Sweeney withdraws from chancellor race

Nashville attorney Matt Sweeney announced this morning he is withdrawing from the race for the Davidson County Chancery Court, NashvillePost.com reports. Sweeney had filed all the paperwork and qualified to run against Chancellor Russell T. Perkins, who was recently appointed to the seat by Gov. Phil Bredesen. Last week the Davidson County Democratic Executive Committee endorsed Perkins over Sweeney in an internal party race. Had he continued the race it would have been as an independent. In a letter to supporters, Sweeney said he was putting his support behind Perkins. Read the account, including his letter here [subscription to NashvillePost.com required].
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Court: TSC



Court: TWCA


Nora Lee Hunter, Memphis, Tennessee, pro se.

William B. Walk, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee for the appellees, Williams-Sonoma Direct, Inc. and Specialty Risk Services.


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, Lee Nora Hunter, alleged that she sustained a compensable neck injury resulting in permanent disability. The employer, Williams-Sonoma Direct, Inc., admitted that an injury occurred, but denied that it caused permanent disability. Ms. Hunter represented herself at trial. She introduced no medical evidence. The trial court granted Williams-Sonoma's motion for involuntary dismissal. Ms. Hunter has appealed. We affirm the judgment.



Court: TCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth C. Driver, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee, Department of Children’s Services, Child Protective Services.

Blake L. Kelley, Hendersonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.


This appeal involves allegations of sexual abuse brought against Blake L. Kelly ("Respondent") by one of his former students, M.W. After the allegations were investigated, the Department of Children's Services concluded that there was substantial and material evidence to support the allegations, and the report of abuse would be "validated." The Respondent appealed that decision to an administrative law judge, who reviewed the decision, determined by a preponderance of the evidence that the Respondent had committed the acts alleged, and denied the appeal. The Respondent appealed to the Chancery Court for Davidson County, which concluded that the procedures afforded the Respondent under the Department of Children’s Services' regulations failed to satisfy the Procedural Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. The State appealed, and, after a thorough review of the facts and applicable law, we reverse the judgment of the chancery court.



Court: TCA


Andrew H. Owens, Memphis, TN, for Appellant

William Dan Douglas, Jr., Ripley, TN, for Appellees, Kent Cherry and Cathy Cherry

Charles M. Agee, Jr., Dyersburg, TN, for Appellees, Gerald Cherry and Shirley Cherry


In this appeal we must determine whether an injured party was a "farm employee" within the meaning of a farm owner's liability insurance policy. The alleged employee is the farm owner's father. He was grinding corn to feed the farm owner’s cattle when he was injured. The father and his wife filed suit against the son and his wife seeking to recover damages as a result of the accident. The son's farm owner's liability policy provided coverage for occurrences to "farm employees" in certain instances. The insurer filed this declaratory judgment action seeking a declaration that it had no duty to defend or indemnify the insureds because the father was not a farm employee. The trial court held that the father was a farm employee and ordered the insurer to defend and indemnify the insureds in the underlying lawsuit. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Gerald T. Eidson, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, K.V.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter, and Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.


The Juvenile Court terminated the parental rights of K.V. ("Mother") to her daughter, T.M.D.Y ("the Child"). The Juvenile Court determined that the Department of Children's Services ("DCS") had proven by clear and convincing evidence that grounds existed to terminate Mother’s parental rights on the grounds of abandonment and persistence of conditions making it unsafe to return the Child to Mother's care. The Juvenile Court also concluded that there was clear and convincing evidence that terminating Mother's parental rights was in the Child's best interest. Mother appeals claiming DCS failed to prove either of the two grounds relied upon by the Juvenile Court to terminate her parental rights. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Stephen M. Wallace, Blountville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Timothy Lynn Denton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; James F. Goodwin, Jr., and William B. Harper, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Sullivan County jury found the Defendant, Timothy Lynn Denton, guilty of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment. On appeal, he claims: (1) the jury erred because there was insufficient evidence to support premeditation; and (2) the trial court erred in its jury instruction on "intentional." After a thorough review of the case and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment.


Constitutionality of Bill Regulating Unfair Insurance Practices

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-04-07

Opinion Number: 08-84



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Legal News
Fate of death penalty study committee to be decided
James "Wally" Kirby, executive director of the Tennessee District Attorney Generals Conference has told legislators he wants to put an end to a death penalty study committee formed to review how the state carries out the ultimate sentence. He and other DAs say the committee is stacked with members who oppose the death penalty. Members of the committee contend there is no concerted effort to ban the death penalty, but only to study how it is used. The proposal to extend the panel's life will be taken up this week in the legislature. It would allow the study committee to continue working past the one-year deadline before issuing its findings and recommendations.
Read more in the Tennessean
Editor responds to concerns with judicial coverage
Knoxville News Sentinel Editor Jack McElroy has responded to a TBA letter that outlined concerns with the newspaper's reporting of federal court proceedings involving a Knoxville lawyer. The TBA's Executive Committee had examined the paper's coverage under the association's policy on response to unjust criticism of judges. You can read McElroy's letter or Eason's original letter and attachments.

Bredesen appoints Helper District Attorney General
Gov. Phil Bredesen today appointed Kim R. Helper of Franklin to fill the district attorney general post in the 21st Judicial District. The vacancy was created by the death of District Attorney General Ron L. Davis last month. Helper will serve until the office is permanently filled at the August 7 election.
Read more about the appointment
If Gibson must leave, who will take his place?
If state legislators succeed in removing Cookeville's District Attorney Bill Gibson from that position, what happens then? The Herald-Citizen reports that there is speculation that the governor will appoint someone to replace Gibson and that the decision has already been made.
Read the Herald-Citizen for comments from potential DAs
Drug court graduates 2
The 29th Judicial District's drug court celebrated its first two graduates last week in Dyer County.
Find out more in the Dyersburg State Gazette
Funny? TV show has comics instead of lawyers
A new TV show, "Supreme Court of Comedy" features stand-up comedians representing people in court instead of lawyers. "They are real people with legitimate small claims disputes," says Ronit Larone of DirecTV, adding that the show's producers comb through hundreds of cases to find ones involving things like a a guy who sued a house-sitting friend for allegedly absconding with his sex tape.
Chattanooga's News Channel 9 carreid the AP story
Legislative News
PAC money given from both sides of nursing home bill
Political action committees on both sides of the nursing home liability bill have donated money to members of the House Judiciary Committee and its Civil Practices Subcommittee, as well a every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Read the details in the Tennessean
Teens say alcohol came from Columbia lawmaker's home
Five teenagers facing alcohol-related charges have told police they were drinking at Columbia Republican lawmaker Rep. Tom DuBois's Columbia home. Tom DuBois, also Columbia's city judge, says he doesn't think the teens obtained the alcohol at his Mule Day party on Saturday, which he estimated was attended by about 900 people.
The Tennessean reported this AP story
Judges to take oath
Swearing in ceremonies for recently appointed Circuit Court Judge Joe P. Binkley Jr., and Chancellor Russell Perkins, both of the 20th Judicial District, will begin at 2 p.m. tomorrow (April 8) in the old Supreme Court Chambers on the first floor of the State Capitol.

Your Practice
Hold that call: 'devices' banned at law firm meetings
A law firm in suburban New York City has banned electronic devices from major meetings to prevent distractions caused by cell phones and BlackBerrys. The six-month-old "no-device policy" at the Long Island law firm of Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone is intended to prevent even vibrations from incoming calls and e-mail messages from interrupting the flow of business. "We like everyone to be connected to clients and to be very responsive to their needs," says the co-head of the corporate law group -- but not at the expense of giving full attention to a major issue.
Newsday reports
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