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.
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.
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STATE OF TENNESSEE V. KENNETH C. DAILEY, III
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.
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.
STATE OF TENNESSEE V. HENRY A. EDMONDSON, JR.
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,
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.
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.
SIMPSON STRONG-TIE COMPANY, INC. v. STEWART, ESTES & DONNELL, A Tennessee Partnership
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 &
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.
UT MEDICAL GROUP, INC. v. VAL Y. VOGT, M.D.
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
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
EMILY K. BOGGS v. WILLIAM B. BOGGS
William Barry Boggs, Franklin, TN, Pro Se Appellant.
Virginia Lee Story, Franklin, TN, for the Appellee, Emily Kirby Boggs.
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.
TERRIE LYNN HALL HANKINS v. JAMES MICHAEL HANKINS
Stuart B. Breakstone, Kathy Baker Tennison, Memphis, TN, for Appellant
Larry Rice, Memphis, TN, for Appellee
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.
IN THE MATTER OF: M.A.B, D.C.M, M.A.M, M.I.M, D.Z.M and W.M.E.M.
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.
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.
RICKY BARNETT V. STATE OF TENNESSEE
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.
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.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL RAY BATES
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.
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.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTONIO DANTE EDMONDSON
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.
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.
JAMES ERIC WINSTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
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.
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
Authority to Subdivide Property within County
TN Attorney General Opinions
Opinion Number: 07-121
Authority of Jewish Cantor to Perform Marriage
TN Attorney General Opinions
Opinion Number: 07-122
Judicial Commissioner Closely Related to Law Enforcement Officer
TN Attorney General Opinions
Opinion Number: 07-123
City Acquiring Ownership of a Water Utility District
TN Attorney General Opinions
Opinion Number: 07-124
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
Opinion Number: 07-125
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