Class of 2010 begins law school journey

The Class of 2010 became official today as 171 first-year students took part in orientation at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Julian Blackshear, a partner in the Nashville law firm of Smith, Harsch, Blackshear & Harris and a UT law graduate, was keynote speaker in today's program, which also included a panel of recent graduates sharing suggestions for maximizing the law school experience. Orientation activities continue this week, with classes getting underway on Thursday.

http://www.law.utk.edu/news/inf8-21.htm

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.

04 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
05 - 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.

STATE OF TENNESSEE V. KENNETH C. DAILEY, III

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

J. Carlton Drumwright, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth C. Dailey, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Sue Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLARK

The Defendant, Kenneth C. Dailey, III, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and reserved a certified question of law regarding the admissibility of his statements of confession to the crime. Disagreeing with the trial court, the prosecutor, and the defense that the question was dispositive of the case, the Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the appeal. We hold that, on the record before us, the certified question is dispositive of the case. Accordingly, we reverse and remand this matter to the Court of Criminal Appeals for its review of the certified question on its merits.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/daileyk_082007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. HENRY A. EDMONDSON, JR.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Jeffrey A. DeVasher, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Jennifer Hall and Jonathan F. Wing, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Henry A. Edmondson, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Mark A. Fulks and C. Daniel Lins, Assistant Attorneys General; and Kathy Morante and Harold Donnelly, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLARK

We granted the Defendant Henry A. Edmondson, Jr.'s request for permission to appeal to address an issue of first impression regarding the meaning of the word "possession" as it is used in the carjacking statute. The Defendant accosted the victim in a retail parking lot when she was several yards away from her parked car. He demanded her keys and then drove away in her car. The Defendant contends that the victim was too far away from her vehicle to be in "possession" of it as required by the carjacking statute, Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-404 (2006). We hold that the victim was in possession of her motor vehicle and that the Defendant's conviction of carjacking is supported by sufficient evidence. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/edmondsonh_082007.pdf


SIMPSON STRONG-TIE COMPANY, INC. v. STEWART, ESTES & DONNELL, A Tennessee Partnership

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

John J. Heflin, III, and Kenneth P. Jones, Memphis, Tennessee, and Arthur J. Shartsis and Erick C. Howard, San Francisco, California, for the plaintiff, Simpson Strong-Tie Company, Inc.

Robert J. Walker and Charles I. Malone, Nashville, Tennessee, for the defendant, Stewart, Estes & Donnell.

Judge: CLARK

We accepted a question of law certified by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee to determine whether the absolute litigation privilege applies to what may be defamatory communications made by an attorney prior to a proposed judicial proceeding when the communications are directed at recipients unconnected with the proposed proceeding. We hold that an attorney is privileged to publish what may be defamatory information prior to a proposed judicial proceeding even when the communication is directed at recipients unconnected with the proposed proceeding. In order for the privilege to apply, (1) the communication must be made by an attorney acting in the capacity of counsel, (2) the communication must be related to the subject matter of the proposed litigation, (3) the proposed proceeding must be under serious consideration by the attorney acting in good faith, and (4) the attorney must have a client or identifiable prospective client at the time the communication is published.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/simpsonstrong-tie_082007.pdf


UT MEDICAL GROUP, INC. v. VAL Y. VOGT, M.D.

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Kenneth P. Jones, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Val Y. Vogt, M.D.

Stephen H. Biller and Walter E. Schuler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, UT Medical Group, Inc

Judge: CLARK

We granted review in this case to determine whether UT Medical Group, Inc. presented a justiciable case or controversy to the trial court when it alleged that Dr. Vogt anticipatorily breached an employment contract covenant. Because the record fails to show that Dr. Vogt committed an anticipatory repudiation of the non-competition covenant found in her employment agreement, Dr. Vogt is entitled to summary judgment. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for the entry of an order dismissing the case.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/vogtv_082007.pdf


EMILY K. BOGGS v. WILLIAM B. BOGGS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William Barry Boggs, Franklin, TN, Pro Se Appellant.

Virginia Lee Story, Franklin, TN, for the Appellee, Emily Kirby Boggs.

Judge: KURTZ

This post-divorce appeal seeks reversal of two civil contempt findings and also contends that a pendente lite injunction restraining the disposition of funds violated a bankruptcy court stay. For the reasons stated herein, this Court finds no reversible error and remands for a determination of appropriate attorney's fees to be awarded to the appellee.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/boggse_082007.pdf


TERRIE LYNN HALL HANKINS v. JAMES MICHAEL HANKINS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stuart B. Breakstone, Kathy Baker Tennison, Memphis, TN, for Appellant

Larry Rice, Memphis, TN, for Appellee

Judge: HIGHERS

In this case, the plaintiff wife filed for divorce from the defendant husband in December of 2003. The husband collaterally attacked the validity of the wife's previous divorce from her second husband in 1985, asserting that the wife was still married to her second husband. The trial court bifurcated the proceedings to determine the validity of the parties' marriage. After the hearings on this issue, the trial court found that the wife's efforts at service of process on her second husband during her second divorce had been insufficient, and ruled that any subsequent marriage was therefore invalid. After conducting further hearings as to the parties' property, in its order on division of assets, the court found that a bank account held jointly by the parties was the sole property of the husband, and it awarded each party a one-half interest in real property located in Humphreys County, Tennessee. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings in the circuit court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/hankinst_082007.pdf


IN THE MATTER OF: M.A.B, D.C.M, M.A.M, M.I.M, D.Z.M and W.M.E.M.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy B. Epperson, Pinson, Tennessee, for the appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Lauren S. Lamberth Assistant Attorney General and Nancy S. Nelson, Assistant General Counsel, for the State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Angela L. Jenkins, Guardian ad Litem.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights to six of her children based upon the persistence of conditions that led to removal of the children from Mother's care by the Department of Children's Services and upon finding that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the children' best interests. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/mab_082007.pdf


RICKY BARNETT V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Chase Gober, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky L. Burnett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Brian K. Holmgren, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner pled guilty to two counts of child rape and one count of child abuse. His effective sentence is twenty-five years, twenty-two years to be served concurrently for each child rape and three years for child abuse to be served consecutively to the twenty-two years. Within a year of his guilty plea, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective and, therefore, his plea was not entered knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. Petitioner argued that his trial counsel was ineffective for: (1) not adequately explaining the nature and consequences of his guilty plea; (2) not adequately investigating the facts of the Petitioner's case; (3) not adequately consulting with him prior to entering his plea; and (4) not having Petitioner undergo a mental health screening. Following a full hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the denial of the petition. Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Trial Court is Affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/barnettr_082007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL RAY BATES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Ray Bates.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred L. Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Michael Ray Bates, was convicted in the Madison County Circuit Court of four counts of selling one-half gram or more of cocaine and received an effective ten-year sentence to be served in a community corrections program. Subsequently, the trial court revoked the appellant's community corrections sentence and ordered him to serve his ten-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, the appellant challenges the revocation of his community corrections sentence and the imposition of confinement. 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/batesm_082007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTONIO DANTE EDMONDSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jennifer Lynn Thompson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio Dante Edmondson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Thomas Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Antonio Dante Edmondson, was convicted at a jury trial of two counts of facilitation of aggravated robbery, Class C felonies. He received two five-year terms to be served consecutively in the Department of Correction, for an effective sentence of ten years. In this appeal, he claims (1) that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions, (2) that the trial court erred in admitting proof of other robberies under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b), and (3) that he was improperly sentenced. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/edmondsona_082007.pdf


JAMES ERIC WINSTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James Eric Winston, Appellant, Pro Se (on appeal); and Ross E. Alderman, District Public Defender; and Amy Goodwin, Assistant Public Defender, in the post-conviction court.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, James Eric Winston, sought post-conviction relief in the Davidson County Criminal County Court in the form of deoxyriboneculeic acid (DNA) analysis of physical evidence associated with his 1992 Davidson County aggravated rape convictions. The criminal court ordered the DNA analysis, but after reviewing the results, the court dismissed the petition. On appeal, the petitioner claims that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance, that the public defender's office, which represented the petitioner in his 1993 trial, had a conflict of interests that should have precluded a public defender from representing him in the criminal court on the post-conviction DNA proceeding now under review, and the DNA test results establish his claim of actual innocence of aggravated rape. These appellate claims are unsupported in the record, and therefore, we affirm the order of the criminal court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/winstonj_082007.pdf


Authority to Subdivide Property within County

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-08-16

Opinion Number: 07-121

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-121.pdf

Authority of Jewish Cantor to Perform Marriage

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-08-16

Opinion Number: 07-122

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-122.pdf

Judicial Commissioner Closely Related to Law Enforcement Officer

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-08-16

Opinion Number: 07-123

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-123.pdf

City Acquiring Ownership of a Water Utility District

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-08-16

Opinion Number: 07-124

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-124.pdf

Application of Article II, Section 29, of the Tennessee Constitution to Local Government Investing in Mutual Fund Organized as Business Trust

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-08-17

Opinion Number: 07-125

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-125.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Editorial: 'Fast-track' for death penalty cases a bad idea
If the Justice Department gets its way, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would get expanded power over death-penalty cases, including the authority to shorten the time condemned inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts, the Tennessean writes in an editorial. "These 'fast-track' procedures are simply terrible ideas and should not be implemented," the paper says.
Read the editorial
In a companion opinion piece, Nashville attorney David Raybin agrees with the Tennessean, saying he believes "each state should have the freedom to administer the death penalty without federal meddling." He calls for funding for more prosecutors and public defenders, "if we need 'help' from the federal government."
Read Raybin's column in the Tennessean
Knox commission
may re-do appointments
Knox County Commissioners may re-do a dozen controversial appointments to head off a trial over possible violations of the state Open Meetings Act. At least three newly appointed commissioners said they would be willing to step down if it would prevent a trial in the News Sentinel's lawsuit against commissioners.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Elvis death anniversary brings folks from all over to Memphis
The 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death may be celebrated more by out-of-town visitors than locals, but Memphis lawyers Lucian Pera and Bill Haltom have seen a change in the last 15 years in how the whole "Elvis phenomenon" is seen there in their city. "When people come in from out of town, the first place they want to go is Graceland," Haltom says. "Out of Memphis, people of all sorts of educational levels ... don't think Elvis is something to be embarrassed about. They think he was a cultural force."
Read the details in the Memphis Daily News
Polk County can't find money for jail
Even with the county's jail being abruptly shut down last week, Polk County commissioners couldn't reach an agreement on funding operations at the county's new justice center at a meeting last Thursday.
The Times Free-Press has more
Commissioners want to hand oversight to judges
Some Hamilton County commissioners say they are prepared to wipe their hands clean of the judicial commissioners program and let the General Sessions judges decide how to set bonds and sign warrants on nights and weekends, the Times Free Press reports. "If we stand pat on this, they'll have to take it," Commissioner Curtis Adams said.
Read the story
Does giving away free drugs violate Unfair Sales Law?
The Publix grocery chain, in offering free antibiotics, may be violating Tennessee's Unfair Sales Law. Baeteena Black, the executive director of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, said she's been contacted by pharmacists worried about the practice. "They are concerned about unfair competition in the marketplace," Black said.
Follow this story in the News Sentinel
Ashcroft was 'distraught,' denied access to advisors
FBI chief Robert S. Mueller's personal notes show that in a 2004 visit with John Ashcroft, the then-attorney general was "feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed," and wanted to discuss the approval of a secret national security program with top advisers, but was barred by the White House from doing so. The partially censored notes describe Ashcroft in his hospital room just moments after being visited by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card, the president's chief of staff at the time. Mueller's account backs up earlier descriptions of the dispute over whether to continue the program despite Justice Department concerns about its legality.
Read this AP story in the News Sentinel
No billable hours for first-years?
Atlanta's Ford & Harrison has decided to do away with billable hour requirements for first-year associates in a effort to close the practical-skills gap of law school education and increase value to clients. "Everyone sits around and complains about the problems," said C. Lash Harrison, managing partner of the law firm. "I figured, what the heck, maybe we can try something."
The National Law Journal reports
Politics
Birch endorses Dean for mayor
Retired state Supreme Court Justice Adolpho A. Birch appears in a television commercial endorsing Karl Dean for Nashville's mayor. "In my nearly 40 years as a judge, I saw thousands of people. The ones I remember most had something special about them -- and I'll always remember Karl Dean," Birch says in the ad. Dean faces Bob Clement in a runoff for mayor Sept. 11.
Read the column in the Tennessean
Upcoming
Deadline this week for Access to Justice Award nominations
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
Grisham, Turow to help Mississippi Innocence Project
John Grisham and Scott Turow will headline a fundraising dinner Oct. 22 for the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The Mississippi Innocence Project was established with initial funding by Grisham, a 1981 Ole Miss law school graduate, and Columbus attorney Wilbur Colom.
Find out more from WMC-TV
TBA Member Services
Save at FedEx Kinkos
Through your membership in the TBA, your business can enjoy FedEx reliability and special savings on a variety of FedEx services, including savings on FedEx Kinkos services. All you have to do is sign up. Opening an account is free and there is no minimum shipping requirement.
Find out more

 
 
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