Committees advance TBA bills on shareholder derivatives, condominiums, lien law and family law issues

The House Judiciary Committee's Civil Practice Subcommittee today cleared for full committee consideration the Tennessee Bar Association bill, as amended, on expenses in shareholder derivative actions (HB3866/SB3982), sponsored by Rep. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville and Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville. The Senate Commerce, Labor and Agriculture Committee also recommended passage of the Tennessee Condominium Act of 2008 (SB2935/HB2752), sponsored by Sen. Paul Stanley, R-Memphis, and Rep. Kent Coleman, D-Murfreesboro, after adopting a single comprehensive amendment. The TBA-fostered bill is the first complete rewrite of the 1963 Horizontal Property law.

In the Senate Judiciary Committee, members approved the bill (SB2950/HB3102), sponsored by Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville and Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta, brought by the TBA, making technical corrections to the Construction Lien Law that was adopted last year. The committee also recommended adoption of the family law housekeeping bill (SB2910/HB3044), sponsored by Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, and Rep. Janis Baird Sontany, D-Nashville, which was drafted by the TBA Family Law Section.
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Court: TCA


William Lewis Jenkins, Jr., and Mark L. Hayes, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Randy Coleman. Camp.

Michael A. Carter, Milan, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lisa Faye Roland Camp.


This appeal arises from a divorce action. Husband appeals the trial court's award of alimony in futuro in the amount of $1600 per month to Wife. Wife asserts this appeal should be dismissed for unclean hands. She further asserts the trial court erred by finding the parties stipulated as to grounds for divorce, in setting alimony at $1600 per month, by not ordering an automatic increase in alimony upon emancipation of the children, by failing to award her all of her attorney's fees, and by ordering Husband to name Wife and the children as beneficiaries of his life insurance policy. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Brian Kuhn, Shelby County Attorney, Robert B. Rolwing, Assistant County Attorney, J. Carter S. Gray, Assistant County Attorney, and Roane Waring, Assistant Memphis City Attorney, for the appellant, Shelby County, Tennessee.

Elbert Jefferson, Jr., Memphis City Attorney, and J. Michael Fletcher, Deputy City Attorney, for the appellant, City of Memphis.

J. Michael Murray, Cleveland, Tennessee, and Rex Brasher, Memphis Tennessee, for the appellee, Manhattan, Inc., d/b/a New York New York.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a petition for a writ of mandamus. The plaintiff purchased a vacant nightclub and sought to reopen it as a topless club. To this end, the plaintiff nightclub owner filed an application for a beer permit and a compensated dance permit from the city beer board, and for a certificate of occupancy with the local construction code enforcement office. After protracted litigation, the nightclub owner obtained the necessary beer and compensated dance permits. Subsequently, the construction code office issued a certificate of occupancy to the nightclub owner, but later sought to restrict it to prohibit sexually-oriented entertainment. This was unsuccessful, so the construction code enforcement office revoked the certificate. The nightclub owner then filed the instant petition for a writ of mandamus against the county and the construction code enforcement office, asking the trial court to compel the construction code office to issue an unrestricted certificate of occupancy. The defendants argued, inter alia, that the plaintiff's intended use for adult entertainment was not "grandfathered" because the plaintiff had abandoned the nightclub while seeking the required permits. After a bench trial, the trial court held in favor of the nightclub owner and granted the writ of mandamus. The defendants now appeal. We affirm, finding that the trial court did not err in finding that the nightclub owner's business use was lawful, and that the nightclub owner did not abandon the property during the time it was involved in litigation over the beer permit.


Court: TCA


Robert S. Weiss, Memphis, TN, for Appellant.

Sharon Harless Loy, Memphis, TN, for Appellee.


This is an appeal involving a post-divorce award of alimony in futuro. The court awarded the wife a divorce from the husband after 36 years of marriage. The husband has a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering. The wife does not have a college degree and makes a living as a hair stylist. In the final divorce decree, the court awarded the wife temporary alimony in the amount of $3,500 per month. The husband sought to reduce his alimony obligation. At the hearing, the court found a material change in circumstances and reduced the husband's alimony obligation from $3,500 a month to $2,000 a month. The court ordered, however, that this $2,000 a month award was in futuro until the wife's death or remarriage. The husband appeals, and we affirm and remand for a determination of an appropriate award of the wife's attorney's fees.


Court: TCCA


Jerry Dickerson, Pro Se, Mountain City, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie E. Price and Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorneys General, Nashville, Tennessee, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The pro se petitioner, Jerry Dickerson, appeals as of right the Johnson County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petition and subsequent amendments make various allegations regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions, the trial court's jury instructions, the state's failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, defects in the indictment, and errors in the convicting court's evidentiary rulings. The habeas court summarily dismissed the petition for failure to state a cognizable claim. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.


Court: TCCA


James H. Snyder, Jr., Alcoa, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Asata Lowe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; Rocky Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Blount County jury convicted the Petitioner, Asata Lowe, of two counts of first degree murder and one count of especially aggravated robbery, and he was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole. This Court affirmed his convictions and sentences on appeal. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief claiming he was entitled to relief because he discovered new exculpatory evidence, the State failed to secure and disclose evidence favorable to him, and he did not receive the effective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied the petition for relief. On appeal, the Petitioner raises the same claims, and, additionally, he asserts that the post-conviction court erred in refusing to allow him to redraft an amended petition in accordance with Holton v. State, 201 S.W.3d 626 (Tenn. 2006), and in failing to appoint expert witnesses during the post-conviction proceedings. The Petitioner also asserts that the cumulative effect of these errors, along with the harmless errors found in this Court's opinion on direct appeal, constitute a deprivation of due process. After a thorough review of the record of proceedings, including the direct appeal, we conclude the post-conviction court did not err in denying the petition for post-conviction relief. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Xavier C. Parks, Pro Se, Whiteville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth Rice, District Attorney General, and Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

On August 10, 2006, Petitioner, Xavier C. Parks, pleaded guilty in Hardeman County to a single count of aggravated burglary and he was sentenced to six years of incarceration as a Range I Standard Offender. Petitioner did not appeal the sentence. On November 6, 2006, Petitioner filed a pro se post-conviction petition. He used a form post-conviction petition provided by the State of Tennessee and simply checked the boxes beside two common grounds alleged in post- conviction proceedings: (1) "conviction was based on unlawfully induced guilty plea or guilty plea involuntarily entered without understanding of the nature and consequences of the plea;" and (9) "denial of effective assistance of counsel." The petition contained no facts which would support these alleged grounds for collateral relief, and the post-conviction judge dismissed the petition for that reason. We are constrained to agree with the post-conviction court and, therefore, affirm the dismissal.

Attorney Fees

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-11

Opinion Number: 08-47

General Election Date

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-11

Opinion Number: 08-48


Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Selection Commission chooses 3 for 20th Chancery seat
The Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission today recommended three candidates for the governor to consider in filling the 20th Judicial District Chancery Court vacancy. The three are: Alan D. Johnson, Willis & Knight PLC, Nashville; Russell T. Perkins, Attorney General's Office, Whites Creek; and Cristi Eileen Scott, clerk and master, Davidson County Chancery Court, Nashville.

The Commission will meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) to consider candidates for 20th Judicial District Circuit Court seat that opened up with the retirement of Judge Walter C. Kurtz.

Federal judges get new, uniform rules for behavior
New rules adopted today by the Judicial Conference of the United States for the first time provide uniform national standards for dealing with federal judges whose health or behavior may interfere with their ability to perform their jobs. The rules, unlike prior standards, are binding and will "dispense with a hodgepodge of practices the judicial circuits have developed over time," Legal Times says.
The ABA Journal connects you to the story and a pdf of the rules
U.S. Attorney Kustoff resigns
U.S. Attorney David Kustoff announced this morning that he is resigning his post as West Tennessee's top federal prosecutor. Kustoff, who was sworn in on March 27, 2006, said in a press release that his resignation is effective May 16. After his resignation, he will rejoin his prior law firm, Kustoff & Strickland PLLC.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Vogel nominated to ABA board
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Ashcroft questioned about no-bid contract
"There is not a conflict, there is not an appearance of a conflict," former Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a hearing of a House Judiciary subcommittee called to explore the circumstances of a no-bid private contract awarded to him by the Justice Department last year. "You don't believe that it may be a conflict of interest in a former employee hiring the former boss, or suggesting that he be hired, for a very lucrative contract?" Rep. Linda T. Sanchez of California asked.
The New York Times reports
Ben Jones Chapter elects new officers
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God cannot be your lawyer, judge tells man
Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood told a 57-year-old Maryville man that he can be represented in court by a lawyer or by himself, but not by God. "Yahweh is my counsel," William A. Roseburgh told the judge Monday afternoon. "I am not representing myself. He is my counsel." "In this court, he cannot," Blackwood responded. "You can have an attorney or represent yourself." Trial for Roseburgh and his wife, on a series of misdemeanor charges, was set for Aug. 7.
The News Sentinel has the story
Apply for 6th Circuit admission now to attend Judicial Conference
If you want to attend the 6th Circuit Judicial Conference, May 7-10, in Chattanooga, you must be admitted to practice law in a 6th Circuit federal court. In order to be admitted in time, the deadline to file an application to practice in federal court is March 13. The admissions ceremony and CLE will be April 24, and will then allow you to attend the Judicial Conference in May.
Download 6th Circuit application forms here
TBA takes convention to the mountains: Register now
Lawyers from across Tennessee will be in the Smoky Mountains this summer as the Tennessee Bar Association convenes its annual convention in Gatlinburg June 11-14. Register now to take part in the Meeting in the Mountains -- a joint event with the Tennessee Judicial Conference, the Tennessee Attorneys for Justice and the Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women. You don't want to miss it.
Learn more or register now
Disciplinary Actions
Nashville lawyer suspended
The Tennessee Supreme Court on March 5 temporarily suspended the law license of Nashville lawyer Newton S. Holiday, pursuant to Section 4.3 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. The Board of Professional Responsibility petitioned the court to temporarily suspend Holiday's law licenses because of his failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct.
Read the BPR release
Nashville attorney censured
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Read the BPR release
TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.

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