New law school planned for Knoxville

Lincoln Memorial University announced plans yesterday to establish a new night law school in Knoxville's old city hall. The university has received permission to sublease the space from the city, but still needs accreditation for the school. LMU officials said the school would offer night and weekend classes -- much like the Nashville School of Law -- but offer a curriculum weighted toward business law. They are hoping the first class will start in the fall of 2009. Read more from the News Sentinel:

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Court: TSC


William T. Ramsey, Nashville, Tennessee, Jennifer H. Lawrence and Mathew D. Brownfield, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, John P. Konvalinka.

Fred H. Moore, Joseph R. White, and James H. Payne, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority, d/b/a Erlanger Hospital.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a civil contempt proceeding originating in the Court of Appeals. The intermediate appellate court granted an interlocutory appeal to address a discovery dispute in a lawsuit between a physician and a public hospital regarding the physician's staff privileges. In its order granting the interlocutory appeal, the court stayed "all proceedings below" while the appeal was pending. Despite the stay order, one of the physician's lawyers, being represented by the other, filed suit in his own name in the Chancery Court for Hamilton County seeking access to the records involved in the discovery dispute, as well as other records, under Tennessee's public records statutes. The hospital filed a motion with the intermediate appellate court requesting that the attorneys be held in contempt for willfully disobeying its stay order. The intermediate appellate court found that the attorneys had willfully violated the stay order and, therefore, that they were in direct civil contempt. The court also ordered the attorneys to pay the hospital's attorney's fees relating to the contempt proceeding. We granted the attorneys' application for permission to appeal to determine whether the Court of Appeals properly held the attorneys in contempt. The intermediate appellate court's stay order can reasonably be interpreted to apply only to the pending legal and administrative proceedings between the physician and the hospital. Therefore, the record does not support the Court of Appeals' finding that the attorneys willfully violated its stay order when they filed the separate public records suit against the hospital.


Court: TSC


George T. Lewis, III and Kristine L. Roberts, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sunrise Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc.

Gary K. Smith, C. Wesley Fowler, and James D. Causey, Memphis, Tennessee, and Gordon Ball, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bill Walker.


We granted the defendant's application for permission to appeal in this case to determine whether a class action may be certified in a claim brought under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"), Tennessee Code Annotated sections 47-18-101S125 (2001), or in a claim for common law misrepresentation and fraud. The plaintiff, on his own behalf and on behalf of similarly situated individuals, filed a complaint against Sunrise Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc., challenging sales transactions in which buyers were charged "dealer incurred costs" as part of the purchase price. The complaint alleged class action claims for, among other things, Tennessee Consumer Protection Act violations and common law misrepresentation and fraud. The trial court denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment with respect to the class certification of the TCPA, misrepresentation and fraud claims. The court granted the defendant's motion for a Rule 9 interlocutory appeal and to stay discovery. The Court of Appeals denied the motion for a Rule 9 appeal on the basis that we would soon be addressing the same issues in a different case. We granted the defendant's application for permission to appeal when the issue remained unresolved. Upon thorough review of the record and the legal issues presented, we hold that class certification is unavailable under the TCPA and that class certification was not appropriate in the plaintiff's claims for common law fraud and misrepresentation due to the individual nature of those claims.


Court: TCA


G. Kline Preston, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellants, DeWitt Kennard and Susan Kennard Walker

William L. Harbison, J. Scott Hickman and Lisa K. Helton, for appellee, AmSouth Bank


Plaintiffs DeWitt Kennard and Susan Kennard Walker appeal the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendant, AmSouth Bank. The Plaintiff, residuary beneficiaries of a testamentary trust created in 1957 filed a complaint against Defendant, co-trustee of the trust, alleging negligent mishandling of the trust. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCA


John E. Herbison, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellants, Robin Lee Stanfill and Robyn Ann Stanfill, individually and as next friends on behalf of their minor children, C. S. and M. S.

David A. Bates and C. Nicholas Fossett, Columbia, Tennessee, for appellee Carl Brooks.

Scott C. Williams and Rhonda A. Scott, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellees John T. Mountain and Melony Mountain.


This appeal arises out of a real estate transaction in Maury County, Tennessee, wherein the Plaintiffs/Appellants purchased property from Defendants/Appellees John T. Mountain and Melody Mountain. Defendant/Appellee Carl Brooks served as an independent real estate agent for the transaction. Plaintiffs filed suit against the Defendants alleging fraud, misrepresentation and violation of the Consumer Protection Act. Both Defendants filed motions for summary judgment. By Order dated April 19, 2006, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. Subsequently, the trial court awarded discretionary costs against the Plaintiffs. For the following reasons we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCA


Thomas Anthony Maynard, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Amelia Stewart.

George H. Nolan, Amy D. Hampton, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Seton Corporation d/b/a Baptist Hospital & St. Thomas Health Services.

Judge: HICKS

This is a premises liability case stemming from a fall by Amelia Stewart over an unpainted curb near one of the entrances to the defendant's hospital. Plaintiff alleges in her complaint that the curb over which the plaintiff fell was unsafe, dangerous and defective. The hospital moved for summary judgment arguing that (1) there was no evidence of an unsafe, dangerous, or defective condition, (2) the condition of the curb was "open and obvious," and (3) that plaintiff could not establish that her injury was foreseeable or the feasibility of alternative conduct. The trial court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed. We affirm.


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Legal News
Deadline passes with 10 circuit court applicants
The following individuals applied for the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court vacancy before today's 4:30 p.m. deadline: Nashville attorney Joseph Pitts Binkley Jr.; Nashville attorney Katherine Dent "Kitty" Boyte with Howard, Tate, Sowell, Wilson & Boyte PLLC; Joelton attorney Jefre Scot Goldtrap; Nashville attorney Amy Adams Gowan with Hardeman & Montgomery; Nashville attorney Michael F. Jameson of North, Pursell, Ramos & Jameson PLC; Marian LeRoy Kohl, judicial clerk/special master for Judge Hamilton Gayden; Mary Ashley "Marsh" Nichols, special master of Davidson County Circuit Court; Nashville attorney Cynthia M. Odle; Whites Creek lawyer Russell T. Perkins with the Attorney General's Office; and Nashville attorney Sarah Stein with Mitch Grissim & Associates.

Puryear's confirmation hearing testy at times
Gustavus "Gus" Puryear IV, nominated by President Bush to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, was expected to have a smooth confirmation hearing yesterday. However, the session hit some bumps when senators raised questions about his role as chief lawyer for Corrections Corporation of America. Two senators cited concerns raised by a coalition of civil rights groups that Puryear would be biased against inmates' rights because of his former job.
The Tennessean has more
Panel rejects changes to Cooper's fine
The Registry of Election Finance today declined to reconsider a record $120,000 fine against former Sen. Jerry Cooper. Neither Cooper nor his attorney attended the meeting, but Cooper submitted a statement asking the agency to recognize his limited ability to pay. The board's decision not to reconsider the fine came after the state attorney general ruled that each of the 23 illegal checks Cooper wrote could be counted as separate violations of the law.
The News Sentinel reports
Supreme Court: no class actions under TCPA
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today in Bill Walker et al. v. Sunrise Pontiac-GMC Truck Inc. that class action suits are not available under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.
Read the opinion
Holbrook runs '60 at 60' to raise money, celebrate
Knoxville lawyer Dan Holbrook celebrated his 60th birthday on Feb. 10 by running 60 miles at the University of Tennessee's Tom Black Track. He had invited friends and family to join him to raise money for three charities: Hope Resource Center, Alzheimers Association and Knox Heritage. His effort -- which took 13 hours and 12 minutes -- netted more than $30,000. To find out how to donate, go to and click on Charities.
See the story from WBIR-TV
West Tennessee bankruptcy filings jump
The home mortgage crunch has reached One Memphis Place. At the home of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee, the number of petitions for relief rose by 21 percent over last year. Market watchers suggest that the home-lending crisis and the slowing economy had the biggest impact on the spike.
The Commercial Appeal looks at the issue
Opinion: campus court is important alternative
Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis writes in the Cleveland Daily Banner that the county's juvenile campus court provides an important alternative to placing children in the juvenile justice system, and that thanks to new funding, the program will expand this year. Managed by Judge Daniel Swafford, the court is designed to address minor offenses with early intervention. The court operates in every school in Cleveland and Bradley counties.
Read Davis' opinion piece
Services Friday for Knoxville lawyer
Knoxville attorney Fred G. Musick died yesterday at the age of 86. At the time of his death he was serving as Of Counsel with the firm of Jenkins & Jenkins Attorneys PLLC. Musick graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1953 and joined Jenkins & Jenkins shortly thereafter. He served as senior partner from 1990 to 2001, when he was named Of Counsel. Musick was president of the Knoxville Bar Association in 1982. The family will receive friends on Friday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Berry's Funeral Home at 3704 Chapman Highway. The funeral will follow at Woodlawn Christian Church, 4339 Woodlawn Pike. At the deceased's request, friends are encouraged to give to the charity of their choice in lieu of flowers.

Scholar to speak about Justice Scalia
On Friday, the Memphis chapter of The Federalist Society will host a lecture by Claremont-McKenna Law Professor Ralph A. Rossum. Rossum will speak at 11:45 a.m. at the University of Memphis School of Law (Room 310) about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's legal philosophy. Rossum published a book on the topic in 2006, which drew from his personal experience co-teaching with Scalia in France. The free program was announced by the Memphis Daily News.

Disciplinary Actions
Kingston lawyer suspended
On Jan. 29, the Supreme Court summarily and temporarily suspended Spence R. Bruner's license to practice law for failing to comply with a Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Monitoring Agreement. The order precludes Bruner from accepting new cases immediately and mandates that he stop representing existing clients by Feb. 28. The suspension remains in effect until dissolved or modified by the court.
Download the BPR notice
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