Supreme Court increases client protection fund limits

Based on the recommendation of the Tennessee Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection, the Supreme Court today increased the benefits the fund may pay to claimants with established losses. The fund is designed to restore trust in the integrity of the legal profession by reimbursing clients for fees lost when attorneys withhold or misappropriate funds.

For the last several years, the fund has been limited to a $25,000 benefit per claim and an aggregate benefit of $125,000 for all claims against a particular lawyer. The court's action today raises the limits to $100,000 per claim and $250,000 per lawyer. In making the change, the court recognized that the fund has financial reserves in excess of $2 million and that other states with less reserves provide greater benefits. Download a copy of the amendment to Supreme Court Rule 25, Section 13.01:

http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/news/2007/S.Rule 25_amendment_041007.pdf

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

B & B ENTERPRISES OF WILSON COUNTY, LLC ET AL. v. CITY OF LEBANON ET AL.

Court: TCA

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a dispute arising out of the development of a subdivision in Wilson County. After the planning commission refused to approve two phases of the subdivision, both the Chancery Court for Wilson County and this court determined that the planning commission had acted arbitrarily and capriciously. Thereafter, the developers sought permission to amend their original petition for common-law writ of certiorari to add an inverse condemnation claim. The trial court permitted the developers to amend their complaint but granted the planning commission permission to pursue an interlocutory appeal. We have determined that an interlocutory appeal is necessary to prevent needless, expensive and protracted litigation. We have also determined that trial court's order allowing the amendment must be reversed because an inverse condemnation claim cannot be combined with a petition for writ of certiorari.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/bbenterprise_041007.pdf


ELAINE S. BILDNER AND JOHN H. BILDNER, JR. V. GAYLORD ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Fletcher W. Long, Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Charles E. Sizemore, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellants, Elaine S. Bildner and John H. Bildner, Jr.

Rose P. Cantrell and Joel P. Surber, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Gaylord Entertainment Company

Judge: DANIEL

Elaine S. Bildner and her husband, John Bildner, Jr., have appealed the decision of the trial court in granting Gaylord Entertainment Company's Motion for Summary Judgment thereby dismissing their negligence action. We are called upon to review the propriety of the action of the trial court in this determination. After reviewing the record, we hold that the Bildners failed to establish that Gaylord Entertainment Company breached any duty of care. Specifically, the Bildners failed to offer any proof tending to show that the porch composed of aggregate concrete surface where Ms. Bildner fell constituted a defective and/or dangerous condition. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's granting of summary judgment to Gaylord Entertainment Company.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/bildnere_041007.pdf


BARBARA E. RUNIONS v. MAURY COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Phillip L. Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Barbara E. Runions

Jeffrey M. Beemer, Jennifer L. Gremillion, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Maury County, Tennessee

Judge: CAIN

This case concerns a slip-and-fall on county property in which the injured party asserted that a slope in the floor of the office caused her fall. The county argued that the injured fell as a result of health problems, and that she never reached the office, but fell in the hallway outside the office. Following the trial on the matter, the injured filed a Motion to Reopen Proof, maintaining that an internal accident report had been altered by the county in an attempt to bolster its case. The trial court denied the injured's Motion to Reopen Proof, and found in favor of the county. The injured appeals the trial court's denial of its motion, the trial court's findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the trial court's refusal to allow Appellant to introduce Federal Safety Requirements as a notice of a dangerous condition. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/runionsb_041007.pdf


TERESA D. SHERLIN v. SANDRA G. HALL

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James F. Logan, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee for the Appellant, Teresa D. Sherlin

Parks T. Chastain and Michael K. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee for the Appellee, Farmers Insurance Exchange

Judge: SWINEY

Teresa D. Sherlin (Plaintiff) sued Sandra G. Hall in the Circuit Court for Bradley County (Trial Court) seeking compensation for personal injuries and property damage sustained when a vehicle driven by Ms. Hall collided head-on with a vehicle being driven by Plaintiff while Plaintiff was acting in the course and scope of her employment. At the time of the accident, Ms. Hall did not have a driver's license and was an uninsured motorist. Plaintiff's uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier, Farmers Insurance Exchange (Farmers), answered Plaintiff's complaint and filed a motion for summary judgment. The Trial Court granted Farmers summary judgment finding and holding, inter alia, that Plaintiff was receiving workers' compensation benefits, these workers' compensation benefits exceeded the limits of liability of Plaintiff's uninsured motorist policy, and because the limits of liability of the uninsured motorist policy are reduced by the amount of the workers' compensation benefits pursuant to the insurance policy, Farmers had no liability to Plaintiff. Plaintiff appeals to this Court. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/sherlint_041007.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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Jury chosen for Ford trial
Prosecution and defense attorneys today completed selection of 12 jurors and four alternates to hear the public corruption case against former state Sen. John Ford. Deliberations on the fourth and final alternate delayed proceedings, however, the sides still planned to offer opening statements this afternoon. The Commercial Appeal reported on the jury selection process and the
makeup of the final group
Paper calls effort to kill Tennessee Plan 'short-sighted'
The Jackson Sun editorializes today in support of the state's process for selecting and retaining appellate court judges, saying the advantages of the system outweigh the disadvantages.
Read the opinion piece
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Under a plea agreement negotiated by the Shelby County district attorney, a white man will serve 15 years in prison for the brutal murder of a black county code enforcement officer. Local pastors and the Memphis Branch of the NAACP are outraged over what they see as a lax sentence. Questioning whether there is "justice for black people in Memphis," the NAACP says it plans to request a federal investigation.
Read the NAACP's statement on Eyewitness News 24
House panel subpoenas Gonzales documents
The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for new documents today as part of its investigation into the firings of federal prosecutors. Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich, characterized the move as a last resort after weeks of negotiations with the Justice Department failed to provide access to information the committee wants.
Read more on TriCities.com
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Calling the firing of federal prosecutors the "most mishandled, artificial, self-created mess" he could remember, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called for a new team at the department.
WSMV-TV has the story
Justice Kennedy key in close cases
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy plays a pivotal role in shaping just about any matter of consequence that comes before the court. Six cases this term have come down to 5-4 votes, with Kennedy holding the swing vote between four reliably conservative votes and four dependably liberal. Read his reflections on this unique role in an Associated Press report carried by
the Bristol Herald Courier
Upcoming
First Lady to visit Nashville on Thursday
First Lady Laura Bush will be the featured speaker Thursday at a youth conference in Nashville hosted by Tennessee State University. She will speak at noon and then observe panel discussions at the Third Regional Conference on Helping America's Youth.

Employment law seminar offered for nonprofits
The Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts is hosting a free seminar on Thursday for non-profit organizations interested in learning more about employment law. The session will highlight issues such as compliance with federal law, the differences between employees and independent contractors and when and how to use employment contracts. The event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville. To attend, RSVP to 615-312-7224 or tennesseevla@gmail.com

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