Supreme Court solicits proposals for using surplus fees

The Tennessee Supreme Court has appointed a Blue Ribbon Commission to recommend how to spend approximately $1.5 million in surplus funds, which accumulated as a result of late fees paid by lawyers to the CLE Commission from 2002 to 2006. Members of the Commission are: Chair Margaret L. Behm of Nashville, Frank F. Drowota III of Nashville, John T. Fowlkes of Memphis, Max Bahner of Chattanooga and E. Riley Anderson of Knoxville. The court also is seeking proposals from the legal community on how to use the funds. Details on submitting a proposal can be found at:

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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ROY BREWER v. ROCHELLE S. PIGGEE and heirs and next of kin of SIDNEY L. PIGGEE deceased

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James H. Forsythe, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellants, Rochelle S. Piggee and heirs and next of kin of Sidney L. Piggee, deceased.

Lang Wiseman and Chris Patterson, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellee, Roy Brewer.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a quiet title action. The plaintiff's mother owned a parcel of real property. In 1977, the mother executed a deed, conveying the property to one of her sons. Two years later, the plaintiff and her four siblings filed a separate but related lawsuit to set aside the 1977 deed for fraud. In 1985, by court order, the trial court divested the son of sole ownership and created a trust; the son was appointed as trustee for the use and benefit of the mother's grandchild and the grandchild's minor children, until the youngest minor child reached the age of majority. In 1986, by court order, the trial court removed the son as trustee and substituted the grandchild in his place. Despite these orders, in 1994, the son executed a deed purporting to convey the property to a third party. In December 2001, the defendants obtained a deed to the property from a successor in interest to the son. Meanwhile, the youngest beneficiary of the trust reached the age of majority. The plaintiff later obtained a warranty deed to the property from the youngest beneficiary and a quitclaim deed from the trustee grandchild and her other four children. The plaintiff then filed this lawsuit and moved for judgment on the pleadings and/or summary judgment. The defendant answered, raising the defense of adverse possession, and filed a motion to dismiss, raising a defense under T.C.A. section 28-2-110. The trial court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that the 1985 and 1986 orders, as well as the deeds from the grandchild and her five children, established the plaintiff as the rightful owner. The defendant appeals. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand the case for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/brewerb_070307.pdf


COLONIAL PIPELINE COMPANY v. JOHN G. MORGAN, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Ron L. Quigley, Atlanta, Georgia, and Stephen H. Price, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Colonial Pipeline Company.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Mary Ellen Knack, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellees, John G. Morgan, Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, et al.

Judge: CLEMENT

Colonial Pipeline Company, an interstate common carrier and transporter of refined petroleum products, appeals the dismissal of its constitutional challenges to portions of Tennessee's tax system. The Chancery Court dismissed the complaint on the basis that Colonial failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. Finding that declaratory judgments against the State are permissible in certain circumstances such as the ones presented here and that the nature of Colonial's claim relieved it of any obligation to exhaust its administrative remedies, we reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/colonialpipe_070307.pdf


DU SIK LEE AND WON JAE LEE v. KENNETH R. DAVIS AND LINDA P. DAVIS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Nicholas J. Owens, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Du Sik Lee and Won Jae Lee.

James W. Hodges, Jr., and Regina Morrison Newman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Kenneth R. Davis and Linda P. Davis.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a breach of contract case. The defendants own a commercial building that was seriously damaged by a fire. The plaintiffs entered into a lease-purchase contract with the defendants to acquire the building at the expiration of a ten-year lease. Under the contract, the plaintiffs agreed to renovate the building from the fire damage, consistent with the local city building code and the defendant owners' approval. After some renovations were made, prior to the expiration of the contractual repair period, the defendants deemed the renovations to be not in compliance with the city code and disapproved them. The defendant owners then declared the plaintiffs to be in breach of the contract and repossessed the property. The plaintiff lease-purchasers sued the defendant owners for breach of contract, claiming that, at the time of repossession, the renovations were not yet completed and that they still had time under the contract to complete them. After a bench trial, the trial court determined that the plaintiffs had breached the contract because the renovations were not in compliance with the city code and did not meet the approval of the defendant owners. The plaintiffs now appeal. We affirm, concluding that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's finding that the plaintiffs breached the contract by making repairs that were not in compliance with the applicable code; the fact that the contractual repair period had not yet expired is immaterial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/leed_070307.pdf


JEFFREY R. MCMAHAN v. SEVIER COUNTY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charmaine Nichols, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey R. McMahan.

F. Michael Fitzpatrick, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center.

Judge: SUSANO

The plaintiff's complaint was filed April 20, 2004. In its present posture, this medical malpractice case involves the claim of the plaintiff, Jeffrey R. McMahan, that his left leg had to be amputated as a result of the malpractice of John D. Watson, M.D.; Southeastern Emergency Physicians, Inc. (SEP); Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center (Ft. Sanders Knoxville); and Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center (Ft. Sanders Sevier). Each of these defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The two sides filed material in support of their respective positions, after which the trial court heard oral argument. Later, the court entered an order dismissing the plaintiff's complaint. The sole issue is whether the defendants are entitled to summary judgment based upon their claim that the plaintiff's complaint was filed outside the period of the applicable statute of limitations. We hold that the material relied upon by the defendants fails to establish the absence of a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the plaintiff "discover[ed], or in the exercise of reasonable care and diligence for his own health and welfare, should have discovered the resulting injury," see Teeters v. Currey, 518 S.W.2d 512, 517 (Tenn. 1974), more than one year before the date of filing of the original complaint. Accordingly, we vacate the trial court's grant of summary judgment and remand for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/mcmahanj_070307.pdf


HARRIET CACI (O'SHIELDS) ROGERS v. SCOTT ALLEN ROGERS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Steven G. Roberts, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Harriet Caci (O'Shields) Rogers.

Jason A. Creech, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Scott Allen Rogers.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a parental relocation case. After the parties separated, the mother and the child moved in with the mother's parents in Memphis, Tennessee. Under the parties' marital dissolution agreement (MDA), the mother was designated the primary residential parent for the parties' child, and the father was granted parenting time every other weekend. Two months after entry of the divorce decree incorporating the MDA, the mother sent the father a letter notifying him of her intent to move to South Carolina with the child. The mother explained that her parents were moving to South Carolina and she wanted to move with them. The father filed a petition in opposition to the mother's proposed relocation, arguing that the move had no reasonable purpose. After a bench trial, the trial court determined that the mother did not have a reasonable purpose for the move and denied her request to relocate. The mother now appeals. We affirm the trial court's finding that the proposed relocation did not have a reasonable purpose but remand the case to the trial court for a best interest determination as required pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-6-108(e).

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/rogersh_070307.pdf


Random Drug Testing for Students in Voluntary Extracurricular Activities

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-07-02

Opinion Number: 07-96

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-96.pdf

Cocke County General Sessions-Juvenile Court Clerk

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-07-03

Opinion Number: 07-97

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-97.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
BPR Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
New Court of Appeals applicant files
Pulaski lawyer Richard Hannah Dunavant has added his name to the list of candidates applying to fill the Middle Division Court of Appeals seat left open by William Koch's appointment to the Supreme Court. Dunavant is the Deputy District Attorney for the 22nd Judicial District. Candidates have until July 16 to apply for consideration.
Learn more or apply now
18 applicants vie for Axley's criminal court seat
Five people today joined the 13 who already had applied to fill Judge W. Fred Axley's seat in the 30th Judicial District. The filing period closed this afternoon. New applicants are: Donna J. Armstard, assistant public defender and criminal court supervisor; Patience (Missy) Russell Branham, assistant district attorney; John T. Fowlkes Jr., Shelby County chief administrative officer; Janet Lanksky Shipman, assistant Shelby County attorney; and Carolyn Sherri Watkins, Shelby County equal opportunity compliance administrator.

The Judicial Selection Commission will begin the selection process July 23 and conduct private interviews with applicants on July 24. The public can attend the July 23 hearing to express -- orally or in writing -- approval of or objection to any nominee.

Meares sworn in by predecessor
Maryville native Michael H. Meares was sworn in as the new Blount Circuit Court judge yesterday by D. Kelly Thomas, the man who previously held the position. Thomas relinquished his seat after being named to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Judge Meares wasted no time in getting down to business: he began hearing cases at 9 a.m. today.
The Maryville Daily Times covered the ceremony
Crutchfield trial begins July 16
Prosecutors and defense attorneys say they will be ready to proceed with the bribery trial of Sen. Ward Crutchfield, D-Chattanooga, on July 16. Proceedings will be held in Memphis before U.S. District Court Judge J. Daniel Breen and are expected to last two weeks, reports the Chattanoogan. Final motions in the case are to be heard on July 12. Sen. Crutchfield, who has maintained his innocence, was charged as part of the FBI's Operation Tennessee Waltz sting.

Children's groups must vacate juvenile court offices
Two nonprofit children's service organizations -- the Commission on Missing and Exploited Children and Court Appointed Special Advocates -- must vacate their longtime offices in the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County by Oct. 1. The shuffle is due to an expansion of the court's child support division. The Memphis Daily News looks at the impact of the move and the court's plans for beefing up its child support efforts.
Learn more
Grant helps minors in domestic violence cases
The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts recently announced a $10,000 grant to the Legal Aid Society, half of which will go toward funding best interest attorney representation for children of unmarried parents when one parent petitions the juvenile court for an order of protection against the other. The remaining $5,000 will go towards providing divorce counsel for victims of domestic violence. Several months ago, the Legal Aid Society began organizing an effort within the Nashville legal community to help meet the growing need for children to have legal counsel.
Read about it in the Oak Ridger
Roadside car sales are protected speech
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled that placing "For Sale" signs on cars parked on public property is constitutionally protected commercial speech. The decision overturned an Ohio town's ordinance banning such postings. More than 200 similar ordinances are on the books in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee -- the states that come under the jurisdiction of the court.
Download the opinion
Read more in the Tennessean
Bradley bar announces new officers
The Bradley County Bar Association has named new officers for the 2007-2008 bar year. They are: President John F. Kimball with Bell & Associates; Secretary Wylie Richardson of Crump Richardson; and Treasurer Joshua Jenne with Jenne, Scott & Jenne PLLC -- all of Cleveland.

Judge finds discrimination against whites
U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee has ruled that a majority black county in eastern Mississippi violated whites' voting rights, in what prosecutors said was the first lawsuit to use the Voting Rights Act on behalf of whites. The judge found that Democrat officials manipulated the political process to impede participation of white voters and dilute their votes. The AP reported the ruling in the case, which had attracted national attention.

New role for Justice Ginsburg?
In an opinion piece yesterday, Washington Post writer Ellen Goodman suggested that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has moved into a more radical posture on the court this past term: issuing powerful dissents and adopting the unusual practice of reading her opinions aloud in the courtroom.
Read her analysis in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
BPR Actions
Oak Ridge lawyer censured
On May 30, Oak Ridge attorney Janice G. Hicks received a public censure for an inappropriate remark she made in court. Immediately after making the remark she apologized to the court.
Read the BPR's release
TBA Member Services
Fastcase tips: Learn how to do more with Fastcase
Thousands of TBA members have already taken advantage of the free Fastcase online research service. Now Fastcase is providing TBA members with tips for taking full advantage of this research tool. The first tip will help you search annotated statutes.
Read how to do it
Log in to Fastcase now

 
 
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