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:

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Court: TWCA


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.


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.


Court: TCA


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.


Court: TCA


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.


Court: TCA


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

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


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


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