Committee approves prosecutor for East Tennessee

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination of James R. "Russ" Dedrick as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Both of the state's senators expressed support for Dedrick and urged the full Senate to quickly act on the nomination, reported today.
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Court: TCA


Jola Moore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Kelly and Ronnie Muncey.

C. Bennett Harrison, Jr., Brian Holmes, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lisa Ann Phillips.


Plaintiffs appeal the trial court's denial of their motion to alter or amend. After the trial court granted the defendant doctor summary judgment in this medical malpractice action, plaintiffs attempted to offer countervailing medical proof. Finding the trial court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.


Court: TCA


Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Greg Fitzgerald and American National Home Equity, Inc. Stephen Adcox, Old Hickory, Tennessee, Pro Se.

James D.R. Roberts and Janet L. Layman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Sendie Stanfill, Rheba Kershaw, and Courtney Stanfill.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a scheme to trick an elderly property owner into parting with her property without consideration. The property owner and two members of her family filed suit in the Chancery Court for Davidson County against four persons and one corporation, alleging that they had engaged in a civil conspiracy to obtain her property without adequate consideration and then to profit from the property by selling it at an inflated price and splitting the proceeds. Two of the four individual defendants filed bankruptcy petitions while the case was pending, and the claims against the remaining two individual defendants and the defendant corporation proceeded to a bench trial. The trial court determined that all defendants had been part of a civil conspiracy to defraud the property owner in violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and determined that the property owner's actual damages were $67,500. After the property owner elected to receive treble damages, the trial court entered a judgment against the defendants for $201,000.00 in damages, $92,853.00 in attorney’s fees, and $7,173.40 in costs. The defendants assert on this appeal that the case became moot as a result of a pre-trial order and that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that they were part of a civil conspiracy to defraud the property owner. We have determined that the case is not moot and that the evidence supports the trial court's finding that the defendants were part of a civil conspiracy to induce the property owner to part with her property without consideration.


Court: TCA


Brian Paddock and Mary McCall Mastin, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tennessee Environmental Council, Inc.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and R. Stephen Jobe, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Water Quality Control Board. John P. Williams and Thomas V. White, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Intervenor-Respondent- Appellee, Cumberland Yacht Harbor, Inc.


The sole issue on appeal is whether a non-attorney's attempt to participate in a contested case hearing before the Water Quality Control Board as the representative of a corporation is permitted pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 4-5-305(a), which expressly provides that a corporation may participate in the hearing by a duly authorized representative, or prohibited as constituting the unauthorized practice of law. Notwithstanding the fact that the statute provides that a duly authorized representative of a corporation may "participate" as the representative of the corporation in a hearing, we have determined that a non-attorney may not participate as the representative of a corporation if doing so requires the non-attorney to exercise the professional judgment of an attorney.


Court: TCCA


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Stacy Nordquist, Assistant Public Defender, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Matthew Jordan Buentiempo.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Tammy Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Matthew Jordan Buentiempo, appeals the order of the Blount County Circuit Court revoking his probation and reinstating his original sentences of confinement. On appeal, Buentiempo alleges that the trial court erred in revoking his probation. After a review of the record, we affirm.


Court: TCCA


Leslie M. Jeffress, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Leroine Martin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Leslie Nassios, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Leroine Martin, pled guilty to two counts of second degree murder and one count of aggravated robbery. He filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel prior to and during the guilty plea proceedings. The post-conviction court denied his petition. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.


Legal News
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Legal News
Student loan bill gets Bush OK
President Bush signed into law yesterday a student loan bill that will provide more than $20 billion in federal aid to college students, including loan forgiveness funds for those who work in public service.
Read more in the Washington Post
Law school grads need additional loan relief
While calling the new student loan bill a good first step, American Bar Association President William H. Neukom wrote in an opinion piece today that more needs to be done to ensure that lawyers will be able to enter into public service careers. He calls for legislation that would provide a limited period of direct loan payment to new lawyers who work at least three years in these positions.
Read Neukom's full article
Jury to get instructions Monday in Open Meetings case
Knox County Chancellor Daryl R. Fansler declined today to take out of the jury's hands a decision on the county commission's alleged violations of the Tennessee Open Meetings Act. After dismissing arguments from attorneys on both sides that he decide the case, Fansler moved forward with discussions of the legal instructions to be given to jurors on Monday.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Can electric chair be used as backup?
After U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger ruled Tennessee's lethal injection protocol unconstitutional, a debate has arisen as to whether the state can now carry out executions in its electric chair.
The Tennessean presents arguments from both sides
The state may decide to appeal parts of Judge Trauger's ruling, while working to fix other parts of the guidelines, Gov. Phil Bredesen tells the Associated Press.
Read more in the Daily News Journal
Decline of women applicants continues at law schools
The number of women applying for law school and actually enrolling has been dropping since 2002, causing some observers to conclude that fewer women today want a lawyer's life.
Read more in this National Law Journal article
Sheriff suing to get jail staff
Polk County Sheriff Bill Davis has filed suit in circuit court seeking more money to hire workers for the new county justice center.
Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Funeral services Monday for Judge Cain
Services will be held Monday for Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge William Bryan Cain of Columbia, who died Thursday of cancer. He was 75. Judge Cain had been a member of the judiciary since 1971 when he was appointed circuit court judge for the 22nd Judicial District. He remained in that position until his 1998 appointment to the Court of Appeals, where he later served as presiding judge. He was elected to the Court of Appeals in 1998 and reelected in 2006. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Columbia. Visitation will be held Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home in Columbia and at the church one hour prior to services on Monday.

Disciplinary Actions
Four attorneys reinstated
Hope Elizabeth Goins of Alexandria, Va., Gerard Thomas Nebel of Nashville, Ellsworth Douglas Ware III of St. Louis and Gary Robert Whitaker of Westlake, OH have been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying the annual BPR fee.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2007 fee violations
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