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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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
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SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/certlist_121707.pdf


DEREK DAVIS v. MARK LUTTRELL, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Leslie A. Miller, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Derek Davis.

Martin W. Zummach, Assistant Shelby County Attorney, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Judge: FARMER

The Shelby County Sheriff's Department terminated the employment of deputy Derek Davis based on a random drug screening. The Civil Service Merit Board affirmed the Department's decision. Mr. Davis appealed to the Chancery Court for Shelby County, which affirmed. Mr. Davis filed a timely notice of appeal to this Court, asserting the Board's decision is not supported by substantial material evidence. We reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/davisd_121707.pdf


LEIGH HEMBREE and husband, CHRISTOPHER D. HEMBREE v. THE ESTATE OF RICHARD STYLES, et al.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David C. Lee, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellants.

Louis Andrew McElroy, II., Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

An action against "The Estate of Richard Styles" was dismissed by the Trial Court on grounds of the statute of limitations. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/hembreel_121707.pdf


ROBERT JENKINS ET AL. v. CHASE BROWN ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Shawn J. McBrien, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robert Jenkins and Sharon Jenkins.

Todd A. Bricker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Carol Palmer and Folk Jordan Company, Inc., d/b/a Folk Jordan Better Homes and Gardens.

Douglas Berry and Alvin L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Frances Garner and Sharon Langford and Associates, Inc.

Dean Robinson, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, for the appellee, Clarence Wright.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a dispute regarding the liability for the structural defects in a four-year-old house in a Mt. Juliet subdivision. Shortly after purchasing the house from its original owners, the property owners discovered that the house had been constructed on improperly compacted fill and other debris. When additional structural problems manifested themselves, the property owners filed suit in the Chancery Court for Wilson County seeking compensatory and punitive damages against the contractor who built the house and his wife, the original owners, the original owners' real estate agent and broker, their own real estate agent and broker, and their home inspector. Following an eight-day trial, the jury determined that the contractor and the original owners had engaged in intentional and reckless misrepresentation by concealing the house's structural problems. The jury also determined that both real estate agents and the developer of the subdivision were at fault. The jury awarded the property owners $58,720.80 in compensatory damages to be apportioned among the parties at fault. The jury also awarded the property owners $20,000 in punitive damages against one of the original owners and $50,000 in punitive damages against the contractor. The trial court reduced the punitive damage award against the original property owner to $14,000, and granted a judgment notwithstanding the verdict for the two real estate agents with regard to the property owners' Tennessee Consumer Protection Act claims. On this appeal, the property owners take issue with the dismissal of their claims against the real estate agents and their brokers based on their use of an outdated and incomplete real property disclosure form. The contractor also takes issue with the judgments awarded against him for compensatory and punitive damages. We have determined that the trial court did not err by dismissing the property owners' claims against the real estate agents and their brokers based on the use of the incomplete and outdated disclosure form. We have also concluded that the property owners presented insufficient evidence to establish their common-law fraud claim against the contractor who built the house. Accordingly, we reverse the portion of the judgment requiring the contractor to pay compensatory and punitive damages.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/jenkinsr_121707.pdf


SABRINA SMITH v. CITY OF CHATTANOOGA, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael A. Anderson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Sabrina Smith.

Michael A. McMahan and Phillip A. Noblett, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, City of Chattanooga.

W. Gerald Tidwell, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Phillip Grace.

Judge: LEE

The employee brought this hostile work environment sexual harassment claim against her supervisor and employer, alleging the defendants violated the Tennessee Human Rights Act ("THRA"). At the close of the employee's proof in the jury trial, the trial court granted a directed verdict in favor of the supervisor and the employer. We vacate the trial court's directed verdict in favor of the employer because from the proof presented at trial, reasonable minds could differ on the issue of whether the employer established the affirmative defense set forth by the United States Supreme Court in the Faragher/Ellerth cases and recently restated by the Tennessee Supreme Court in Allen v. McPhee.1 We affirm the trial court's judgment that the supervisor was not individually liable under the THRA as an "aiding and abetting" accomplice because he did not encourage the employer to engage in employment-related discrimination or prevent the employer from taking corrective action.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/smiths_121707.pdf


MARGARET BARGH TAKEDA V. SUMIHIRO TAKEDA

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John R. Morgan, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sumihiro Takeda.

Marvin Berke and Megan England Demastus, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Margaret Bargh Takeda.

Judge: LEE

In this divorce case, Husband appeals the classification of the marital residence as marital property, the division of the marital property, the restrictions on his parenting time with the parties' two minor children, and the amount of his child support obligation. After careful review, we vacate the trial court's judgment as to the division of the marital estate and remand for further findings of fact in that regard. We affirm the trial court's judgment as to all other matters.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/takedam_121707.pdf


Sexual Offender Registration Requirements Based on Multiple Convictions in a Single Trial

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-12-17

Opinion Number: 07-164

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_164.pdf

HIPAA/TennCare/Medicaid Interplay

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-12-17

Opinion Number: 07-165

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_165.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Hooker gets censure from BPR
John Jay Hooker is set to receive a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsiblity, NashvillePost.com reports this afternoon. Hooker told the online paper this morning he plans to protest the BPR's censure in Davidson County Chancery Court. Friday's BPR ruling places no new burdens upon Hooker, who, as a result of earlier court efforts to screen-out "frivolous" lawsuits he might file, is required to submit proposed lawsuits for special review.
Read the details from NashvillePost.com [subscription required]
KBA annual meeting: new officers, awards given
At the Knoxville Bar Association's annual meeting Friday, Adrienne L. Anderson assumed the presidency, and the following were elected officers: Thomas R. Ramsey III, president- elect; Samuel C. Doak, treasurer; Michael J. King, secretary; and Timothy A. Housholder, YLD president. The membership elected the following to the four open positions on the Board of Governors: Tasha C. Blakney, Timothy C. Houser, Gregory S. McMillan and Chancellor Daryl R. Fansler. Howard H. Vogel was presented the KBA's highest award, the prestigious Governor's Award. The 2007 President's Awards were presented to John W. Routh and John M. Smartt for their service to the KBA membership and the community. The family of Douglas M. Anderson was presented with the Courage in the Face of Adversity Award.

Proposed changes to state's public access laws debated
A special committee created by the legislature to study issues and propose remedies completed its work Nov. 28, recommending the biggest changes ever to the public meetings and open records laws. The proposals will be debated by the legislature in 2008. "It appears as if the recommendations are a mixed bag for open-government advocates," said David Hudson, First Amendment scholar at the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University. But Memphis lawyer Lucian T. Pera, who represented the Society of Professional Journalists on the committee, said the public records proposals represent "progress -- not dramatic progress, but progress."
Read the analysis in the Commercial Appeal
Editorial: Election is 'voter's paradise'
The Knoxville News Sentinel calls Knox County's upcoming election "close to a voter's paradise," because there are plenty of candidates from whom to choose and candidates in most of the contests will have opposition for the general election. There are 19 positions on the ballot, including four school board seats, county law director, a criminal court judgeship and property assessor. The remaining 12 -- eight commission seats and four countywide offices -- are vacant following a Chancery Court jury's decision in early October that the commission violated the state's Open Meetings Act last January in filling those posts.
Read the editorial
Justice dept holds out about destroyed tapes
The Bush administration told a federal judge it was not obligated to preserve videotapes of CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists and urged the court not to look into the tapes' destruction, the Associated Press reports. In court documents filed Friday night, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about the tapes would interfere with current investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.
Read more from the AP in the Commercial Appeal
New Jersey ends capital punishment
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation today that eliminates capital punishment as a sentence and replaces it with life in prison without parole. At the same time, he commuted the death sentences of the eight men presently on death row at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton to life without parole.
Law.com has more from the New Jersey Law Journal
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