'Body Farm' founder to lead forensics program

Join Dr. William Bass, founder of the UT Forensic Anthropology Center -- better known as the "Body Farm" -- and a team of top legal experts for a new Forensics Overview course from TennBarU. It doesn't matter if you are in the criminal or civil arenas, forensic evidence impacts many aspects of law, and understanding new developments in DNA analysis, serology, and the impact of forensic science on legal ethics is critical. Joining Dr. Bass on the program will be Knoxville attorneys Andy Roskind and W. Thomas Dillard, Nashville attorney William "Tripp" Hunt III and Memphis Criminal Court Judge Mark Ward.

https://www.tnbaru.com/CLE/catalog_course_details.php?course=5610

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
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00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
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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.

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/certlist_022508.pdf


MELANIE GAYLE KING (LYON), ET AL. v. JAMES DAVID KING

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stephen W. Pate, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellants, Melanie Gayle King (Lyon) and Bradley N. Lyon.

William H. Bryson, Woodbury, Tennessee, for the appellee, James David King.

Judge: CLEMENT

The mother and stepfather of two minor children filed a petition against the father of the children to terminate the father's parental rights. The petitioners alleged, inter alia, that the father abandoned the children by failing to exercise any of the residential time and vacation time awarded to the father in the divorce and that he had willfully failed to visit the children during the four months preceding the filing of the petition. Following a bench trial, in which the mother and stepfather were represented by counsel, but the father was pro se, the trial court dismissed the petition to terminate based upon the finding that "due to the costs of transportation between the parties respective homes in Giles County and Cannon County and due to [the father's] limited income," the petitioners had failed to establish the ground of abandonment. The mother and stepfather have appealed, contending the trial court failed to correctly apply the law to the facts of this case and that the evidence clearly and convincingly proves that the father's failure to visit was willful due to the fact he had a vehicle, for which he could afford insurance, and the cost of driving the approximately sixty miles between their homes was within his financial means. We have determined that the trial court committed reversible error when it failed to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the minor children, which is mandated by Tenn. S. Ct. R. 13 section 1(d)(2) in proceedings to terminate a parent's rights when the petition is contested. We have also determined that if the father was indigent, which fact may be significant to the issue of willfulness, he had a constitutional right to appointed counsel. As Tenn. S. Ct. R. 13 section 1 (c) and (e) mandates, when the father appeared without counsel, the trial court had an affirmative duty to advise the father of his rights and to conduct an indigency hearing to determine if he was without sufficient means to pay reasonable attorney fees for representation in this case and, if so, to appoint counsel to represent him. We therefore vacate the judgment of the trial court and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including if necessary a new trial on the merits of the issues raised in the petition filed in this matter.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/kingm_022508.pdf


JOHN R. SHOMO ET AL. v. CITY OF FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

M. Taylor Harris, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, John R. Shomo and Sylvia J. Shomo.

Douglas Berry, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Franklin, Tennessee.

Judge: BENNETT

The Shomos owned several sewer taps on undeveloped property. The City of Franklin sold sewer taps on the property, offering lower prices than the Shomos. The Shomos sued Franklin asserting causes of action for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, and violation of the duties of a public utility. The trial court granted Franklin's motion to dismiss on the grounds that the complaint contained no set of facts that would entitle the Shomos to any relief according to law. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/shomoj_022508.pdf


IN RE: ESTATE OF LOYD R. SHULTS, deceased, ROBERT L. SHULTS, BARBARA GAIL SHULTS SMITH AND TERRY WAYNE SHULTS v. SUZANNE SHULTS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Bruce N. Oldham, Oldham & Dunning, LLC, Gallatin, Tennessee, and Paul A. Gontarek, Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, Nashville, Tennessee for the appellant, Suzanne Shults.

John R. Phillips, Jr., Gallatin, Tennessee, Susan R. High-McAuley, Bone McAllester Norton, PLLC, Hendersonville, Tennessee, and Nathan Harsh, Gallatin, Tennessee for the appellees, Robert L. Shults, Barbara Gail Shults Smith and Terry Wayne Shults.

Judge: ASH

This appeal arises from a dispute regarding interpretation of Loyd R. Shults's last will and testament, which incorporated by reference his and his wife's antenuptial property agreement. The Chancery Court interpreted Mr. Shults' last will and testament, determining certain property ownership rights acquired by the decedent during his marriage to be his solely. The court also ordered reformation of the testamentary trust, contained within the will, to identify the biological children of the decedent as the remainder beneficiaries. The Decedent's widow, Suzanne Shults, now challenges the Chancery Court's orders, first, arguing her husband's property, while titled solely in his name, should be considered marital property because it was acquired during the marriage. Suzanne Shults also argues the antenuptial agreement between her and her deceased husband indicates his intent to leave the corpus of the trust to her because property acquired during their marriage was to be marital property. We disagree with the appellant's argument and affirm the ruling of the Chancery Court. Cost of this appeal shall be assessed to the appellant, Suzanne Shults.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/shultsl_022508.pdf


IN RE: T. C. S. S.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

A. Ensley Hagan, Jr., Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, A.A.S.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Amy T. McConnell, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: CLEMENT

The father of an infant appeals the termination of his parental rights. The trial court found inter alia that his rights should be terminated pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(6) due to the fact the father was confined in prison as a result of a criminal act under a sentence of more than ten years imposed when the child was under eight years of age and termination was in the child's best interests, due in part to the child's numerous and serious medical complications and the fact the father had never met the child. Finding no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/tcss_022508.pdf


DERRICK BRYANT v. DAVID MILLS, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Derrick Bryant, Wartburg, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Jennifer L. Bledsoe and John Bledsoe, Assistant Attorneys General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The pro se petitioner, Derrick Bryant, appeals the Morgan County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we conclude that the state's motion is well-taken, and the judgment of trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/bryantd_022508.pdf


PETER GRAVES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Danny H. Goodman, Jr., Tiptonville, Tennessee, for the Petitioner, Peter Graves.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Associate Deputy Attorney General; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General, for the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Weakley County jury convicted the Petitioner, Peter Graves, of possession of both a schedule II and a schedule IV drug with intent to sell or deliver, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of fifteen years. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post- conviction court denied. The Petitioner now appeals, claiming: (1) he was denied the right to a fair trial because the jury saw him in handcuffs and shackles; (2) he was denied the right to a fair trial because the trial court did not conduct a jury out hearing when jurors wanted to ask him questions; and (3) he was not afforded the effective assistance of counsel. Upon a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/gravesp_022508.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARVIN RICHARD RAUHUFF

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dan Channing Stanley (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee; L. Allison Dobbs (at trial), Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marvin Richard Rauhuff.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Marya E. Wilkerson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

In April 2005, a Knox County grand jury indicted the defendant, Marvin Richard Rauhuff, on one count of driving under the influence (DUI), third offense. Following a jury trial in Knox County Criminal Court, the defendant was convicted of the sole count of the indictment and was sentenced to eleven months, twenty-nine days in jail, with the defendant to serve 120 days in jail and the balance of his sentence on probation. The defendant appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction, and that his due process rights were violated by the state's failure to turn over evidence of a blood alcohol test indicating that the defendantís blood alcohol content (BAC) was below .08 percent. After reviewing the record, we find no error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/rauhuffm_022508.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MITCHELL SIMPSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brian J. Hunt, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mitchell Simpson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; James H. Stutts, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

In August 2006, the McMinn County Circuit Court, after a hearing, revoked the probation of the defendant, Mitchell Simpson, and ordered that the defendant serve the remainder of his five-year sentence in the Department of Correction. The defendant did not file a direct appeal of the probation revocation order. In February 2007, the defendant filed a motion for reduction of sentence pursuant to Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure. The trial court subsequently denied the defendant's motion. The defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/simpsonm_022508.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Politics
Passages
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Puryear faces more questions
Gus Puryear, President Bush's nominee to be a federal judge for the Middle District of Tennessee, faces additional questions as part of his confirmation hearing. Following a hearing two weeks ago that was more contentious than expected, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has asked him to respond to a number of issues in writing. Groups opposed to his nomination say he has too little trial experience for the job.
Read more in the Tennessean
New group to study immigration raids
A new group that includes a former governor, a Memphis minister who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and the president of a labor union, plan to investigate the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's tactics used during workplace immigration raids and report its findings to the U.S. Congress.
Learn more in this AP story in the Kingsport Times News
Profile: DA targets law-breaking renters
The Shelby County District Attorney General's office reviews 400 arrest reports a month looking for indications of trouble -- especially drug dealing and prostitution -- in apartment complexes, high rises and rental housing. The result? The office has handled 2,300 evictions since 1997.
Read more in the Memphis Daily News
Enhanced security at Dyer courthouse on tap
Tougher security measures are set to be in place by mid-March for the Dyer County Courthouse, including metal detectors, video surveillance, magnetic locks and more visible law enforcement presence. Funding for the upgrades comes from the Tennessee Judicial Conference Security Committee.
The State-Gazette has the story
Justice complex named for former sheriff
The Fayette County Commission last week unanimously adopted a resolution to name the new criminal justice complex after former county sheriff Bill G. Kelley, according to the Fayette County Review. First elected in 1974, Kelley served for 32 years before his retirement in 2006. The resolution stated that Kelley earned the respect of prosecutors and judges for his "integrity and candor" in presenting his cases in court.

Legislative News
Paper offers three views of nursing home liability bill
Tennessee's nursing homes are petitioning the state legislature to grant them protection from lawsuits filed by residents. Specific proposals include adopting a cap on non-economic damages and requiring residents to sign arbitration agreements as a prerequisite for admission.

An editorial in the Tennessean argues the proposals should be rejected. Read its reasons why

Floyd Stewart with the Center For Independent Living of Middle Tennessee writes that Tennessee nursing home residents are woefully abused and neglected and takes legislators to task for pushing a bill that would make them "the least protected class" in the state. Read his opinion here

Finally, Steve Flatt, senior vice president of development for National HealthCare Corp., writes that because Tennessee has no financial limits on lawsuits against nursing homes, it is a prime target for high-dollar lawsuits filed by out-of-state lawyers. As a result, he says, too many health-care dollars and too much time are spent on lawsuits and litigation instead of patient care.
Read his view
Politics
Tuke reconsiders, likely will take on Alexander
Former Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Bob Tuke said Friday he "more than likely" will enter the race against U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander within two weeks, after reconsidering an earlier decision not to run. Tuke, a Nashville lawyer who is political director of Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Tennessee, would join former Knox County clerk Mike Padgett, former Nashville mayoral candidate Kenneth Eaton and anti-war candidate Chris Lugo of Nashville in the Democratic primary.
Read Tuke's take on the race in the Tennessean
Passages
Crossville attorney dies Sunday
Crossville Attorney Vivian Warner died Sunday in her law office. She was 56. Visitation will be held Wednesday from 12p.m. to 2 p.m. at Bilbrey Funeral Home in Crossville. A private service will follow. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Tomorrow Fund. Those interested in learning more about the fund may contact Judge Larry M. Warner at (931) 484-2447.

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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