Trial practice seminar on tap for Friday

Want to sharpen your litigation skills? Then this three-hour seminar, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division, is for you. The seminar will take place tomorrow afternoon, Dec. 14, in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. Whether your practice involves time in the courtroom or preparing for cases that ultimately settle or are resolved on dispositive motion, this program will equip you with practical tools to enhance your litigation skills. Hear from practitioners as they discuss how to prepare and examine expert witnesses. Interact with a panel of practicing litigators and sitting judges as they share tips for effectively communicating with juries. And learn how to handle post-trial issues such as collecting damages, initiating an appeal and managing client expectations. Learn more or register at:

https://www.tnbaru.com/CLE/catalog_by_date.php

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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
02 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
01 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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.

MAI GOOCH v. CITY OF MURFREESBORO

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

D. Russell Thomas and Herbert Schaltegger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mai Gooch.

Richard W. Rucker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Murfreesboro.

Judge: LADD

This workers compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3). The trial court held that (1) Employee's job caused her injuries, (2) Employee's delayed notice did not prejudice Employer, (3) Employee sustained a 60% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole, and (4) Employer should pay Employee's discretionary costs pursuant to Rule 54.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Employee appeals the award of permanent partial disability benefits, contending she is permanently and totally disabled. Employer contends that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's findings concerning causation and notice, and that sovereign immunity bars the award of discretionary costs. We reverse the trial court's ruling on the assignment of discretionary costs and affirm all of the trial court's other rulings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2007/goochm_121307.pdf


MICHAEL HOPKINS. v. BRIDGESTONE FIRESTONE NORTH AMERICAN TIRE, LLC

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Timothy S. Priest, Winchester, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Michael Hopkins

B. Timothy Pirtle, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC

Judge: LADD

This worker's compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Worker's Compensation Appeals Panel in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Employee alleged that he had sustained a compensable aggravation of a pre-existing condition as a result of his employment. The trial court found that he failed to sustain his burden of proof on causation and dismissed his claim. Employee has appealed; he contends that the trial court erred in holding that he had not sustained a compensable injury. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2007/hopkinsm_121307.pdf


GARY PHILPOT v. TENNESSEE HEALTH MANAGEMENT, INC., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John B. Curtis, Jr., and Bruce D. Gill, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, Tennessee Health Management, Inc., AmericanHealth Centers, Inc., Rehab America, Inc., AMPHRAM, Inc.; Rivergate Manor, Inc., d/b/a Vanco Manor Nursing Center; NHC Healthcare/Hendersonville, LLC d/b/a NHC Healthcare, Hendersonville; National Healthcare Corporation; NHC/OP, LP; and NHC/Delaware, Inc.

Lisa E. Circeo and Deborah Truby Riordan, Nashville, Tennessee, and Brian G. Brooks, Greenbrier, Arkansas, for the appellee, Gary Philpot, as Administrator of the Estate of Virginia Miller.

Judge: CLEMENT

In this wrongful death action, five defendants contest the trial court's denial of their Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings. At issue on appeal is the validity of the arbitration agreement signed by the plaintiff on behalf of his mother, the deceased, on the day of her admission to the defendants' nursing home. The trial court denied the defendants' Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings finding "the agreement to arbitrate unenforceable as it is one of adhesion, oppressive, and unconscionable." We have determined that, based on the evidence in the record, the arbitration agreement is enforceable. Therefore, we reverse the decision of the trial court and remand to the trial court for the entry of an order compelling arbitration.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/philpotg_121307.pdf


DAVID LEE WRIGHT, as parent and next friend of KAITYLN LEE WRIGHT, a minor, v. ANITA J. WRIGHT and ELLEN COLLINS, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF MARJORIE COPLEY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James P. Romer, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellant Kaitlyn Lee Wright in his capacity as guardian ad litem.

Johnny V. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the appellee David Lee Wright, parent and next friend of Kaitlyn Lee Wright, a minor.

Judge: KURTZ

This appeal concerns the amount of attorney's fees awarded to counsel for a minor in a suit arising out of an accident which resulted in substantial injuries to the minor child. The only issue on appeal is the amount of attorney's fees set by the trial court. For the reasons stated herein we reverse the trial court and remand for a hearing in which it shall determine anew the appropriate amount of attorney's fees consistent with RPC 1.5(a) and the principles set forth in this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/wrightd_121307.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL T. SHARP

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael G. Hatmaker, Jacksboro, Tennessee, (on appeal); and Debra Graham, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, (at trial), for the appellant, Michael T. Sharp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Scarlett W. Ellis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Michael T. Sharp, was indicted on four counts of rape of a child, four counts of aggravated sexual battery, four counts of incest, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and two counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found not guilty of the twelve counts of the indictment involving the charges of rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, and incest. Defendant was found guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class E felony, in counts thirteen and sixteen of the indictment, and guilty of the lesser included offense of sexual exploitation of a minor in counts fourteen and fifteen. At the conclusion of the hearing on Defendant's motion for new trial, the trial court dismissed Defendant's convictions in counts thirteen and sixteen of the indictment upon finding that there was a material variance between the indictment and the evidence introduced at trial as to these counts. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied Defendant's request for alternative sentencing and sentenced Defendant to two years for each conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of four years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in not merging his two convictions of sexual exploitation of a minor, and that the trial court erred in its sentencing determinations. The State argues on appeal that the trial court erred in dismissing counts thirteen and sixteen of the indictment. After a thorough review, we conclude that the trial court erred in dismissing counts thirteen and sixteen of the indictment based upon a fatal variance. However, we conclude that the charges against Defendant were multiplicitous. Accordingly, we reverse and dismiss counts fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen and remand to the trial court for entry of an amended judgment reflecting a conviction in count thirteen for the offense of sexual exploitation of a minor. In light of State v. Gomez, _____ S.W.3d _____ (Tenn. 2007), we modify Defendant's sentence for sexual exploitation of a minor in count thirteen to one year. We affirm the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/sharpm_121307OPN.pdf


Effect of County Powers Relief Act on City's Authority to Require Developers of Certain Real Property to Construct Sidewalks or Pay a Fee in Lieu of Construction

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-12-13

Opinion Number: 07-161

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_161.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
DA holds press conference, local bars support judge
Tenth District District Attorney Steve Bebb held a press conference today on the circumstances surrounding disclosure of an audiotape made by Judge John Hagler. The Chattanoogan.com covered the event. Meanwhile, members of the bar associations in the 10th District voted today to ask the U.S. attorney to investigate how the tape became public, and passed several resolutions supporting Hagler, including calling for the return of the tape and any copies to him. The Chattanooga Times Free Press covered those stories. Read about the call for a probe or
about the other resolutions
Arnoult receives MBA's highest honor
The Memphis Bar Association awarded its highest honor, the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyer's Lawyer Award, to Pat Arnoult of the Bogatin Law Firm during its annual meeting last week. The award goes to a veteran attorney who exemplifies the qualities in the "Guidelines for Professional Courtesy and Conduct."
Read about Arnoult and the bar's meeting in the Memphis Daily News
Irvine sworn in
Knoxville lawyer Kenneth F. Irvine Jr., Knox County's newest criminal court judge, was sworn into office yesterday by Gov. Phil Bredesen. Irvine had been serving on the bench on a temporary basis following the death of Judge Ray Lee Jenkins. In comments following the ceremony, Irvine said he plans to focus on reducing the backlog of cases facing the court.
The News Sentinel reports
Anderson County election upheld
Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ruled today that the results of the August 2006 Anderson County General Sessions Court election would stand. The outcome of that race was challenged by David Stuart, who lost to incumbent Judge Don Layton by 119 votes. Stuart contended the election was mired in legal violations.
Learn more in the News Sentinel
Scruggs contempt case moved to Florida
The criminal contempt case of Mississippi trial lawyer Richard Scruggs has been reassigned to a Florida judge after 16 federal judges in north Alabama recused themselves. The case involves Scruggs' alleged failure to turn over Katrina-related insurance documents to the court. In addition to the contempt charge, Scruggs also faces charges of conspiracy to bribe a judge.
WMC-TV in Memphis has the story
eBay fined for patent infringement
A federal judge yesterday declined to overturn a jury's verdict that eBay deliberately infringed the patent for "Buy It Now" technology. That mechanism allows shoppers to purchase an item at a preset price rather than bid for it. The case represents a legal landmark, according to Bloomberg.com, since the judge did not require eBay to stop using the technology, though he imposed the $30 million fine.
Read more
Collierville justice complex in the works
Collierville's Board of Mayor and Aldermen is ready to move forward with a long-planned project for a new police-city court facility, but remains divided on a location.
Read about it in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Legislative News
Congressional committee approves judges' pay raise
Federal judges would get a pay raise for the first time in two decades under a bill approved by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee yesterday. Trial judges would earn $218,000 a year; appeals judges would earn $231,000; Supreme Court associate justices would earn $267,900; and the chief justice would earn $279,000, according to Legal Times.
Read the reprinted story on Law.com
TBA Member Services
Have you activated your FedEx shipping discounts?
TBA members are entitled to discounts on FedEx shipping. Did you know that TBA members are saving an average of $83 per quarter by utilizing their FedEx Association Advantage program discounts? Here's what some members have to say about their FedEx savings:

"Our firm took advantage of the Tennessee Bar Association FedEx discounts and saved over $200 on FedEx Express shipments last quarter alone. It's the best $200 we've ever saved," says member Bill Cameron of Cameron & Young in Cookeville. Start saving on your shipments today! For more information on how to enroll, call 1-800-923-7089 or
visit the TBA Web site

 
 
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