Judicial Council recommends major revision for juries

The Tennessee Judicial Council today took up a substantial revision to the statutory scheme for jury administration authored by one of its subcommittees. The proposal addresses qualifications and exemptions of jurors, proscribes selection and attendance of jurors, establishes a jury coordinator who would administer a new automated system for selection of the jury pool, and lays out the rules for examination, challenge of jurors, and compensation of jurors. The council deferred action until its next meeting to resolve a couple of minor issues. The proposal overall seems to have widespread support. Read the proposed statute and a survey on jury practices.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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PATSY L. ALDRIDGE v. PAM ALDRIDGE, ET AL. IN RE: CONSERVATORSHIP OF BILL M. ALDRIDGE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael L. Robb, Justin N. Joy, Memphis, TN, for Appellant

Thomas R. Buckner, Lynn W. Thompson, Memphis, TN, for Appellees

Judge: HIGHERS

This is a case involving a petition for appointment of conservator and a request for attorney's fees by the non-petitioning spouse of the ward. The husband and wife were married, but lived apart. The husband lived with his daughter from a previous marriage. Unknown by the husband's children, he continued to see and financially support his estranged wife. The husband suffered from bipolar disorder requiring several hospitalizations. The husband, during a manic period, emptied his 401K account and purchased several vehicles and properties. The husband's daughter petitioned the court for appointment of a conservatorship for her father. The court found that the husband was disabled, and appointed the daughter as the conservator over his person and a third-party attorney as the conservator over his finances. The wife was represented by counsel during the proceedings. The court ordered the conservator to pay the wife spousal support in the amount of $2,000 a month out of the husband's $150,000 estate. The wife then petitioned the court for an award of her attorney's fees, which the probate court denied. Wife appeals, arguing that the lower court has the statutory authority pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 34-3-109 to include in the award of financial support her attorney's fees. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/aldridgeb_112707.pdf


JERRY D. CARMACK ET AL. v. LOUIS W. OLIVER, III

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

August C. Winter, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jerry D. Carmack, Georgia Kay Carmack Brooks, and Brenda Gail Carmack Thomas.

Douglas Fisher, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Louis W. Oliver, III.

Judge: COTTRELL

Landowners who hired an attorney to defend their property rights brought suit for legal malpractice against that attorney related to his representation in the litigation over disputed property. The defendant attorney filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that the one-year statute of limitations for malpractice claims had passed before the landowners filed their suit against him. The trial court granted the attorney's motion. We affirm the grant of summary judgment to the defendant attorney as to any allegations of delay in seeking an injunction against a trespassing neighbor, since the landowners had complained about the delay to several official bodies over two and a half years before they filed their complaint against their attorney. However, we reverse the trial court as to any alleged acts of legal malpractice that occurred within one year of the filing of the plaintiffs' complaint.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/carmackj_112707.pdf


HIGHWOODS PROPERTIES, INC., ET AL. v. CITY OF MEMPHIS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John S. Golwen, Colleen D. Hitch, Memphis, TN, for Appellants

Jonathan C. Hancock, Ross E. Webster, Memphis, TN, for Appellee

Judge: HIGHERS

This appeal involves the second case filed by the appellants to challenge an annexation ordinance. Previously, the appellants filed a quo warranto action seeking to have the annexation ordinance declared null and void on various grounds. Other landowners had previously filed quo warranto actions that were consolidated and still pending, and the appellants sought to consolidate their action with the others. The trial court held that the appellants' quo warranto action was not timely filed, and accordingly dismissed it. On appeal, this Court affirmed. The consolidated quo warranto proceedings concluded with a consent order approving the reasonableness of the annexation ordinance, but providing that the annexation would take place in two phases. The appellants then filed the present action seeking a declaration that the annexation accomplished through the consent order was procedurally invalid and unconstitutional. The trial court dismissed the appellants' complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/highwoods_112707.pdf


SERENA RUCKER v. ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James L. Harris of Nashville, Tennessee for Appellant, Serena Rucker

Luther Wright, Jr. and Martha L. Boyd of Nashville, Tennessee for Appellee, St. Thomas Hospital

Judge: CRAWFORD

This is a common-law retaliatory discharge case. Plaintiff/Appellant alleged that she was wrongfully discharged from her employment with Defendant/Appellee. Defendant/Appellee moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. Plaintiff/Appellant appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/ruckers_112707.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DERRICK SETTLES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William D. Massey, Lorna S. McClusky (on appeal); Mary K. Kent and Larry Nance (at trial); Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Derrick Settles.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Dean Decandia, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Derrick Settles, was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and two counts of possession of over .5 ounces of marijuana with the intent to sell. The jury sentenced him to life without the possibility of parole for one murder conviction, and the trial court ordered a consecutive life sentence for the other. The trial court also merged the possession offenses into a single conviction and imposed a concurrent sentence of one year for that conviction. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying his pretrial motions to suppress the evidence recovered from a search of his apartment and his confession because he lacked the intellectual capacity to validly consent to the search or effectively waive the rights guaranteed him by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 479 (1966). Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/settlesd_112707.pdf


County Powers Relief Act

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-11-27

Opinion Number: 07-153

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_153.pdf

Guardian Ad Litem Fees

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-11-27

Opinion Number: 07-154

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_154.pdf

Use of Highway Funds to Pay Other State Expenditures

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-11-27

Opinion Number: 07-155

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_155.pdf

Property Tax Relief for the Disabled

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-11-27

Opinion Number: 07-156

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_156.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

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Legal News
Tennessee is model for adoption laws
A report released this month from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York calls for all states to open adoption records. Tennessee is one of only eight states that allow adoptees to see birth records after the age of 21, according to the institute. "Tennessee, among all states, provides the greatest access with the most sensible protections," said Bob Tuke, a Nashville adoption attorney.
The Daily News Journal carried this AP story
Mass. chief justice defends embattled judge
A Massachusetts judge was just doing her job when she freed a convicted killer now charged with murdering a newlywed couple, the chief judge of the state Superior Court said Monday of Judge Kathe Tuttman. Yesterday presidential candidate Mitt Romney put the spotlight on the case when he called on her to resign because of it.
WKRN-TV carried this AP story
DOJ warns 'complaint' email is hoax
The U.S. Justice Department is warning about spam e-mail messages that claim the recipient is the subject of a DOJ complaint.
Get the details from the DOJ
Scalia working on 'persuasive lawyering' book
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is working with legal writing expert Bryan Garner to write a book on the art of persuasive lawyering. "The idea is that we can make an important contribution to legal literature," Garner says, "and discuss basic principles of argumentation, rhetoric, and judicial persuasion."
Find out more about the book at Law.com
Coffee County elects officers
The Coffee County Bar Association officers for 2008 are Edward H. North, president; Craig Northcott, vice president; and C. Brent Keeton, secretary/treasurer.

Court says Winkler can see daughters
An appeals court said today that convicted killer Mary Winkler may have supervised visits with her children.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Disciplinary Actions
Three attorneys censured
On Nov. 12, Fernando J. Ramos of Nashville received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility. The action was taken for his failure to properly and completely file a client's Chapter 13 bankruptcy and the required schedules and documents, violating Rules 1.1 and 1.3 of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
Read the BPR release
On Nov. 13, Nashville lawyer James Todd Faulkner was publicly censured by the BPR for misstatements made to his client and the board and for failure to address client issues in a divorce case.
Read the BPR release
Memphis lawyer Gail O. Mathes was given a public censure from the BPR on Nov. 14 because she "stated and implied an ability to influence a tribunal on grounds unrelated to the merits of the procedures governing her client's legal matter," which violates Rule 8.4(e) of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
Read the BPR release
Upcoming
Sixth Circuit Conference set for May
The Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference will be in Chattanooga May 7-10, 2008. All lawyers admitted to practice in one or more of the federal courts of the Sixth Circuit and their guests are invited to join the judges of the Sixth Circuit for socializing, continuing legal education and more.
Learn more about the conference here
Register for NBA meeting before the price goes up
Nov. 29 is the early registration deadline for the Nashville Bar Association's Annual Meeting and Banquet, set for Dec. 6.
Find out more and register here
Your Practice
Protect your laptop data
Your office should institute policies that prevent the loss of crucial data in the event that a laptop is missing or stolen. Find out ways of doing that from
Law.com
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at 1-800-368-2734
or get an online rate quote

 
 
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