Dinkins takes oath for Court of Appeals post

Judge Richard Dinkins was sworn in to the Tennessee Court of Appeals Middle Section during ceremonies today at the Tennessee State Capitol. Gov. Phil Bredeson administered the oath. In comments before the swearing in, Presiding Judge Hershel Franks noted that in the 83-year history of the Court of Appeals, no African American has served on that bench until Dinkins' appointment. In his comments, Dinkins joked that going through the Judicial Selection process makes sure that all of the candidates are "qualified, refried and bona fide." See a photo from the event on TBALink.
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Court: TWCA


P. Allen Phillips, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Milan Seating Systems, assumed name for Intier Automotive Seating of America, Inc.

Jay E. DeGroot, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Barbara Mitchell.


In this case, the employer appeals the judgment of the trial court, which awarded a twelve percent permanent partial disability to the employee's left arm and found that the employee provided timely notice of her injury pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-201(b)(1). At trial, the employee contended that she sustained a gradually occurring injury from her work with the employer over a fifteen-year period, causing ulnar nerve neuropathy in her left elbow. The employer argues on appeal that the employee failed to carry her burden of proof as to causation and did not provide timely notice of the injury to the employer. After careful consideration of the record in this case, we hold affirm the judgment of the trial court.


CORLEW dissenting


Court: TCA


John M. Richardson, Jr. and Steven T. Richardson, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Discover Bank.

Dwight G. McQuirter, Spring Hill, Tennessee, for the appellees, Vience McCullough and Sharon McCullough.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a dispute between the holders and the issuer of a bank card regarding an $8,549.01 unpaid balance. This straightforward collection case has been complicated by the cardholders' decision to represent themselves and by the inattentiveness of the issuer's lawyer. The issuer of the card filed suit in the Williamson County General Sessions Court seeking to recover the unpaid balance. The cardholders, representing themselves, mailed a response to the general sessions court but failed to appear at the hearing specified in the summons. Accordingly, on July 11, 2005, the general sessions court entered an $8,838.27 default judgment against the cardholders. The cardholders filed many other unintelligible papers in the general sessions court, including a "writ of praecipe." On November 9, 2005, after the general session courts declined to grant them relief, the cardholders filed a notice of appeal to the Circuit Court for Williamson County. The issuer of the bank card filed a motion requesting the circuit court to dismiss the de novo appeal because it was not timely filed. After the issuer's lawyer failed to appear for several hearings, the circuit court vacated the July 11, 2005 default judgment. On this appeal, the issuer of the card asserts that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the cardholders' de novo appeal because the appeal was not perfected within ten days following the entry of the default judgment. The cardholders insist that their de novo appeal was timely because it was filed within ten days after the entry of the general sessions court's order denying the "writ of praecipe." We have determined that the cardholders failed to perfect a timely de novo appeal from the default judgment and, therefore, that the circuit court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this case. Accordingly, we reverse the circuit court's orders vacating the July 11, 2005 default judgment and remand the case with directions to dismiss the cardholders' de novo appeal.



Court: TCA


John W. Routh, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, V.D.H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Lauren S. Lamberth, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services.


This is a parental rights termination case. The Department of Children's Services ("DCS") filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of V.D.H. ("Mother") as to her son, E.E.S. The juvenile court granted the petition and Mother appealed. We hold that the evidence does not preponderate against the juvenile court's finding, said by that court to have been made by clear and convincing evidence, that termination of Mother's parental rights is in the best interest of the child. Accordingly, we affirm.



Court: TCA


J. D. Lee and Travis E. Venable, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Martha Smith and Brian D. Smith.

Peggy L. Tolson, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellees, Greg Brooks, Tracy McAbee, and Grady Samples.


In 2005, Martha Smith and her husband, Brian D. Smith, filed suit ("the First Lawsuit") in the trial court against four individuals and the Polk County Board of Education ("PCBE"). Each of the four counts in the complaint includes an allegation that defendants Greg Brooks, Tracy McAbee, and Grady Samples "were acting in their official capacity while engaging in their illegal and tortious activity and . . . these defendants . . . are duly elected members of PCBE." An order of voluntary nonsuit without prejudice was entered in the First Lawsuit as to PCBE and all of the individual defendants except a non-board member, Shane Wooten. In 2006, the plaintiffs again filed suit ("the Second Lawsuit"). The "illegal and tortious activity" alleged in the Second Lawsuit is identical to that alleged in the First Lawsuit. The Second Lawsuit names Brooks, McAbee, and Samples ("the defendants") as the sole defendants. They are sued as individuals and not as members of PCBE. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss -- citing Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) -- asserting that the Second Lawsuit had been filed outside the period of the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court agreed and dismissed the Second Lawsuit. The plaintiffs appeal, relying upon Tenn. Code Ann. section 28-1-105(a) (2000), a part of the so-called Tennessee saving statute. We hold that, under the facts of this case, the saving statute is not available to the plaintiffs to preserve their causes of action against the defendants in their individual capacities. Accordingly, we affirm.



Court: TCA


Theodore R. Kern, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, A.L.M. and R.L.M.

Kevin C. Angel, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellee, M.J.T.


This is an appeal as of right in a parental rights termination case. We hold that the evidence in the record does not preponderate against the trial court's conclusion that the evidence fails to establish by clear and convincing proof that statutory grounds exist to terminate the father's parental rights or that the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of harm if placed in the father's care. We therefore affirm.



Court: TCCA


Danny R. Ellis, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric D. Charles.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Eric D. Charles, pled guilty in Madison County Circuit Court to aggravated robbery and was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to ten years in the Department of Correction. The defendant challenges the trial court's application of two enhancement factors; the State concedes that one of the factors was improperly applied. We conclude that the record supports the trial court's application of the second enhancement factor and affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Tommy K. Hindman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Abby Renee Duggan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Philip Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Abby Renee Duggan, appeals the judgment of the Knox County Criminal Court ordering sentences of confinement. Duggan's effective six-year sentence of confinement stems from her guilty pleas to two counts of robbery and one count of fraudulent use of a credit card. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied all forms of alternative sentencing and ordered confinement in the Department of Correction. Duggan appeals this ruling, arguing that the trial court erred in denying "probation and alternative sentencing." After de novo review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Judicial Commissioners Conducting Preliminary Hearings under Tenn. Code Ann. section 40-1-111

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-01-30

Opinion Number: 08-12


Liquor by the Drink Referendum

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-01-30

Opinion Number: 08-13


Senate Joint Resolution 127

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-01-30

Opinion Number: 08-14



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