General Practice Summit back with strong lineup

Recognized experts in 15 practice areas will bring you up to date on the latest developments in the law, offer tips, advise you on trends and provide materials and forms at the second annual General Practice Summit, Aug. 23-25 in Nashville. The sessions will also provide you with your entire 15 hours of CLE required for the year, including ethics hours.

https://www.tnbaru.com/CLE/catalog_course_details.php?course=5100

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 or to obtain a text version of each opinion, 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 the TBA's Membership Central.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
08 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) 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. 2) 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.

TONYA L. MERRICK v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY
With Dissenting Opinion


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Tonya L. Merrick, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Karl Dean, Director of Law; James E. Robinson, Lora Barkenbus Fox, and John L. Kennedy, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Judge: CAIN

This appeal involves a motor vehicle accident between a vehicle driven by Appellant and a Metropolitan Nashville school bus. The case was tried non-jury, and the trial court, based primarily upon the testimony of an alleged eye witness, decided the case in favor of Defendant. Finding the evidence of the alleged eye witness to be inherently improbable, we reverse the action of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/merrickt_081007.pdf

CLEMENT Dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/merrickt_dis_081007.pdf


IN RE: ESTATE OF CORNELIUS THEODORE RIDLEY
CAROLYN RIDLEY v. WILLIAM KEITH RIDLEY


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Melvin L. Raymond, St. Louis, MO, and Eva Lemeh, Nashville, TN, for the appellant, William Keith Ridley.

Mary J. Chukinas Lagrone, Nashville, TN, for the appellee, Carolyn Ridley.

Judge: KURTZ

This appeal involves the construction of a will and imposition of attorney's fees. The Probate Court found that the language of the will gave the Decedent's second wife a life estate in the marital home with a one-half remainder to his stepdaughter. For the reasons stated herein we find that the language of the will does not support such a construction, and we reverse. The attorney's fees will have to be reconsidered in light of our reversal on the will construction issue.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/ridleyc_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. THOMAS COBURN
With Concurring and Dissenting Opinions


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Steven M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Terry L. Jordan, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas Coburn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and Joseph E. Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Thomas Coburn, was convicted by a Sullivan County jury of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony, and attempted rape, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to nineteen years for the aggravated kidnapping and nine years for the attempted rape to be served consecutively in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts the following: (1) his conviction for aggravated kidnapping violated federal and state due process protections and should be vacated under State v. Anthony, 817 S.W.2d 299 (Tenn. 1991); (2) the evidence establishing identification is insufficient to support his convictions for attempted rape and aggravated kidnapping beyond a reasonable doubt; and (3) the trial court erred in ordering the Defendant to serve consecutive sentences based upon the classification as a dangerous offender. We reverse the Defendant's conviction for aggravated kidnapping. We affirm the conviction for attempted rape.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/coburnt_081007.pdf

TIPTON Concurring and Dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/coburnt_dis_081007.pdf

WITT Concurring
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/coburnt_con_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM ROBERT FRANKS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; Robert C. Edwards, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, William Robert Franks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Leslie Nassios, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The defendant, William Robert Franks, pled guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual battery, a Class C felony, and received an effective sentence of eight years as a Range II, multiple offender, suspended to probation upon the service of nine months of incarceration. In August 2005, a probation revocation warrant was filed, and in May 2006, a revocation hearing was held in Knox County Criminal Court. The trial court revoked the defendant's probation and ordered the defendant to serve the remainder of his sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court acted in an arbitrary, non-conscientious manner in revoking the defendant's probation. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/franksw_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROYAL T. FREEMAN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at trial); and J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), for the Appellant, Royal T. Freeman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Tammy Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Blount County indictment charged the defendant, Royal T. Freeman, with the premeditated first degree murder, see T.C.A. section 39-13-202(a)(1) (2006), of his wife, Kathleen Freeman. The jury convicted the defendant of second degree murder. See id. section 39-13-210. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support a verdict of second degree murder and that the trial court erred in allowing the jury to consider the charge of premeditated first degree murder. After thoroughly reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/freemanr_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CURTIS DANIEL HART

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender, Somerville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Curtis Daniel Hart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Curtis Daniel Hart, was found guilty by a Tipton County jury of second degree murder, simple possession of Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, and simple possession of marijuana. He was sentenced as a Range II offender to thirty-five years for second-degree murder and to eleven months and twenty-nine days for each simple possession conviction. All sentences were ordered to run concurrently for an effective sentence of thirty-five years. On appeal, Hart raises the following issues regarding his conviction for second-degree murder: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress his statement; and (2) whether the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction, in light of the evidence presented that he acted in self-defense. After review, we find no error and affirm the judgment of conviction.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hartc_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHNNY JAMES LLOYD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James M. Webster, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (on appeal); Martha J. Yoakum, District Public Defender; Charles E. Herman, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Johnny James Lloyd.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Wm. Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; Scarlett W. Ellis and Michael O. Ripley, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

In June 2006, the defendant, Johnny James Lloyd, was charged by criminal information with one count of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The defendant waived issuance of an indictment, pled guilty, and was sentenced to five years in prison as a Range I, standard offender. The defendant filed a timely motion to set aside his guilty plea. Following a hearing, the trial court denied the motion. The defendant appeals, claiming his guilty plea was not entered into voluntarily and knowingly. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/lloydj_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID THREAT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Jones, District Public Defender; Glenda Adams and David Bell, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial); and Phyllis Aluko, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal), for the appellant, David Threat.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and James Lammey and Michelle Parks, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, David Threat, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of first degree felony murder and aggravated robbery, for which he received concurrent sentences of life and twelve years, respectively. He raises three issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statements to police; (2) whether the trial court erred in admitting a store surveillance videotape into evidence; and (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain his felony murder conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/threatd_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARK ANTHONY VERMILLION

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant Public Defender, for the Appellant, Mark Anthony Vermillion.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Joseph E. Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Mark Anthony Vermillion, pleaded guilty to acquiring a controlled substance by forgery, see T.C.A. section 53-11-402(a)(3) (2006), a Class D felony, forgery, see id. section 39-14-114, and theft of property under $500, see id. section 39-14-103, a Class A misdemeanor. As a result of his plea agreement, he received an effective sentence of two years and six months with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court ordered the defendant to serve his entire sentence in the Department of Correction. The defendant appeals the trial court's order and claims that the court erred in denying full probation or some other form of alternative sentencing. We hold that the trial court did not err and affirm that court's order.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/vermillionm_081007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. VANDA WATKINS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Randall B. Tolley (on appeal) and John P. Pritchard (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vanda Watkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Tiffani Taylor and Bobby Carter, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Vanda Watkins, pled guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Court to reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony, and pursuant to the plea agreement, received a two-year sentence. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that the appellant serve his entire sentence in confinement. On appeal, the appellant claims that the trial court erred by denying his request for probation. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/watkinsv_081007.pdf


Local School Board's Authority to Dismiss Employees

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-08-08

Opinion Number: 07-117

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-117.pdf

Lawrenceburg Utility Systems as Municipality under Tenn. Code Ann. Section 26-2-105

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-08-09

Opinion Number: 07-118

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-118.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Tennessee young lawyers shine at ABA convention
Memphis lawyer and former TBA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) President Danny Van Horn opened the ABA YLD Assembly today in one of his final acts as speaker of that body. Memphis attorney and TBA YLD Secretary Effie Bean led the assembly in the pledge of allegiance and Knoxville lawyer and current TBA YLD President Jason Long gave the invocation. Van Horn has served as speaker of the assembly, the highest legislative office in the division, for the past year. On Saturday, he will relinquish the position but will step into the role of division delegate -- a position he was expected to win today in an uncontested election.
See the ABA YLD agenda here
ABA TIPS honors Tennessee lawyers
The ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section will recognize Memphis lawyer David A. Siegel and new "Honor Roll" members at a lunch on Saturday. Siegel will receive the Edmund S. Muskie Pro Bono Service Award for "dedication to justice for all citizens."

Tennessee attorneys Gail Vaughn Ashworth of Nashville, Buck Lewis of Memphis, Jonathan O. Steen of Jackson and John Tarpley of Nashville are among the group of 12 to be named to the honor roll. To be considered for the honor, members must have performed extraordinary pro bono, public and/or bar service.
Read more about Siegel receiving the Muskie award
TBA law school outreach effort recognized by ABA
Earlier today, the ABA's Division for Bar Services honored the TBA's law school outreach efforts, particularly its website for student members of the bar. At a presentation of the "Best of the Best Projects," TBA Assistant Executive Director Barry Kolar spoke about the TBA's commitment to student members and demonstrated the features of the law student website.
Visit the site
Ethics Commission grants request for information
Eight months ago the Tennessee Bar Association and Tennessee Lobbyists Association asked the state Ethics Commission to see drafts and e-mail correspondence about an advisory opinion to the commission on how to define a lobbyist. Yesterday, the commission voted to approve the request.
Read more in the Tennessean
Polk County inmates to be released from 'deplorable' jail
Two 10th Judicial District judges have ordered Polk County to release prisoners being held in the county jail because of a grand jury report citing "deplorable conditions," the News Sentinel reports. The order cites a report that says the jail is not in compliance with a federal court order. The jail has been cited by the state fire marshal for fire hazards.
Read the story
Court decision may change fate of Enron shareholders
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear a case that could have far-reaching implications for class-action lawsuits by investors who allege they're victims of corporate crooks. In this case, investors are suing two suppliers of a cable TV company, alleging that they engaged in sham transactions to boost cash flow and meet Wall Street's expectations. If the justices rule against the investors, it might mean that the success of other cases, including Enron shareholders' lawsuit, would be in jeopardy.
WMCT-TV carried this AP story
Lapides named president of municipal attorneys group
Memphis lawyer Barbara B. Lapides is the new president of the Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association. In her practice at the law firm of Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh PLLC, Lapides focuses in the areas of real estate, estate planning, probate and community organizations, and represents the cities of Millington, Piperton and Rossville.
The Memphis Daily News has this profile
County to repair courthouse elevators
The Hamilton County government has approved spending $589,884 to renovate three passenger elevators at its courthouse. Only one bid was received for the work and the public works administrator said the cost was deemed reasonable by a consultant. There have been a number of break downs of the elevators and a county commissioner was recently trapped in one for a short time. Officials said the cost is one of several items to be funded by a 26-cent property tax increase. Chattanoogan.com reported the news this afternoon.

Upcoming
Nominations sought for Access to Justice Awards
The Tennessee Bar Association's Access to Justice Committee is soliciting nominations for the 2007-2008 Access to Justice Public Services Awards. Awards include the newly renamed Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award, the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Award and the Law Student Volunteer Award, which will be presented at the TBA Public Service Awards Luncheon scheduled for Jan. 19. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 24.
Click here for more information or to submit a nomination
TBA Member Services
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Are you saving yet? Sign up for the TBA-Office Depot Program and begin saving. TBA Members receive significant discounts on office supplies from Office Depot.
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