New lawyers sworn-in across state

There were 215 new lawyers sworn-in today in Nashville before the Tennessee Supreme Court. Ceremonies were also held last week in Memphis and Jackson, and tomorrow they will be in Chattanooga and Knoxville. There were 524 total new attorneys who passed the July bar exam. The Tennessee Bar Association hosted about 150 new attorneys and their families at an Open House luncheon today. See more of today's festivities:

http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/news/2007/admission_111907.html

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.

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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.

IN RE ESTATE OF MARGIE MARY ANDERSON, DECEASED

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; L. Vincent Williams, Deputy Attorney General for Appellant, Tennessee Bureau of TennCare

James M. Balthrop of Springfield, Tennessee for Appellee, Estate of Margie Mary Anderson, Deceased

Judge: CRAWFORD

After procuring an administrator of the estate of an elderly decedent, the Tennessee Bureau of TennCare filed a claim against the estate seeking reimbursement of properly paid benefits to the nursing facility on decedent's behalf. The administrator excepted to the claim, and the probate master issued an opinion barring the claim as untimely under T.C.A. section 30-2-310(b) (2001). The chancery court adopted and confirmed the probate master's opinion. The bureau appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/andersonm_111907.pdf


TONY BALDWIN v. TENNESSEE BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Tony Baldwin, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General and Mark A. Hudson, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, Tennessee Board of Probation and Paroles.

Judge: FARMER

A prisoner in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction filed a petition for writ of certiorari after he was denied parole. The trial court dismissed the petition on the basis that it was not sworn to and did not state that it was the first application for a writ. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/baldwint_111907.pdf


PEGGY J. COLEMAN v. DAYSTAR ENERGY, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Chris Ralls, Maryville, Tennessee, for appellant.

John T. McArthur, Maryville, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

In this breach of construction contract suit, the Trial Court gave judgment in favor of plaintiff homeowner, and contractor defendant has appealed. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/colemanp_111907.pdf


IN RE ESTATE OF MARY V. HENKEL, DECEASED

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; L. Vincent Williams, Deputy Attorney General for Appellant, Tennessee Bureau of TennCare

Laura Tek of Madison, Tennessee for Appellee, Estate of Mary V. Henkel, Deceased

Judge: CRAWFORD

After procuring an administrator of the estate of an elderly decedent, the Tennessee Bureau of TennCare filed a claim against the estate seeking reimbursement of properly paid benefits to the nursing facility on decedent's behalf. The heirs excepted to the claim, and the trial court issued an opinion barring the claim as untimely under T.C.A. section 30-2-310(b) (2001) and In Re: Estate of Luck, No. W2004-01554-COA-R3-CV, 2005 WL 1356448 (Tenn. Ct. App. June 7, 2005). The Bureau appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/henkelm_111907.pdf


OSA QUINELLE HOLMES v. WILLIAM JOSEPH HOLMES

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Benjamin K. Dean, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Osa Quinelle Holmes.

Carrie W. Gasaway, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, William Joseph Holmes.

Judge: CLEMENT

This appeal arises from the breach by the defendant of the plaintiff's right of first refusal to purchase real estate. The defendant, the ex-wife of the plaintiff, was awarded the residence and 96 adjoining acres in the divorce, and the plaintiff was awarded the right of first refusal to purchase the property should it ever be sold. However, the defendant sold the property without offering the plaintiff the right to purchase it, and thus, is in breach. The trial court stated that it was awarding the plaintiff damages measured by the difference in the contract price and the fair market value of the property at the time of breach. The defendant appeals contending the evidence was insufficient; however, she failed to provide a verbatim transcript of the evidence or a Statement of the Evidence. Without any evidence to review, we presume the evidence supports the trial court's decision, and therefore, affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/holmeso_111907.pdf


BRENDI BUGALLA KAPLAN v. JOHN A. BUGALLA

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David W. Garrett of Nashville, Tennessee for Appellant, John A. Bugalla

Gregory D. Smith and Donna L. Roberts of Nashville, Tennessee for Appellee, Brendi Kaplan

Judge: CRAWFORD

This is the second appeal of this post-divorce child support case. Husband/Appellant appeals the trial court's Order denying his petition to modify his child support obligation. Specifically, Husband/Appellant asserts that the trial court erred in finding that he is voluntarily underemployed, in imputing monthly income, in denying any modification of his support obligation, in setting his percentage of the children's extraordinary educational expenses, in awarding arrears for extraordinary educational expenses, and in awarding Wife/Appellee's attorney's fees and expenses. We reverse the Order of the trial court as to imputed income, base child support obligation, ongoing percentage of the children's private school tuition, arrears, and attorney's fees. We affirm the Order as to the trial court's finding of voluntary underemployed. Reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/kaplanb_111907.pdf


REBECCA L. MAINO v. THE SOUTHERN COMPANY, INC. d/b/a THE SOUTHERN COMPANY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charles C. Harrell, Charles F. Morrow and Elizabeth C. Chance, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rebecca L. Maino.

Jonathan Britt Phillips, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Universal Valve Company.

Alex C. Elder, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Southern Company, Inc.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court awarded summary judgment to Defendants based on the ten-year statute of repose applicable to products liability actions codified at Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-28-103. We granted Plaintiff's application for interlocutory appeal with respect to whether the savings statute saves a products liability action that was filed within the products liability statutes of limitations and repose, voluntarily dismissed, and refiled within one year where the products liability statute of repose expired during the one-year savings period. We hold Plaintiff may rely on the savings statute to refile her action. Summary judgment in favor of Defendants is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/mainor_111907.pdf


LISA GOODPASTER RIGGS v. KENNETH LEE RIGGS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Timothy K. Barnes and Gregory D. Smith of Clarksville, Tennessee for Appellant, Kenneth Lee Riggs

Chadwick W. Stanfill of Nashville, Tennessee for Appellee, Lisa Carol Goodpaster Riggs

Judge: CRAWFORD

This case involves a divorce ending a twenty-eight year marriage. Wife/Appellee was awarded a divorce on grounds of Husband/Appellant's inappropriate marital conduct. The trial court found that Wife/Appellee had "no ability to earn income," and awarded Wife/Appellee alimony in futuro and attorney fees. Husband/Appellant appeals. Finding that Wife/Appellee has the ability to earn income, we reverse the award of alimony in futuro, and remand for determination of rehabilitative alimony and/or transitional alimony. Reversed in part, affirmed in part, and remanded.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/riggsl_111907.pdf


TAMARA LU WILLIAMS (LANKFORD) v. ERNEST BLAND WILLIAMS IV

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith and Donna L. Roberts of Nashville, Tennessee for Appellant, Tamara Lu Williams (Lankford).

Larry G. Hayes, Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee for Appellee, Ernest Bland Williams IV.

Judge: CRAWFORD

Mother petitions trial court seeking reimbursement of unpaid medical expenses, child support, and income information from Father. Father moved to dismiss the petition on the grounds of res judicata. The trial court granted Father's motion, dismissed Mother's petition, and awarded Father attorney's fees. Mother appeals and argues that the trial court erred in dismissing her petition, and in admitting evidence of the parties previous settlement negotiations. Mother also argues that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding attorney's fees to Father. We reverse and remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/williamst_111907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANDRECO BOONE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism (on appeal) and Patricia Woods (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andreco Boone.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Greg Gilbert, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Andreco Boone, appeals his conviction of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. He contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court improperly admitted a photo spread during the trial. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/boonea_111907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT LEE DAY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at trial); and J. Liddell Kirk, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal), for the appellant, Robert Lee Day.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; and Andrew D. Watts, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Robert Lee Day, appeals the Blount County Circuit Court's revocation of his two-year probation. The defendant claims the trial court lacked grounds for ordering revocation. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/dayr_111907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN WILLIAM MATKIN, III

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Edward C. Miller, District Public Defender, for the appellant, John William Matkin, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; James B. (Jimmy) Dunn, District Attorney General; and Steven R. Hawkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, John William Matkin, III, was convicted by a Sevier County Circuit Court jury of voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, and was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to serve six years in the Department of Correction. In this appeal, he claims that the evidence is insufficient to sustain the conviction, that the trial court committed reversible error with respect to the jury instructions, and that he was improperly sentenced. Upon review, we hold that the defendant is not entitled to relief and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/matkinj_111907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. GEORGE ARTHUR LEE SMITH, NATHANIEL ("NAT") ALLEN, AND SHANNON LEE JARNIGAN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jonathan M. Holcomb, Morristown, Tennessee, for the Appellant George Arthur Lee Smith. Douglas Payne, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Nathaniel ("Nat") Allen. William Louis Ricker and Kim C.Miller, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the Appellant Shannon Lee Jarnigan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; Victor Vaughn, Kim Lane, and Connie Troubaugh, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Hamblen County jury convicted each Defendant of one count of first degree premeditated murder and each was sentenced to life in prison. On appeal, the Defendants contend the following: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain their convictions; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain the jury's finding that Hamblen County was a proper venue for this case; (3) the trial court erred when it denied the Defendants' motion for change of venue; (4) the trial court erred when it consolidated the Defendants' cases for trial; (5) the trial court improperly accepted the State's peremptory challenges of two potential jurors; (6) the trial court improperly allowed a juror to remain on the panel when the juror should have been disqualified for actual bias or prejudice; (7) the trial court improperly admitted an audio recording of a conversation between Defendants Smith and Jarnigan; and (8) the trial court improperly admitted evidence about Defendant Allen's prior criminal charge for delivery of cocaine. Finding that there exists no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/smithg_111907.pdf


DARNELL LAVELLE WELCH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Barney Witherington IV, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darnell Lavelle Welch.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Darnell Lavelle Welch, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a thorough review of the record and the parties' briefs, the judgment of the post-conviction court denying post-conviction relief is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/welchd_111907.pdf


SEAN WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John H. Parker, II, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sean Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Muriel Conner and Dennis Johnson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Sean Williams, was convicted of first degree (premeditated) murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He filed a petition for post-conviction relief and alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial, which was denied by the post-conviction court following a hearing. On appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying his petition and specifically contends that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to secure a jury instruction for facilitation. After review, we conclude that trial counsel was not ineffective, and we affirm the judgment from the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/williamss_111907.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Workers' comp applies to home workers, court says
Employees who work at home are entitled to workers' compensation benefits if they are injured while working, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Friday, although the woman in the case before the court did not receive benefits because the court said her injuries were not work-related. Read the opinion.
The News Sentinel carried the AP story
Jarvis portrait unveiled in federal courthouse
The family of the late Senior U.S. District Judge James H. Jarvis unveiled a portrait Friday in the Howard H. Baker Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Knoxville. Many dignitaries were there, including U.S. District Chief Judge Curtis Collier, all of the district's federal judges and magistrate judges and state Supreme Court Judge Gary R. Wade.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Sheriffs apparently cannot collect rent from inmates
A Georgia sheriff plead guilty and was indicted for charging inmates rent during their stay at the jail, as well as to interfering with an FBI investigation of local judges.
WMC-TV has the story
Catalano honored with Athena Award
Retired 19th Judicial District Chancellor Carol Catalano was awarded Clarksville's Athena Award Friday, partly to "recognize her leadership in the advancement of other women in the historically male-dominated legal profession and judiciary." In September 1963, Catalano was one of only five women to be admitted to The University of Tennessee College of Law. She was the first of those five to graduate, and was the first woman to practice law in the Montgomery County court system. She later successfully campaigned to become Montgomery County General Sessions and Juvenile Court judge -- making her the first woman to hold that title in Tennessee.
The Leaf-Chronicle has the story
Justice Stevens now second oldest
Justice John Paul Stevens has become the second oldest justice ever to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. As of Nov. 16, Stevens was 87 years and 210 days old, DC Dicta reports. He will have to stay on the U.S. Supreme Court for almost three more years to break the record of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who stayed on the court until the age of 90.
Read the story in DC Dicta
Legislative News
Bredesen taps Miller to legislative affairs post
Governor Bredesen today named Pat Miller to fill the post of Senior Advisor and Director of Legislative Affairs. Miller has served as a director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority since 2002.
Read more
TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
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