, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellee Kathy H. Schrader.

Judge: SUSANO

Steven E. Schrader ("Husband") filed a complaint seeking a divorce from Kathy H. Schrader ("Wife") after a 15-year marriage. Wife filed a counterclaim also seeking a divorce. Husband's attorney later withdrew from the case; the attorney stated that he had been unable to communicate with his client for over five months. At some point, Husband moved to a new location, but he failed to inform the trial court, Wife, or Wife's attorney of his new address. This matter was set for trial on July 26, 2004, and, when the date arrived, Husband failed to appear. The trial court proceeded with the trial in Husband's absence. Wife was the only witness. Following the trial, the court entered a final judgment that awarded Wife just under 99% of the marital property. Husband filed a motion to set aside the final judgment, asserting various reasons as to why he was entitled to the requested relief, including an argument that the marital property division was not equitable. The trial court refused to set aside its judgment. We vacate the trial courtís division of the marital property and its award of alimony in solido because we hold that Wife's proof preponderates against a finding that the division is equitable. The remainder of the trial court's judgment is affirmed. This case is remanded for a new trial on the issue of an equitable division of the marital property and, if necessary, the issue of alimony in solido.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/schraderse_010407.pdf


ANITA WADHWANI v. PETER WHITE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Cynthia C. Chappell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Peter White.

Cynthia M. Odle, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Anita Wadhwani.

Judge: CLEMENT

A former spouse challenges the extension and modification of an Order of Protection, contending the proof was insufficient to justify either the extension or modification. Finding the record contains sufficient evidence from which the trial court could determine an extension and modification of the Order was necessary, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/wadhwania_010407.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
TBA Member Services

Legal News
FBI's Rehnquist file details confirmation battles, drug dependence
The late Chief Justice William Rehnquist's Senate confirmation battles in 1971 and 1986 were more intense and political than previously known, according to a newly released FBI file that also offers dramatic new details about Rehnquist's 1981 hospitalization and dependence on a painkiller.
Law.com has the story
Brooks compares court to a 'plantation'
An African-American Democrat and former employee of the Shelby County Juvenile Court accused court officials of racist and discriminatory hiring and promotional practices. Henri Brooks blasted the hiring practices on Wednesday, likening its operations to a "plantation."
Read the story in the Commercial Appeal
Charges against judge dismissed just before trial
Domestic assault charges against General Sessions Civil Court Judge Lonnie Thompson were dismissed this morning shortly before the misdemeanor case was to go to trial, the Commercial Appeal reports.
Read the story
Study: 40 percent legal aid attorneys plan to leave jobs
A recent study, conducted by the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Illinois Coalition for Justice, found that more than 40 percent of legal aid attorneys plan to leave their jobs in the next three years. The study cites low pay and high law school debt as key factors driving the decisions of attorneys. Among legal aid attorneys with up to five years' experience who are the sole earners for their households, 73 percent plan to leave their jobs in the next three years.
Read the study
Husch & Eppenberger downsizing
Law firm Husch & Eppenberger is eliminating its consumer bankruptcy practice in Memphis, downsizing its Memphis office at One Memphis Place and closing its Nashville office, the Memphis Business Journal reports today.
Read the story
New Leadership Law class begins
The Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law class for this year kicked off its opening retreat at Montgomery Bell State Park today. Leadership Law is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. This year's class of 34 attorneys was chosen from across the state.

ABA announces professionalism awards
Nominations are now being accepted for the seventeenth annual E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards, which recognize projects that enhance professionalism among lawyers. Bar associations, law schools, law firms and other not-for-profit law related organizations are eligible to apply.
Entry forms and guidelines are available here
Politics
Cohen, Corker take oaths of office
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., were sworn into office today amid the pageantry of a dramatic, partisan changing of the guard. The ceremonies in the respective House and Senate chambers began the 110th Congress, and marked the first time in 12 years that both houses of Congress will be controlled by Democrats.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Arraignment reset in Ford fraud case
The planned arraignment today for former state Sen. John Ford on wire fraud and other federal charges has been rescheduled for Jan. 19. Ford's Memphis attorney, Michael Scholl, said Ford needed the additional time to hire local counsel in Nashville, where the arraignment will be held.
The Tennessean has more
TBA Member Services
January TBJ online
Access to justice is the emphasis for the January Tennessee Bar Journal, featuring Memphis's Immigrant Justice Program, winners of the TBA's public service awards, news, book reviews and columns from regulars Larry Wilks, Don Paine, John Day and Bill Haltom.
View the Journal or download a copy here
Student loans at low rates through SunTrust
The TBA and SunTrust Bank now have a Partnership Program to help alleviate the burden of student loans. Members and their families can consolidate their federal student loans at a special low fixed rate - right now as low as 5.375%. In addition, those with consolidation loans greater than $10,000 are eligible to reduce their interest rate by another 1.5% for on-time payments and automatic debit payments.
Learn more

 
 
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