Lawyers march shows solidarity with Pakistani colleagues

An estimated 600 lawyers gathered in Washington D.C. today to march in solidarity with lawyers arrested in Pakistan. The demonstration, which was organized by the American Bar Association, took lawyers from the Library of Congress past the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more about this unique gathering. Didn't make it to D.C.? Join a virtual march online by signing the TBA's petition opposing attacks on the rule of law in Pakistan. Click here:

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Court: TCA


Michael H. Sneed, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Larry L. Crain, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael Austin.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a claim for legal malpractice. The client hired the lawyer to file suit in the United States District Court against the Metropolitan Police Department and several of its officers to recover damages for the use of excessive force. The District Court dismissed the claims against the Metropolitan Police Department and later dismissed the claims against the individual officers because the lawyer had failed to amend the complaint to name the officers individually despite having their names. After all his claims had been dismissed, the client filed a legal malpractice action against his former lawyer in the Circuit Court for Davidson County. The lawyer conceded that he had been negligent but asserted that his former client's excessive force claim against the individual officers was so weak that it never would have succeeded. Following a bench trial, the trial court awarded the client $24,008.50 in damages. On this appeal, the lawyer asserts that the trial court erred by finding that his former client would have prevailed with his federal excessive force claim because the police officers had not used excessive force. He also asserts that the trial court erred by granting a partial summary judgment on the necessity and reasonableness of his former client's medical expenses. Finally, the lawyer insists that the client failed to prove that the exacerbation of his chronic back problems was caused by the conduct of the officers. We have determined that the portion of the judgment attributable to the medical expenses that the client incurred as a result of the officers' excessive force must be reversed because the client failed to present competent evidence that his injuries were caused by the conduct of the officers. We have also determined that the portion of the judgment representing damages for pain and suffering and loss of capacity to enjoy life must be vacated, and that the case must be remanded for further proceedings.


Court: TCA


S. Ralph Gordon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert S. Williams.

R.W. Shick, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jay R. Baumann.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the registration of a foreign judgment. A judgment creditor sought to enroll a judgment obtained in Virginia in the Circuit Court for Wilson County. The purported judgment debtor objected on the ground that the judgment was facially ambiguous with regard to which of the two defendants listed in the style of the case it applied. The trial court enrolled the judgment, and the judgment debtor has appealed. We have concluded that the judgment debtor's challenge to the judgment is misdirected. It is more properly directed to the enforceability of the judgment, rather than its enrollment or registration.

With Concurring Opinion

Court: TCA


Christopher D. Heagerty, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Pamela Lane, as wife and next of kin of Ronnie W. Lane.

Michael S. Kelley and Matthew M. Scoggins, III, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, American General Life and Accident Insurance Company.


In 2002, Ronnie Lane applied for and was issued a life insurance policy through American General Life and Accident Insurance Company ("American General"). Less than two years later, Mr. Lane died from a massive heart attack. Mr. Lane's wife, Pamela Lane, made a claim for the life insurance benefits. American General denied the claim, asserting that Mr. Lane had made material misrepresentations on the application for life insurance which increased the insurance company's risk of loss. The Trial Court agreed and granted American Generalís motion for summary judgment. We affirm.

SUSANO Concurring


Court: TCCA


Paul Whetstone, Morristown, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Vernon Wayne Matthews, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; Cecil C. Mills, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Vernon Wayne Matthews, Jr., pled guilty to one count of theft between $1000 and $10,000 and entered a "best-interest" guilty plea to one count of aggravated burglary. The trial court denied his request for judicial diversion and sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of three years in the county jail. The trial court further instructed defense counsel to return in sixty days to request alternative sentencing. The Defendant appeals his sentence determination. Upon review, we vacate the judgment of the trial court because the record does not indicate that the trial court considered alternative sentencing, including probation. We remand for a new sentencing hearing.

Liability of Bail Bondsman After Compliance With Tenn. Code Ann. Section 40-11-201(c)

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-11-13

Opinion Number: 07-150

Tenn. Code Ann. Section 40-23-114(d)

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-11-13

Opinion Number: 07-151


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Legal News
Bush promises to rebuild Justice Department
President George Bush welcomed Michael Mukasey to the Justice Department today and promised to help the new attorney general rebuild the beleaguered Justice Department. Bush also promised to name nominees for many of the vacant senior leadership jobs in the department on Thursday.
The AP has the story
AG: State cannot use electrocution unless requested
Tennessee cannot use the electric chair on prisoners unless they chose that method of death, the state attorney general said Tuesday. Prosecutors have been calling on the state to use the electric chair as a back up after a federal court found Tennessee's lethal injection procedures unconstitutional.
Read why in the Tennessean
Download the opinion
Shelby commission weighs family court
The Shelby County Board of Commissioners' task force formed to discuss the viability of an all-encompassing Shelby County Family Court held its first meeting today. The court, if created, would deal with all family issues, including domestic violence, divorce, neglect and adoption, reports the Memphis Daily News.

Parsons begins second term
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marcia Phillips Parsons took the oath of office to begin her second 14-year appointed term recently, saying the work remains "challenging and fulfilling." Curtis L. Collier, chief judge of the federal Eastern District of Tennessee, presided over the ceremony at the James H. Quillen U.S. District Courthouse. Chief Bankruptcy Judge John Cook gave the oath of office.
Read about Parson's remarks in the Greeneville Sun
New assistant DAs in Shelby County
Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons has added seven new assistant district attorneys to his team of prosecutors, according to the Memphis Daily News. They are Bill Bright, who previously served as staff attorney with the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury; Byron Winsett, formerly of Winsett-Simmonds Inc.; Abby Wallace; Ann Schiller; Melissa Boyd; Katherine Ratton; and Miranda Baker.

Federal panel debates cocaine sentences
The Bush administration squared off yesterday against an independent panel that recently recommended reducing the sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses. The administration implored commissioners to not make the policy retroactive, arguing that the 19,500 inmates who would be eligible to appeal their sentences would overload the courts.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Gibbons, other DAs help New Orleans
Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons is part of a team of district attorneys from across the country traveling to New Orleans this week to assess and offer recommendations to the troubled New Orleans district attorney's office. The team is spending the week meeting with key criminal justice stakeholders and is expected to make recommendations about resources and best practices within 60 days. The Memphis Daily News reported the story.

Legislative News
Cooper fined $120k for campaign violation
The Registry of Election Finance today voted to fine state Sen. Jerry Cooper, D-Morrison, $120,000 for diverting campaign funds to personal use. It is the largest penalty ever imposed by the agency.
Read about it in the News Sentinel
Panel recommends sunshine law exemptions
A legislative panel Tuesday recommended that governing bodies be allowed to discuss more subjects behind closed doors than permitted under Tennessee's current "sunshine law," but changed an earlier recommendation on the number of elected officials who can meet privately. Under the proposal approved by the subcommittee yesterday, the law would apply to gatherings of more than four members or a majority of the members, whichever is less. Previously the panel had endorsed allowing a quorum to meet in secret.
The News Sentinel has details
Knox Term Limits
Commission debates time frame for new appointments
Knox County commissioners met yesterday to establish a schedule for appointing new officeholders. Commission Chair Scott Moore suggested that replacements be named Dec. 7, after public forums are held in each of the nine commission districts. His proposal will be put to a vote next week. Another idea, to delay appointments until after the Feb. 5 primary, was rejected.
The News Sentinel reports
Knoxville memorial service set for Friday
The Knoxville Bar Association will hold its annual memorial service this Friday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m. at the Tennessee Supreme Court. The service, which honors Knoxville lawyers who have died over the past year, will be led by Supreme Court Justice Gary R. Wade. A reception will follow.
For more information visit the KBA's web site
Toy drive for legal aid families
The Nashville Bar Association will collect toys through the end of this week for children of Legal Aid clients. For gift suggestions or more information contact Traci Hollandsworth at (615) 242-9272 or

TennBarU CLE
Keep malpractice claims in check
Legal malpractice claims are increasingly common, and, as virtually all practitioners can attest, reasonable insurance coverage has become more expensive. To help you survive in this climate, TennBarU is offering a 3-hour seminar in Knoxville on Dec. 4, in Nashville on Dec. 5 and in Memphis on Dec. 6, to discuss risk management, recent developments in the area of legal malpractice, recent case law dealing with legal malpractice claims, and the ethical issues implicated by legal malpractice claims.

Take this class for free! With your TBA Complete Membership, three hours of TennBarU programming is prepaid.
Register now to take advantage of the savings.
TBA Member Services
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A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
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