New online CLE tackles ethics issues for criminal defense

Knowing what information is confidential and when it loses its confidential protection can be crucial to serving your clients. A new interactive online CLE from Knoxville lawyer and former U.S. Attorney W. Thomas Dillard will teach you when confidential information must be disclosed, when it may be disclosed, and when it must not be disclosed. Sign up now for Dillard's "Ethical Concerns from the Criminal Defense Perspective" to learn about these topics and more.

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Court: TWCA


Jimmy Wayne Bilbo, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Lisa Cody.

Kent Thomas Jones, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Peyton's Southeastern, Inc.

Judge: SCOTT

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 alleged that she developed carpal tunnel syndrome and a bulging cervical disc as a result of her employment. The trial court ruled that her claim was barred by failure to give notice of her injury as required by the workers' compensation law, and also that she had failed to prove that her conditions were caused by her employment. She has appealed, arguing that she gave timely notice according to the "last day worked" rule. She also contends that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's ruling on causation. We affirm the judgment.


Court: TCA


J. Thomas Caldwell, Ripley Tennessee, for the appellant, Selma P. Griffin.

Pam Warnock Green, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Munford Development Company and Charles Walker.

Judge: KIRBY

This case involves the statute of repose for actions based on improvements to real property. The defendant developer purchased and developed a lot for sale as part of a residential development. The plaintiff purchased the lot by warranty deed. The developer represented to the plaintiff that the lot was suitable for the construction of a residential dwelling. Relying on this representation, the plaintiff purchased the lot and built a house on it. Two years after the purchase, the house began to develop cracks in the foundation and exterior walls. Over the next two years, the problems worsened, so the plaintiff obtained an evaluation by professional engineers. The engineers informed the plaintiff that the house's structural problems may have arisen because the soil on which the house was built was unsuitable to support such construction. The plaintiff then sued the development company and its president, claiming fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of implied warranty, and breach of express warranty. The defendants moved for summary judgment, asserting that the four-year statute of repose on claims involving improvements to real property barred the plaintiff's action. The plaintiff argued that the statute of repose was not applicable because her claims were based on misrepresentation. The trial court granted the defendants' motion, and the plaintiff appeals. We affirm, finding that the plaintiff failed to introduce evidence that any of the defendants had knowledge that the soil conditions were unsuitable to support a residential dwelling at the time the alleged misrepresentations were made.


Court: TCCA


Stacey Nordquist, Maryville, Tennessee (at trial), and J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Sherry Huff.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Rocky Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Sherry Huff, pled guilty in the Blount County Circuit Court to three counts of fraudulently obtaining food assistance, three counts of fraudulently obtaining temporary assistance, and one count of aggravated assault. She received a total effective sentence of three years. The appellant was granted probation which was subsequently revoked. On appeal, the appellant challenges the revocation of her probation. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the trial court's revocation of the appellant's probation.

Corrected Opinion

Court: TCCA


Edward R. Sempkowski, Morristown, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Larry D. LaForce, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Victor Vaughn, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Larry D. LaForce, II, appeals as of right from his jury conviction in the Hamblen County Criminal Court for coercion of a witness, a Class D felony, for which he received a sentence of three years as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. Additionally, he claims that the trial court erred in denying his motion to sever offenses, that the trial court committed plain error in instructing the jury regarding the elements of coercion of a witness, that the trial court erred in instructing the jury regarding the dismissal of the aggravated assault charge, and that the cumulative effect of the errors resulted in a denial of due process which denied the defendant of his right to a fair trial. The state argues that the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction for coercion of a witness, that the trial court correctly denied the motion for severance, and that the trial court instructed the jury properly. Additionally, the state alleges that the trial court erred in dismissing the aggravated assault charge on variance grounds. Following our review, we conclude that the trial court erred in dismissing the aggravated assault charge and that none of the defendant's allegations of error merit relief. Therefore, the judgment of the criminal court is affirmed in part and reversed in part; the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TCCA


G. Scott Green, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rickie J. Stallings.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant District Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Steven R. Hawkins and Nichole D. Bass, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Rickie J. Stallings, appealed his Sevier County Circuit Court convictions of attempted aggravated arson, aggravated assault, assault, and possession of explosive components, and this court affirmed the convictions and consecutive service of the sentences but modified the effective sentence from 18 to 16 years. See State v. Rickie J. Stallings, No. E2005-00239-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App., Knoxville, Jul. 26, 2006), reh'g denied (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 3, 2006), perm. app. granted, case remanded (Tenn., Oct. 15, 2007). On October 15, 2007, our supreme court remanded the case to this court for reconsideration in light of the supreme court's opinions in State v. McGouey, 229 S.W.3d 668 (Tenn. 2007) (McGouey II), and State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733 (Tenn., Nashville, Oct. 9, 2007) (Gomez II). Following additional briefing and oral argument, we modify the conviction of aggravated assault to assault pursuant to McGouey II, impose a sentence of 11 months, 29 days for the assault, and, pursuant to Gomez II, modify the sentence for attempted aggravated arson to 10 years.

On the Constitutionality of Confinement as a Condition of Pre-Trial and Judicial Diversion

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-04

Opinion Number: 08-42

Effect of Statutes of Limitation and/or Estoppel on the Enforcement of Incomplete Sentences

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-04

Opinion Number: 08-43

Utility Construction within Corporate Limits of Another City

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-04

Opinion Number: 08-44


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