Webcast focuses on immigration issues for GP practices

Tune in Friday for TennBarU's latest webcast featuring Clarksville attorney Roland Lenard outlining immigration issues for the general practitioner. The TBA's new Webcasting programs give you easy access to the next generation of online education. When you join in a TennBarU Webcast, you'll be in the middle of the classroom, whether you are at home, in your office or on the road. These courses let you watch programs as they occur or at your convenience, take part in polls, follow along with Powerpoint presentations and ask questions or raise issues for speakers to address. See what else TennBarU has coming this summer.
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
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - 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.


Court: TSC


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Glen Baity, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Mark S. McDaniel, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Carri Chandler Lane.


The defendant pled guilty to two counts of theft in excess of $60,000 after embezzling over $630,000 from her employer. The trial court imposed a sentence requiring a term of confinement and probation. As a condition of her probation, the trial court ordered the defendant to make monthly restitution payments of approximately $1,500 to her former employer upon her release from confinement. After her release, the defendant petitioned the trial court to modify the conditions of her probation by reducing her monthly restitution payments to $500 per month. The trial court denied her motion to modify, and the defendant appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that the defendant could not appeal as of right the trial court's decision to deny her motion to modify under Tennessee's rules of appellate procedure. Nevertheless, a majority of the intermediate appellate court reviewed the defendant's challenge as a petition for a common-law writ of certiorari and concluded that the trial court's decision constituted a "plain and palpable abuse of discretion." The State appealed. Upon review, we hold that the defendant does not have an appeal as of right to challenge the trial court's denial of her motion to modify. Furthermore, we conclude that the intermediate appellate court erred in granting the defendant a common-law writ of certiorari and in finding that the trial court's decision was erroneous. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Criminal Appeals and remand with instructions that the trial court's order be reinstated.



Court: TWCA


Barbara G. Medley, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Earl Douglas Tryon.

Marcia McShane Watson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Saturn Corporation.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the application of the statutory caps on permanent partial disability benefits. After sustaining a workplace injury to his neck, an employee filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Marshall County seeking workers' compensation benefits. Sixteen months after returning to work, and while his workers' compensation case was pending, the employee retired upon the advice of his surgeon. The trial court conducted a bench trial and determined that the employee had not had a meaningful return to work. In accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-241(b) (2005), the court awarded the employee permanent partial disability benefits equal to five and one-half times his medical impairment rating. On the employer's appeal, the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel reduced the permanent partial disability award after determining that the trial court erred by failing to apply the lower benefit cap in Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-241(a)(1) (2005). We have determined that the evidence supports the trial court's finding that the employee did not have a meaningful return to work and its decision to award the employee partial disability benefits equal to five and one-half times his medical impairment rating. Accordingly, we reverse the Appeals Panel's decision and affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCA


Beverly J. Farmer, Memphs, TN, pro se

R. Mark Glover, Chad D. Graddy, Memphis, TN, for Appellees


This appeal involves concurrent findings of a special master and a trial court. The bank foreclosed on property and the owner filed suit, alleging wrongful foreclosure. The chancellor referred the matter to a special master for the determination of two factual issues. The special master found that the account in question was in arrears at the time of the foreclosure, and that no payments were made that were not properly credited to the account. The chancellor adopted the findings of the special master and granted the bank's motion for summary judgment. The owner appeals, and we affirm.



Court: TCA


Scott B. Ostrow, Memphis, TN, for Appellant

Martin W. Zummach, Germantown, TN, for Appellee


This appeal involves a dispute between two attorneys over a contingency fee generated from a client's case. The younger attorney worked as an associate at the senior attorney's law firm, and both parties worked on the client's case. When the case concluded, the associate sued the senior attorney, claiming that the parties had agreed to equally share the fee. The senior attorney testified that the associate had volunteered to work on the case for free. He further testified that pursuant to the parties' arrangement, if he chose to pay the associate, he could unilaterally decide how much the associate's services were worth. The trial court found that the parties had agreed to equally share the attorney's fee generated in the case, and it awarded the associate one-half of the fee. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's decision.



Court: TCCA


Mack Garner, District Public Defender, Maryville, Tennessee, at trial; and J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, on appeal, for the appellant, Richard Lynn Dixon.

Robert J. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; Robert Headrick, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Richard Lynn Dixon, appeals the revocation of his probation by the trial court. On appeal, Defendant asserts that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking Defendant's probation. After a thorough review of the record, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Kevin E. Childress, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alvin Green.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Alvin Green, was convicted of three counts of especially aggravated kidnapping and two counts of attempted aggravated robbery and received an effective sentence of forty-six years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions because the State did not adequately rebut his defense of duress. Further, he argues that the trial court erred in permitting the State to introduce his statements soliciting the murder of the State's witnesses; by allowing a lay witness to testify regarding the operation of the weapon used during the offenses; and in applying an enhancement factor and imposing consecutive sentences. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court and remand for entry of a corrected judgment in Count 4 to reflect that the defendant was convicted of attempted aggravated robbery, a Class C felony, rather than attempted robbery.



Court: TCCA


Ross E. Alderman, District Public Defender; Jeffrey A. DeVasher (on appeal) and Tyler C. Yarbro (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Bobby Dior McMillian.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kyle Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Bobby Dior McMillian, was convicted of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and sentenced to eleven years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction and that the trial court sentenced him improperly. After careful review, we conclude that no error exists and affirm the judgment from the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; Richard A. Tate, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Thornton Shayne Snapp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; William Harper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Thornton Shayne Snapp, pled guilty in the Sullivan County Criminal Court to one count of failure to appear, a Class E felony. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the defendant to four years in the Department of Correction as a Range II, multiple offender, and ordered that the defendant's sentence be served consecutively to a five-year sentence the defendant received in another case. The defendant appeals, alleging that the trial court erred in denying him alternative sentencing on the failure to appear offense. After reviewing the record, we conclude that the trial court properly sentenced the defendant to incarceration and therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Shelby County Drive While You Pay Program

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-05-20

Opinion Number: 08-110


Funding Budget of Joint Economic and Community Development Board

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-05-20

Opinion Number: 08-111



Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
Your Practice
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Opinion: Electing judges could result in 'buying rulings'
In an opinion piece, Mary Perren Russell makes the case to keep the Judicial Selection Commission, likening what could happen if we elected judges to John Grisham's latest novel where corruption abounds. "In theory [election] allows more people, including women and minorities, to run for statewide office," she writes. "Electing these judges also creates the potential for well-funded special interest groups to bankroll candidates and effectively buy rulings from what is supposed to be an impartial, independent branch of government."
Read it in the Columbia Daily Herald
Judge won't hold off on Moncier suspension
On Friday Chief U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier issued a ruling in which he refuses to put on hold a seven-year suspension of Herbert S. Moncier's right to practice federal law in East Tennessee pending Moncier's appeal. In it, Collier accuses Moncier of legal misconduct, unethical behavior and even lying.
Follow the story in the News Sentinel
D.C. Circuit says paper money discriminates against blind
The U.S. currency system discriminates against vision-impaired individuals because paper bills of different denominations are the same size, shape and color, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled today. In a local connection, University of Tennessee law professor Otis Stephens is the named plaintiff and has been one of the major forces behind the lawsuit.
The Washington Post has the story
Ex Pa. justice sued for alleged trade for favorable ruling
The League of Women Voters sued Pennsylvania's former chief justice yesterday, alleging that the Supreme Court upheld the state's slot machine gambling law in exchange for approval of a judicial pay raise. The suit claims former Chief Justice Ralph Cappy told legislators "he needed the pay raise to secure the votes of Republican justices" on cases important to them, the Associated Press reports.
The ABA Journal connects you to the story and pdf of the suit
State to share in $58 million settlement with Merck
Tennessee and 30 other states will share $58 million in a record-breaking settlement with the makers of the painkiller Vioxx, Attorney General Bob Cooper and Mary Clement, director of the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs, announced today. The state has filed a judgment with Merck & Co. Inc. resolving a three-year, multistate investigation into the company's allegedly deceptive promotion of Vioxx. Tennessee's share is more than $1.6 million.
Find out more from the attorney general's office
Judge cancels hearing, citing gas prices
U.S. District Judge Fred Biery saved everyone time and money by canceling a hearing set for yesterday in San Antonio. He said he would need time to review the "already voluminous" documents, and that there was no need for a hearing. "Moreover, numerous gallons of $4 a gallon gasoline would be expended for a significant number of persons to appear with the result being an oral presentation of the already written arguments," Biery wrote.
The Jackson Sun carried this AP story
Execution date can be set in Virginia
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for officials to set an execution date for Virginia death row inmate Christopher Scott Emmett, who is challenging the state's lethal injection method in a federal appeals court. The Supreme Court halted Emmett's execution in October while it considered the constitutionality of lethal injection. The court upheld Kentucky's lethal injection procedure last month, but Emmett claims Virginia's method is unconstitutional because it does not ensure sufficient anesthesia before the paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs are administered.
Tri-Cities.com carried this AP story
Legislative News
Briley calls for more 'responsibility' from media
In a parting speech to the state legislature today, Rep. Rob Briley called for more responsibility from the press. "The right to a free and open press ... comes with a responsibility, and from my experience over the past year, that responsibility is not being lived up to," Briley said from the main House podium. Late last year, Briley was the center of the Nashville media's attention after he was arrested and later convicted of DUI and charged with felony evading arrest for leading police on a 100-mph plus high-speed chase. A police video was released chronicling the traffic stop, in which Briley made suicidal threats and appeared to be drunk.
The Nashville City Paper reports
Disciplinary Actions
Nashville lawyer suspended
On May 13, the Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order suspending Nashville lawyer William W. Leech's license to practice law for one year with all time suspended except for three months. Leech will be on probation for the remaining nine months. After Aug. 13, Leech is permitted to practice law if he meets the conditions of his probation. Leech's conduct violated Rules 1.1 (competence); 1.3 (diligence on behalf of clients); 1.4 (adequate attorney-client communications); 1.15 (returning client's property); 3.2 (expediting litigation); and 8.4 (misconduct), of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
Read the BPR release
Greeneville attorney disbarred
Greenville attorney Lawrence A. Welch Jr. has been disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court, filed March 13. The court's action was based on acts by Welch, including misuse of his deceased father's and mother's credit cards for his own personal benefit; preparing and recording a warranty deed and affidavit reflecting Welch as co-owner of his mother's condominium without the knowledge or consent of his mother, eventually requiring the mother's filing suit against Welch; encouraging plaintiffs to file a sexual harassment lawsuit based upon fabricated charges; neglecting a client's case; failing to communicate with a client and opposing counsel; and misleading clients to believe that Welch had filed their lawsuit when he had not.
Read the BPR release
Your Practice
Privilege tax due June 1
Tennessee's Professional Privilege Tax, as described in Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-4-1701, is due June 1 for more than 20 professions, including lawyers.
Get more information and pay the $400 assessment online
TBA Member Services
Guide to pro bono assistance
The TBA YLD has released a new resource to help volunteer attorneys provide meaningful legal services to victims of natural disasters. The 83-page document addresses a wide range of legal and social service issues disaster victims most frequently face. And unlike other resources that have been used in the past, this manual is Tennessee specific.
Download a copy today

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

Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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