Meeting in the Mountains features free CLE

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 -- and receive free access to two days of CLE programming. You don't want to miss it.

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
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - 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.


Court: TCA


Barry K. Maxwell, Madisonville, Tennessee for the Appellants, Sherry A. B. Franklin and Gary Freeman.

Randy G. Rogers, Athens, Tennessee for the Appellee, Paul David Franklin.


After nineteen years of marriage, Paul David Franklin ("Husband") sued Sherry A.B. Franklin ("Wife") for divorce. Gary Freeman ("Freeman") was granted leave to intervene in the suit to establish the paternity of the younger of the two minor children ("J.A.F.") born during the Franklins' marriage. After a trial, the Trial court entered a Final Decree of Divorce, inter alia, granting Husband a divorce; holding that Freeman is the biological father of J.A.F., but that Husband is the legal father; distributing the marital property; and awarding primary residential custody of both minor children to Husband with Wife to have co-parenting time. Wife filed a motion to alter or amend. The Trial Court entered an order altering its decision in light of the then just released Tennessee Supreme Court opinion in In Re: T.K.Y., and terminating Freeman's parental rights to J.A.F. on the grounds found in Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-113(g)(1). Wife and Freeman appeal to this Court raising issues regarding the termination of Freeman's parental rights to J.A.F., the custody of J.A.F., and distribution of the marital property. We reverse the termination of Freeman's parental rights to J.A.F., reverse the Trial Court's order granting custody of J.A.F. to Husband, vacate that portion of the Trial Court's order distributing the marital home, and remand this case to the Trial Court to effectuate the custody transfer of J.A.F. to Wife and for an overall equitable distribution of the marital property in light of our decision in this case.


Court: TCA


Frank M. Fly, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Packers Supply Co. f/k/a Packer's Supply House Company.

W. Gary Blackburn, Gordon H. Boutwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Eric H. Weber and Robert S. Rini.


A corporation filed suit against two of its former employees for violating the terms of a non-compete agreement. The defendants argued that the agreement was rendered unenforceable by changes in the structure of the business and their relationship to it after the agreement was executed. The business was originally a sole proprietorship, and the defendants worked for it as independent contractors. Several years later, the business was chartered as a corporation, but with no change in its ownership or in its day-to-day operations. The defendants became employees of the corporation while keeping the same compensation, working conditions and duties as before. The trial court granted summary judgment to the employees, ruling that the corporation had no standing to sue because it was not a party to the original agreement. We reverse, because the non-compete agreement was assigned to the corporation by operation of law.


Court: TCCA


Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willie Joe Frazier.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Willie Joe Frazier, appeals from the Marshall County Circuit Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that his convictions in that court were the result of the ineffective assistance of counsel and that the post-conviction court erred in denying a post- hearing motion to amend the petition. The record supports the denial of relief in this case, and we affirm the circuit court's order.


Court: TCCA


William Lewis Ricker and Kim C. Miller (on appeal), and Gerald Aidson (at trial), Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Matthew Lee Sweet.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Cecil Mills, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Matthew Lee Sweet, was convicted by a jury in the Greene County Criminal Court of two counts of aggravated child abuse, and he received an effective sentence of twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. No appeal was filed. Thereafter, the appellant filed a petition for post-conviction relief and was granted a delayed appeal. On appeal, the appellant alleges that the trial court erred by refusing to allow him to impeach the testimony of the victimís mother, the trial court erred by "inquiring sua sponte, and in the presence of the jury, whether the State was going to release a witness from her material witness bond," and the evidence is not sufficient to sustain his convictions. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


William Thompson, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, William Thompson, filed in the Bledsoe County Circuit Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The habeas corpus court denied the petition, finding that the petitioner's sentence was not illegal. On appeal, the petitioner challenges the habeas corpus court's ruling. In response, the State filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we conclude that the petition was properly denied. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Oscar Torres, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Robert L. Headrick, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Oscar Torres, Jr., was convicted by a Blount County jury of two counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, for which he received an effective sentence of twenty years at 100 percent in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions and that the trial court committed reversible error by admitting improper rebuttal testimony from the victim. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Legal News
Supreme Court Report
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Lost files vex foster care review board and court
Davidson County's Foster Care Review Board contends that foster children are being left in limbo because important files have been misplaced, lost or damaged. They blame Juvenile Court Clerk Vic Lineweaver. "I don't know if I care why it's happening. I just want it fixed," Juvenile Court Judge Betty Adams Green said. reports
Judge overturns jury decision in Williamson County
After the jury left R.E. Lee Davies' courtroom Saturday, the Williamson County Circuit Court judge overturned the jury's decision to convict a man accused of sexually abusing his stepdaughter. Malcolm Dudley Thomas, 50, had been convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Davies acquitted Thomas of one change and granted a motion for a new trial on the other charge, saying the 13-year-old girl was "not credible."
The Tennessean reports
Judges attend mediation training conference
Twenty-nine judges, including four Tennessee Supreme Court justices, are attending a mediation skills conference this week at Lipscomb University's Institute for Conflict Management. That level of interest reflects the changing landscape of the civil system says Lipscomb's president and lawyer Randy Lowry. Recent data suggests the same. According to the state's court administrator, 1,491 cases were heard by a mediator in just the first quarter of this year.
The Tennessean has more
Selya named head of surveillance review court
U.S. District Judge Bruce Selya of Rhode Island has been named to head the secret court that hears wiretap requests in terrorism cases. Selya, a senior judge on the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has been a member of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISA) since 2005. Now, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. is making Selya the court's presiding judge. The designation, which Roberts signed March 27, takes effect May 19.
The Providence Journal has more
Plan to take discovery to 'new heights' halted
To view the scene of a murder in which a model was allegedly thrown off a cliff by her boyfriend, Australian lawyers planned to dangle over the side of the precipice in a cage suspended from a crane. Lawyers for the prosecution and defense were to be lowered at the spot in order to decide if the jury should do the same. A judge, however, has ruled the act is above and beyond the call of duty and will not allow it.
The ABA Journal links you to the story
Warning: Don't open 'O'Melveny & Myers' emails
The U.S. Courts web site is warning that emails from "O'Melveny & Myers" with subpoenas attached are bogus and should not be opened. Computer users who open the attachments could inadvertently install spyware that logs their keystrokes, apparently communicating with a command center in Singapore.
The Legal Pad has details
Courthouse to get modern expansion
Plans for the renovation of Williamson County's historic courthouse now include a contemporary-looking elevated glass walkway that would link the old courthouse with the county's new judicial center. The plans will be submitted to the city's Planning Commission on April 24. Construction of the new additions, which could take 14 months, is expected to begin this summer.
Read more about it in the Tennessean
Supreme Court Report
Death penalty for rapists?
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will look at the question of whether a state can sentence someone to death in cases other than murder -- in this case, the rape of a child. examines the issue
Legislative News
Editorial: Amendments would be step backward
The Nashville City Paper urges lawmakers in an editorial today to pass "progressive changes to the open records laws," without recent amendments by State Rep. Mary Pruitt of Nashville and Rep. Ulysses Jones of Memphis. "If these amendments pass, Tennessee will have taken 20 years worth of backward steps in the arena of open government," the paper says.
Read the opinion piece
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
TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
Click here

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2008 Tennessee Bar Association