Schmid throws hat in ring for Supreme Court seat

Knoxville lawyer R. Culver Schmid submitted an application today for the vacancy created on the Tennessee Supreme Court by the upcoming retirement of Chief Justice William M. Barker. Court of Appeals Judge Sharon G. Lee of Knoxville and Chattanooga lawyer John Westley McClarty have also applied. The deadline for applications is June 20.
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00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
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02 - TN Attorney General Opinions
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Court: TWCA


Richard Lane Moore and Daniel H. Rader, IV, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, TRW Commercial Steering Division.

William Joseph Butler and E. Guy Holliman, Lafayette, Tennessee, for the appellee, Billy Overstreet.

Judge: WADE

In this claim for workers' compensation, the defendant/employer filed a motion seeking permission to have an ex parte interview with the treating physician regarding the medical condition of the plaintiff/employee. The employer also sought an order requiring the employee to submit to an independent medical evaluation. The trial court denied each motion, and we granted the employer's application for extraordinary appeal pursuant to Rule 10 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Upon review of the record and consideration of the applicable law, we hold that (1) the employer may not communicate ex parte with the employee's treating physician without first obtaining a waiver of the implied covenant of confidentiality from the employee; and (2) the employer's request for the worker to undergo a medical evaluation should be granted unless the trial court determines that the request is unreasonable.

KOCH concurring

GARY FLANARY, on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated, v. CARL GREGORY DODGE OF JOHNSON CITY, L.L.C.

Court: TCA


Gordon Ball, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant.

Linda J. Hamilton Mowles, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee.


This action charged the defendant with engaging in unfair and deceptive practices in violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, and engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. The Trial Court granted defendant summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiff failed to establish that he suffered a loss of money or property. On appeal, we affirm the summary judgment.

CORRECTION on pages 4,8, and 9

Court: TCA


Henry Shelton, III, Megan Arthur, and Emily C. Taube, Memphis, Tennessee for the appellants, Captain Louis J. Gillespie, Jr. et al.

Louis P. Britt, III and P. Daniel Riederer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Memphis.

Judge: KURTZ

The charter and code of ordinances of the City of Memphis set out certain specific provisions, including civil service protections, concerning the organization and operation of the City's police department. This appeal arises from a suit brought by several high ranking members of the police force who allege that the City created a de facto rank in conflict with the City's charter and ordinances. The trial court held that the City had impermissibly created a new rank and granted relief in the form of an injunction and a declaratory judgment. It, however, denied claims for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and an implied right of action under the City's civil service rules. We find that the question regarding the appropriateness of the trial court's awarding injunctive and declaratory relief is now moot and accordingly vacate that part of its decision. We affirm the trial court's decision that monetary damages are not available.


Court: TCA


Brian H. Trammell and M. Eric Anderson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Nationwide Assurance Company.

Timothy W. Hudson, Bristol, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Russell Brown, individually and as father and next friend of Kieran Shannon Brown, a minor.

Larry Weddington, Bristol, Tennessee, administrator ad litem for the Appellee, Estate of James D. Campbell, III.

Judge: LEE

The issue presented in this appeal is whether the trial court correctly granted summary judgment against the insurance company on the ground that Rebecca Neal, who was riding as a passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend at the time of an accident, was not an "insured" as defined by the applicable policy. We agree with the trial court's ruling that the policy's definition of "insured" does not include Ms. Neal under the circumstances, and accordingly, her minor son, who was injured in the accident, is not excluded from coverage for his bodily injuries under the policy. The summary judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TCA


Perry H. Young, pro se Appellant.

Mary Neill Southerland, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Hamilton County, Tennessee.


Perry H. Young ("Plaintiff") was arrested in 2004 for driving while intoxicated and for violating the habitual motor vehicle offender law, among other things. Following his arrest, Plaintiff filed several civil lawsuits claiming false arrest and attacking the validity of the habitual motor vehicle offender law. Plaintiff claims that he filed in a separate lawsuit bearing docket number 05C538 one or more motions for default which were not set for hearing by the Trial Court. Plaintiff filed the lawsuit now on appeal challenging the Trial Court's failure to set the motions for default for hearing and/or for otherwise failing to grant him a default judgment in the amount of $14 million. The Trial Court dismissed the lawsuit now before us after concluding that case number 05C538 was the proper forum for Plaintiff to address any pronumber 05C538. Plaintiff appeals, and we affirm.


Court: TCCA


Ardena Garth, District Public Defender (at post-conviction hearing); Brian Clay Johnson (on appeal),attorneys for appellant, Charles Clifford Hudgins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; William B. Cox, District Attorney General; and William Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Charles Clifford Hudgins, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief challenging his conviction for second degree murder based upon the allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel, an involuntary guilty plea and the state's failure to provide exculpatory information. After a full evidentiary hearing, the trial court found that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations by clear and convincing evidence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Amber D. Haas, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tessa Leann Sutton

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilbur, Assistant Attorney General; Al Schmutzer, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jeremy D. Ball, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Sevier County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Tessa Sutton, for introduction of drugs into a penal institution. On January 29, 2007, she pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to three years to be served on probation. Her probation officer filed a probation violation warrant alleging, among other things, that Appellant missed her initial intake appointment and tested positive for drugs. The trial court based its revocation of Appellant's probation upon these two grounds. We have reviewed the record and find ample support in the record for the trial court's conclusion. Therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in revoking Appellant's probation. For this reason, we affirm the decision of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Joshua L. Rogers, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cordell Remont Vaughn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Jeffrey L. Long, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A jury convicted the Defendant, Cordell Remont Vaughn, of premeditated first degree murder, and he was sentenced to a life term in the Department of Correction. In this direct appeal, he presents four issues for our review: (1)whether the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction; (2) whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying the Defendant's request for a continuance after his family hired a private attorney to represent him approximately one week before the scheduled trial date; (3) whether the trial court abused its discretion by revoking its approval of funds for the Defendant to hire an expert because the Defendant retained private counsel; and (4) whether the trial court erred by not requiring the assistant public defender to assist defense counsel during the Defendant's trial. Following our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we reverse the judgment of conviction and remand for a new trial.

Application of 2002 Pub. Chap. 652

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-06-17

Opinion Number: 08-119

Minimum sentence and minimum fine for conviction for prostitution or patronizing prostitution

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-06-17

Opinion Number: 08-120


Legal News
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Legal News
1st Amendment rights of student athletes brought to U.S. Supreme Court
Knoxville attorney Michael S. Kelley is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of four Jefferson County High School football players booted off the team for taking part in a petition drive against an allegedly abusive coach. At issue is the First Amendment rights of student athletes and students involved in extracurricular activities.
The News Sentinel reports
6th Circuit panel hears House request
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit convened in Nashville today to hear arguments over whether one-time death-row inmate Paul House should be released pending re-trial. The prosecution argued that the case against House was in progress, meeting the requirement of Judge Harry S. Mattice's order. He ruled in December the state must release House, whose conviction and death sentence were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court two years ago, or try him within 180 days. The defense argued the trial has not yet started, and so House should be released. No decision was made.
WBIR-TV covered the story
Opinion: Locking kids up doesn't work
The director of programs for high-risk youth for The Annie E. Casey Foundation writes in a Tennessean opinion piece that juvenile offenders should be dealt with differently than adults. "Almost two-thirds of confined youth are nonviolent offenders, incarcerated often for want of better alternatives or because they have worn out the system's patience," he writes.

In a related editorial, the Tennessean calls for reform of the state's juvenile justice system. "Tennessee needs to make another effort at juvenile justice reform, and Gov. Phil Bredesen and members of the legislature should be leading a call for positive action," the paper says.
Read the editorial
More law schools, but not more jobs
Universities continue to build law schools, even though job prospects are not as good as they used to be. The story reports that the number of students enrolled in law school is at an all-time high, even as jobs can be difficult to find. Said Makau Mutua, interim dean of the University at Buffalo Law School, "There's no question that we simply have a glut of law schools."
The Daily News Journal ran this AP news analysis
Bradley County bar elects officers
The Bradley County Bar Association has elected new officers. They are Stephen D. Crump, president, Crump, RIchardson & Young; Michael E. Jenne, vice president/president-elect, Jenne, Scott & Jenne PLLC; Philip Jacobs, secretary, Logan, Thompson, Miller, Bilbo & Thompson; and Joshua H.. Jenne, treasurer, Jenne, Scott & Jenne PLLC. All are from Cleveland.

Juvenile court judge charged with DUI
Melanie Stark, a specially appointed juvenile court judge in Robertson County, was arrested over the weekend after police say she was driving 20 mph above the speed limit in a construction zone. She then failed several roadside sobriety tests, police say, and refused to take a breath test.
The Tennessean has more
77-year-old law student not concerned with timing
Alice Thomas is looking forward to law practice at a time when most attorneys have already retired from their jobs. At 77, she will finish when she is nearly 80 years old and plans to begin her practice in California. She says she wants to stay intellectually challenged while inspiring others and working in a profession that gives her financial independence.
The Sacramento Bee tells the story
Legislative News
Sen. Burchett ties knot with governor's help
Gov. Phil Bredesen's visit to Knoxville for a bill-signing ceremony today turned into something more, when State Sen. Tim Burchett and Allison Beaver decided to move up their wedding date a few months and have the governor perform an impromptu ceremony.
Read more about the event in the Knoxville News Sentinel
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