Corporate pro bono grants now available

Apply now for a 2008 Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Grant, offered through the Tennessee Bar Association. The grants are funded by money raised from last year's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Reception and Dinner and will go to local access to justice organizations and partnerships with corporate legal departments and law firms. The funds are to be used to develop pro bono opportunities and projects specifically designed for corporate counsel. Find out more from Tennessee's Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative:

http://www.tba.org/TLCF/probono_initiative/grants_2007-2008.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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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.

ROY CLARDY v. TRW COMMERCIAL STEERING DIVISION

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Richard Lane Moore, Cookeville, Tennessee for the appellant TRW Commercial Steering Division.

Debbie C. Holliman and E. Guy Holliman, Carthage, Tennessee and Branden Bellar, Gordonsville, Tennessee for the appellee, Roy Clardy.

Judge: HARRIS

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employee, Roy Clardy, alleged that he had sustained gradual injuries to his right shoulder, right arm and thumb, and left arm. The trial court awarded 22.5% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole for the shoulder injury, 75% permanent partial disability to the right arm and 55% permanent partial disability to the left arm. The employer, TRW Commercial Steering Division (TRW), has appealed that ruling, asserting that the trial court erred by making separate awards, rather than a single award to the body as a whole; that the award is excessive; that the trial court erred in excluding portions of Mr. Clardy's discovery deposition from evidence; and that the trial court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter. We conclude that a single award should have been made in accordance with the concurrent injury rule and modify the award to 45% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole for the combined injuries. We also hold that the trial court erred in excluding Mr. Clardy's deposition testimony. Finally, we hold that the trial court had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/clardyr_011608.pdf


CHARLES ROBERT BAGGETT v. BEDFORD COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for Appellant Charles R. Baggett.

Reynolds Davies and A. Chad Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee Bedford County.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a comparative negligence case. The plaintiff prisoner was incarcerated at the defendant county's jail. The inmates were given an opportunity to earn a reduction in their sentences by performing construction work to expand the jail's workhouse facility. The plaintiff volunteered for this program and was assigned the task of hanging cement board on the walls of the workhouse; the jail provided the plaintiff with a scaffold and a step ladder. The plaintiff was told to hang one of the boards at a height that could not be reached by standing on the scaffold alone. To perform the task, the plaintiff put the ladder on top of the scaffold and climbed the ladder. In doing so, he lost his balance, the scaffold collapsed, and he fell to the floor, sustaining serious injuries. The plaintiff prisoner sued the county under the Governmental Tort Liability Act, seeking damages for his injuries. The county moved for summary judgment, asserting the simple tool doctrine and comparative negligence. The trial court granted the motion on both grounds. The plaintiff appeals. We reverse, finding, inter alia, that the simple tool doctrine is a form of assumption of the risk and, as such, has been abolished in favor of comparative negligence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/baggettc_011608.pdf


DAVID RICHARD HUDDLESTON v. PATRICIA WAGGONER HUDDLESTON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Thomas H. Shields III and Chadwick B. Tindell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Richard Huddleston.

William A. Reeves and Daniel J. Morse, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Patricia Waggoner Huddleston.

Judge: LEE

The plaintiff loaned the defendant $50,000 which was to be repaid in 15 monthly installments of $800 each with a final balloon payment of $46,600. The parties agreed that the total amount to be repaid was $58,600, but did not specify an interest rate or make any provision for interest on the balance in the event the balloon payment was not timely made. The defendant paid the initial 15 monthly installments, but failed to pay the balloon payment, and instead continued to make monthly payments for approximately 44 more months paying a total of $59,416. The issue presented is what amount of interest, if any, is owed on the balloon payment that the defendant failed to timely pay when the contract failed to make a provision for interest in the event of default. The trial court held that the parties had agreed that the defendant would pay interest at the rate of 14.1 percent per annum, based upon the $8,600 he agreed to pay in excess of principal, and that the plaintiff was entitled to have the balance of the loan outstanding at the time of default paid at such rate. Upon review, we conclude that the parties failed to agree on an interest rate to be paid in the event of default of the balloon payment, and accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is vacated to the extent that it awards the plaintiff interest at the rate of 14.1 percent, and the case is remanded with instructions that the trial court grant the plaintiff an award of prejudgment interest in accord with Tenn. Code Ann. section 47-14-102. The judgment is affirmed in all other respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/huddlestond_011608.pdf


ALAN P. WOODRUFF v. FORT SANDERS SEVIER MEDICAL CENTER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Alan P. Woodruff, pro se, and Scott D. Hall, Sevierville, Tennessee, for appellant.

Martin B. Bailey and John L. Miller, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiff's Declaratory Judgment asks the Court to declare the contract he signed with defendant void because it was not sufficiently definite to be enforced, and it was a contract of adhesion. The Trial Court held that the contract was enforceable and not a contract of adhesion. On appeal, we hold the contract was enforceable, butappropriate for declaratory judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/woodruffa_011608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES R. CLEVENGER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jason Baril, Knoxville, Tennessee, (on appeal); and Richard Gaines, Knoxville, Tennessee, (at trial), for the appellant, Charles R. Clevenger.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Leslie Nassios, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Charles R. Clevenger, was found guilty of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. After a sentencing hearing, Defendant was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender, to eighteen years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in determining the length of Defendant's sentence by not considering certain mitigating factors. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/clevengerc_011608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES WADE MCGAHA

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

S. Joanne Sheldon, Newport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Wade McGaha.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; and James B. Dunn, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Charles Wade McGaha, was convicted of first degree murder and aggravated assault. He was sentenced to life for the murder conviction and to ten years as a Range II , multiple offender for the aggravated assault conviction. The two sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. In this direct appeal, he raises three issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence presented was sufficient to support his convictions; (2) whether the trial judge erred by failing to recuse himself; and (3) whether the trial court erred by not taking curative action or declaring a mistrial after members of the Defendant's jury saw him walking to the courtroom while shackled. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/mcgahac_011608.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Politics
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Supreme Court upholds NY judicial selection process
The U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously upheld New York's unique system of choosing trial judges, reversing two lower courts and setting aside complaints that the system was easily controlled by party bosses. The state selects judges for its Supreme Court through a party convention system with elected delegates choosing judicial nominees.
Read more in the New York Times
Download the court's opinion
Environmental Law writing competition underway
The TBA Environmental Law Section has announced its 2nd annual Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award writing competition for law student members of the TBA Environmental Law Section. This competition is in memory of one of the section's most outstanding founding members and has a cash prize pool of $1,200. This is a juried competition for the best legal writing on a topic of Tennessee or federal environmental law. Entries are due March 28.
Find out more about the competition
Mediators gain reciprocity with Arkansas
The Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission recently adopted a mediator's reciprocity policy that will make Tennessee mediators eligible for reciprocity if they are in good standing with the Tennessee ADR Commission. The new Arkansas policy follows a similar rule in Tennessee, where the ADR Commission may waive training requirements if the candidate is in good standing in another state that allows reciprocity with Tennessee mediators.

Democrats want special counsel in CIA tape case
Top Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are calling for an outside lawyer to investigate the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes. With news that the CIA consulted with the White House and Justice Department about the tapes and their destruction in 2005, they argue the department's ability to conduct an independent investigation has been compromised.
WMC-TV Memphis reported the news
Paris-Henry Bar elects president
The Paris-Henry County Bar Association has selected Hansel Jay McCadams of Huntingdon as its president for 2008.

Parking woes at Wilson County courthouse
WKRN News Channel 2 reports that the 105-space parking lot at the new Wilson County Courthouse falls far short of providing parking for the nearly 400 people who come to court each day for jury duty. Judge J.O. Bond said parking is a constant problem for his courtroom, with many arriving late. The mayor acknowledged the problem but urged judges to hold jury selection at staggered times and other locations.
Read more
Sumner County to decide on juvenile facility
With the number of youth offenders increasing in Sumner County, officials are debating whether to spend millions of dollars on a new juvenile justice center. The current facility, built almost 30 years ago, has only five beds so thousands of offenders are sent to other counties each year or judges simply let them go free.
The Ashland City Times reports
CASA receives grant
CASA of Memphis and Shelby County Inc., a nonprofit organization that trains volunteers to represent abused and neglected children in court, has received a $10,000 grant from the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation, according to the Memphis Daily News. CASA reportedly will use the funds to recruit, train and supervise child advocates.

Legislative News
State Rep. Overbey to challenge Sen. Finney
State Representative Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, announced today he will run for the state Senate seat now held by Senator Raymond Finney, a fellow Republican. Overbey, a lawyer, lives in Maryville, and was elected to his House seat in 2000. Finney, a retired physician, won the Senate seat, which serves Sevier and Blount counties, in 2004. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported the announcement.

Politics
Early voting starts today
Early voting for Tennessee's presidential primary begins today and runs through Jan. 31. The primary, scheduled for Feb. 5, will include votes on presidential candidates, convention delegates and county offices in some locales.
Find your early voting location
Forum looks at civility in politics
Governor Phil Bredesen and two former U.S. Senate majority leaders voiced general agreement yesterday that the modern media can be faulted for a decline in the civility of political discourse. Bredesen was joined by former Senators Tom Daschle, a Democrat, and Bob Dole, a Republican, at a forum on civility in governance in Knoxville.
Read about it in the News Sentinel
TBA Member Services
CompuPay offers deals for TBA members
CompuPay is proud to serve as the official payroll services provider for the Tennessee Bar Association. To serve Tennessee attorneys the company is offering two months of free payroll processing for all TBA members and waiving set up fees for members with up to 99 employees.
Learn more about CompuPay's benefits

 
 
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