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TODAY'S OPINIONS
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.

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

AMANDA LYNN DEWALD, ET AL. v. HCA HEALTH SERVICES OF TENNESSEE, ET AL.
CORRECTION


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Wm. Kennerly Burger and Rodney M. Scott, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellants, Amanda Lynn Dewald and Thomas B. Dewald.

Bryan Essary and Christopher A. Vrettos, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, HCA Health Services of Tennessee, Inc., d/b/a/ StoneCrest Medical Center.

Judge: BARKER

In this medical malpractice appeal, the trial court denied the hospital's motion for summary judgment finding that a factual dispute exists as to whether the hospital may be held vicariously liable for the alleged negligence of an independent contractor radiologist based on a theory of apparent agency. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and granted summary judgment to the hospital on all grounds. We granted permission to appeal and consolidated this case for argument with Boren v. Weeks, No. M2007-00628-SC-R11-CV, - S.W.3d - (Tenn. May 6, 2008). In Boren, in an opinion filed contemporaneously herewith, we adopted the analysis derived from the Restatement (Second) of Torts section 429 for determining when a hospital may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of independent contractor physicians. Therefore, we reverse the Court of Appeals' grant of summary judgment and remand to the trial court for further proceedings and for reconsideration of the hospital's motion for summary judgment consistent with the analysis and new standard adopted in Boren.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/dewalda_Corr_051508.pdf


GAY N. CARR v. SCOTT McMILLAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Wende J. Rutherford, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Scott McMillan.

Marlene Eskind Moses and John D. Kitch, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gay N. Carr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Elizabeth C. Driver, for the State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLEMENT

The maternal grandmother of a five-year-old child filed a petition seeking visitation pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-6-306. She contended she had served as a primary caregiver for a substantial period of time following the death of the child's mother, that cessation of their relationship could interrupt the daily needs of the child, and that the loss of their relationship would cause substantial harm to the child. The child's father opposed the petition. Following a full evidentiary hearing, the trial court granted the petition and awarded the grandmother seventy-eight days of visitation annually. Father appealed contending the trial court erred in finding that the severance of the relationship between the child and his grandmother would result in present danger and substantial harm to the child or that it was likely to occasion severe emotional harm to the child. We affirm the trial court's determination that the grandmother is entitled to visitation.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/carrg_051508.pdf


WILLIAM CASON v. GEORGE LITTLE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William Cason, Henning, TN, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Kellena R. Baker, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, TN, for Appellees

Judge: HIGHERS

Appellant, a prisoner in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction, filed a pro se petition for common law writ of certiorari, seeking review of the prison disciplinary board's findings. Appellees filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based upon Appellant's alleged failure to execute his petition in compliance with the statutory requirements found at T.C.A. sections 27-8-104 and 27-8-106. Finding that Appellant had failed to have his petition notarized, the trial court granted the motion to dismiss. Appellant appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/casonw_051508.pdf


LEE HAYES v. GIBSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE
CORRECTION


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Floyd S. Flippin and Terri S. Crider, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Gibson County, Tennessee.

J. Mark Johnson, Trenton, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lee Hayes.

Judge: FARMER

This appeal arises from a declaratory judgment action in which Plaintiff sought a declaration of his rights under Tennessee Code Annotated section 8-24-102 as amended in 2001. Plaintiff asserted that the 2001 amendments to the general statute repealed by implication a 2000 private act establishing the compensation of the Gibson County Juvenile Court Clerk. The trial court determined the amendments to the statute superseded the private act, and that the salary for the juvenile court clerk should be established according to Tennessee Code Annotated section 8-24-102 as amended in 2001. We reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/hayesl_CORR_051508.pdf


BETTY ROSE v. COOKEVILLE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Betty Rose.

Daniel H. Rader, III, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeffrey J. Gleason, M.D.

Judge: KURTZ

This appeal arises from a claim for defamation brought by a terminated hospital employee against several parties, including a doctor who had allegedly made slanderous remarks about her work performance. The trial court granted the doctor’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12. Following the trial court's dismissal of the case against the doctor, the plaintiff moved to alter or amend the order of dismissal and also moved for the trial judge's recusal due to an alleged business relationship between the judge's son and the defendant doctor. We agree that the complaint fails to state a claim for slander because it does not specify sufficiently the time and place of the alleged statements. We further conclude that the plaintiff's motion to recuse was properly denied. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's dismissal and remand for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/roseb_051508.pdf


TYRONE FELTON v. TOMMY MILLS, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tyrone Felton, pro se, Tiptonville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; and Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Petitioner, Tyrone Felton, appeals the Lake County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for the writ of habeas corpus. Felton seeks habeas corpus relief from his two 1997 Shelby County convictions for aggravated rape, which were entered as a result of his pleas of guilt to these crimes. On appeal, Felton contends that he was sentenced as a multiple rapist on each of the aggravated rape convictions with a release eligibility of thirty percent, and, because "the statute mandates service of such sentence at 100 percent," his sentences are illegal and, therefore, void. Review of the face of the judgments of conviction establishes that Felton was sentenced as a "Standard 30 percent Range 1" offender and as a "Multiple Rapist." However, review of the record of the proceedings before us clearly demonstrates that a release eligibility of thirty percent was simply a gratuitous and unwarranted entry which, although approved by the trial judge, was not a "bargained-for element" of Felton's pleas. See Smith v. Lewis, 202 S.W.3d 124, 130 (Tenn. 2006). Consistent with this holding, we remand the case to the original court of conviction for entry of corrected judgments of conviction for aggravated rape to reflect service of the two sentences as a multiple rapist. Dismissal of the petition is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/feltont_051508.pdf


DARRON PRICE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles S. Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Darron Price.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel, Attorney General's Office, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Petitioner, Darron Price, appeals the summary dismissal of his pro se petition for post- conviction relief by the Shelby County Criminal Court. Price was convicted in 2003 for attempted first degree murder, attempted especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated robbery. State v. Darren Price, No. W2003-01447-CCA-MR3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App. at Jackson, Feb. 9, 2005). The judgments were affirmed on direct appeal, and our supreme court denied Price's application for permission to appeal on June 20, 2005. Id. Subsequently, Price filed the instant petition for post- conviction relief. The post-conviction court denied Price an evidentiary hearing based upon its determination that the petition was untimely pursuant to the one-year statute of limitations. On appeal, Price argues that the post-conviction court erred in summarily dismissing his petition as untimely. After review, we conclude that the record supports a threshold showing of Price's compliance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 28, section 2(G). Accordingly, we vacate the trial court's order dismissing Price's petition, and we remand for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Price can show by a preponderance of the evidence that he complied with Rule 28 section 2(G) in filing his post-conviction petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/priced_051508.pdf


Reckless Driving Not a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-05-15

Opinion Number: 08-108

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_108.pdf

Amendment of Tullahoma City Charter to Require Supermajority to Exceed Certified Tax Rate

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-05-15

Opinion Number: 08-109

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_109.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
Passages
TBA Member Services

Legal News
County gets $35,000 courthouse grant
The Tennessee Historical Commission has awarded a $35,000 grant to Rhea County for renovations at the courthouse, best known as the location of the famous 1925 Monkey Scopes Trial. Last year during an inspection, a contractor confirmed the structural integrity of the building. Funds will be used to repaint the exterior and repair the roof, windows and bell tower.
The Rhea County Herald-News recounts the history of the courthouse
U.S. solicitor general to resign
U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement announced yesterday he will resign on June 2, but did not give an indication about future plans. Clement has argued 49 cases before the Supreme Court over the last seven years. No successor has been named, though principal deputy solicitor general Gregory Garre is viewed as likely to close out the Bush administration in an acting position.
Law.com has this Legal Times story
Judicial commission role expands over time
It has been 10 years since Shelby County began using judicial commissioners to screen suspects arrested and taken to jail. The positions were created to ease jail overcrowding by releasing non-violent suspects who did not pose a flight risk. In the last decade, the number of commissioners has doubled and their role has expanded.
Learn about the commissioners in the Memphis Daily News
Nashville mayor seeks new DNA lab
Metro Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has proposed spending $1 million to build a DNA lab. The metro government currently uses the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's lab. Metro police say a separate lab would speed up cold case investigations and allow tests in cases where there is not a suspect -- something the TBI normally does not do.
WTVF NewsChannel 5 reports
Experts disagree on Reid's competence
In a competency hearing for death row inmate Paul Dennis Reid that began yesterday, a licensed psychiatrist and a specialist in neuropsychiatry testified for the defense that Reid was incompetent when he waived a post-conviction appeal and decided not to fight a death sentence in one of his cases. A forensic psychiatrist testifying for the prosecution countered that Reid has been making up mental illnesses since 1978 and suffers instead from an anti-social disorder. The Leaf Chronicle reported on the proceeding.

County studies new site for justice center
The Greene County Commission is working on a long-term plan to house more inmates, and voted this week to study whether to build a justice center and county detention center on a new site. Commission members have been trying to come up with a way to deal with jail overcrowding in response to a threat of decertification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.
The Greeneville Sun reports
Legislative News
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
Disciplinary Actions
Nashville lawyer reinstated
Newton S. Holiday was reinstated to the practice of law on April 29. Holiday was temporarily suspended on March 5 for failing to respond to a complaint of misconduct. On March 19, he petitioned the court to lift the suspension. Following a hearing on the matter, the Board of Professional Responsibility recommended his reinstatement and the Supreme Court agreed.
Read the BPR announcement
Memphis attorney disbarred
On May 9, William Anthony Helm was disbarred based on 23 complaints of misconduct. The state Supreme Court found that Helm failed to (1) appear or perform on behalf of clients, (2) refund client fees, (3) update his address with the Board of Professional Responsibility, (4) provide notice to clients of a temporary suspension and (5) withdraw from cases following a temporary suspension. The court also ruled that Helm misappropriated funds and abandoned his law practice. In addition to disbarring him, the court ordered Helm to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
Read the BPR notice
Maryville lawyer censured
The Tennessee Supreme Court censured Charles David Deas on May 9 for neglect and failure to communicate with his client. Deas submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to make restitution to the former client.
Read the BPR's press release
Passages
Former DA dies
John L. Williams, a former county and state official, died May 9 at his home in Huntingdon. He was 80 years old. Following high school graduation and service in World War II, Williams -- then 22 -- became the youngest circuit court clerk in Tennessee. After studying pre-law at the University of Tennessee and Bethel College, he graduated from the Cumberland School of Law in 1954. Williams practiced law in Huntingdon and in 1966 was elected District Attorney General for the 24th Judicial District. He served in that capacity until 1982. From 1972 to 1973, he was president of the District Attorney General Association. His funeral was held this past Monday at the First United Methodist Church in Huntingdon.
Learn more about Williams from the Carroll County News-Leader
TBA Member Services
Save at FedEx Kinkos
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.
Find out more

 
 
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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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