Court reporter licensure emerges

It happens about this time every legislative session -- a seemingly innocent bill with a broad caption becomes something else. This year an attempt is being made to convert a bill dealing with collection of information on court reporter fees into a full-blown licensure scheme for court reporters. The TBA opposes regulation of the court reporter profession on the grounds that lawyers are sophisticated enough to hire good court reporters. Any attempt at licensure would only restrict the market and drive court reporter fees upward.

The bill (HB2905/SB2925), introduced by Rep. Sherry Jones, D-Nashville, and Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, was heard today by the Family Justice Subcommittee of the Family and Children's Affairs Committee -- a committee that deals with family law matters but has no experience with other court matters. By voice vote, the subcommittee sent the bill on to the full committee, which could hear the measure as early as next week. The Tennessee Court Reporters Association is mounting a full-blown legislative campaign on the issue and making contact with lawmakers. Constituent calls from lawyers to lawmakers on the committee could be effective on this measure. View the bill as amended
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Court: TSC


Court: TCA


William Bryan Penn, Memphis, TN, for Appellant.

Larry Rice, Memphis, TN, for Appellee.


This appeal involves a change in child custody and a petition for contempt. When the parties divorced, they agreed upon a parenting plan providing that Mother would have primary custody of their two sons. Less than a year later, Father filed a petition to modify the parenting plan, seeking primary custody. Mother filed a counter-petition, also seeking modification of the parenting plan. She also filed a petition to cite Father in contempt. Since the divorce, Mother had become pregnant by another man, and she did not tell the child's father that the child was born. Mother also lied to Father and others about the circumstances surrounding the child's birth. Mother had remained unemployed since the divorce, and her only source of monthly income was child support from Father for his two sons. The parties' oldest son was doing poorly in school and was frequently tardy or absent. The trial court found that a material change in circumstances had occurred, and that it was in the best interest of the children for Father to have primary custody. The court also found that Father's actions did not rise to the level of contempt. Mother appeals, challenging the trial court's decision to change custody, its refusal to find Father in contempt, and other procedural issues. Finding no error, we affirm.


Court: TCA


C. Dewees Berry, Nancy S. Jones, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. and Cracker Barrel Associates LLC.

William T. Ramsey, Jonathan H. Wardle, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees Richard Epperson and Timothy Causey.


In denying a request for attorneys' fees in an action involving the enforcement of a declaration of easements and restrictions, the trial court found the phrase "costs and expenses" in that declaration does not include recovery of attorneys' fees. The trial court is affirmed.


Court: TCA


Carroll C. Johnson III, and Timothy R. Holton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Kamarjah Gordon, Deceased, by and through her next of kin, Tosha Gordon and Tosha Gordon, Individually.

Frank P. Doheny, Jr., and Bradley A. Case, Louisville, Kentucky; and John F. Floyd and Mandy Langford, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Greenview Hospital, Inc.


The issue on appeal in this medical malpractice action is whether the defendant, a Kentucky hospital, had sufficient minimum contacts with Tennessee for our courts to exercise general personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Plaintiff contends Tennessee has general personal jurisdiction over the hospital, which is a Kentucky corporation, because annual reports filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State listed a Nashville, Tennessee, address as the "principal office address" of the corporation, the corporation's officers and directors are located in Tennessee, and it is a subsidiary of a hospital corporation based in Tennessee. The trial court ruled that the defendant did not have sufficient minimum contacts with Tennessee to justify the exercise of general personal jurisdiction over the defendant. We affirm the jurisdictional determination.


Court: TCA


Dennis W. Stanford, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tammy L. Brown.

Sharon T. Massey, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bronson S. Burns.


Mother appeals the trial court's modification of a permanent parenting plan, ordered in the absence of any testimony or evidence, for the parties' non-marital child. We vacate the order of the juvenile court and remand for further proceedings to determine the best interest of the child.


Court: TCA


Danny Ray Meeks, Only, Tennessee, pro se Appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Kellena Baker, Civil Rights and Claims Division, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.

Judge: LEE

Danny Ray Meeks, an incarcerated state inmate, was denied parole by the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole. After losing his administrative appeal, he attempted to file a petition for writ of certiorari in chancery court, but the court clerk returned his petition pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 41-21-812 because he owed court costs from previous litigation. The court costs were later paid, and Mr. Meeks was allowed to file his petition. The petition was subsequently dismissed by the trial court because the petition was not filed within the 60 day filing period mandated by Tenn. Code Ann. section 27-9-102. After careful review, we find no error and affirm.


Court: TCA


Daryl Sanders, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

No brief filed by appellee.


The trial court held that lessor was entitled to full rent for summer months although the air conditioning was inoperable. The trial court reasoned that since lessor terminated the month to month tenancy months earlier due to the fact that lessor did not intend to repair the HVAC system, then lessor should not be penalized and rent is owed for those months. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Francis A. Cain and Matthew A. Grossman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, A.D.E. of Knoxville, LLC.

Ronald J. Berke, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Adam Sims and Carla Sims.

Judge: LEE

In this interlocutory appeal, the primary question presented is whether a party can be deemed served for the purpose of tolling the statute of limitations under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 3 and the savings statute when there has been no actual service of process. The plaintiffs filed a personal injury suit arising out of a car accident against Adesa Corporation in Knox County. Adesa Corporation was not served with process, and process was not reissued within one year in compliance with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 3. However, the trial court entered an order "deeming" the defendant served, and the plaintiffs then nonsuited their case. Within a year of the nonsuit, but more than a year from the date of the car accident, the plaintiffs re-filed the same suit in Loudon County. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the case was time- barred under the applicable statute of limitations. The trial court denied the motion, and we granted the defendant's request for interlocutory appeal. After review, we hold that the Loudon County Court erred in denying the motion for summary judgment. The defendant was not served with process in the original action, nor was process reissued within a year so as to toll the statute of limitations. Therefore, the second suit was time-barred, the Knox County trial court was not authorized to deem the defendant served in the absence of actual service, the savings statue was inapplicable, and summary judgment should have been granted to the defendant. The judgment of the Loudon County Circuit Court is reversed, and the case is dismissed.


Court: TCCA


Juni S. Ganguli, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andre Anthony.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Patience R. Branham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Andre Anthony, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of criminal attempt to commit first degree murder, a Class A felony; especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony; forgery over $1000, a Class D felony; and two counts of forgery over $500, a Class E felony. He received an effective total sentence of forty-six years. He seeks post-conviction relief and argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The trial court denied relief, and we affirm that judgment.


Court: TCCA


B. Campbell Smoot and Laura D. Riddle, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Gerry Hoover.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Associate Deputy Attorney General; Mickey Layne, District Attorney General; Jason M. Ponder, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Coffee County jury convicted the Defendant, Gerry Hoover, of three counts of rape of a child, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of forty-eight years in prison. On appeal, the Defendant raises three issues: (1) the trial court erred by allowing a psychologist to testify about the child victim's statements to her; (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; and (3) the sentence imposed was excessive. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgments.


Court: TCCA


Tom W. Crider, District Public Defender, and Linda L. Moore, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Shamarcus Antwan Hunt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Edward L. Hardister and Harold E. Dorsey, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Shamarcus Antwan Hunt, was convicted of the sale of cocaine under .5 grams, a Class C felony, and possession of cocaine over .5 grams with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell, a Class B felony. He was sentenced, respectively, to eight years and twelve years in the Department of Correction, to be served consecutively. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court should have declared a mistrial following allegedly improper remarks by the prosecutor during closing arguments. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand for entry of corrected judgments to reflect that the defendant's sentences are to be served consecutively, rather than concurrently.


Court: TCCA


Tracey A. Brewer-Walker (on appeal), Ripley, Tennessee; and C. Michael Robbins (at trial), Covington, 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: HAYES

The Appellant, Maurice Lashaun Nash, appeals the sentencing decision of the Tipton County Circuit Court. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Nash entered guilty pleas to six felonies and one misdemeanor and received an effective ten-year sentence. The agreement provided that the ten-year sentence would run consecutively to an effective ten-year sentence which Nash was serving at the time of sentencing. The terms of the plea agreement also provided that the manner of service of the ten-year sentence would be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied Nash's request for alternative sentencing, which Nash now asserts was error. After review, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Michael J. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Avery Stewart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, James Avery Stewart, pled guilty to four counts of selling Schedule II controlled substances. He was sentenced to ten years probation. The trial court revoked the defendant's probation after he tested positive for controlled substances. The defendant was ordered to serve the balance of his sentences in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly required the defendant to serve the balance of his sentences in confinement. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Dan Bryant, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Brandon D. Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Senior Counsel; and Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Brandon D. Thomas, was convicted of one count of resisting arrest, a Class B misdemeanor; and three drug offenses including possession with intent to sell a Schedule II controlled substance (cocaine), a Class B felony; possession with intent to sell a Schedule III controlled substance (dihydrocodeinone), a Class D felony; and simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. He was sentenced to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction for the cocaine offense, eleven months and twenty-nine days on each of the other drug offenses and six months for the conviction for resisting arrest, with all the sentences to run concurrently for a total effective sentence of ten years as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his cocaine conviction and that he was sentenced improperly. After careful review, we find that the defendant was sentenced improperly but not for the issues on which he appeals. The sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days for the Class D felony conviction is illegal because the minimum sentence for a Class D felony is two years. We remand to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment reflecting the minimum sentence and affirm the trial court as to the other raised issues.

Application of Public Records Act to Municipal Airport Authority

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-25

Opinion Number: 08-64

Definition of "Shelter" as it Relates to Animal Cruelty

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-25

Opinion Number: 08-65


Supreme Court Report
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Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Supreme Court Report
No authority for president to enforce international decision
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled President Bush did not have the authority to order Texas courts to carry out an international court decision. The 6-3 ruling amounts to "a sweeping rejection of claims of power in the presidency," SCOTUSblog reports. Today's majority opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. treats a decision by the International Court of Justice -- and Bush's effort to enforce it -- as nonbinding on state courts interpreting state procedural requirements in criminal cases.

Court to hear self representation case
In oral arguments tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider when a judge can refuse a defendant's request to represent himself at trial. Ahmad Edwards is seeking to overturn his conviction for attempted murder and other charges on grounds that he should have been allowed to represent himself.
Gannett News Service reports
Legal News
Gibson responds to lawmakers' attempts to remove him
Cookeville District Attorney Bill Gibson said Monday that efforts to remove him from office were "politics" by "politically powerful people." Gibson's statement comes in response to last Friday's announcement by State Rep. Henry Fincher, D-Cookeville, that he and other area legislators are setting the stage for a full legislature vote on whether to remove Gibson.
The Herald-Citizen has more
Officials say Nashville needs immigration judge
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall said yesterday an immigration judge in Nashville is needed. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. Jim Cooper agree, having already made a written request to the Department of Homeland Security for the same. Both were on hand yesterday at a press conference where the sheriff's department said it would process 3,000 illegal immigrants by April through a program that allows local law enforcement to check immigration status and begin deportation proceedings. However, because cases must go before judges in Memphis and Louisiana, the process is lengthy, taking up to six weeks for a bond hearing, according to one immigration advocate.
The Nashville City Paper reports
Headley will not get judicial diversion
Special Circuit Court Judge Kerry Blackwood on Monday refused to grant former Sheriff Ricky Headley's request for judicial diversion after he completes five years probation as part of a plea agreement on misdemeanor prescription drug charges. Blackwood said that Headley met many of the factors for judicial diversion, but the fact that Headley had violated his oath of office weighed in his decision.
The Williamson Herald covered the story
Flying Spaghetti Monster hits courthouse lawn
On the Cumberland County Courthouse lawn are displays that include an Iraq and Afghanistan Soldier's Memorial, Statue of Liberty, chainsaw-carved monkeys and bears, Jesus carrying a cross, and the most recent display added -- a Flying Spaghetti Monster. One commissioner calls it ridiculous, but the artist who designed the pasta statue praises the free speech that allows it.
Read more in The Crossville Chronicle
Legislative News
Senate approves 2 bills, defers action on Tennessee Plan
In Monday night's floor action, the Tennessee Senate approved two measures brought forth by the TBA. The first (SB3982), introduced by Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville, deals with expenses in shareholder derivative actions permitting payment of plaintiff attorney's fees when there is a substantial benefit to the corporation, putting forth standards for defense attorney's fees, and a Rule 11-type improper purpose provision. The Senate also adopted the Tennessee Condominium Act of 2008 (SB2935), sponsored by Sen. Paul Stanley, R-Memphis, and drafted by the TBA Real Estate Section Condominium Act Committee.

Action was deferred on several bills addressing changes in the Tennessee Plan, including the administration's bill applying the Sunshine Act to Judicial Selection Commission interviews, deliberations and votes. That bill (SB4176/HB4154) has been introduced by Sens. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, and James Kyle, D-Memphis, and by Rep. Kent Coleman, D-Murfreesboro.

Leatherwood to run in 7th District primary
Former state senator and current Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood declared this morning he will challenge U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the Republican primary for Tennessee's Seventh Congressional District. has more
Herenton ran to 'protect' city
Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said this morning he ran for re-election because he was afraid of what competitors Carol Chumney and Herman Morris would do to the city. "I had to protect the progress of this particular city from individuals who I thought did not have any wherewithal or ability to take this city to the next level," he said. Herenton recently announced his intention to leave the mayor's office to be the city schools' superintendent, then said he'll continue as mayor if he doesn't get the job.
Read it in the Commercial Appeal
Chattanooga lawyer Kirk Snouffer dies
Chattanooga lawyer William Kirk Snouffer died today. He was 59. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, he practiced with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC. Watch TBAToday for more information as it becomes available.

Disciplinary Actions
Hawkins County lawyer placed on probation
On Feb. 14, John S. Anderson was placed on probation for a minimum of two years for neglecting client matters. As a part of the probation, the Supreme Court ordered he be monitored by another attorney, barred from practicing in Bankruptcy Court until permitted to do so, and suspended for any violation of these probation requirements.
Read the BPR's release
Winchester lawyer suspended
On March 13, the Supreme Court suspended Quisha A. Light from the practice of law for four years effective May 30, 2007. On July 10, Light pleaded guilty to misappropriating fees due her employer and accepted the suspension. The court also ordered Light to make restitution to Michelle Benjamin in the amount of $5,952.50 and pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.
Read the BPR release
Memphis attorney moved to disability status
The law license of Emma L. Cole was transferred to disability inactive status on March 17. Cole can return to the practice of law only after reinstatement by the Supreme Court after proving she is fit to do so.
Download the BPR notice
Georgia lawyer reinstated
Joshua David Rand of Roswell, Ga. was reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying delinquent BPR fees and penalties. He had been suspended in 2005.
View all attorneys suspended for 2005 fee violations
TBA Member Services
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Through your membership in the TBA, your business can enjoy FedEx reliability and special savings on a variety of FedEx services, including savings on FedEx Kinkos services. All you have to do is sign up. Opening an account is free and there is no minimum shipping requirement.
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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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