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.

https://www.tnbaru.com/CLE/catalog_course_details.php?course=54

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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
03 - 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.

LISA CODY v. PEYTON'S SOUTHEASTERN, INC.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

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.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/codyl_030608.pdf


SELMA P. GRIFFIN v. MUNFORD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY AND CHARLES WALKER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

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.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/griffins_030608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. SHERRY HUFF

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

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.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/huffsl_030608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. LARRY D. LAFORCE, II
Corrected Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

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.

Judge: THOMAS

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.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/laforcel_corr_030608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKIE JAMES STALLINGS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

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.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/stallingsr_030608.pdf


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

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08-42.pdf

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

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08-43.pdf

Utility Construction within Corporate Limits of Another City

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-04

Opinion Number: 08-44

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08-44.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Passages
Correction
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Proposal calls for part-time city judges
Memphis City Court Judge Tarik Sugarmon has recommended that the three-judge city court be converted to a set of five or six part-time judges. The plan would not change the court's jurisdiction or the election of the judges, but would have three or four of them working later hours at satellite sites such as police precincts or community centers. City Court Clerk Thomas Long agreed that something should be done to make the system more user-friendlier but instead endorsed the idea of a night court.
Read more about the debate in the Memphis Daily News
State AG sues Nashville business for UPL activity
Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has filed a civil enforcement action against a Middle Tennessee man who allegedly provided legal services without a license to Hispanic immigrants. The individual, Elmer Virula, is accused of falsely claiming to be a lawyer and that his companies could assist clients with immigration document preparation, marriage licenses and other government certificates.
Read the AG's announcement
Former sheriff pleads not guilty
Former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that stem from an FBI undercover investigation, reports the Times Free Press. In addition to possession with intent to distribute cocaine, Long is charged with extortion, money laundering, providing a gun to a felon and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. His trial is set for May before federal Judge Harry "Sandy" Mattice.
Learn more about the case
Ben Jones president featured in Q&A column
Van D. Turner Jr. is the 2008 president of the Ben F. Jones chapter of the National Bar Association. In a recent interview with the Memphis Daily News, he talked about the role African-American lawyers played in the civil rights movement, the challenges of providing legal services to underserved populations and why he would depose Frederick Douglass if given the chance.
The Memphis Daily News has the interview
FBI chief testifies on unsolved civil rights cases
The FBI is investigating 52 unsolved civil rights era cases out of nearly 100 referred to the bureau over the last year, said Director Robert Mueller yesterday in testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. It was the first glimpse into the bureau's efforts to reopen decades-old civil rights cases since the successful prosecution of a reputed Ku Klux Klansman last year.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the story
Legislative News
Panel advances open records compromise
A compromise reached on proposed updates to Tennessee's open records laws moved out of a Senate subcommittee today. The compromise measure would make no changes to current requirements for public meetings, but would tighten open records laws. Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said he decided to move forward with the records amendments because there "seemed to be a universal agreement" on those issues. Views on the open meetings issues, however, remain divided.
Read more in this AP story in the Tennessean
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Passages
Long-time Chattanooga attorney dies
Long-time Chattanooga attorney L.D. Miller, 87, died at his home on Lookout Mountain on Monday. He was the son of Judge L.D. Miller Sr. from Mountain City. The deceased attended night school at the Chattanooga College of Law and joined the law firm of Spears, Reynolds, Williams and Moore after passing the bar in 1945. Later he opened his own law firm where he practiced for over 50 years. Visitation and services were held today at the Heritage Funeral Home followed by burial at the Forest Hills Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that friends make a donation to their favorite charity in Miller's name.
Read more about his life in the Chattanoogan.com
Correction
Wrong word was a foul-up
A record number of astute readers caught the gaffe in yesterday's issue of TBA Today, which ran afoul of proper English by using the word "fowl" where bad language was intended. For those who searched unsuccessfully for a reference to poultry in the story, we apologize. We certainly have egg on our faces for getting our words so scrambled.

TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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