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Court: TCA


Mitchell D. Moskovitz and Adam N. Cohen, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Mark Burnett.

Dennis J. Sossaman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Analiza P. Burnett.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a divorce case. When the parties met in 1995, the husband was in the Philippines working for an American corporation. The wife was a resident and citizen of the Philippines and the husband was a U. S. citizen. After a brief relationship, the wife learned that she was pregnant. The husband moved back to the United States, but made periodic trips to the Philippines to see their child. In 1998, the wife obtained a marriage visa, and she and the child moved to California to live with the husband. After signing a prenuptial agreement in California, the parties were married in Las Vegas. Two more children were born of the marriage. In 2003, both parties filed for divorce. After a trial, the parties were divorced and the husband was ordered to pay child support, alimony in futuro, and all of the parties' marital debt. The husband was also ordered to pay for the wife's medical insurance and uninsured medical expenses as additional spousal support. The wife was designated as the children's primary residential parent. The parties were ordered to hold the marital home as tenants in common; the husband would pay the mortgage and the wife would live in the home with the parties' children. The husband appeals. On appeal, we affirm the trial court's adoption of the Wife's parenting plan except insofar as it awards the federal income tax exemptions to the wife, but vacate the child support award and remand for a recalculation of the husband's income and his child support obligation. We also vacate the trial court's order regarding spousal support and remand for recalculation of the husband's income and re-evaluation of the wife's need and the husband's ability to pay support. We affirm as to the remainder of the trial court's decision.



Court: TCA


Terry Abernathy, Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anntionette Griggs.

James R. Mulroy, II and O. John Norris, III, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hardeman County Community Health Center, Inc.


The trial court awarded Defendant/Employer summary judgment in this wrongful discharge action. We affirm the judgment.


Corrected Opinion (On page 2, Cleveland, Tenn. is changed to Cleveland, Ohio)

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, Ohio, 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: TCCA


Gregory D. Gookin, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Lamont Christopher Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Elaine Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Lamont Christopher Brown, appeals the order of the Madison County Circuit Court revoking his probation. In January 2006, in two separate cases, Brown entered guilty pleas to misdemeanor possession of cocaine, misdemeanor possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, Class C felony sale of cocaine, and two counts of Class B sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine and received an effective sentence of ten years in the Department of Correction. The sentences were suspended, and Brown was placed on supervised probation. In September 2006, a probation violation warrant was filed, in both cases, alleging numerous violations of the terms of Brown's probation. Following a hearing, Brown's probation was revoked, resulting in the reinstatement of his original sentences, which were ordered to be served in confinement. On appeal, Brown argues that "the trial court erred in revoking [Brown's] probation and ordering that [Brown] serve his sentence." Finding no abuse of discretion, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Robert Jones, District Public Defender; Jim Hale, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial); and Phyllis Aluko, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal), for the appellant, Corey Finley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Atttorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Dennis Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The Tennessee Supreme Court has remanded this case for further consideration of the defendant's sentencing in light of State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733 (Tenn., Oct. 9, 2007). Although the defendant's original 23-year sentence involved the use of enhancement factors that violated the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial, we hold that the sentence of 23 years is not plain error. Accordingly, the 23-year sentence is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Tracey A. Brewer-Walker, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maurice Lashaun Nash.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Maurice Lashaun Nash, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a thorough review of the record and the parties' briefs, the judgment of the post-conviction court denying post-conviction relief is affirmed.


Repealing Exclusions from Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-19

Opinion Number: 08-57


Grants to Church-Controlled Youth Groups

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-19

Opinion Number: 08-58



Legal News
Supreme Court Report
Practice Management
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
UPL defendants agree to halt activity, release documents
A Middle Tennessee man and two companies allegedly providing legal services without a license to Nashville area Hispanic communities have agreed to cease their activity and submit requested financial documents to the Tennessee Attorney General within 10 days. The AG's office, which brought suit against the group last month, says a trial date has not yet been set.
Download the press release
New court chairs coming to Blountville courts
Sullivan County officials are poised to spend $50,000 for new chairs for the Blountville justice center's two courtrooms, reports Tri-Cities.com. Officials say the existing chairs, especially in jury rooms, behind the judges' benches and in courtroom lobbies, are in desperate need of replacement.
Read more
Law schools respond to need for public interest lawyers
At Harvard Law School, third-year students can attend their final year for free if they pledge to work for five years with the government or a nonprofit organization. Dean Elena Kagan tells the New York Times the new program is aimed at the growing problem of law school debt, which discourages grads from pursuing lower-paying public interest jobs. Learn more

In other news, Pace Law School in White Plains, N.Y., has opened a new Public Interest Law Center to help meet the national demand for lawyers in public interest law and public service. Read more about that initiative on the school's
web site

Supreme Court Report
Constitutionality of bench sentencing before the court
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury extends to consecutive sentencing determinations by judges. Read about the Oregon v. Ice case in Scotusblog. The issue also is pending in the Tennessee Supreme Court. You can read attorney David Raybin's take on the State v. Gomez case in the Tennessee Bar Journal or comments on it in the Raybin-Richter Hot list.

Blount County hosts judicial selection debate
The League of Women Voters of Blount County is sponsoring the program "Selecting State and Local Judges: Election, Appointment or Other Alternatives." The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. March 24 in Maryville College's Fayerweather Hall, Lawson Auditorium. Dr. Otis Stephens of the University of Tennessee political science department and former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Penny White, a UT law professor, will lead the discussion.

Practice Management
Business outlook good for American law firms
Despite well-publicized layoffs at several major law firms lately and a struggling economy, law firms in the U.S. can expect to do fine in the future, predicts the Economist. The magazine cites new overseas markets and a bevy of restructuring and insolvency work as reasons for its optimism.
Read about it here
Disciplinary Actions
Clarksville lawyer censured
On Jan. 9, Patricia A. Rust received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for making a misleading statement to the court and signing a certificate of service for a pleading that was not properly delivered.
Read more about the case
Cleveland lawyer suspended
On Feb. 25, Virgil Duane Parker was suspended for 11 months and 29 days, retroactive to March 28, 2003, based on a similar suspension in the state of Maryland.
View the BPR's release
Lawyer placed on disability inactive status
The state Supreme Court transferred the law license of George Lane Foster of Chattanooga to disability inactive status on Feb. 25. Foster cannot practice law until reinstated to active status.
Download the BPR notice
Memphis attorney disbarred
On Feb. 26, the Tennessee Supreme Court disbarred Memphis attorney Scott Eric Crawford after he pleaded guilty to federal charges of money laundering, bank larceny and obstruction of justice.
Read the BPR's press release
Attorneys reinstated
Thomas Perry Jr. of Memphis and Quinton Trevor Piety of Knoxville have been reinstated to the practice of law after paying delinquent Board of Professional Responsibility fees and penalties. Warner Hodges III of Gainesville, Ga., Thomas Perry Jr. of Memphis and Lon Foster West of Nashville have been reinstated after complying with state CLE requirements. Aaron Edward Carlos of Sewanee recently paid delinquent fees and penalties, but remains suspended based on CLE non-compliance.

TBA Member Services
Have you activated your FedEx shipping discounts?
TBA members are entitled to discounts on FedEx shipping. Did you know that TBA members are saving an average of $83 per quarter by utilizing their FedEx Association Advantage program discounts? Here's what some members have to say about their FedEx savings:

"Our firm took advantage of the Tennessee Bar Association FedEx discounts and saved over $200 on FedEx Express shipments last quarter alone. It's the best $200 we've ever saved," says member Bill Cameron of Cameron & Young in Cookeville. Start saving on your shipments today! For more information on how to enroll, call 1-800-923-7089 or
visit the TBA Web site

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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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