Cooper addresses priorities for AG's office

At a speech in Chattanooga on Monday, Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper outlined several key issues he plans to address while in office. These include: preventing provider health care fraud in TennCare and MedicAid, protecting the environment, attacking identity theft and cracking down on fraudulent companies. Read his full remarks on

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Court: TCA


Michael G. Hatmaker, Jacksboro, Tennessee for the Appellant, B.J.N.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel for the Appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services.


The State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services ("the State") filed a petition seeking to terminate the parental rights of B.J.N. ("Mother") to the minor child R.S.N. ("the Child"). The Juvenile Court entered an order terminating Mother's parental rights to the Child based upon the grounds found in Tenn. Code Ann. sections 36-1-113(g)(2) and (g)(3). Mother appeals to this Court. We affirm the termination of Mother's parental rights to the Child under Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(3).


Court: TCA


Stephen W. Grace, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas E. Bright, Jr.

Luther Wright, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, MMS Knoxville, Inc. d/b/a Med of Tennessee.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a retaliatory discharge claim. A medical supply company terminated the employment of a delivery technician following complaints from a customer that the technician had caused her to be evicted from an assisted living facility. The technician filed suit in the Circuit Court for Davidson County, asserting both common-law and statutory claims for retaliatory discharge. The trial court granted the employer's motion for directed verdict at the close of the technician's case-in-chief, and the technician appealed. We have determined that the technician's actions did not constitute the reporting of illegal activities for the purpose of a common-law or statutory retaliatory discharge claim.


Court: TCA


Harry B. Bailey, III, Atlanta, Georgia, and Michael A. Anderson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Charles D. Mills.

John W. Baker, Jr., and Emily H. Thompson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, CSX Transportation, Inc.


Charles D. Mills ("Plaintiff") filed this negligence action pursuant to the Federal Employers Liability Act against his employer, CSX Transportation, Inc. ("Defendant"), after Plaintiff fell down some concrete steps while attending a safety certification meeting held at a hotel. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment essentially claiming that Plaintiff would be unable to prove at trial that Defendant was negligent or that he was in the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. The Trial Court granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Because Defendant failed to affirmatively negate an essential element of Plaintiff's claim or to conclusively establish an affirmative defense, Plaintiff's burden to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact never was triggered. The judgment of the Trial Court is, therefore, vacated.


Court: TCCA


David M. Eldridge, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Ray Carlton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Rocky H. Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Michael Ray Carlton, was convicted of theft over $60,000 (Class B felony) and sentenced to eight years as a Range I, standard offender. The defendant now appeals his conviction and sentencing and presents the following issues: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction; (2) the trial court erred in its jury instruction regarding accomplice corroboration; (3) the trial court committed plain error in allowing certain testimony and in allowing improper comments in closing argument; and (4) the trial court erred in sentencing by its order of incarceration. After review, we affirm the conviction but modify the manner of service of sentence to serve six months in the local jail or workhouse, with eligibility for work release if available, followed by supervised probation for the remainder of his sentence. We remand to the trial court for the determination and setting of restitution payments.


Legislative News
Legal News
BPR Actions

Legislative News
Berke announces for Crutchfield seat
Chattanooga attorney Andy Berke announced Tuesday that he has entered the contest to replace former state Senator Ward Crutchfield. Read his remarks on
Legal News
ABA to recognize HIV/AIDS legal pioneers
During this week's ABA annual meeting in San Francisco, the AIDS Coordinating Committee will honor former ABA President Robert MacCrate, former Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section Chair William L. Robinson, Alexander D. Forger and Abby R. Rubenfeld for their efforts to organize a legal response to the AIDS crisis. The event will be Saturday, Aug. 11, from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. For more information about the ABA's involvement in the AIDS crisis visit
the committee's website
Tennessee airline sues U.S.
RegionsAir Inc. is suing the U.S. government, alleging the commuter airline was illegally shut down in a dispute over pilot training and certification procedures. The Smyrna-based airline filed suit seeking $11.6 million plus interest, claiming that the FAA coerced it into signing a consent decree after a U.S. senator voiced concerns. Regions offered connecting service for American and Continental airlines in seven states, but halted operations in March.
Learn more in the Tennessean
Moncier's contempt conviction stands
U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer shot down a bid by Knoxville lawyer Herbert Moncier for a second chance to fight a criminal contempt conviction. Greer found Moncier in contempt for continuing to speak at a sentencing hearing after telling him to be quiet. Moncier faces up to six months in jail. Both sides have until Monday to file arguments on what they believe the punishment should be.
The News Sentinel reports
Chattanooga Bar honors AG
The Chattanooga Bar Association, led by President Jim Haley, honored Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper this week with a reception Monday at the Miller & Martin Conference Center.
See photos from the event
Judge removes children from youth facility
A Pennsylvania family court judge has begun removing troubled Philadelphia children from a controversial treatment center in Montgomery County where two teens have died in the last two years. The judge has sent scores of emotionally troubled youngsters to the Tennessee center since 2001.
The Tennessean has the story
Former magistrate arrested
Former Blount County Magistrate Dustin Hatcher was arrested Tuesday night in conjunction with a 2006 incident during which he allegedly took lewd pictures of a 17-year-old girl in his office. He was released today on a $25,000 bond and will face trial on Aug. 20. Blount County District Attorney Mike Flynn has recused himself, so retired District Attorney Al Schmutzer will prosecute. An earlier civil suit filed by the girl's family was settled for $45,000.
The Maryville Times reported on the story, while the
News Sentinel updated it
Deadline set for feds to intervene in Katrina suit
A federal judge yesterday set a Jan. 31 deadline for the U.S. Department of Justice to decide whether to intervene in a lawsuit that accuses insurance companies of over billing the federal government for flood damage. The case has been under seal for more than a year as the department investigated the allegations. DOJ objected to the unsealing, arguing that the move could jeopardize a related criminal probe.
WMC-TV has the story
Conviction won in stock options trial
The U.S. Justice Department has won its first stock options backdating trial with the conviction of former Brocade Communications Systems Inc. Chief Executive Gregory Reyes. Reyes faces up to 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine after a jury found him guilty on all 10 felony counts of securities fraud.
Read the AP story in the Kingsport Times News
No right to experimental drugs for the terminally ill
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled yesterday that terminally ill patients have no constitutional right to experimental drugs, even if they likely will die before the medicine is approved. Patients' rights groups sued the FDA in 2003 for access to drugs that had been through preliminary testing. The groups pledged to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the AP.

BPR Actions
Maryville lawyer suspended
Attorney William Lee Gribble II was temporarily suspended by the state Supreme Court on Aug. 2 after the court found that he posed a threat of substantial harm to the public.
For details on what a suspension requires, read the BPR's release

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