Year-end CLE Fest can save you

If you are in danger of not getting your required CLE hours in before the end of the year, don't worry. On Dec. 26, 27, 28 and 31, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the TBA will offer more than 150 hours of programming -- including more than 100 hours of ethics. Programs will show continuously in four separate rooms in the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave., North, in Nashville. You can come when you like and watch as many programs as you like. For more information, go to

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
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - 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.


Court: TSC


Court: TCA


Fred C. Dance, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brenda E. Easterling.

Dana C. McLendon, III, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, R. Elaine Easterling.


American Express card holder obtained a guest credit card for her future (now former) daughter-in-law, with the understanding that the future daughter-in-law would reimburse her for any charges. Substantial debt was incurred on the account, and the mother-in-law took out a home equity loan to pay down the debt. At trial, the mother-in-law's American Express records were admitted into evidence. The trial court found in favor of the mother-in-law. The daughter-in-law appeals, asserting that the American Express records were inadmissible hearsay and should have been excluded. The mother-in-law asserts that, even if the records were inadmissible hearsay, their admission was harmless error because she testified to the same information. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TCA


Curtis F. Hopper, Savannah, TN, for Appellants.

Chadwick G. Hunt, Savannah, TN, for Appellee.


This appeal involves a motion to set aside an execution on a vehicle. The plaintiff received a judgment against the defendants in the amount of $62,500, which he promptly recorded in the county register's office. The defendants subsequently purchased a new car, and a sheriff levied execution on the car to partially satisfy the judgment. The defendants filed this motion seeking to have the execution set aside because it was defective for various reasons, and they claimed that a third party held a security interest in the vehicle and had priority over the execution lien. The trial court denied the motion to set aside the execution and ordered the sheriff's department to sell the vehicle. The defendants appealed. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Lawrence Hart, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ashraf Khalil.

G. Kline Preston, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, CarCar Development, Inc.


This appeal arises from two consolidated breach of contract actions involving two separate but nearly identical residential real estate transactions. The buyers brought suit alleging that the seller breached its contracts by failing to complete construction of their homes by the closing date set out in the contracts. After the close of the plaintiffs' proof, the defendant moved for involuntary dismissal under Rule 41.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing that the seller's obligation to sell the homes never arose due to the buyers' failure to satisfy several conditions in the contracts. The Chancellor granted the defendant's motion for involuntary dismissal and denied the plaintiffs' motions to alter or amend. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Phyllis Aluko (on appeal) and Robert Felkner (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Curtis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Michelle Kimbril-Parks and Alanda Dwyer, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellant, Charles Curtis, of second degree murder and aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to consecutive sentences of thirty- six years and sixteen years, respectively. On appeal, the appellant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; (2) the trial court erred by allowing the appellant and one of his codefendants to be tried jointly; (3) the trial court erred by granting the State's motion to sequester the jury; (4) the trial court erred by admitting autopsy photographs of the victim's eyes into evidence; (5) his sentences are excessive; and (6) the cumulative effect of these errors denied him the right to a fair trial and due process. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Matthew Ian John, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, 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: GLENN

The petitioner, James Davis, was convicted by a Tipton County jury of felony murder and aggravated robbery and received consecutive sentences of life without parole and twenty years. This court affirmed the petitioner's convictions on direct appeal. State v. James Robert Davis, No. W2003-02362-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 WL 452569, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 24, 2005), perm. to appeal denied (Tenn. Aug. 22, 2005). In 2006, the petitioner filed a petition for post- conviction relief, alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court dismissed the petition. After reviewing the record and finding no error, we affirm that order.


Court: TCCA


Marty McAfee, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial) and Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Dana Keith Woods.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Dana Keith Woods, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, and especially aggravated kidnapping. The trial court merged the convictions for first degree premeditated murder and felony murder and also merged the convictions for attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. For these convictions, the Defendant received an effective sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole plus fifty years. In this direct appeal, the Defendant raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting photographs of the victim; (2) whether the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions; (3) whether the trial court erred in failing to instruct on voluntary intoxication; and (4) whether the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences. Following a review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the Defendant's convictions and sentences.


Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Drunkards may soon have to do jury duty
Getting out of jury duty may soon not be as simple as saying you've had one too many drinks. Among several proposed changes designed to make more people eligible for jury duty would be elimination of a law that allows lawyers to exclude jurors for any recent intoxication or for being a habitual drunkard. In this AP article reprinted in the Tennessean, judges reflect on their experiences with intoxicated jurors.
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Reid wins stay of execution
U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell has issued a stay of execution for Paul Dennis Reid, a death row inmate facing multiple death sentences for a series of slayings at fast food restaurants. His execution date had been set for Jan. 3. In November, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a similar motion. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported the news this afternoon.

First female lawyer lands at Goddard & Gamble
Maryville's longstanding law firm, Goddard & Gamble, has hired its first female attorney. Holding the distinction is Diane M. Hicks, who brings medical malpractice, insurance defense, and health care and commercial law experience to the firm. Hicks earned her law degree from the University of Miami and practiced in Florida for several years before moving to Tennessee.
The Maryville Daily Times has more
Judge makes Christmas night court a holiday tradition
Nashville Judge Leon Ruben did not eat Christmas dinner with his family. Instead, he presided over night court at the Criminal Justice Center. Judge Ruben has volunteered to work every Christmas for the past 36 years so that others could spend time with family. Reflecting on Christmases past, he says, "We've done everything...we've done weddings. One year we had a murder case." According to the judge, thankfully, this year was quiet. Nashville News 2, WKRN, reported the story.

Voter ID laws in spotlight as election approaches
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule next year on the constitutionality of an Indiana law requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot. If it lets the law stand, other states could adopt similar measures. Civil liberties groups argue these requirements make it more difficult for the elderly, poor and minorities to vote. Other studies suggest, however, that voter turnout is not negatively impacted.
Learn more in this Tennessean article
Judges grateful for CASA
Johnson City Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Green says she is grateful for Court Appointed Special Advocates -- known as CASA -- especially as caseloads increase and family law becomes more complex. Meanwhile, in Washington County, Juvenile Court Judges Jim Nidiffer and Rob Lincoln are struggling to find attorneys willing to represent youths in their courtroom and say they too are grateful for the assistance of CASA.
The Johnson City Press has more
McMinn County plans jail expansion, wins certification
The McMinn County Jail has retained its certification after the state threatened to halt funding. The county jail director says the state threatened to pull funds because the jail needed an expansion for female inmates. Certification was granted after the county decided to appropriate funds for an expansion. The plan also includes a new court system to be built next to the present jail and justice center.
The Murfreesboro Daily carried this AP story
Justice Clark to speak at Democratic event
Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia "Connie" Clark will speak to the Williamson County Democratic Party at its monthly potluck dinner Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. The event will take place at the party's headquarters located at 112B E. Fowlkes Street in Franklin. For more information contact Todd Sharp at (615) 790-3659.

TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.

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