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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.

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

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AUTO CREDIT OF NASHVILLE v. MELISSA WIMMER

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

James D. R. Roberts and Janet L. Layman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Auto Credit of Nashville.

Steven J. Christopher and James B. Hawkins, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Melissa Wimmer.

David W. Small (oral argue) and Timothy L. Amos, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Amicus Curiae, Tennessee Bankers Association.

Judge: BARKER

This case arises out of the financing and subsequent repossession of an automobile. After retaking possession of the collateral, the creditor sent written notification to the debtor that the automobile would be sold but that she could redeem the vehicle by paying the full amount owed. Although the debtor never received this notification, the creditor was unaware of that fact until after the sale of the vehicle. Because the sale price did not cover the amount owed on the vehicle, the creditor sought a deficiency judgment against the debtor. The debtor filed a counterclaim for statutory damages under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), claiming that she had not received proper notification. The trial court awarded a deficiency judgment against the debtor and dismissed the debtor's counterclaim. The Court of Appeals, only addressing the dismissal of the counterclaim, reversed the trial court and held that the creditor failed to furnish reasonable notification of the sale to the debtor, in that the creditor failed to take reasonable steps to determine whether the notification had been delivered to the debtor before proceeding with the sale. We reverse the Court of Appeals and hold that the UCC's reasonable notification requirement does not require the creditor to verify receipt and that the creditor's actions in this case were sufficient to comply with the statute. Therefore, the counterclaim for statutory damages is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/autocredit_081607.pdf


ANTHONY TIGG ET AL. v. PIRELLI TIRE CORPORATION ET AL.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Richard L. Colbert, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pirelli Tire Corporation.

George E. Barrett, Gerald E. Martin, David W. Garrison, and Edmund L. Carey, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, United Steelworkers of America and United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers of America Local Union 670.

Judge: BARKER

The eleven plaintiffs in this case were hired to replace union employees who were on strike against Pirelli Tire Corporation. Once the strike ended, Pirelli Tire Corporation terminated the plaintiffs' employment. Years later, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit naming Pirelli Tire Corporation, United Steelworkers of America, and United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers of America ("URW") Local Union 670 as defendants. Upon the defendants' motion, the trial court dismissed the plaintiffs' complaint as untimely. The Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal as to two of the plaintiffs' claims. The defendants, Pirelli Tire Corporation, United Steelworkers of America, and URW Local Union 670, have appealed. We granted review to determine whether the previous timely commencement of a class action by other terminated replacement workers tolled the statutes of limitations applicable to the plaintiffs' lawsuit. We hold that the complaint filed by the previous plaintiffs, which purported to be a class action, did not operate to toll the statutes of limitations for the plaintiffs in this case after the time for seeking class certification expired. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and affirm the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiffs' complaint as untimely. Our ruling that the plaintiffs' action is barred by the statutes of limitations is dispositive of the case; therefore, we will not address the other issues presented by the parties.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/tigga_081607.pdf


JONATHAN N. CROCKETT v. MELINDA J. HOGAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Carrie W. Gasaway, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Melinda J. Hogan.

William R. Underhill, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jonathan N. Crockett.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the parenting plan for a nine-year-old child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Tourette's Syndrome. The mother was designated the primary residential parent when the parties were divorced in 2002 in the Chancery Court for Robertson County. Six months later, the father filed a petition requesting to be designated as the primary residential parent because the mother had been charged with embezzling from her employer and because of the parties' different approaches to their son's medical conditions. Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that a material change in circumstances had occurred and that designating the father as the primary residential parent was in the child's best interests. On this appeal, the mother insists that the trial court erred by finding a material change in circumstances and by designating the father as the primary residential parent. While we have concluded that the trial court properly found that a material change in circumstances had occurred, we have determined that the record does not support the trial court's conclusion that designating the father as the primary residential parent is in the child's best interests.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/crockettj_081607.pdf


CRAIG GREEN v. MORGAN HINES, M.D.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Morgan B. Hines, M.D., Pro Se

Craig Green, Pro Se

Judge: CRAWFORD

Appellant and cross-plaintiff appeals the trial court's order which, among other things, granted an easement across the appellant's property. The record contains no statement of the evidence or transcript of the proceedings; therefore, the trial court's findings of fact are presumed to be correct. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/greenc_081607.pdf


LAMAR OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CO. and SAM FURROW V. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Gregory P. Isaacs, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellants, Lamar Outdoor Advertising Co. and Sam Furrow

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, Sharon G. Hutchins and Bruce M. Butler, Assistant Attorneys General, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Judge: KIRBY

This case involves state billboard laws and regulations. The plaintiff billboard owner owned three wooden billboard structures permitted as grandfathered, non-conforming devices. In 2000, a storm damaged one of the billboard structures. The plaintiff obtained permission from the defendant Department of Transportation to rebuild the damaged billboard structure in accordance with the "natural disaster" provision of Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1680-2-3-.04, which required that grandfathered non-conforming signs damaged during a natural disaster be rebuilt "to their original height and size using like materials." The plaintiff billboard owner then tore down all three of its wooden billboards and in their place erected a single, larger steel billboard structure. The Department of Transportation found that the larger steel structure constituted a new sign built without a valid permit and in violation of current spacing requirements, and terminated the permits for the three grandfathered wooden billboards. After exhausting all administrative remedies, the plaintiff billboard owner appealed the Department of Transportation's decision to the trial court. The trial court affirmed, and the plaintiff now appeals. We affirm, finding that the plaintiff billboard owner did not rebuild the damaged billboard structure to the "original height and size" as required by the natural disaster regulation. Consequently, the new larger steel billboard structure must be considered a new sign erected without a valid permit and in violation of current spacing requirements. The Department of Transportation was, therefore, warranted in terminating the plaintiff's billboard permit number and in ordering that the new sign be removed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/lamaroutdoor_081607.pdf


RICHARD COBURN MERCER v. MARILYN LUCRETIA HADLEY

Court: TCA

Judge: SUSANO, SWINEY, LEE

OPINION AND ORDER ON PETITION FOR REHEARING

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/mercerrc_081607.pdf


CITY OF MURFREESBORO v. ZOL HOOPER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Hal Rounds, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Zol Hooper.

Richard W. Rucker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Murfreesboro.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a challenge to a speeding ticket. A city police officer issued a speeding ticket to the defendant for traveling at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit of forty miles per hour. The traffic court found the defendant guilty of the offense and ordered him to pay a fine and costs. The defendant appealed his conviction for the traffic offense to the circuit court below. In the circuit court, defendant argued that his speeding ticket was void because the posted speed limit was invalid, based on the fact that the City had failed to reevaluate the appropriate speed limit for that portion of the street. The trial court rejected that argument, concluding that the City's failure to reevaluate the speed limit on the road in question did not invalidate the posted speed limit. Thus, the trial court affirmed the defendant's conviction for violation of the speed limit. The defendant now appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/murfreesboro_081607.pdf


WORLD RELIEF CORPORATION OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS v. ANDARGIE MESSAY ET AL.This is a corrected opinion.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Nick Perenich, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nebiu Messay.

Stephen C. Knight and W. Scott Rose, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, World Relief Corporation of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the effect that ambiguity regarding the status of legal representation can have on a default judgment. After the operator of an Ethiopian restaurant defaulted on a promissory note, the lender filed suit in the Chancery Court for Davidson County against the restaurateur and his son. The restaurateur and his son talked to the same lawyer and believed that he had agreed to represent them. However, the lender later obtained a default judgment against the restaurateur and his son because no answer was ever filed on their behalf. The restaurateur and his son then retained new lawyers to file Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60 motions to set aside the default judgment. The restaurateur later withdrew his motion. The son, in support of his motion, prepared and submitted affidavits stating that he had relied on his lawyer to present his meritorious defense to the lender's claims. The lawyer also filed an affidavit asserting that he had never represented the son in this proceeding. The trial court declined to set aside the default judgment against the son on the ground that the actions or inactions of his lawyer were attributable to him. The son appealed. We have determined that the record is insufficient to determine whether or not the lawyer was representing the son or whether the son reasonably believed that the lawyer was representing him. We have also concluded that the trial court erred by denying the son's Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60 motion in light of the materially incomplete record.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/worldrelief_Corr_081607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TAZWONE DEMARCUS MATTRESS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Bruce E. Poston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tazwone Demarcus Mattress.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Ta Kisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Tazwone Demarcus Mattress, was found guilty of second degree murder. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to twenty-five years imprisonment, and ordered Defendant's sentence for his felony conviction to be served consecutively to two outstanding misdemeanor sentences. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court erred in permitting the State to introduce evidence of Defendant's prior juvenile adjudications; and (3) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. Defendant does not challenge the length of his sentence for his murder conviction. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/mattresst_081607.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Death row ruling: Retardation must show up early to count
A death row inmate whose childhood IQ tests did not show mental retardation is still eligible for the death penalty, the court ruled Tuesday, even though tests taken as an adult have since shown he is now mentally retarded. In a unanimous decision the high court affirmed an appeals court finding that Danny Strode should be executed. The court's opinion noted that Tennessee law prohibits executing "any defendant with mental retardation at the time of committing first-degree murder." The U.S. Supreme Court also has banned executing the mentally retarded. But the state Supreme Court referred to a Tennessee statue requiring that "mental retardation must have been manifested during the developmental period, or by 18 years old."
Read more in the News Sentinel
Read the Supreme Court opinion
Editorial: Ethics panel must resolve conflict issues
Two Knox County commissioners have stepped down from their daily jobs with the county, and some observers are hoping three others will follow in the near future."That is not likely," The Knoxville News Sentinel writes in an editorial today, but such an action would remove all commissioners from the county payroll except the part-time pay for their elected seats. "As we have noted before, working for the county and serving on the body that sets budgets, salaries and policies for county employees is a conflict of interest. That there was never a policy against it is no reason not to have one now."
Read the editorial
Smyrna General Sessions ready to move to new justice center
The Smyrna Municipal/General Sessions Court is moving into the newly renovated Smyrna Justice Center, effective Sept. 1, according to Smyrna Judge Keta J. Barnes. Cases set for September or after will be at the new location at 400 Enon Springs Road East. Employee offices will remain in the Smyrna Town Hall at 315 Lowry Street until the entire renovation is complete.

Polk County jail cleared out
Polk County officials met the deadline yesterday to move all prisoners out of its jail by 3 p.m. after the state fire marshal's codes enforcement director said from what he saw "prisoners of war are treated better." Some were released and some state inmates in the lockup at Benton were placed in state custody.
The Murfreesboro Daily News has more
Politics
Faulk may be in Senate race against Williams
Church Hill lawyer Mike Faulk continues to consider a possible 2008 Tennessee state Senate election run against incumbent independent Mike Williams, but the Tennessee Democratic Party is crying foul over his web site. The TDP says it bore too close a resemblance to Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's Web site. Faulk has since said the TDP's claim is accurate, and added those particular Web pages have since been edited.
The Kingsport Times-News has more
TBA Member Services
TBA, Bank of America team up for no-fee credit card
The TBA Rewards American Express Card from Bank of America places a new world of rewards, privileges, and service at your command -- with no annual fee.
Click here to learn more

 
 
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